Parallels from Bologna
For all its fraught existence, and the all too obvious flaws in the GT version, the little Sport Desmo Ducati twin (OBA 59) was actually a delight to ride. A girlfriend, later mother of our daughters, owned one in the early eighties when I met her. It was a little sad, but some servicing, a tune-up and a coat of high gloss black and fluro pink in place of the red and white, and it looked, went and handled like a charm.
It was already out classed of course, but its 170km/h plus was real and it was stable and agile. It also pulled up OK, though the .05 Brembo callipers, pretty standard at the time and typical of the first Pantahs, 450 singles and even the PantahCagivas, were a little ‘tested’. They should have been superceded in the mid 1970s by the vastly superior .08s, which went on to be standard fare for nigh-on a decade. You just had to bear that inadequacy in mind, as one did with most drums, and the majority of stainless discs to be found on contemporary, similar mass, mid range machines. The Contis sounded like Contis should, even with the 180 degree crank, and the suspension was good Italian production stuff, much better standard than almost anything else around at the time. The 180° desmo twin was never a match for the 500 Pantah of course, let alone the much improved 600 and 650. My own bike at the time was, and I still own it, a then-new Hailwood schemed 600, among various BSAs etc. (I get by now with a 748R).
Sadly someone else thought they loved her more than we did, and stole her, never to be seen again. Bastards. I’d have another one, just for the pleasure of it, even if, being a typical Bologna Hussey, it did demand a little attention.
Peter Watson Armidale, NSW