DUCATI 748 (1994-2003) Review

Published: 22 November 2006

Few motorcycles match its simple, gorgeous curves

DUCATI 748  (1994-2003)

Few motorcycles match its simple, gorgeous curves

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

The Ducati 748  is nearly identical to the iconic Ducati 916 but with a smaller engine (and narrower rear wheel). That means sublime handling on smooth surfaces, terrible comfort, high running costs and a feel-good experience most other motorcycles can’t touch. Few motorcycles match the simple, gorgeous curves of the Ducati 748.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The Ducati 748's stability mid corner is phenomenal. It’s a motorcycle that makes fast cornering seem slower like the CGI scenes in a Hollywood action movie - that’s the magic of a great chassis. On a bumpy road or commuting through town, you’ll curse the tall first gear, stiff suspension and crippling wrist heavy riding position the Ducati 748 offers.

Engine 3 out of 5

For a 750cc sports motorcycle from Ducati, it’s not that fast. Around 90 genuine bhp at the rear wheel is less than a Kawasaki Z750. The power the 748 does produce it delivers in a satisfying, torquey manner which makes the most of the motorcycle's available grip. Vibration’s through pegs and bars are present but never intrusive.

Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5

Bought new and maintained by experts with a money-no-object approach problems might still arise with the 748. Get an abused motorcycle or skimp on maintenance and four figure bills could become reality. Check cam belt changes have been done and be aware rocker arms can fail.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

Yes, you can get a faster motorcycle for less money. You can get a more reliable motorcycle for less money. You can also get a more practical motorcycle for less money. But you’d be hard pushed to find anything with the charisma, cachet and feel good factor as an early Ducati 748. A cherished, low mileage Ducati 748 will only appreciate in value. Find a Ducati 748 for sale.

Insurance group: 16 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 2 out of 5

The Ducati 748 scores a fat zero for luxury – but this is a race motorcycle on the road. Mirrors are terrible, comfort’s poor for most sizes of bikers – at least the instruments are clear and the fast idle beautifully crafted. Termignoni silencers (with the matching EPROM chip) are the top choice for the Ducati 748 and worth paying more for. Ducati paddock stands and dust covers add to the special feeling when you see this motorcycle in your garage.

Owners' Reviews

34 owners have reviewed their DUCATI 748 (1994-2003) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your DUCATI 748 (1994-2003)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.7 out of 5
Engine 4.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.9 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 3.6 out of 5
4 out of 5

Stone's thoughts on the Ducati 748 SP

01 August 2016 by James Stone

Stunning looks, hairs stand on the bike of your neck when firing it up and it draw's attention every where I take it, for most its a child hood hero bike! My video review - https://youtu.be/3Jp7HnYa4Fw Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Feels & sounds so special, on a back road I'm hard pushed to find a bike I enjoy more in my collection but at the same time if your stuck in traffic for more than 5 minutes it certainly puts a downer on the trip as your wrists are destroyed from the aggressive riding position and heavy clutch.
Engine
4 out of 5
The sound and the way it picks up at 8,000 rpm never fails to put a smile on my face, even more so when it pops & cracks on the over run (Termi's as standard on the SP model)
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Given the age and it being Italian it is really well put together upon taking it apart for the big cambelt service recently but the electrical connections/ loom do let it down compared to the Japanese superbikes of the 90's. Stripping it down is a matter of seconds with the quick release fairings!
Value & Running Costs
2 out of 5
The biggest downer on owning a Ducati is the Cambelt interval service.. Its not the worst job but compared to a chain driven camshaft it does make you wonder if it was simply a money making scheme. Another thing to keep an eye out for is the rocker arm plating failing, symptoms of this can be seen in the strainer when servicing.
Equipment
2 out of 5
You get a speedo, rev counter, fuel light oh and some grey foam surrounding it all... yes its basic but what more do you need with that sound track
Buying experience

So far nothing unexpected, washing it with a pressure washer is best avoided with the electrics

5 out of 5

I'll never sell this bike

30 June 2016 by MB

I need to dispel the reliability myth. I've owned mine since 2000, used commuting in London, road trips to Ireland, France (every year), Belgium, Lux, Germany. Numerous track days. It has never let me down. Servicing is a touch pricey. I have it... Read more serviced by an indie specialist which keeps prices tolerable. But in all that time I have not needed to replace anything beyond normal consumables. It even had the original 1999 battery in it until recently and still started on the button every time. It's certainly not the most comfortable bike out there but it is still sublime to ride, not ideal for commuting but it is so small and narrow that cheeky little filtering manoeuvres are possible. And it is still the best looking bike ever made. Just seeing it parked in my garage gives a warm feeling.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

748R the joy

24 December 2015 by ManxKarl

This is my Second 748, had Biposto in 2003 and loved it but sold it with regret. Picked up my R in mint condition in 2012, yes its an old bike and a bugger to ride slow. but when you open it up and hear it scream at 130+ mph you understand why you... Read more own one. Its the most beautiful bike to look at from every angle and becoming like hens teeth.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
When ridden fast and hard, a 2 around town
Engine
5 out of 5
sublime
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Keep it serviced every year and run it up every weekend . its not a jap bike it needs TLC
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
its an old bike but with all the gear of its day
Buying experience

don't buy one unless its clean and has service bills.

4 out of 5

Something about it.

05 July 2014 by Anonymous

Bought on a whim and used as a commuter. Was it a smart move? Nope. But do I regret it? Not at all. The bikes not comfortable, its engine's aggressive and unforgiving in town. Its got no rider assists and its high maintenance but my god, what a... Read more bike. Its at home on twisty open roads as its a precision cornering machine. It will not like you if you bring it into town where you'll hear it grumble and spit angrily through its pipes. Its dry 'clink clink clink' clutch acts as a reminder that you shouldnt be stationary. Throwing it around town is easy enough but be warned its got a turning circle of a bus. If you're not ready with the clutch, if it stalls randomly the rear will lock and bring you down. More points to be aware of is its high maintenance and if you skimp on it it'll bite back. So why buy a bike like this? Well you'll have to test one to understand. I think the Italians were trying to design biking perfection and they go pretty close, be it at a high maintenance cost.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

I Smile

25 January 2014 by Elton Alwine

And perhaps that's why I rate this bike so high, it makes me smile, time and again. It's vastly underpowered compared to even the 600s of the same era, but I feel confident while turning that I am in control, hence the lean angles become sharper, and... Read more I smile. I simply enjoy riding this motorcycle, even though it was the 916 I was always after. Due to several thousands of dollars discount I opted for the identical 748. I no longer had any patience to save up the rest of the summer - and so life with a 748, and it's good. I will be either installing an 853cc kit or a 916/996 motor when one presents itself. I've traveled extensively on the 748, a 1200-mile round trip to Indy for MotoGP and back summer 2013 and I was comfy for an hourly stint before I needed to stretch; I'm 6' so maybe that tells you something about the diminutive yet capable ergonomics? I was able to simply slide back in the saddle, rest my girth on the fuel tank, relax my elbows and carry on. Remarkable. When speaking of Ducati it is almost obligatory to mention servicing, and I would caution everyone owning one to strictly adhere to the service intervals. I change belts religiously at 6k miles, and inspect valvetrain at 12k. Expensive, but the only way to ensure reliability. My most enduring memory (however fresh) of this motorcycle is the rush of excitement I would swell with after the aforementioned long journey home from Indy once the mountain roads opened up into twisty, tight elevation changing passes. Smiles abound! One of the most amazing road bikes I've ridden.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

if you have seen it, it's already too late!

23 August 2012 by max748

If you look at this bike in a way that is at all sensible, you will get another bike. Tragically, I looked at this bike and all sence was knocked out of me, I had to have it! Now i do, I love it!!!! i will not get rid of it... I'll lose the house... Read more paying the extreme running costs before I let this bike go.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
1 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Track bike through and through

31 May 2011 by JohnPierre

Ok so i've had it a year and a half and i've only had it up and down the drive. up until last week when i track dayed it. So this is purley a track bike perspective. To be honest, it would struggle to cut it as an everyday bike, i'll explain why... Read more during this review. Ok so first things first, the bike looks stunning, there is no denying that! it has been well designed dimensionaly and functionally. all the cables and parts are easy to access and beautifully manufactured (a bit like alfaromeos). On getting on the bike you will immedaitely notice the padding (or lack of) on the seat, this is emphasised by that rock hard suspension (similar to the set up i have on my race worked ZXR, thats how hard it is) the bowed seat almost forces you into an arched racing postion, my bike 'had' cam adjustable rearsets this coupled with the ride hight adjustment allowed me to set ride postion up nicely (even for a tally) the instruments are clear and nicely made with little touches of italian art to remind you your straddling a piece of exotica! Starting the bike: The key sits nicely into its slot by a recess in the tank surrounded by lush carbon. in its little hidey hole it stays without presenting distraction. turning the key you here the fuel pump charge the system with a powrfull buzz. clicking the fast idel on the bars is a pleasure in its own right, its beautifully made and effective. My bike starts up first time every time and doesnt splutter, choke or groan. Now, dry clutch . . . ., the bike sounds like an old spitfire on start up. to be honest i like that dry clutch rattle. but any one stood by would think your bike was knackered. if you tune your ears to listen over the rattle or just feather the cluth you can listen in to that sweet twin again bubbling over in a rythmic manner. after a few minuets you can flick off the fast idel and let the bike tick over. Pulling away: Its the first thing lee noticed, and i dont know who designed it, but that sidestand is a accident waiting to happen, its spring loaded and apparently prone to snapping. My trust in it is minimal and im over catious putting it on the stand! Once your comfy, pulling the hydraulic clutch in and pushing it into gear is very smooth, no jolting or banging. I've had hydraulic clutches on trials but never road, in a word its cracking. Putting the revs up and letting the clutch out is a task, first time you do it, you'll stall, second time, you squeel that dry clutch. once you have the knack its still a task and slow riding is never going to be achievable in fact below about 10mph is really jolty and very uncomfortable. The engine: the second best part of the bike, once your going you'll get a shock at how freely that V twin revs. and with 70ft lb of torque it pushes and pushes. now i cant help but feel an inline 4 750 would be faster, but it would lack the torque, which ultimately gives fantastic drive out of a corner. Its linear to apply which so the back wheel never tries to fight its way out on you mid turn, but then you can feel that risk ever present as it puts all 100BHP down on the track. swtiching gears is lovely and smooth and the ratios were perfect for cadwell, That clutch has a massive part to play in that. wheelying in the first 3 gears, the bike red lines at 13,000rpm, even at these crazy speeds that desmo set up makes the engine feel so repsonsive and composed (very different feel to spring assisted valves). Frame: stiff as you like, im a big fan of tubular frames. they offer fantastic mid corner composure, the down side is you get streams of feedback from the bike, too much to process some times. bottom line is handling is the bikes best feature (by a country mile) Suspension: No good for the road, its rock hard. the setup of the bike makes squatting and diving minimal. getting that mid stroke shock travel both front and rear was a fairly easy and the steering dampener helps soften some of the endless feedback. Brakes: them brembos have some immense stopping power, and i found that over taking pre corner entry on the brakes very easy and composed. the feel was progressive and certainly not aggressive. the back break was light and could be snatchy, i kept rear braking to a minimum. Overall: an awsome trackday package, tooled up to the nines to benefit a hard rider in every way. Engine outright power lacking slightly, but this is more than made up in torque. A tall order to get away with this bike on tho road, and personally I wouldnt bother unless its your 2nd weekend in july blaster. solid, composed bike with attitude, what more can you ask from ducati twins note: i had prielli diablo super corsas fitted to mine and they offered immense grib and feedback. definately a harder compound for the road. Written for my forum Read more: http://teessidebikers.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=bikereviews&action=display&thread=9093&page=1#ixzz1Nw0sUnlw

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Wow

27 June 2010 by dazw22

I had an 848 which I had to sell to help fund a conservatory. Bit of money left at the end with which I bought my 748. I was worried about the lack of power, the brakes, weight and age after my 848. Need not have worried, yeh it's not as fast and its... Read more a bit heavy, but this bike like my 848 eats corners, stops on a sixpence and has enough power to have you grinning like a loon. Mine has a few extra's which the previous owner purchased, Leo Vinci SBK exhaust, open clutch and a few bits of carbon. So far (touch wood) she has been utterly reliable and ok servicing is dear, but what would you rather have, a beautiful Italian superbike or an anonymous Japanese inline four.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

748r

26 March 2010 by ckrepsol

Had a 748e (loved it),then a 600rr(ok),then a zx9r(well ?). Now ive got a 748r amazing bike so much character,handling is sublime,looks amazing,noise awsome,grin factor 10 Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

My Best Bike!

10 April 2009 by antz748

My 2002 748s will never be sold! Brought New and covered 31000 miles this bike has never let me down. Its spends a week in France every year and had a long hard journey to Imola and back. If your thinking of buying one, give it a go. You wont regret... Read more it.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
Read all 34 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1994
Year discontinued 2003
Original price -
Used price £3,000 to £6,500
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 16 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £300
Performance
Max power 103 bhp
Max torque 54 ft-lb
Top speed 150 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.8 secs
Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Tank range 150 miles
Specification
Engine size 748cc
Engine type V - Twin
Frame type Steel trellis
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 790mm
Bike weight 196kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1994: Ducati 748 Biposto launched. Original base, two seat motorcycle.
1994: Ducati 748 SP launched. Racy version of the Biposto. Single seat, Ohlins suspension, carbon bodywork plus more.
1997: Ducati 748SPS launched. More racy version of SP – titanium con rods, lightweight frame and more.
2000: Ducati 748E launched. Replaced the Biposto as the ‘base’, two seat model.
2000: Ducati 748S launched. Racy version of the E. TiN coated forks, 5 spoke wheels, single or dual seat.
2000: Ducati 748R launched. Even racier than the S. Same frame as the ‘Foggy Rep’ 916.
2002: All models of Ducati 748 discontinued.

Other versions

See model history

Photo Gallery

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  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Ducati 748 motorcycle review - Side view
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