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A New Era: 1981 Ducati Pantah 500SL for Sale

The Ducati Pantah 500SL was a watershed moment for the company, a bike that seems a little underwhelming at first, but actually launched them into the modern era, with practical updates to the classic v-twin engine and striking looks that are hard to date, if you’re not familiar with the bike. Compared to most Japanese sportbikes of the time, the styling is decidedly wild, and the silver/red/blue graphics would look great on a modern bike like the Panigale.

Ducati’s old bevel-drive v-twins were designed to perform and gorgeously hand-crafted, but were hideously expensive to manufacture, assemble, and service. Not exactly a design suited to a company wanting to increase their production significantly. The Pantah took the original two-valve, air/oil-cooled design and updated it with toothed rubber belts to drive the single overhead cams, something that was increasingly common in the automotive world at the time, but largely unheard of in motorcycle manufacture.

The Pantah was introduced in 1980 as the 500SL, but quickly grew to 583cc for the 600SL in 1981. Power produced by the 499cc twin was a modest 50hp, but engine loved to rev and the Ducati was light compared to rivals at under 400lbs dry. This switch to the cheaper construction actually brought Ducati’s Desmodromic valve actuation to the masses, since the older bevel-drive bikes mostly used traditional valve springs, and it was only the Super Sport models that featured the race-bred technology.

From the original eBay listing: 1981 Ducati Pantah 500SL for Sale

It has come time to sell the last of my collection and this one is it. I’ve owned this bike since about 1996 or 1997 and have meticouluslly restored the bike with all original parts or the best parts available. I use the word restored a bit lightly here. The only 2 parts that have not been restored due to there great condition is the main frame(original paint) and front forks(original paint). Everything else has been repainted, refinished, restored, etc..

First 2 pictures are from a amateur photo shoot with bike from about 2 years ago.. The rest are from last week.

I’m offering this auction at very low starting price with NO RESERVE and hope it goes to the best home possible. Title is clear.

  • New paint and decals.
  • New windscreen
  • Wheels have been power coated and restored with all new bearing etc..
  • Electrical system gone through and restored
  • Rear fender delete modification with round light. (original light included)
  • New Conti replica short style exhaust(have extra set of silencers and will include)
  • Rebuilt front and rear shocks
  • Rebuilt and painted front and rear calipers
  • New Tires
  • Gauges restored
  • Polished engine cases and linkage polished
  • New Battery
  • All new original grips and levers and boots and cables
  • New seat bottom leather and original seat back leather
  • Headlight restored

I know I’m leaving out a bunch of things but its just to much to list!

Motor has been completely disassembled and gone through adding all new gaskets and adjustments. All work on bike has been performed by Moto Borgotaro in Brooklyn New York and Moto Pistole (now North Motorcycle). Everything except the blue paint and decals were performed by them. You can check out there websites for there caliber of work. 

Anything and everything you can think of has been redone on bike. Please ask any questions.

I will include in sale many extra parts and original owners manual and service manual. Vintage magazine with Bike of the Year from 1981.

Here is a link of the start up and walk around. Also you can see my other vintage Ducatis that I sold in the last few years…

I reserve the right to end this auction early due to its for sale locally as well.

Shipping is the responsibility of winning bidder. I can assist within reason.. 

This one is about as nice as you’re ever likely to find, and values of these 1980s bikes are definitely increasing after years, but although this is a No Reserve auction, the starting bid of $11,498 is both oddly specific and very high for a Pantah..

-tad

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