24 left on UK roads
Occupying a place in Ducati’s range between the standard ‘E’ model and the as-extreme-as-road-legal-gets ‘R’, the 748S shares the phenomenal handling package as the stocker but gained TIN-coated forks, five-spoke wheels and came with the choice of single (monoposto) or dual seat (biposto).
Although 24 remain on our roads, a further 29 are locked away on a SORN, perhaps awaiting the next sunny track day.
Its stability mid-corner on the race track is truly mind-blowing, its chassis being one of the best ever made. True, you’ll curse its stiff set-up and extreme riding position in town, but that’s always going to be the compromise you make with a race-bred sports bike of this calibre.
It’s also far from luxurious; the mirrors are terrible and comfort poor. And for a bike that was competing at the time with GSX-R750s and the like, it’s underpowered, on paper at least. And here’s the thing – you need to ride a 748S to experience the sheer soul-stirring capability of the yellowest sports bike on the planet.
The power it does have is produced in a particularly torque manner, and it’s one of the most satisfying bikes ever to be ridden throttle-to-the-stop hard.
If you’re looking to pick one up for your own collection, however, do check that cambelt changes have been done and be aware that rocker arms can fail.
Next stop: Classic or crusher?
Classic. Undisputedly one of the first truly great motorcycles of the twenty-first century.