In a nutshell, if you can afford the deeply wonderful Ducati 749R version, get one. It handles with an arrow-like precision, and a decently quick rider can feel like Troy Bayliss. With adjustable steering angle, a WSS designed swingarm, Ohlins suspension and 4 pot radial calipers, the Ducati 749R feels like a totally different animal from the entry level motorcycle, although many a used Ducati 749 Dark may well have some chassis tweaks on it to improve the overall handling and ride quality.
Early 2003 and 2004 versions of the basic Ducati 749 lack power – it’s nowhere near, say a Suzuki GSX-R600, on a long open circuit. The Ducati 749S had the 116bhp Testastretta motor from 2005, but you're still gonna get your butt kicked by a Suzuki GSX-R750. For all its exotic chassis detailing, the Ducati 749R still lacks some serious high rpm punch when matched against sporty 600cc motorcycles with four cylinders, or even beautifully grunty Triumph Daytona 675 triple.
Early Ducati 749s are not quite as reliable as later motorcycles. Like all Ducatis it needs quality, regular servicing (although most have). 2004 onwards saw a new electrical system plus a new management chip which eliminated the tickover stalling problem this motorcycle suffered with.
A new Ducati 749 is a one way ticket to depreciation Hell. Prices for the Ducati 749 Dark model are soft, as some were brought in as parallel import motor cycles at a discounted brand new price. As a used motorcycle buy, the 2004 onwards Ducati 749S model, with its beefier motor, improved aerodynamics and electrical system is the best buy of the range. Find a Ducati 749 for sale.
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£14K Ducati 749R apart, the Ducati 749 range is somewhat basic. The Ducati 749 range comes with an immobilser as standard, plus the usual oil/temp warning lights and that's about it. Of course, there is a vast array of factory Ducati extras available for this motorcycle.