After the humiliating failure of the parallel-twin 500GTL project, Ducati was quick to introduce the v-twin Pantah that had been developed in secret by Fabio Taglioni, who was convinced that the parallel-twin wasn’t the right direction for the company to pursue. It kept the iconic, smooth 90° “L-twin” configuration, but replaced the bevel-drive and tower-shafts of the earlier motor and substituted cheap and quiet toothed rubber belts. The upside was greatly reduced production costs, the downside was relatively short service intervals, although belt-changes are a pretty simple operation and many owners do the work themselves.
The new bike had impressive specs, with a claimed 50hp from its 500cc engine and a five-speed gearbox. Unlike the earlier bevel-drive bikes, all of Ducati’s twins now featured their Desmodromic valve actuation. Wet weight was 443 lbs. and the bike could reach a top speed of 115mph. The 500 was superseded by the 600 in 1981 that, thanks to revised gearing, had an almost identical top speed but better midrange punch, with power increased to 57hp from the 583cc engine.
From the original eBay listing: 1982 Ducati 600 SL Pantah for Sale
I bought it in 5/12/2006 from a collector and I kept it the in garage all this time without riding it. The previous owner did ride it and the motorcycle has normal wear on it. It is otherwise in great condition.
Also included are two original Italian helmets. Buyer is responsible for pick-up.
Obviously, a couple old helmets are best for display, but still pretty cool to have. Keep in mind that, if this has been mostly sitting since 2006, it may need some attention before being ridden: hoses dry out and crack, tires get hard, electrical connections can corrode, and gaskets can leak. That being said, the bike does run, and the seller includes this video of the bike running.
For a long time, these were very inexpensive to buy, although not all that easy to find. Considering the relatively high miles, I think the seller might be aiming a bit high with a $6,700 Buy It Now price. But these are ground zero for Ducati’s modern bikes, and provided the foundation for virtually every two and four-valve twin produced, making them historically significant and the ideal practical classic, with good parts availability and real-world ability.