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Ducati Pantah. A real Ducati

Ducati Pantah

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.

Pantah blocks

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.

Ducati Pantah

Timing belts. No royal axes

Ducati Pantah
Quite a lot of sheet metal

Ducati Pantah

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  1. Leggere articoli sulla Pantah mi fa convincere semper di più a non venderla, ma di rimetterla in ordine di marcia …… E 'la mia prima moto acquistata nuova… .600 sl acquistata al luglio 1982 …… ..ancora con me… ..tante gioie, ma tanti dolori finanziari… ..moto molto “fragile” o per meglio dire bisognosa di assistenza meccanica effettuata da un esperto dei motori Ducati… .l'ho acquistata per 3 motivi …… ..mi piaceva… .. volevo fare le gare in salita… .la concessionaria il cui titolare era uno dei migliori meccanici Ducati aveva l'officina a 500 metri da casa… L'errore che ho fatto è di dare indietro il Morini 3 1/2 sport (dovevo tenerlo)… I guai cominciarono da subito, già a 6000 km, appena terminato il rodaggio e averla messa alla frusta…. Dovetti sostituire la frizione in quanto i dischi in acciaio si svolti e la frizione slittava… troppo debole x la potenza… ..Fu montata quella da gara .. cuscinetti tendi cinghia difettosi… .sostituiti a spese personali… guai impianto elettrico..La moto era in garanzia, ma la casa madre non riconobbe nessuno dei difetti e danni rscontrati nel periodo in cui la garanzia era attiva. Guai sì, a quando eri al giro con gli altri nel misto delle colline tuscany era una goduria …… Quando poi gli montai il gruppo termico del 680 del TT ”originale NCR e lavorate le teste e lucidati i condotti la moto divenne un dragster ... passò dai 9000 agli olre 11.000 giri… accellerazione micidiale che stava al pari delle Jap di maggiore cilindrata… .la 6 ′ marcia sarebbe stata utilissima in quanto nei lunghi rettilinei la loro velocità di punta era superiore ai miei 230 km / h ... .L'unica pecca è che i tagliandi registrazione delle valvole ed i cambi dell'olio li dovevo fare ogni 3.500 km, e nelle Ducati non costavano poco ……. Adesso è sotto un telo è sto valutando se rimetterla in ordine di marcia come nella photo o trasformarla in un TT2 …… Mi era venuta voglia di venderla, ma quando entro nei siti in cui ci sono le Pantah in bella mostra cambio subito idea (la mia è della stessa colorazione di quella in photo) e poi come si fa a vendere la moto con cui hai trascorso i momenti più belli de lla tua gioventù e ci hai anche fatto il viaggio di nozze ???? Spero di finirla di sistemare nel 2021 nel 2022 di essere presente al WWD con la mia “pantera”.

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