Ducati 650 Pantah Racer Project

Posted by Scot Wilson on

After Engineering Genius, Ing Fabio Taglioni created his Ducati Bevel Drive Masterpieces, his next great creation was the Belt Driven, Desmo Pantah Engine that is at the heart of all modern Ducati Racing Motorcycles.

We are really having fun working on these Ducati Pantah projects! In addition to working on a customer Pantah 600 and our other Ducati TT builds, we are simultaneously working on a Ducati 650 Pantah Racer that originally came in an inventory of Ducati Bevel and Pantah bits from Jan and Toine Biggelaar, a Third Generation Ducati dealer in The Netherlands. 

I have always been fascinated with the early Ducati Pantah's and TT bikes. However, on our last trip to Italy in 2013, we came upon the local Ducati dealer in Florence and saw this incredible Pantah Racer such as #22 in the photo.

Now that we are completing our other builds, it is time now to build what has only been an image in my mind. First we had to rebuild the 650 Pantah engine. This engine is the heart and soul of this Pantah Racer much less a stressed member to the frame. Thanks to Malcolme Tunstall at Syd's Cycles for the crank work!

Simultaneously, It was good fortune to meet and then to collaborate with Jim Blomley who owns Two Wheel Classics-UK and is friends with such racing royalty as Tony Rutter and Pat Slinn featured below at Jim's shop near Manchester. According to Jim, Pat thinks that the Ducati Pantah engine is one of his favorite engines. Jim has been involved in building specialty frames, bodywork and bits for the Ducati TT racers for the past few decades and with great success. We are honored to work with Jim and his team.

As the result of our status as US & Canadian dealer for Two Wheel Classics-UK, we get to work with these very high quality bits for Ducati TT 2, TT 1 and Ducati F1 machines. All of the products from Two Wheel Classics-UK are made of the highest quality materials in the UK such as the tank & seat for my Pantah Racer featured below.

As I love riding my Ducati 900 ss Bevel Drive Mike Hailwood Replica, I love that the design of this original Pantah Racing Tank and Seat has the same design as the Bevel Drive MHR but Yellow on Red!! 

Once we mounted the tank & seat, it was time to take it to our painter. While paint and decals were being applied, we were able to "wrap" the frame around that magnificent engine and bolt together. We are using an original Verlicchi swingarm from a F1 and modified our street Pantah SL frame to take the mono-shock configuration as well as adding gusseting to give more strength and rigidity to the frame. Using a modern shock we removed the spring and had it powder coated along with our frame, yokes/triple clamps, rear swingarm and center stand before reassembly.


Yes, this will be a road legal Ducati 650 Pantah Racer as our state only cares that this vintage machine have a headlamp and rear brake light. Front end of this bike came from another Pantah racer that used these quite massive, vintage 45 mm Showa forks in billet yokes/triple clamps and with a magnesium 3 spoke Honda wheel. No sense "mixing and matching" when the entire front end after re-building fits perfectly. Rear wheel is a magnesium 3 spoke EPM wheel also from that same racebike. 

Now our Pantah 650 Racer is taking shape! Now it is time for Bill our wiring guru to make the wiring loom by using modern components such as Dyna Coils to improve the delivery of current for better ignition and reliability. Jim at TWC is also friends with Tony Rutter, 4 time Formula 2 World Champion and it has been his Ducati Racers that have provided the "blue-print" for TWC Ducati TT 2 frames, engine bits and bodywork. Tony is also featured below at the TWC shop.

It is significant that the man who had such great race successes with the early Pantah based engines is standing between a Ducati TT racer and Pantah racers. Below our Ducati 650 Pantah Racer is getting the "Royal Treatment" with a TWC provided Stainless Steel 2:1 Exhaust System which is an absolute work of art!! These same exhaust systems are available in titanium as well and for modern 2 valve engines in addition to the Pantah derived engines. 

We are working hard to have 4 Ducati TT builds completed for the GOAZ Vintage Motorcycle Show in Phoenix at the end of the month. Therefore, we are pressing hard and do hope to see you there!! Next blog will feature our TT 2 project as well as our Ducati TT1 racer for the street. 



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