In 1976 the 140mph production road bike barrier was breached by a macho bruiser with Latin origins, a dash of British brio and a Spanish name. Laverda’s 3C 981cc, six-valve, dohc, air-cooled, 180-degree inline triple was a bit of a beast even before the Italian firm’s UK importers, Slater Brothers, decided to unleash its full potential.the Slaters dropped in high-comp pistons, lumpier cams and a freer-breathing exhaust system to take the bike past the 140mph landmark. Being a triple and a four-stroke, the Slaters named their creation the Jota, after a Spanish dance in three-four time.
The factory would adopt the Slaters’ Jota concept to make it an official model.the Jota made most sense when ridden fast, as you might hope and indeed expect.tall and heavy, with a wrist-crunching clutch and a Bosch ignition with a curve that only worked when going properly fast the Jota was built for open roads and rapid distance work. It handled – but required ‘input’ to do so. Twin Brembo front disc brakes were the best you could get in the mid-1970s and again a strong hand was needed.
In the 1970s the Jota was peerless as a superbike object of desire.those with money and brawn had some big numbers to play with. More than 40 years since the year of that long, hot summer of the year when Barry Sheene won his first 500GP title they might not sound so big but 90bhp and 140mph were the only road bike numbers that mattered in 1976.
“90bhp and 140mph were the only numbers that mattered in ’76”