It’s Pantah-stic! 1980 Ducati 500SL Track Day Racer

 

1980 Ducati 500SL Race Bike R Side2

In the late 1970’s Ducati introduced their best-forgotten parallel twin motorcycles in an attempt to broaden their appeal and cut manufacturing costs. But while the bike handled well, reliability was an issue and the looks did not appeal to Ducati’s fanbase: the bike was a massive flop.

After the debacle that the 500GTL parallel-twin represented, Ducati needed to get back in the saddle quickly, and the 500SL Pantah was the right horse for the job. The four-valve, water-cooled superbikes get all the glory nowadays, but the Pantah-derived engine has been the air-cooled, Desmodromic heart of Ducati’s breadwinners for over 30 years now, providing the motive force for SuperSports, Monsters in a dozen shapes, sizes, and displacements, Hypermotards, Pasos, and every other darn bike that rolled out the door, basically keeping the company afloat.

1980 Ducati 500SL Race Bike R Side Engine

The updated motor dispensed with the expensive-to-produce bevel-drive and tower-shaft system and replaced it with simple rubber camshaft belts. These needed regular replacement, but saved the company significant costs during manufacturing and assembly.

1980 Ducati 500SL Race Bike Tank Detail

This one features very stylish NCR-replica bodywork and paint, although the effect is somewhat spoiled by that unpainted front fender. That’s pretty easily fixed though. And these smaller twins sound plenty strong and could easily be mistaken for a bike of much larger displacement. You may not get the top-end scream out of a bike like this that you would from a modern 600, but this will punch you out of corners, handle well, and put a big smile on your face

1980 Ducati 500SL Race Bike Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1980 Ducati 500SL Vintage Track Day Racer

HERE IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF A BUILT 1980 500SL VINTAGE TRACK DAY RACER.
HAS  NCR/AIRTEK BODYWORK
38MM MARZZOCI FRONT FORKS( TUNED BY ACCELERATED TECHNOLOGY IN CANADA)
BITUBO REAR SHOCKS(NEED REBUILD) LITTLE LEAK
WAS TOLD BY PREVIOUS OWNER IT HAS A BIG BORE KIT. (THE BIKE IS FAST AS HELL)
36MM DELLORTOS (REBUILT)
SPA DESIGN TACH/SPEEDO (JUST RETURNED FROM SPA FOR REPAIR)
AVON  AM23 130/65/18 REAR NEW (OLD REAR TIRE COMES WITH BIKE STILL GREAT SHAPE)
AVON AM22  100/80/18 FRONT NEW
THIS IS A RACE BIKE WITH NO LIGHTS AND TOTALLY REWIRED ELECTRONICS FOR RACING WITH 2 TOGGLE SWITCHES AND PUSH BUTTON START
IT IS CURRENTLY REGISTERED IN CT WHICH THERE IS NO NEED FOR A TITLE UNDER 1981 YEAR
FRESH OIL CHANGE AND PLUGS
I CURRENTLY STREET DRIVE THIS AWESOME BIKE AND ITS A BLAST ON THE STREET
THE END OF THE UPPER FAIRING ON THE LEFT BY THE GAS TANK IS BROKE OFF. CAN EASILY BE REPAIRED
THE PAINT IS NOT PERFECT AND THERE IS SCRATCHES

The simple, air-cooled two-valve Ducatis have been around for a long time, and have proven very reliable and responsive to tuning. Looked after, the belts are very reliable, but they need replacement every two years or 12k miles, something that every Ducatisti knows is cheap insurance. The job itself is relatively simple and requires less know-how than adjusting the Desmo valves, so potential buyers shouldn’t be put off by Ducati’s exotic reputation. This one is obviously no trailer-queen, excepting trips to the race track and the photography leaves a bit to be desired, but it looks like this bike has been well-maintained and is ready to go.

1980 Ducati 500SL Race Bike Front Brake

The one-piece NCR bodywork may not be the most elegant, but it embodies tons of racing history and certainly is distinctive. There’s been no activity on this auction and time is almost up, but at $4,500 it looks like it’d be a great tool for track day fun at a pretty budget price.

-tad

1980 Ducati 500SL Race Bike R Side

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2 Responses

  1. Jess says:

    Tad, there is a ’83 Trriumph TSS on ebay, very rare. Whats your thoughts about that one?

  2. tad says:

    I’ll take a look and see what there is to see! If it’s nice, maybe I’ll do a write up.