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. The 848 is a proper fast (top speed is 166mph), fine-handling, gorgeous Ducati superbike in its own right.
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.
- Related: 2010 Ducati 848 Evo review
- Related: Ducati 1098 review
- The alternative: Read our in-depth Suzuki GSX-R750 review here
- 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: Ducati 848 vs Ducati 1098
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.
Watch our full Ducati 848 video review here:
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.
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, 2020 prices are still floating between £5000 and £7000, whereas the equivalent Suzuki GSX-R750 can now be picked up for between £4500 and £5000.
How does it compare to the Suzuki GSX-R750? Watch our comparison video review here:
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||£93|
|Annual service cost||£220|
|Used price||£5,300 - £8,500|
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)
8 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|
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.