1980 Ducati Pantah 500 for Sale
Introduced in 1980, the Pantah 500 was powered by Taglioni’s evolutionary L-twin successor to the somewhat long-in-the-tooth bevel-drive motor. Ducati’s original plan had been to use a much more compact and cheap to produce parallel-twin developed without Fabio Taglioni’s input but, when that flopped on the sales floor, they scrambled to repair the damage done to their reputation. Luckily, the Italian designer had some ideas about how to do just that…
The new single overhead-cam engine used Ducati’s desmodromic valvetrain to open and close the two-valves per cylinder, but used toothed belts instead of tower shafts to drive the cams. This change did not increase output or reliability to any significant degree: it was intended to decrease the substantial production costs of the bevel-drive motor and reduce mechanical noise.
While obviously much smaller than the earlier L-twins, the specs for the new motor were impressive: it put 50hp [46hp at the wheel] through its 5-speed gearbox and boomed its way to a top speed of about 115mph. A 600cc version was introduced in 1981 and a 650 was eventually offered. The 650cc version ended up in the Cagiva Allazurra once they’d purchased the Ducati in 1985 and, bored out to over 1000cc’s, the engine powers today’s air/oil-cooled Ducatis, making it an extremely long-lived design.
The Pantah also introduced a number of other features that became Ducati hallmarks in the years to come: a trellis frame that used engine as a stressed member and a swingarm mounted to the rear of the engine.
From the original eBay listing: 1980 Ducati Pantah 500 for Sale
European Market bike imported from the UK, euro paperwork also, never registered in the US. Bike not ridden or started in 5 years, wouldn’t take much to make her roadworthy again. Very good red body work, windshield is cracked missing some hardware. Metzelers, Conti 2 into 1 pipe, Brembo brakes all around. Vintage race this and/or create a TT2 or NCR tribute bike. Lots of potential. Shipping is buyers responsibility.
This particular example is a bit rough around the edges, but it looks like everything is intact. I’ve no idea how difficult registration would be for this bike, so be sure to check with your local DMV before buying. Of course, you could follow the seller’s advice and just turn it into a cool vintage racer. The bike sure won’t sound like a 500, with that 2-into-1 Conti pipe set up…
The belt-drive motors may have been cheaper to produce, but maintenance costs remained pretty high: belts should be replaced every 2 years or 12k miles, valves checked and adjusted every 6k. But a handy mechanic can do most of the necessary work and, electrical foibles aside, the basic engineering is very durable. The motors respond well to tuning, parts availability should be excellent, and the styling will garner plenty of attention.