30th Anniversary 1200 (1979)
Offered to commemorate thirty years of motorbike production, only 200 copies of this special edition 1200 were reportedly made, 50 to the UK. This, according to a congratulatory letter sent to every new owner from Massimo Laverda himself, along with a gold badge inscribed with the buyer’s likeness. Exported to select markets and resplendent in black with gold, the “30 th” became an instant favorite of collectors. Also included was a midsize handlebar fairing, complete with a plexiglas headlight cover. Many owners removed it. With so many knocking out tuned specials the job of exact specification is difficult. Connecting the dots shows the 30th fitting the usual fare – Marzocchi forks and reservoir shocks; but uprated with a Brembo hydraulic clutch and standard drilled discs. A dream for those who love bling, the triple’s sturdy chassis and cast wheels are highlighted to good effect.

1200 TS/Mirage (1980)
Rounding out a very busy decade for Laverda, the 1200 TS-Mirage underwent several obvious changes. Now fully embracing the Gran Turismo role suggested by the 30th anniversary bike, Europe’s biggest motorcycle covered ground as a full coverage sports tourer with fairing, engine hugging lowers, large, triangluated side-panels and a new seat/tail section. “Late in 1978 the factory asked to market the Mirage worldwide, as they had already done with the Jota,” explained Richard Slater. “This we naturally agreed to, so for 1979 the ‘TS/Mirage’ was launched as a world legal bike after having been sanitized by Moto Laverda. In 1980 the cylinderhead was changed to include larger 39.4mm intake and 36.2mm exhaust valves, seamed Lafranconi exhausts were fit and the carburetion was leaned. For the US market TS, even milder A12 grind cams were used and the necessary EPA airbox baffles refitted. Livery for all markets at this time was silver with maroon coach lines, which looked more modern with a monochrome treatment. The frame for the TS/Mirage and all of the 1200 variants were always finished in gloss black.”

Taking over as US importer in 1980, Roger Slater believes up to 30 TS/Mirage 1200 triples were brought in, and perhaps more. Period tests of Laverda’s remade triple were generally favorable, as ergonomically the machine had been improved with adjustable z-bars and other revised appointments, like new ND clocks. These were shared with Honda. Underneath, this last production 1200 was still a 180 triple, and the broader, more flexible tuning did little to dull its edge. In addition to Yamaha’s 1100 the TS-Mirage also competed for sales against Guzzi’s excellent SP1000 and BMW’s ever-supple R100RS. Two bikes with the same role, but a vastly different approach. A true power tourer, the TS-Mirage can touch 130-mph…and beyond. “Harder than three-minutes in the ring with Muhammad Ali,” wrote one tester, touring from Italy to his home in Spain. “Hard is the word that describes it best. The Laverda’s stiff suspensions have half the travel of an XS-Eleven, the hydraulic clutch improves nothing, the shifting is hard and noisy, and the vibration! Yet, it runs from the Yamaha through corners and torque is plentiful. It looks big, but after some miles you realize the Laverda really isn’t.”

On the road today
More than capable on modern highways, the Laverda 1200 is a physically demanding motorcycle. Its controls are high effort and because the large, three cylinder is solidly mounted, you’ll feel it firing and transmitting power through the footpegs and grips. It is an enjoyable experience for some, but those seeking GoldWing smoothness are advised to look elsewhere. Some motorcycles slip the airstream but the Lav punches through, returning excellent stability and while braking from high speeds. A common occurance, given the 1200’s baritone wail. Since many of the 1200’s cycle parts (forks, shocks, brakes and electrical components) were used by others, availability is well above average. Consumable items like tires, chains and batteries are period common and easily sourced.

“The biggest single improvement one can make is the Redax ignition/alternator conversion,” reports Duguid. “Domed pistons are available, but I prefer the stock parts, 4C cams, and Mikuni RS36 carbs. Best tyres seem to be Bridgestone BT45 but with tubes, as the stock wheels are not designed for this. I get ‘round it by fitting GSX-R Suzuki wheels.” Priced against the iconic 180 Jota or SFC, the 1200 remains a notch down, yet steady to rise. Always built using top components, Laverdas were expensive to manufacture and purchase, hence the strong value. Like all Bregenze machines the 1200 is a handsome motorcycle, but the big triple was made to travel and that’s what it does best. Perfect for the weekender or a special destination. Nolan Woodbury

Laverda 1200 TS/Mirage (1982)
1116-cc air-cooled, four stroke, transverse three
DOHC, 2v per cylinder
Bore x stroke: 80mm x 74mm
Three Dell’Orto 32mm PHF
Bosch CDI ignition/electric start
73-hp @ 7500 rpm
Five-speed w/wet multi-plate clutch
#630 drive chain
Double downtube steel cradle frame
38mm Marzocchi forks
Twin Marzocchi shocks
3 x 280mm Brembo discs w/2p caliper
Tires: 4.10/4.25 x 18” front/rear
Fuel: 6.2 gallons
Weight: 544-lb wet
Top speed: 130-mph

1200 specials (L -to- R) Slater Formula Mirage, Harris Laverda, Moto Martin Laverda 1200

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