Originally from the February 1995 issue of Cycle World.
The decade had barely started and we had already gotten word of one of the finest bikes to emerge from Italy in the 1970s. Tucked away in the final pages of this month’s issue came news of a motorcycle that would achieve legendary stature: the Laverda 1000 Triple. A report from Italy provided only specifications, nothing that production was still several months off. The spec sheet was intriguing, with claims of 75 horsepower at 6700 rpm and a top speed of 125 mph. “The Laverda is quite a sensation,” we said.
Up front, we tested a 683cc Rickman eight-valve Triumph, a bike that had very few Triumph parts left on it by the time the Rickman brothers were finished. The Rickman–with 10-inch disc brakes front and rear–stopped in a shorter distance than any road-going motorcycle we had ridden. It was also the quickest street bike we had thrown a leg over, peeling off quarter-mile times in the low-13s, at more than 100 mph. That performance led the staff to dream of a bike with a fully modified Rickman engine. “Just imagine, an eight-valve, large-displacement Twin with 9000-rpm reliability–a short step away from a street-GP bike.”
Sandwiched between the Rickman and the Laverda was the two-wheel-drive Rokon Trail-Breaker, maybe the only motorcycle that had no equal, then or now. “It is a mechanical mountain goat,” we said. The Breaker topped out at 20 mph, but climbed 60-degree slopes, made child’s play out of three-foot obstacles and churned through a two-foot-deep stream. It even floated.
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