Resterampe: Hermann Köpf’s Ducati Pantah 500

Ducati Pantah 500 race bike built by Hermann Köpf of Craftrad magazine.
Hang out at a few European motorcycle events, and you’re bound to run into Hermann Köpf. The shaggy-haired Munich-based photographer is the editor-in-chief of the exquisite magazine Craftrad—and a total petrolhead.

When an informal Germany v France rivalry was set up at this year’s Glemseck 101 festival, Herr Köpf couldn’t help but put his name down. His steed: this pick-n-mix Ducati Pantah 500.

Ducati Pantah 500 race bike built by Hermann Köpf of Craftrad magazine.
Hermann actually started building the Pantah long before Glemseck (“to have a cheap and trashy vehicle that can also be used for flat tracking or similar nonsense,” he states). But between work and family life, it took him over a year to complete.

Ducati Pantah 500 race bike built by Hermann Köpf of Craftrad magazine.
With a garage full of carbureted Ducatis (like this 860 GTS), the Pantah was a logical choice. Hermann found a frame on eBay and an engine in the local classifieds, and got cracking on his resterampe* race bike.

Ducati Pantah 500 race bike built by Hermann Köpf of Craftrad magazine.
“The bike is completely built with spare parts I had lying around the garage, eBay shops and swap meet finds,” he says. “Using an original or complete bike to be stripped would have been stupid—even though the Pantah was never really a pretty bike.”

Ducati Pantah 500 race bike built by Hermann Köpf of Craftrad magazine.
Up front, Hermann added the Showa upside-down forks, 17-inch wheel and Brembo brake setup from a Ducati Monster. The rear wheel’s an 18-inch unit from a Pantah SL. For maximum grip on everything from dirt tracks to drag strips, Pirelli’s dual-sport MT60 (front) and MT90 (rear) tires were chosen.

Ducati Pantah 500 race bike built by Hermann Köpf of Craftrad magazine.
The fuel tank’s a Mike Hailwood replica that had to be chopped and welded in places to make it fit the Pantah’s frame. The seat is literally an upholstered plank—it’s been made using a “top-notch” skateboard deck. Hermann looped the rear of the frame to match the curve of the kick tail.

Ducati Pantah 500 race bike built by Hermann Köpf of Craftrad magazine.
Hiding under the tank is a compact Lithium-ion battery. All the wiring’s been redone, and now runs inside the frame. The exhaust is a two-into-one Conti Sport system, and the airbox has made way for foam air filters.

Ducati Pantah 500 race bike built by Hermann Köpf of Craftrad magazine.
Believe it or not, the Pantah’s plated—thanks to barely-legal lights and tiny turn signals at both ends. There’s also a front fender, and an inner fender under the seat to keep muck from the back wheel out of the filters.

Rearsets and Tommaselli MX handlebars were installed to give the Ducati a fairly neutral riding position. And the final livery is a basically a bunch of stickers slapped onto the busted-up blue tank—a perfect fit for the bike’s built-to-thrash vibe.

Ducati Pantah 500 race bike built by Hermann Köpf of Craftrad magazine.
Hermann only managed to squeeze in 30km on Rudi die resterampe before racing it at Glemseck—just enough for a quick carb tune. Still, he pitted it against Southsiders front man Vincent Pratt’s T120 Triton, and won…convincingly.

“It is quite fast for a 500cc, and light,” he says. “The Triton had no chance.”

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*Resterampe refers to a well-known German store called Rudis Reste Rampe. ‘Reste’ means leftovers or discounted items, and ‘rampe’ is a ramp or chute.

Ducati Pantah 500 race bike built by Hermann Köpf of Craftrad magazine.