Paso faces the highs and woes of the daily grind
It always seemed like a wildly ambitious target, and the Paso has been trying hard to thwart it on a daily basis, but against all the odds the aged Ducati is struggling on through winter.
To be fair, we’ve not had too much of a winter to complain about (yet), but it doesn’t dramatically diminish my surprise every morning when the big red bus stutters into life and carries me into the unknown on a tide of aural loveliness. Most days, it’s just the 34-mile schlep to the office and back, but it’s also managed a couple of longer jaunts on business to Milton Keynes and Hinckley. And some of those trips were made during torrential rain, which I doubt the Paso’s designer (the legendary Massimo Tamburini) ever envisaged at its unveiling in 1985, and which its electronics certainly weren’t prepared for. But it hasn’t left me stranded quite yet.
The twin has tried though, and managed to break something every day for a week in late December. The first fail was a simple taillight, followed by the speedo cable the next day, the clutch slave cylinder seal the day after that, and then the headlamp blew.
Then on the fifth day, the Paso gods sounded really angry. Start-up on a crisp Friday morning was met by the sound of an armed robbery in full flow. The morning air ripped asunder by repeated shotgun fire as the Paso tried hard to keep itself composed, but felt distinctly like it was about to let go of its bowels.
A bit of investigation with a torch while laying on the floor and looking up its skirt revealed a lot of fresh air where there should have been a pod filter. Bugger. The ancient item had largely disintegrated, and it’s anyone guess where the material has gone. The obvious money would have to go on it having been sucked through the carb and burnt to crisp in the front cylinder. Which isn’t ideal.
The bulbs were an easy fix, as was the speedo cable that arrived swiftly from Mdina Italia (mdinaitalia.co.uk), while the pod filters instigated a bit of a search, and some guesswork. Eventually I took a hopeful punt on some from British firm Ramair (ramair-filters.co.uk), and they turned out to be the perfect fit for the tight spaces around the Paso’s nonstandard Dellorto 40s. Unfortunately it still pops and bangs badly, and won’t idle comfortably, so needs further investigation. Once you’re on the move it feels fine, if a little lethargic, but getting it moving as it stutters, burps and backfires is not unlike trying to convince a drunk tramp that they should try sprinting 100 metres.
This is further exacerbated by the weeping clutch seal, which makes pulling away a deft operation of balancing faltering motor with juddering clutch slave. On the evening when its fluid had got too low for it to operate beyond first pulling away, I managed 17 miles and 11 junctions without stopping – before hitting the killswitch as I rolled onto my drive, and skidded to a halt.