DUCATI 749 (2003 - 2007) Review
- A stunning middleweight sportsbike
- R version is best of the bunch
- Fantastic ride and performance
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Ducati 749 was preferred by some to the 999 - and for good reason.
The smaller engine makes just the right amount of power for the chassis in certain road riding situations. The 749 has a kind of balance, an addictive precision in its steering, acceleration and braking that makes it a machine that surprises riders with its understated ability.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Early Ducati 749s are not quite as reliable as later Ducatis. 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.
Our Ducati 749 owners' reviews echo the above comments. There has been some mechanical and cosmetic issues with some bikes over the years. They really do react well to being pampered, too.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The 2004 onwards Ducati 749S model, with its beefier motor, improved aerodynamics and electrical system is the best buy of the range.
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.
|Engine type||8v V-twin, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||15.5 litres|
|Front suspension||Preload, rebound, compression|
|Rear suspension||Preload, rebound, compression|
|Front brake||Twin 320mm disc|
|Rear brake||Single 240mm disc|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17 in|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17 in|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||43 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£101|
|Annual service cost||£200|
|Used price||£5,100 - £7,000|
15 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||116 bhp|
|Max torque||60 ft-lb|
|Top speed||150 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||11.3 secs|
|Tank range||148 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2003: Ducati 749 launched.
- 2004: All Ducati 749 models have improved electrics, reshaped fairing sections, new engine management/fuelling chip, higher compression engine with bigger valves.
- 2005: Ducati 749S model gets 116bhp Testastretta motor - R model has tweaks to boost claimed power to 121bhp.
- 2006: Detail changes to clutch mechanism on Ducati749 Dark and Ducati 749S versions.
- 2007: Model discontinued.
- Ducati 749 Dark: Low budget version of the Ducati 749 only available in matt black paintwork.
- Ducati 749S: Monoposto Single seat version of the Ducati 749S model.
Owners' reviews for the DUCATI 749 (2003 - 2007)
13 owners have reviewed their DUCATI 749 (2003 - 2007) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
Annual servicing cost: £200
Amazing ride once Ohlins set up. Lovely revvy motor. Big enough for my 6'4" height, just!
Best handling bike I have ridden.
High 1st gear (homologation special), otherwise lovely.
Well made, but needs regular servicing.
Regular belt change required
Buying experience: Bought privately. Make sure you get all keys incl. digital master. Great value.
Version: 749 monoposta
I love the looks, wonderful looking bike. When compared to the Japanese is a delight to work on. Quality parts and fit.
Marmite engine, but I love it. Love the rattles it's all part of the engines character.
So far no issues, early days for me.
So much bike for so little money, makes it a bargain. It's all you need especially on the road. I find it really comfortable when compared to previous bikes I have owned. Here's the warning, if prices rise in the future, then due to desmo engine = expensive maintenance, cost of belts is £140 plus the cost to fit them, every 2 years, ouch...
Low seat height, very slim tank. Recommend more noise, change the exhaust silencer. (Racefit) for me.
Buying experience: Brought private, 5000 miles from new, bike in near mint condition for under 3 grand. No brainer.
I bought my 2003 ducati 749s last year with 5,000miles on the clock. loads of mods on it inc power comander and race exhaust. really diferent type of bike to ride with loads of character. The best things about it are the sound when riding it hard and its looks which really draw the crowds. the worst things are the high 1st gear (this might have been changed as 6th gear is very high) and the mirrors. Also slow to turn in though this might be down to worn tyres. once you have turned in the bike is on rails even when braking going into corners. totally diferent to any other bike i have ridden. But i still prefer my 1997 1200 130bhp bandit 1200s
The bike i have is 2005, older model. Bought in the usmmer this year having spent the last 4/5 yrs on all the last four firblades 9 up to 2008). Its is the same old story, you need to own a Ducati to really feel what they are like. The engine, the sound, the lookds. Its got it all. The ride felt hardiash at first but i soon adjusted. Its miles away from any fireblade i have owned or gSXR for that matter. It feels more rigid, steers quick and for the average joe and excellent step onto the Ducati ladder. For an 2005 bike is doing well, only complaint is small bit of pain flaking on the engine cylinder which is nothing really. The engine feels really nice, smooth and has bags of oomph. Even for for when on the go the front will loft its head ona fast hilly B road. My major grips are down to the fact is got a 15 litre tank and luggage can be a small issue. If you want to buy one do, just be sure its got a service history and looks straight. The S model over the bog standard 749 has a few more bars of excitment to throw out!
Had a 2003 model brand new in 2005. Needed the suspension setting up (thankfully it has loads of adjustment,the most adjustable I've come across on a stock bike) had to run on super unleaded fuel so it didn't cut out. Added 2 teeth to the rear sprocket which boosted acceleration and top speed went up to 165mph. They need thrashing regular to make decent power, top end was about 140mph when it was first run in. Once gearing was changed it was the same performance as my 2002 R6. Handling was better though especially in the wet. Not as good on the brakes due to extra weight, but emergency mid corner braking was safe if you went in too hard. Handling would go off every 2500 miles if both tyres weren't replaced. Fuel economy was worst than my ZX12R at an average of 35mpg. Best road bike I have ridden on the road for twisty bits, especially in the wet, extra weight would see it struggle against a 600 on a track in the dry. I could leave my mate for dead on a twisty road on his 04 GSXR 750 and that was when I was still running it in. Admittedly I have raced, this is the closest thing I have ridden on the road to a proper race bike. It needs forcing into a corner but once it's there it won't move off line unless you want it to. A true riders bike that rewards ability and aggression, if you don't have it you will be slow. Most of my friends couldn't ride it that well, preferring the easier steering of jap sportsbikes. In the 6000 miles I did I had no reliability issues apart from engine cutting out on normal fuel. The clutch whined on hot days from standstill. Partially cured by drilling holes in the clutch cover. Wheelies were easy to hook up and control. I abused this bike as much as any others I owned, but I got rid of it mainly because of paranoia. Got a reasonable trade in, probably fell apart when the next owner got it, who knows?
After selling my 748 and then having two bad smashes on a Milli and gsxr 600 I have been off bikes for a couple of years. decided to bite the bullet and get something i can enjoy again. Im 6'2 and my only problem with the 748 was size. the 749 is a proper big boys bike and not just for diddy Italians. there is a lot more body weight on the wrists but that may be as ive snapped them both twice. It feels alot quicker than the 748 and the brakes are the best ive ever felt on a Duke before. im on my third one now and dont think I will ever go back to Jap stuff. You grin every time you ride them
great bike, always end up going back to Ducatis.
great bike, always end up going back to Ducatis.
I brought my Ducati on a part exchange deal for my 52 plate blade. In short i much prefer the Ducati, of course the blade is a much faster machine in a straight line, i feel that if i were riding both machines at the same time through a twister country road the Ducati would come out tops. The other major bonus point is the looks, in my opinion you would struggle to find a better looking motorcycle (for the year it was manufactured)The design is so sleak and although the mirrors are almost impossible to use they do add to the looks. I purchased my bike complete with a full Termi exhaust system - which i would recommend to anyone buying a Ducati. The sound made by the bike with this system fitted is awesome. The bike also came with the biposto seat which is good as i can now interchange between carrying a pillion (rare) or the classier looks of the monoposto rear end. The engine in my opinion is more than adequate both in acceleration and top end. Of course there are faster bikes (my old blade for example) but how often do you get to push your bike to its limits - not very often is suspect. As with a previous review i can also confirm that it is the only bike i have owned where people in the street actually stare at when i ride around town, so the pose factor is definatly there. In summary, if you are after a motorcycle for just pure power and top end speed, stay clear of the Ducati as there are faster bikes outthere. However if you are after a bike with a great combintaion of sexy looks, decent performance and god like handling then opt for a Duke. Hope this was helpful! p.s i found that the alrm system i have fitted (Meta 357T) drains the battery very quikly (might be my dodgy battery) but it might be an idea to purchase an optimate or similar.
bought mine new a 55 plate just before the one with the black wheels came out.with a few other mods, had problems from day one never felt right on the road ever ! track was worse, brakes were for some reason on the soft side front end had a mind of its own. oil leak raidator leak, and lights failed and the problem could not be traced. number plate hanger fell off. bolts furred up after 8 months. my mate bought the version after mine with the black wheels and he still has it and loves it i have rode it many times and cant believe the difference it feels like a really good package and he has had only small problems , some make your own mind up. i was told there was a bad batch when i got mine ? so why the hell were they allowed to leave the factory ? in short i will not buy ducati again EVER!!! mine was a nightmare
Not had a twin before, bored with superbikes, I,m now 45 and looking for something more in a bike other than being ballistic.Takes a lot of getting used to always hitting the rev limiter due to you cannot tell when your thrashing it this can be a problem when you hit mid bend and the rev limiter kicks in, something I suppose I'll get used to intime. Love the kinky starter how you just touch it and the engine turns over till it starts. The whole bike looks like sex on wheels, so part of the enjoyment is just looking at it. Although the bike is heavier than its Jap counterparts its well balanced so you don't feel this. When your on the move it doesn,t feel like your going that fast until you clock your speedo and through the corners its confidence inspiring to say the least, Front brake feels pretty impressive but the rear brake will not lock the wheel I need to look at this. First impressions well pleased overall. not as quick as some but a lot more rewarding to ride. Strengths: Looks, Cornering ability. all the bling as standard. Requires more rider input. Weaknesses: Mirrors waste of time, Few neutrals in gearbox, Back brake at the mo,Uncomfortable unless dabbing on a bit.
Bought my 749 at the right price from Ducati Manchester just before Xmas. Was smitten straight after the test ride on how easy it is to ride slow or fast. Ok, it is a racing position in the saddle, but not as extreme as I expected it to be. And no other temperamental traits that I'd expected from an Italian twin either. Engine (smooth for a twin), ride (firm but not harsh) and handling (confidence inspiring) are so spot on that I'm riding 10 mph faster on the road than my last bike without even really trying - and it's not even run-in yet. Does get uncomfortable after about 90 mins when aches start in the back and neck, but who cares??!! Also is the only bike that I've ridden that people stare at when I'm out on the road - probably because it's the perfect shade of bright red. And what was my last bike? VFR VTEC - nuff said. A class act. Strengths: Engine Ride/handling Brakes (awesome Brembos - and not even radials) Reliability (so far!) Weaknesses: Long range comfort Soft paint on tank marks easily.
Tested a 999 along with new R6 and ZX6R but had to go for the Duke. Chose the mono 's' as it's just a little more special and it certainly feels it when you're on board. The looks and the sound are great as is the performance, with plenty of low down power ideal for road riding. Admittedly the Jap 600's have more top end but does anyone really need it on the road? Suspension and tyres are also very good and I feel confident on the bike already even though this is my first twin and I've only just run it in(1st service tomorrow, gulp!). Due to the typical English spring we're having it has cut out a few times, generally on the approach to a roundabout which is always fun but apart from that no problems at all. Tank range seems a little low but at least it means I get to sample different service stations! All in all a fantastic experience so far and well worth the extra cost over the Jap stuff just to be a bit different. Strengths: Looks, sound, usable power, confidence and let's be honest, pose factor! Weaknesses: Cuts out in cold, fuel consumption, low screen means neck ache when tucked in.