The early interest in 650/750 platform that debuted in 1968 emboldened Massimo Laverda to push out a 750 Sport version the very next year. Compared to its sibling touring model, the 750GT, the S model got a lower handlebar and narrow, sportier tank, as well as an optional café-racer style solo seat.
But more than just cosmetics and ergonomics, its engine got a lift too, with higher-compression domed pistons and slightly larger 30mm Dell’Orto carburators with open velocity stacks. The 750S’s claimed top-speed of 120mph was highly respectable for 1969, making it as fast or faster than the crop of bikes it was competing with—the new Honda 750, the BMW 75/5, the Norton Commando and the triples from BSA and Triumph.That 120mph was both impressive and slightly terrifying for a bike with drum brakes fore and aft—fears compounded by contemplating the bike’s substantial weight.
That it was close to 100 pounds heavier than the British triples it was competing against kept the Laverda from being a home run. But with weight comes strength, and the Laverda’s real advantage would prove itself in the long run, with the basic platform established for successive—and successful—750 Laverda twins.
Illustrations: Martin Squires
The Ducati Story
Ducati 350 Mark 3-D (1968-1972)
Ducati 350 Desmo (1971-1972)
Ducati 750S (1972-1974)
Ducati 750SS (1973-1974)
Ducati 900SS (1975-1982)
Ducati Darmah (1977-1982)
Ducati MHR (1979-1984)