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