Custom Ducati 600SL Pantah Has Cafe Racer Looks Topped With Modern Running Gear

We don’t know if it’s due to cultural norms or the fantastic year-round climate, but the Iberian Peninsula is absolutely teeming with talented custom bike builders. This holds true for both Spain and Portugal, two countries with some of the best weather and scenic routes for riding on the entire continent. It’s the latter that we’ll be visiting today, going just south of Porto to the coastal town of Esmoriz.
Custom Ducati 600SL Pantah 20 photos
Photo: Victor Hugo
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That’s where you’ll find Armando Fontes and Victor Rocha, the dream, two-man team behind Ruamachines. Together they build what can only be referred to as masterpieces on two wheels, operating out of a well-equipped workshop with all the tools necessary for creating something extraordinary. Something, perhaps, like the stylish Ducati Pantah we’ll be inspecting in the following paragraphs.

Built back in 2020, this custom cafe racer isn’t the most intricate project tackled by Victor and Armando throughout their careers, but complexity wasn’t really the point here. On the contrary, the guys stuck to a less-is-more philosophy this time around, and the result is truly outstanding. It had to be, mind you, because their client was an automotive designer with great taste and a very keen eye for detail. No pressure whatsoever, right?

Ruamachines kicked things off with a 600SL Pantah from the model-year 1982, which was purchased in pretty good condition and promptly taken back to the shop. The aim was to trim it down visually while bringing its running gear up to better standards, and no expense was spared in pursuit of these goals. As usual, the project got underway with a complete teardown and multiple ideas exchanged between the parties involved.

The real fun was then ready to begin, with the motorcycle’s severely outdated suspension being the first port of call. Armando and his teammate got rid of the original telescopic forks, replacing them with the inverted units of a 1996 Ducati 900SS. These are held in place by way of bespoke triple clamps, and Ruamachines’ suspension work is just as intriguing at the back.

Custom Ducati 600SL Pantah
Photo: Victor Hugo
Whereas the stock Pantah employed a twin-shock arrangement, Victor and Armando had it seamlessly converted to a monoshock setup. Moreover, that tubular swingarm was donated by another Ducati, this time a 750 F1 from the model-year 1985. A modern aftermarket shock absorber manages suspension duties in that area, with its upper end linked to a tailor-made mounting point right beneath the fuel tank.

Gone is the 600SL’s stock subframe, making room for a custom alternative that’s been fabricated in-house. This new rear framework is topped with a cafe racer-style tail section made of aluminum, as well as a solo seat wrapped in a mixture of standard black leather and Alcantara. Ruamachines kept the Pantah’s unmistakable gas tank, and its angular design is tastefully echoed on the tail unit for visual continuity.

A compact front fender is the only other piece of bodywork you’ll find on this specimen, attached to the forks via bespoke mounting hardware. Down in the footwear department, we still come across the factory 18-inch wheels that came with the Pantah, but their rims are now shod in grippy Avon Roadrider tires. Along with the forks, the 900SS we’ve mentioned earlier also donated its front brake discs and sturdy Brembo calipers.

Custom Ducati 600SL Pantah
Photo: Victor Hugo
Naturally, the 750 F1’s rear braking system was transplanted onto the 600SL along with the swingarm, as well. Even though the machine’s 583cc desmodromic L-twin was in great shape for its age, it still got a rejuvenating internal makeover just for good measure. The Dell’Orto carbs were topped with fresh K&N air filters, and the OEM exhaust has been swapped with a custom module built from scratch.

Shaped out of stainless-steel, the pipework snakes its way back to a pair of reverse megaphone mufflers on the right-hand side of the rear wheel. The motorcycle was completely rewired around a Motogadget control unit, while its lighting components have all been replaced with fresh LED paraphernalia. In the cockpit, there’s a Motoscope Classic speedometer from Motogadget’s catalog sitting center-stage.

It’s placed on a custom bracket right ahead of the top clamp and flanked by a set of aftermarket clip-ons. Other accessories fitted throughout this build include plain switches, billet aluminum rearsets, and an unobtrusive license plate holder with built-in LED turn signals. With all the desired modifications ticked off the list, it came time for the specialists at Ruamachine to take care of the paint job.

Of course, they knocked it straight out of the ballpark, employing a red, white, and green color scheme as a nod to the Italian flag. There are retro Ducati tank graphics done in white, too, and the standard gold finish on the Pantah’s wheels is still present. By contrast, items such as the frame, swingarm, and front fender have all been painted black to keep viewers’ attention pinned on what truly matters.
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About the author: Silvian Secara
Silvian Secara profile photo

A bit of an artist himself, Silvian sees two- and four-wheeled machines as a form of art, especially restomods and custom rides. Oh, and if you come across a cafe racer article on our website, it’s most likely his doing.
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