The Laverda Jota 1000
Big noise from Breganze
The Laverda Jota 1000.
Laverda Jota 1000
Years produced: 1976-1981
Number produced: NA (Approx. 7,100 triples total)
Claimed power: 90hp @ 7,500rpm
Top speed: 146mph (period test)
Engine type: 981cc DOHC air-cooled inline triple
Weight: (dry) 234kg (515lb)
Price then: $5,950 (1981)
Price now: $4,500-$10,000
I’m standing outside the Fox and Fiddle pub on the Langley By-Pass in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, with Steve Gurry and his 1981 Laverda Jota 1000, its orange paint a fireball in the evening sunshine. It’s the loudest bike in the parking lot — and he hasn’t even started the engine.
Then he thumbs the 1,000cc triple’s starter. The tarmac shudders as the beast comes alive with a bellow, its raucous beat echoes off the pub wall and stray gusts of exhaust beat at my face. It has the seething, restrained menace of an offensive lineman just before the snap.
Steve climbs aboard, slips it in gear and idles the Jota toward the highway entrance, the engine thrumming its rhythmic beat. He pulls out on the street, checks traffic and cranks the throttle wide, ramming open the pumper jets in the three big Dell’Orto carbs. With a snarl like a top fuel dragster, the Jota rips away, firing two rooster tails of raw gas high into the air. It’s pure theater.
Laverda and the Jota
Every successful bike maker has a standout model, the ne plus ultra, the one where everything comes together perfectly, producing a classic bike that exemplifies the brand. For Triumph it was the Bonneville, for Moto Guzzi the Le Mans and for Indian the Chief. For Laverda, it was the Jota.
Not for the first time in motorcycling history, the Laverda Jota is the result of an enterprising salesman telling the factory what it should build. In the 1950s, it was U.S. distributor Bill Johnson who persuaded Triumph to build the Bonneville; Joe Berliner asked Ducati for a police bike and got the Apollo; and it was U.K. Laverda distributors Slater Brothers who came up with the idea for the Jota.
Production of the Laverda 750 twin was barely underway in 1969 when the factory announced intentions to produce a 1,000cc triple, promising to show a prototype at that year’s Milan show. General manager Massimo Laverda claimed the new machine would be both lighter and narrower than the new Honda CB750 (471 pounds and 22 inches). These were ambitious targets, but the only one Laverda missed on was the timing. Though the company showed a 1,000cc triple at Milan, it was a single overhead cam design clearly based on the twin, and it was soon abandoned. The final prototype, shown in Milan in 1971, was an all new inline 3-cylinder engine with chain-driven double overhead cams, a new duplex-cradle frame and a Laverda twin-leading-shoe front brake.
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