In a nutshell, if you can afford the deeply wonderful Ducati 749R version, get one. It handles with arrow-like precision, and a decently quick rider can feel like Troy Bayliss. With adjustable steering angle, a WSS spec swingarm, Ohlins suspension and 4 pot radial calipers, the Ducati 749R feels like a totally different animal from the entry level model, 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 base 749 lack power – it’s nowhere near as fast as a Suzuki GSX-R600 on a long open circuit. The Ducati 'S' version had the 116bhp Testastretta motor from 2005, but you're still gonna get whipped by a well ridden Suzuki GSX-R750. For all its exotic chassis detailing, the Ducati 749R lacks some high rpm punch when matched against sporty four cylinder 600s, or even the beautifully grunty Triumph Daytona 675 triple.
Early Ducati 749s are not quite as reliable as later Ducati's. It's a bike that needs quality, regular servicing. The 2004 model onwards saw a new electrical system plus a new management chip which eliminated the tickover stalling problem this motorcycle suffered with in it's earlier days.
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.
Insurance group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.
749R apart, the range is somewhat basic. There's 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 so try and buy one with a few already fitted.