DUCATI 848 (2007 - 2013) Review
- Middleweight alternative to Ducati 1098
- Smooth linear power delivery
- Quality chassis components and handling
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£220|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Ducati 848 isn’t just a small 1098, it’s much more than that. It's a proper fast (top speed is 166mph), fine-handling, gorgeous Ducati superbike in its own right.
- Related: Ducati 1098 review
It’s no longer the poor relation to its big brother, like the 748 and 749 used to be. Although the more powerful 1098 is faster in a straight line and around a track, in the real world the Ducati 848 is every bit as fast.
- The modern option: Ducati Panigale V2 review
In 2010 our Chief Road Tester Michael Neeves was lucky enough to race a Ducati 848 Challenge. He reported "it’s the best handling, most agile, sweet steering Ducati I’ve ever had a proper go on". High praise indeed.
Also in 2010, Ducati launched the 848 Dark. This version cost £700 less than the stock 848 despite sharing the same 849cc engine, steel trellis frame and high quality chassis parts.
At the other end of the spectrum, Ducati also revealed the 848 Evo for 2010 - featuring 1198R Brembo Monobloc brake calipers, a non-adjustable steering damper and tweaks to the engine to make it rev harder and faster.
Watch our full Ducati 848 video review here:
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Chassis-wise the Ducati 848 is almost identical to the 1098, save for slightly lower-spec, but still fully-adjustable, Showa forks and Brembo radial brakes.
These cheaper units don’t harm the 848’s performance through the bends one bit though. Most significantly the Ducati 848 has a half-inch narrower rear wheel and a 180-section rear tyre, which gives the 848 greater agility and lighter steering than its bigger brother.
In true Ducati superbike style the 848 is rock-solid stable in the corners, at the expense of slightly slow steering through flip-flop chicanes and very tight hairpins.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The liquid-cooled Desmodromic, 849cc V-twin Testastretta (Italian for 'narrow head') engine was designed and developed specifically for the Ducati 848; it’s not just a cheaper, sleeved-down version of the 1098's motor.
Making a true 122bhp and 66ftlb of torque at the rear wheel the Ducati 848's motor is not only is very strong, but the power delivery is super-smooth and very linear, too. Compared to the 749, the Ducati 848 makes 20bhp and 10ftlb more, while weighing almost 30kg less.
On paper, such an output made it a direct competitor to the supersport bikes of the day, such as the Yamaha R6, Suzuki GSX-R600, Honda CBR600RR and Triumph Daytona 675. Unlike those machines though, the power is flat and linear, rather than peaky and the Duke glides between the curves, rather than frantically chasing redlines.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Modern day Ducatis don’t tend to suffer the electrical and mechanical maladies they used to, and like the 1098, Ducati slashed servicing costs on the 848. Build quality is top notch, from the deep pearlescent paintwork to the high-end components used throughout.
Our Ducati 848 owners' reviews show a few very minor issues with reliability, including a worn wheel bearing after 3500 miles and a failed battery due to alternator drain, but others are very happy with the dependability of their machine.
It's clear these bikes do take a bit of looking after in order to enjoy the best of them, though.
Reader query: Is water getting into my Ducati 848?
Q: I've a Ducati 848 that won't start after I've washed it. I don't jet wash it or over soak it, but straight after washing the diagnostics light comes on and it won't turn over. It also seems like the dash takes longer than normal to light up.
If I switch the ignition on and off sometimes the diagnostic light doesn't come on and it will start - but it's really intermittent. If I leave it for 12 hours or so it starts no problem. It's been into the garage but they can't find anything wrong.
A: This bike had a recall on the battery earth, so it could be worth checking this out either yourself or with a main dealer. The recall number is RM2008/047. But I think it’s more likely that water is sneaking inside the kill switch or the ignition connections.
Why not try 'showerproofing' the kill switch with some rags and a plastic bag before you clean it next? If that doesn’t work move onto those connectors.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Ducati 848 isn’t cheap. You’re undoubtedly paying over the odds for the badge on the tank, but on the other side of the coin depreciation is lower than a Japanese superbike.
Yours for around £9500 when new, you do get a lot of beautiful, exclusive Ducati motorcycle for your money. After 13 years, 2021 prices are still floating between £5000 and £7000, whereas the equivalent Suzuki GSX-R750 can now be picked up for between £4500 and £5000.
Finished in a gorgeous pearlescent white to show off the lines, although the 848 is an expensive used buy you are getting a very high spec motorcycle. The Showa rear shock is the same as the 1098's, a chunky single sided swingarm and a multi-function LCD dash, which is a replica of the unit used on Casey Stoner’s MotoGP Desmosedici.
Options include the Ducati Data Analyser (DDA), which is an on-board plug-in datalogging system, that records lap times, throttle position, engine speed, engine temperature and distance travelled.
How to turn the Ducati 848 into a superbike killer
In standard form the Ducati 848 is one of MCN's favourite sportsbikes. It has all the grunt, style and the bombastic soundtrack of its bigger brother the Ducati 1198, with added agility and a revvier, more involving engine. It was born for corners – it’s the exotic, twin-cylinder take on the legendary Suzuki GSX-R750.
You don't have to spend the thousands of pounds on your 848. Lots of bolt-ons don’t make much difference to performance. Here is the gear to get to turn your 848 into a superbike-killer:
- Fully-adjustable 1098R/1198S Ohlins forks and 1198S Ohlins rear shock. They have a plusher action and finer adjustment range compared to standard – and give the 848 a completely different character. The forks are the most expensive bolt-on.
- Forged aluminium wheels from a Ducati Hypermotard are lighter than standard so help the 848 change direction faster and save unsprung weight too.
- Ducati Performance dry slipper clutch stops the 848 clattering into the corners when changing down through the gears. The exposed, anodised red clutch looks cool and sounds like a proper Ducati race bike.
- Lighter, sexier and louder than stock, a Ducati without Termis would be like MotoGP without Rossi.
|Engine type||8-valve, V-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||15.5 litres|
|Front brake||2 x 320mm discs|
|Rear brake||245mm disc|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||27 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£220|
|Used price||£5,300 - £11,000|
17 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||122 bhp|
|Max torque||66 ft-lb|
|Top speed||166 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||93 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2007: Ducati 848 launched
- 2013: Ducati 848 production ends
Watch our full Ducati 848 video review here:
Ducati 848 Evo: The Evo came with 1198R Brembo Monobloc brake calipers, a non-adjustable steering damper and tweaks to the engine to make it rev harder and faster. Naturally, it was more expensive than the standard 848, with used prices still sitting between £7500-£8000 (2020).
Ducati 848 Dark: Launched in 2010, it was £700 less than the stock 848, despite sharing the same 849cc engine, steel trellis frame and high quality chassis parts.
Ducati 848 Nicky Hayden replica: Ducati launched a special edition Nicky Hayden 848 at the Laguna Seca MotoGP round in America in 2009. Besides the paintjob inspired by the former factory rider, the 848 featured an LED dash, 30mm mirror extension kit and aluminium cam belt tensioners to reduce weight.
Owners' reviews for the DUCATI 848 (2007 - 2013)
10 owners have reviewed their DUCATI 848 (2007 - 2013) 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:||£220|
Annual servicing cost: £200
Oct 2021. Having ridden a bunch of other bikes whilst pretending I didn't want a Ducati, I finally committed. Since the moment I saw the 848/1098/1198 I knew I want one. I got the 848 as I simply didnt have the budget to get at 1098 or 1198 and so far I have no regrets. I still truly believe they are the best looking Ducatis. Don't get me wrong I'm always thinking about trading up but once I ride my 848 again, I forget all about ever wanting to change it. Pure fun, character and satisfaction on every ride and pretty well matched with litre bikes on track.
The ride is great. The very first time I rode it I could tell straight away that it was a bike designed with two things in mind - to look amazing and to ride even better. It is pretty decent on long runs but I avoid motorways as the temptation to spank it is too much. Even on terrible UK country lanes it is still a decent ride. It doesnt have ABS but its brembos are still up to the task on track and with a little bravery can easily match newer stoppers.
Sounds great, pulls great and the torque means you dont have to shift the whole time or keep the revs up. Ive taken it up to an indicated 175mph and it felt great, as comfortable at 20mph as it is at 120. Pretty easy to ride in town, however the clutch is very heavy so after crossing London once my left hand was fucked.The bike with stock pipes actually sounds great. I currently have no intention of getting termis fitted. Waste of money.
After 20k+ miles and living outdoors under a cover it is still in decent condition. I avoid riding it in the rain as a principle. The front forks do have some corrosion, as do most of the exposed nuts and bolts (however this is down to a previous owner, I now treat it all over with spray on stuff). I've had some dramas with electrics such as the alternator and datatool (fekking hate those things), however I'm not overly bothered as it is 13 years old with 20k+ miles. The rest of the build quality is still impeccable with no rattles and truly solid feel when riding.
Has been a bad year because of a couple of faults but fingers crossed.
The bike is pretty bare bones, no ABS, TC or other gizmos, no steering damp etc. But actually that is how I like it, pure immersive and unspoiled italian.The headlights are frankly dangerous and comically bad. Riding on anything other than a motorway at night is ill advised. You cant see anything further than 15-20m out so you have to ride super slow. You can upgrade them with kits off amazon.I'd also consider a slipper clutch as on track the rear locks really easily.
Buying experience: Bought used. N/A.I dont get servicing done at a main dealer but a local garage Kings Two Wheel Centre has been great with everything I've needed doing.
This is my first ducati, my first twin (discounting a £300 GPZ500 that I dont think even qualifies as a motorcycle), and my first step down in power for my sports bike in 30 years. For reference, my 04 ZX10R was trying to kill me, normally at 150+, so I decided death at 120 might be a bit more serene and palatable so went looking for a 600. This came up in my price range because it was a cat C so jumped at the chance to get a rideable equavalent to my childhood poster bike, the 916. Lets start with the bad. The mirrors are horrible. It does not like doing 30mph. It drinks fuel. The seat is like a plank of wood. The mirrors are useless. The rear shock is way too hard. It eats tyres. The mirrors are the work of satan himself. The 09 does not have a steering dampener...and it likes to lift the front out of bends. The riding position is extreme. The exhaust heats your butt/legs. The mirrors are less than ideal. Oh and the mirrors are terrible. Now for the good... None of that, absolutely none of it, matters. It looks absolutely georgeous. If you are actually a fast road rider, and not just posing as one, the extreme riding position is perfect when its time to 'explore its ability'. The rock hard seat and tank shape help you get the most out of the incredible narrow chassis and really gel with the bike. The brakes are absolutely incredible, two fingers with the rear wheel skipping as you back it in anyone? The sound is delicious, mine has termi's with the baffles half drilled out so not full on rattle the windows, but enough that she sings in deep resonant italian from behind you when you open her wide. So stable in the corners, will turn as fast as you want (not quite ZX10R - but maybe thats a good thing, certainly less deathy). There is the feeling that the sublime, revvy and torquey twin engine is a perfect match for the handling. It'll lift the front from 5k rpm in second and not put it down again until 10.5k when the limiter calls a halt. This is by far the worst and best bike I have ever owned and I've had 50 bikes in 30 years of riding. I love it. Dearly. Its not perfect, no steering dampener (pre-2010), no slipper clutch (a great add on) and high servicing/running costs, but its perfect for me.
haha these questions are funny, Q: when is the bike at its best? A: at 95% or when your ears are close to the termi's. Q: is it a decent all round bike A: hahahahahhahahaha. no, and I've wet myself laughing. Q: how long can you go before needing a break? A: about 12 laps. Q: how long can a pillion..... A: Oh stop with the silly questions now please.
Above score is for engine performance above 3k rpm. below 3k its like two burly men with hammers inside the crankcase fighting for freedom.
Way better than you'd think but a few little upgrades, battery cables, shock spring etc and you'll have a much better time.
Cheaper than you'd think. does between 30 - 40mpg but I dont use it for anything other than 'spirited' rides so might be better if you bimble. belts are 90 quid and pretty easy to do yourself and although a desmo service is 750+ its pretty much all time and gaskets so again, just search 'desmodronic' and do it yourself (hint for inline 4 owners - twice as many shims, half the pistons). thats even if any are out. Mine were still in spec after 16k miles.
Its got a clock, and it knows what temperature it is outside. Oh and its got a lap timer. Dont get me started on those mirrors again though.
Buying experience: Private, £4,500 (Cat C)
Out and out, unapologetic Italian sports bike, may not be the fastest, most advanced or the most practical, but it’ll put a bigger smile on your face than any Japanese equivalent. Just starting an 848, hearing the big thumping twin bark into life gives you a special feeling, and the ride doesn’t disappoint.
Evo monoblock Brembo front brakes will tear your face off, good feel and forgiving under hard front braking, rear is quite prone to locking up under even slight braking. Riding position is extreme but for me at 6ft 3 it’s still roomy enough to ride all day without too many issues.
Thumping, loud, shouty and loves to be revved. Hates slow speed, changing out your sprockets will help with this if you do a lot of sub 30mph riding. Really needs to have its neck rung to get the best out of it, sounds great and has a great supply of grunt at any revs.
Put together very well, all panels and plastics are high quality. Battery commonly dies very quickly from immobiliser drain, even faster with a tracker or alarm fitted, needs to be kept on a charger. Respect it and it’s fairly bulletproof.
Don’t expect to ride past many petrol stations... can drain a tank 45 minutes without too much issue. Servicing can be pricey if getting belts and valves done, but that’s just the nature of it.
Pretty simple. Throttle. Corse models have quickshifters but doesn’t really feel needed, would be nice to have a proper fuel gauge as the light seems to be anything from 5 miles range to 35 miles.. Does come with lap times and GP style dash.
All you will ever need in a Superbike.
Brilliant brakes from the bigger 1098.
Sounds Awesome, and you can feel the power, blowing out the cobwebs.
Like everything in life, no one is perfect rate Ducati 4.5 / 5, the rear indicator did drop off, maybe the heat of the sexy exhaust and the rubber, fan relay gone, stator wire burned out.............then thanks to Ethanol in the fuel (Not. Ducati Fault, had to change the fuel pump) and me leaving the bike in storage........so now when the bikes is stored i use Blaze 100 (without ethanol), but when running around lower octane without the corrosive ethanol............as it runs cooler (note I am no expert on fuel grades). Thanks to the racing mechanic at Ducati Alabang, he has the bike running perfect....
Initially, I thought Ducati, Philippines were over price the labour and parts, now they have got great mechanics, that go that extra mile to get things almost perfect, at smaller labour costs.
What else do you from a Red Sexy Italian Ducati Motorcycle.
Buying experience: Bought the only one in White and they resprayed to Sexy Seductive Ducati Red. The Manager Mr Gambi, did a great job in sales and follow up. Many thanks.
Annual servicing cost: £200
Absolutely faultless, an amazing, user friendly bike.
Handles like a dream. Just point it into a corner and it goes where you want. Brembos are amazing.
Just enough power and a flat torque curve, no surprises. Keeps up with any litre bike down any A road.
I've had two in the last five years and both totally faultless. Great build quality , it just feels solid and reliable.
The value has only dropped 1800 in over 3 years of ownership. Servicing costs are much cheaper than most people think.
No electronic rider aids but you don't need them, it's so forgiving.
Buying experience: Bought it from Italia moto in Lincoln, and always go there for servicing, not the cheapest but very professional.
Annual servicing cost: £250
Handling, performance, comfort, glorious sound and pretty all very much up there. Let down only by fuel consumption and a small reliability issue.
Superb on all fronts
Rear wheel bearing badly worn after only 3500 miles. Otherwise brilliant.
Running costs quite high for a low mileage machine. Slightly more expensive to buy next to the opposition. Failed first mot with rear wheel bearing worn and only 3500 miles on clock :( very expensive repair/replacement of hub.
Buying experience: Dealer purchased demo bike. £9.5k in April 2013 with 1200 miles on clock.
Not enough superlatives for this bike. Stunning to look at, stunning to ride. I went from a cbr600rr7 to this and I thought that handled and went. Bought an 09 from KJM superbikes with 750 miles on for a huge saving on new. Had to get back to a twin after 12 months of riding a 600 four, missed the torque and the oomph out of the corners and blimey this bike does not disappoint. Can't wait to get out again if the weather will ever let me.
right first off I love this bike,everything about it has refreshed my love of bikes.I have rode a few different bikes over the years (a cbr1000rr being my last bike) but I havent had so much fun in the corners since the days of my trusty old nc30.This bike handles like a 600 but with a hell of a lot more grunt.There is a few things that need done to this bike to make it better(did I just say that lol), firstly the seat...or lack of it. yes I know its a full sports bike and this helps you feel the feedback but dam its hard on you the first few times you ride it, it also catches you out when you grab a handfull of the sweet brembo brake system and your launched sliding into the tank with a force that will leave you infertile for a few weeks. this can be fixed(slighty) with the ducati Neoprene Race Seat which stops you sliding about and is slightly softer on the rear. next on the list is the rear hugger,or lack of one.ok most owners probably will never have it out in the rain and mud but everything gets thrown into the back of the engine.lastly the handling.......needs a stearing damper if your the type to push in on a bit on the bumpy roads and the rear end is far too hard! each bump throws you out of your seat if your a light rider like me,13 stone with all my gear on.I checked the rear sag and its set at 12mm of movement!! A lot of owners put an ohlins rear shock on with a 1098 ride height adjuster as they cant get enough adjustment from the standard showa kit.once these things are done then your laughing.when I had the blade it was a great bike(maybe spoiled me with its handling) but I was getting bored with the point and shoot superbike after the fourth year of our relationship.I had origanlly wanted a 1098 after a run in one but the costs were out of my range so I took a 848 out for a run.....wow..... its not a mini 1098,its a totally different bike.Its a better road bike than the 1098 like the 1098 is a better track bike than the 848.One of the loves from this bike is the way the power is delivered and the note from the engine in the higher rev range, tucked behind the screen im grinning from ear to ear.roll on the twistys.
A superb bike with its own identity. Plenty of performance, great styling and desirability. No reliability issues to date and affordable servicing. As to the 848 'looking Japanese' - Laser eye surgery is available for those suffering from cataracts.... Highly recommended, in red or white and a credible alternative to the GSXR 750.
Only just getting it run in so not yet fully stretched its legs but fell in love within 10 miles on the test ride. More comfortable and smoother than the 748 - good looking bike, although I've had a Ducati rider tell he thinks it looks Japanese (!). Biggest problem is the white or the red. I've got red. Great bike if a little expensive compared to its peers.