No doubt that the 1000 Laverda is one of the bike which has the strongest character!

First comes its physical and aesthetical aspect, a very big and beautiful engine, very clean design, and a general look which gives a very expressive bike in spite of what is ultimately a very elegant picture.

The character of the engine too, above all in 180° version, is made of a strong and brutal attitude! Power and torque, deep sound, brutality, everything contributes to make a 1000 Laverda road test an unforgettable experience, even if we have tested so many bikes before. No doubt that Laverda could have civilized this bike a bit, but this is this wild character which finally makes of it a priceless experience.

There is no one-day 1000 Laverda tester: Until you ride it, you are doubtful, even critical versus a monster that you can't really understand. But since you test it, you just want it for ever!

The 1000 Laverda has three cylinders of 980,76 cm3, offering specs of a multicylinder (vivacity, high revs,...) and in the same time also the strong character of a big unitary cubic capacity engine (torque, deep sound, ...).

There were two crankshaft timings: The first one, from 1973 to 1981, has two external pistons at TDC while central one is down, hence the nick name of "180°". This timing was initially used to avoid excessive side pressure onto the crank bearings, a well known problem on any 120° engine
.
Thus the only engine ever built with a 180° timing was created, resulting in a special character:
Everything is different compared to any marketed engine: The engine is brutal, the sound and feeling are unique, vibes can be present... Add to that a...perfectible Bosch electronic ignition (which did no favours for Laverda in its inquiries for the best products available at that time...), accentuating the brutality of the beast, and you are riding a sort of monster, all the pleasure laying to tame it... if you can...

This engine continues to delight the enthusiasts who still haven't found its equal on the market.

The 180° series includes the very early 1000s (with drum brakes, quickly replaced by disc brakes), then in 1976 the 3CL which looked radically different thanks to just a new seat and alloy wheels (The French and Swiss series were unfortunately equipped with A12 camshafts, to comply the emissions and noise reg.) and the Jota conceived under the requirements of the UK importer Slater's (the 1000 Laverda was a best-seller in UK where it reached the status of a real legend) which became the fastest bike on earth with the 1200 SC Laverda-Sulzbacher built in Austria... The 1000 Laverda won the production bikes championship in UK in 1976, 78 and 79 against others big japanese or british bikes, and also in Austria, Sweden, Belgium...

The second engine series (1982 to 1989) got the same cubic capacity and an identical design, but its crankshaft timing was 120° with the aim to civilize a bit the Laverda triple. Result was a most manageable engine, without any power peaks, closer to Japanese standards. In others words, the Laverda triple lost some of its character but became easier for long trips and touring.
At the same time, it got a new bodywork design (conceived and built out of the factory by a design studio) and changed its name, becoming the RGS. This bike was available also in some others versions: Corsa (Sport), RGA (economic without the full fairing), Executive (GT) and RGA Jota (with a different paint job and fairing).
Finally, in 1984, the SFC 1000 was produced (Corsa engine, different body work design) which, paradoxically, rended some character to these last triples produced.

Finally, to get a excellent idea of the differences beetween the 180° and 120° Laverda triples, here what said the Laverdist Ed Lutz, I couldn't find a better and so right opinion:

"The two designs are definitely different, and at times I find it easy to think they are completely unrelated. The biggest difference to me is in the motors.

The 180 is a torque monster, pulling from way down low with a hell for strong mid range that pulls hard all the way up but seems to flatten off a bit on the high end. The 180 tends to vibrate a bit as it revs but unless one was weaned on Japanese fours I don't think the vibes would be all that bad (if the bike is tuned properly. If its not they can shake your hands off the bars!)

The 120 is much smoother, almost no vibration at all as it revs up. The 120s power band starts off slow but really likes to rev. The result is two bikes that feel very different, with totally different personalities. Handling wise the 180s are taller, the 120s have lower seats. To me the 120 is "softer" feeling, not as sharp, but thats probably as much due to how I set mine up as anything else. I use my Executive for touring and my Jota for sporting so have the suspensions set up differently.
Too me thats really the difference between the two designs.

The 120 is more refined, smoother, makes me feel like knocking off the miles. I use that one for the 1000 mile days. The 180 is a hot rod, a bit of a beast, not refined at all and thus that bike tends more toward shorter days going faster. I have toured on the Jota though but would usually prefer the Executive for this.
All that aside, if one were to want to build a really fast Laverda I would think a 120 motor would maybe be the way to go. The 120 in my Spondon special is a great performance motor as it is smooth, it builds revs fast and doesn't take your attention away from riding by vibrating or doing anything outside of its job. It also makes loads of torque and horse power. You could build a 180 to do the same and probably make just as much HP but in the end it might not work as well. Strange, but I think it might be more fun as the 180 has loads more "soul" and to me at least sounds much better but I don't think the end result would be as efficient, and performance is really all about efficiency."

And these wonderful words by Tim Douglas ( http://members.iinet.net.au/~timdougl/bikes/laverda/wank.html ) , concerning the 1000 Laverda 180°:

"I remembered what this Navy pilot said - after each landing on his aircraft carrier (he flew those big piston engined AD-6 Skyraiders). When he finally parked and turned off the ignition, the exhaust note would be gone and you could then hear the big propeller go "Whop whop whop" as it spun down. And he'd have to stay in the cockpit for a few minutes because his legs were shaking so much. Well, the Laverda didn't quite have that effect on me, but I would still be sitting there, looking at it, and these stupid words would keep going over and over in my mind: "Holy hell, what an experience!"

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1969: First prototype of the 1000 Laverda