Motorcyclists are conservative. That is why many hard core Ducati drivers found the Ducati Pantah strange. The Ducati Pantah V twins had too little displacement and the camshaft drive was damned with timing belts instead of king axles. A used Ducati Pantah was very cheap.
Pantahs are now classics
Meanwhile, the Pantah is recognized as the Ducati who saved the brand. To save costs compared to the construction of the expensive king-size blocks, the toothed belt was a perfect solution, the camshaft timing was just as precise as the complex king-shaft transmission.
Designer Taglioni had previously designed these engine blocks
But Ducati decided there had to be parallel twins. Taglioni's idea for a modern 90 degree V-twin with a displacement of 500 cc, as a successor to the single-cylinder, was therefore rejected in the early 70s in favor of the dramatically flopped but meanwhile cautiously valued 350 / 500cc parallel wins. Taglioni reluctantly provided that design. His previously designed block went into the second chance after the parallel twin experiment flopped.
A long run-up
In 1977 the prototype of what the 500 cc Pantah would be presented. Due to standard Italian fiddling and disappointing motorcycle sales, there was only a second - almost production-ready - prototype in 1978.
The Pantah was allowed
In 1979 permission was given for the 'Pantah' project.
First there was a pre-production series (250 pieces) 'Ducati 500SL
Pantah 'be made. Production really took off in 1980. The new V-twin ran smoothly and quietly because of the toothed belt drive. But on the downside, it was noticeable that the 500cc 'Pantah' lacked power at low and medium revs. An incorrectly selected gear ratio caused
in addition, that the new Duc did not run the rpm for which it was conceived. At
8500 rpm the party was over for the V-twin with its desmodromic valve control. The steering characteristics were okay. The Pantah was agile and yet stable. He also did great brakes. And that's how it should be with an Italian bicycle.
Bigger is better
An enlargement of the cylinder bore is the next step in the evolution of the 'Pantah'. From the start of 1981
then there is the 'Ducati 600SL Pantah'. Apart from a few details
the '500SL' and '600SL' are identical. The 600 is also only a few horsepower in terms of top power. Up to 1985 the 500 and 600 cc versions are available next to each other.
One step further
The '600SL' was available in its last year in 'MHR' (mike Hailwood Replica) colors (red-green-white). To homologate the racers for the '750 TT Formula 1' class, the stroke of the 583cc 'Pantah' engine has to be increased. By
increasing that to 61,5mm and the bore to 82mm became the lung content of the 'next generation' Pantahs 649cc. The 'Ducati 650SL Pantah' appeared in 1984.
Sales of the '650SL' were poor because the model is eclipsed by the 'real' 750cc big 'Ducati 750 F1', from 1985. The '650SL' disappeared in 1986, but the engine was reprieved in the 'Cagiva 650 Alazzurra '. And about that 'As Good As Ducati & the Best Pantah Ever' comes another story AutoMotorKlassiek.
The engine blocks based on 'Pantah' have Desmodromic valve
service, which, via toothed belts from the crankshaft and an intermediate wheel, operate the single overhead camshaft per cylinder and thus the two valves per cylinder. The vertically divisible carters had an axle mounting for the swingarm to keep the chain tension as much as possible. The 'Pantah' had a starter engine under the horizontal cylinder. Pantahs were not provided with kickstarters in a Divine faith in being able to operate electrically. The alternator alternator ran to the left of the block in an oil bath. A high pressure lubrication system took care of the roller bearings and other rotating parts in the greasy darkness of the engine of oil.
From wet to dry
The first 'Pantahs (500SL, 600SL, 650SL) had a hydraulically operated multiple wet plate clutch. A dry clutch was fitted from the '750F1'. The characteristic rattling of those dry Ducati clutches was sung by enthusiasts as music. The gearbox had five gears. The 36mm Dell'Orto PHF carburettors provided the mixture in the cylinders provided with a 'Gilnisil' coating, which delivered a power of 500 hp for the '52SL'
A Pantah for a good price
The time of 'a Pantah for a joke' is over. Pantah blocks are structurally good. But make sure that there is a suitable maintenance history with the Pantah. And pay attention to (hidden) fall damage after circuit abuse and such festivities.
Timing belts. No royal axes