Cafe Racer

Ducati Pantah “Road Runner” by Maria Riding Company

The Pantah… one of my all-time Dream Garage members. This youngtimer is more important to the history of Ducati motorcycles than many people remember. It was the Pantah, with its belt-driven cams, desmo valves, 90° L-Twin and iconic trellis frame (with the engine as stressed member) that defined the Ducati we know today, after market failure of their parallel twins a few years earlier.

Since this is such a historical milestone

for the brand and the fact that these motorcycles are hard to find nowadays, makes it extra significant to see this thing restored and modified by Maria Riding Company.

A client came to us with a bike that he bought in UK, completely broken and without most of the original parts. This bike was a Ducati Pantah 500, kind of a difficult bike to get nowadays. It was not too much more than a frame, wheels and a engine. Of course the bike was not running and we had no idea for how long it was in that state.

The engine was in pretty bad shape, so the team decided to take it to an expert. And made it all the way to UK, Wakefield-based – Ducati Technical Services, owned by Paul Klatkiewicz a former race biker, to do his magic. It took two months to rebuild the engine, but it came back completely refurbished and looking like new.

During this two months period, the team was busy figuring out the target styling and mods required to achieve the effect of a retro racer.

We thought that a project like this should be very exclusive and edgy, so we came up with the idea of gold, white and petro blue. Our client loved the idea and we started. The frame was simplified as always, of all the unnecessary supports and it was powder coated pure white.

The delivered bike had no original tank

They decided to go with the “Imola” looks, specially made of aluminium to complement the styling and retro racing appearance of the bike.  The fairing with a-symmetrical headlight and a tail were made of fibreglass. Carefully designed to match the tank shape – they create a unique backbone of this vintage racer.

As for the riding experience…

We maintain the original thin wheels, because we had no interest in enlarging the tires. Vintage race bikes have thin tires, so that´s we wanted.

The front suspension was the original one from Marzorcchi. The triple trees were beautiful old looking parts, so we decided to recover them as much as possible, and we polish them. The clip-ons are the original ones too. The rear suspension didn´t exist, so we install a pair of Bitubos.

The brakes are also stock. Rebuilt and upgraded with steel brake lines (delivered by Hel). The electrical system was missing, so a new one was built… of course based on Motogadget equipment and accessories (hidden under the tail section and frame tubes).

There are no fenders as they wanted to keep the profile looking light. The exhaust was custom made with stainless steel with small connected segments, that give a chance to see the beauty of welds. The muffler is Spark.

The result is a perfect build. A rescued iconic machine, customised with a very tasteful and true to its origins fashion. I only hope it rides as good as it looks…




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