La Guapísima: Ducati Pantah 600 Sprint Racer

Ducati Pantah Cafe Racer

XTR Pepo x Irons Cafe Racer = one hot Ducati drag racer… 

At the 1979 Milan Motorcycle Show, Ducati unveiled the Pantah, the first Ducati to eschew the old bevel-gear OHC design in favor of belt-driven cams. Together with the trellis frame, the Pantah would serve as the spearhead for generations of Ducati V-twins for years to come.

Ducati Pantah Cafe Racer

At the time, however, many Ducatisti thought the bike was a major misstep. Belt-driven cams? Trellis frame? Che diavolo? The story behind the latter element is especially good:

“According to a Cycle World interview with Ducati Museum curator Livio Lodi, the trellis frame was simply the natural result of Massimo Tamburini’s family repairing a busted bike with pipes they just had laying around—because they were plumbers. It’s the kind of story that brings a smile to your face and encourages you to print the legend, because it’s just too good.” —Ride Apart

Ducati Pantah Cafe Racer

In the years to come, the trellis frame and belt-driven cams would become hallmarks of all modern Ducati V-twins, making the Pantah something of a progenitor of the breed.

Ducati Pantah Cafe Racer

The 1986 Ducati Pantah 600TL you see here is the work of one of our favorite builders, Pepo Rosell of XTR Pepo. As the former headman of the Radical Ducati brand, Pepo has an obvious soft spot for Bologna-based machinery…but he’s also no purist — a “master constructor” unafraid to strip down tired Italian workhorses and rebuild them into machines that beg for the race track…or in this case, the drag strip.

Ducati Pantah Cafe Racer

Nicknamed “La Guapísima” (The Beautiful One), this bike was commissioned by Irons Cafe Racer of Madrid — a brick-and-mortar store on Calle del Generál Álvarez de Castro that sells clothing and accessories for motorcycle enthusiasts:

“Motor freaks with that gentleman’s touch that sets us apart from the rest.”

Ducati Pantah Cafe Racer

Pepo and crew modified the Pantah frame and installed a Cagiva Elefant 900 Marathon engine with high compression pistons, ported heads, Silent Hetkit ignition kit (16 maps!), lightened flywheel, and more — 300cc more than stock!

“This bike has been made for racing in sprint races — the target was to race in the Glemseck 101 in 2021, but because of the pandemic, it has been delayed to 2022.” –Pepo

Intake is via a pair of Keihin FCR 39 carburetors, and a 2-into-1 Wolfman funnels the hot exhaust from 900cc worth of ponies. Power is fed through a Ducabike clutch, and the bike has a quickshifter — trick!

Ducati Pantah Cafe Racer

Front suspension duties are handled by a set of Hyosung GT650 forks and front wheel with lightened yokes, NG calipers and rotors, and Brembo pads. Ducati Pantah Cafe Racer

Out back, a Cagiva Elefant swingarm leads to a 4.5 x 17-inch aluminum rim, suspended via an Öhlins shock, and the bike is rolling on Conti Sport Attack 4 tires front and rear — with thanks to Continental Spain for helping sponsor the build.

Ducati Pantah Cafe Racer

The cockpit is a streamlined affair, featuring a trick digital rev counter from the good folks at Italy’s AviaCompositi — one of the bike’s sponsors.

Of course, the paint and lettering is one of the most striking elements of the build, recalling the American dragsters of the 1960s. It’s the work of Spain’s Pintumoto, a long-time XTR collaborator and supporting sponsor of the build.

“The colours and livery of the bike was inspired bu the American dragsters of  the 70’s — a bit hippy, LSD…a bit Hotwheels!” –Pepo

Ducati Pantah Cafe Racer

All in all, this is a build that’s certainly worth of the name La Guapísima. Below, Pepo gives us the full build sheet.

Build Sheet

  • Donor Bike: Ducati Pantah 600TL (1986)
  • Modified Pantah frame
  • Engine: Cagiva Elefant 900 Marathon, high comp, ported heads, Silent Hetkit ignition kit with 16 maps, lightened flywheel, Ducabike antihopping clutch, quickshift, Keihin FCR 39 carburetors, DNA air filters
  • RC racing oil radiator
  • Exhaust: 2-into-1 Wolfman
  • Swingarm: Cagiva Elefant 350
  • Rear suspension: Öhlins
  • Regina gold chain
  • Hyosung GT650 front fork, lightened yokes, front wheel, NG rotor and brake caliper with Brembo pads
  • Brembo front brake pump with XTR adjustable and foldable lever
  • Brembo rear brake pump
  • Frentubo front and rear brake lines
  • Brembo clutch pump with XTR adjustable and foldable lever
  • Frentubo clutch line
  • XTR front mudguard
  • XTR clip-ons
  • Rizoma Nex brake fluid reservoir
  • RAV footrests
  • AviaCompositi Dashboard (rev counter)
  • Domino quick-turn throttle and grips
  • Domino starter commando
  • FULBAT LIPO battery
  • 4.5 x 17 inch aluminium rear rim
  • Osado lenticular covers
  • Continental Conti Sport Attack 4 front and rear tires
  • XTR front fairing and bracket
  • XTR fuel tank
  • CNC Racing fuel cap
  • XTR MK2 solo seat
  • XTR upholstery
  • XTR carbon fiber bellypan
  • Pintumoto painting


Ruben del Valle Producciones (@rubendelvalleproducciones)

La Guapísima Sponsors

Pintumoto (painting)
AviaCompositi (dashboard)
– Continental Spain (tires)
Vector Garage (rendering)

Main Sponsor: Irons Cafe Racer (Madrid) | @ironscaferacer

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  1. Don’t like the “IRONS” on the bellypan. It’s a different style and size font than the rest. The welding on the exhaust header and the footpeg stays doesn’t look great. Otherwise, I really like this thing. Very eye-catching. Pretty radical ergonomics, which is either a shame or just underscores the uniqueness of this thing. Love the rear disc wheel and its paint. In the past I’ve found XTR Pepo to have predictable styling, which kinda got a little old after seeing yet, “another” XTR build. However, looking at the whole lot presented here is helpful. They definitely have some of the same styling but as a bunch are definitely fun to look at.

  2. Did I read correctly? The name means “beautiful one.” Man, that thing looks like it would bite you if you stepped too close. I could think of names that are more appropriate than “beautiful one.” It is a beast! I love it. Those older Ducati’s had a very special look. I agree that “IRONS” on the belly pan, just doesn’t do any good. Overall, what an imposing bike. I will remember it, because this sort of bike talks to me (or shouts at me? or growls at me? LOL).

  3. michael h streuly

    I like the build but the paint job sucks.

  4. Pingback: Event Report: Glemseck 101 – BikeBound

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