Laverda had quite a history of producing off-road bikes over the years and actually had a lot of input (as development engineers), into the design of BMW’s extremely successful G/S series – so it should come as no surprise that they also took a crack at the large capacity on/off-road market themselves with the introduction of the OR600 Atlas in 1986.
An updated version of the 500cc parallel twin (which had in fact been out of production for several years) had a capacity of 571cc and featured lower compression and softer camshafts than the original.
New pistons and bigger valves together with modified heads and barrels were used. In addition strengthened crankcases, helical primary drive gears, a second balance weight and most importantly an oil cooler and larger oil pump were fitted.
300 were built in 1986 but subsequent years saw only 60, 40 and 50 made for a total of 450 units. The blue/white Series 2 bikes were produced in ’87 and ’88 with Series 3 being constructed in ’89. Series 3 had a red/white paint job and twin, side-mounted oil coolers.
This particular bike is the 1985 prototype and was extensively ridden by Laverda’s sales director, Giulo Frazan and is unrestored. Note that the muffler was not fitted at the time of photography.
Also note that the engine number hasn’t been stamped, which was fairly usual for the company’s prototypes. Additionally the frame number is OR1000 – which is a factory mistake as all their prototypes started at 1001 (and that is the number on the paperwork)!
Power was 50 hp at 7000 rpm which, with a dry weight of 151 kg, gave a top speed of 175 km/h.
Phil Aynsley sadly passed away in 2023 after a life spent travelling the world photographing many of the rarest and most beautiful motorcycles ever made. We are proud to continue showcasing his catalogue of work on MCNews.com.au.
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