The Ducati Panthah
Let’s first rewind to the year 1976.
When Ducati’s 350 cc and 500 cc parallel twins could hardly be called a marketing success, their fabulous engineer Fabio Taglioni set tout to develop a replacement.
The Pantah 500 originates from the last of the GP500 racers of 1973. The Pantah and many bikes afterwards, have shown that, a twin-cylinder motorcycle can compete successfully against bikes with a four cylinder engine. This is contrary to all expectations and that’s where the greatness of Taglioni lies.
The Panthah was first introduced during the Milan Bike Show (now EICMA) in December 1979. It was quite revolutionary as it had a trellis frame, contrary to earlier Ducati motorcycles. The engine is suspended in the frame acting as a stressed member of the whole. It was the first Ducati not fitted the old bevel-gear OHC design. Instead it had belt-driven cams. That, and the trellis frame, would turn the bike into the spearhead for the brand for generations of V-twins for years to come.
Although the 500cc engine was already endowed with impressive power, Ducati decided to amp it up a bit in 1981 by introducing 600cc engines, later to be increased to 650cc and even 750cc. The single overhead camshaft was driven by toothed rubber belt and primary transmission was via Morse chain. The Pantah’s performance gloriously surpassed that of the ill-conceived 1976 parallel twins.
Enough history for today.
Whenever we get a phone call from Madrid our hearts skip a beat. More often than not Pepo Rosell manages to get us excited straight from the starting line when new build roll through the doors of his workshop.
This time was no exception. The ‘La Guapísima’ (‘The Beautiful One’) is in your face from the moment you feast your eyes on her.
There is so much beauty and excitement going on with this machine, you just want to get on it and twist the throttle South!
Irons Café Racer
We are quite familiar with this shop in Madrid, even though we are yet to set foot in the door ourselves in person.
As BikeBrewers are involved with the innovative European rental platform MotoShare also, we used this location to launch Tamarit built ‘The Gotham’ earlier this year.
This shop, which sells motorcycle clothing and accessories, is obviously run by oil-blooded motorcycle afficionados. It is clear why they commissioned their next door neighbour to come up with this magnificent machine.
Upping the ante
The donor bike used is a 1986 Ducati 600TL Pantah. A nice machine already but Pepo would not be XTR Pepo if he did not do some magic on the engine before mounting it back in the frame.
He installed a Cagiva Elefant 900 Marathon motor with high compression pistons added. The heart of the beast has ported heads a ‘SLIENT HETKIT’ ignition kit with 16 maps and a lightened fly wheel for more immediate responsiveness.
While we are on the subject of technicalities; breathing in arranged by adding two Keihin FCR 39 carburettors with DNA filters, while the exhaling is done via a two-in-one Wolfman exhaust.
A Ducabike antihooping clutch is mounted to keep the horses at the rear wheel under control, but riders may skip that part as a quickshifter is also part of the package.
And that on a 1986 machine!
More technical stuff
There is much that meets the eye when you look at this apparatus. But the list of (sometimes invisible) modifications just never stops!
As we are more about the bike and what it does to your hormone levels when riding it, we will just sum it up below. But before moving over to that, we point out the front fairing.
This is a particular piece of the bike that makes it stand out we think. It is nice and streamlined with a feel of those 70’s and 80’s dragracers we grew up with. This element is produced inhouse by XTR, while the cool paintjob is done by their friend Pintumoto.
PANTAH modified frame
Engine : CAGIVA ELEFANT 900 Maraton , high comp , ported heads, SILENT HETKIT ignition kit with 16 maps , lightened flywheel,
DUCABIKE antihooping clutch , quickshift , KEIHIN FCR 39 carburators , DNA air filters.
RC racing oil radiator
Exhaust : 2 in 1 WOLFMAN.
Swingarm : CAGIVA ELEFANT 350
Rear suspension : OHLINS
REGINA gold chain
HYOSUNG GT 650 Front fork, lightened yokes, wheel ,NG rotor and brake caliper with BREMBO pads
BREMBO front brake pump with XTR regulable and foldable lever
BREMBO rear brake pump
FRENTUBO front and rear brake line
BREMBO Clutch pump with XTR regulable and foldable lever
FRENTUBO clutch line
XTR front mudguard
RIZOMA Nex brake fluid reservoir
AVIACOMPOSITI Dashboard (rev counter)
DOMINO quick open gas throttle and grips
DOMINO starter commando
FULBAT LIPO battery
4,5 x 17 inches alluminium rear rim
OSADO lenticular covers
CONTINENTAL Conti Sport Attack 4 front and rear tires.
XTR front fairing and bracket
XTR fuel tank
CNC racing fuel cap
XTR MK2 solo seat
XTR carbon fiber bellypan
As usual we wish we lived in Madrid to be close to the man and his work. Searchin online we noticed a video with a very lucky lady rider hitting the throttle on this Duc!
As we understand the bike was supposed to be at the starting line of the Sultans of Sprint in Glemseck this past season. Unfortunately COVID came in between and we can only imagine what this ‘Guapísima’ would smell and sound like in real life.
We hope to meet her in the flesh one day.
Builder: XTR Pepo
Photography: Ruben del Valle Producciones