Ducati 749 review

Ducati 749 Review

I thought I should probably write a review of the bike I’ve had now for 2.5 years. When I was buying it I did not find much in the way of real world reviews so hopefully this can be of some use to anyone who is considering buying one… And in short, yes, you should – it’s brilliant and I could not recommend it enough! Anyway, here is some background.

I did not originally intend to buy a sports bike (this is classed as a midrange superbike) I was looking for something more in between, but most of those types of bikes are pretty ugly and just not special. I considered this and when i rode it I was surprised how nice it was and easy to ride. I’m pretty short and it was not too big – but if you are 6 foot plus it might be on the small side.

So, firstly, I love this bike, its my pride and joy and the best thing I’ve ever bough out of all of toys. Mine is a 2005 which may be old but it has never low mileage and the guy who owned it before me put loads of nice little bits on it like carbon and other shiny bits. It was remarkable value for what I got I think. And going on market prices it has held its value very well.

Ok so here is a summary of what I like and don’t like:

The Good:

For a superbike it’s surprisingly easy to ride in traffic – I hear the 1098 is a total bitch at low speeds. I ride mine to work every day through the city and it’s great. It has more than enough power – scares the crap out of me over 9k rpm and can spin the wheel in 3rd when accelerating hard. Two different Ducati mechanics told me that The 749 is a great bike as you can give it a bit of a thrashing – whereas it’s bigger brother the 999 ‘tends to run away with you’. The front brakes are fantastic – it seems to defy gravity when you throw down the anchor. (The rear brake not so much though). The steering is also brilliant, it goes exactly where you want to put it. Despite revving to 13k rpm it’s surprisingly grunty in low revs – that’s the twin engine for you. Mine has an open clutch and a racefit exhaust so it sounds incredible (see video below) but it still sounds good with standard exhaust. It’s an absolutely stunning looking bike which has really stood the test of time. I read when it came out a lot of people did not like it – maybe ahead of its time but 8 years on and most people still think its a brand new bike and cannot believe how little I paid for it considering how much you get overall.

The Bad

The most annoying thing for me is when riding in the city on a hot day, your ass gets absolutely roasted as the exhaust pipes come up under the seat. I’m told there is little you can do about this but if anyone knows please let me know in the comments. Comfort wise on very long journeys on windy roads like this, your wrists and arms hurt. But it’s fine at higher speeds with the wind to take some of the slack. The fuel tank is too small – well under 100 miles per tank. Mpg’s aren’t great either – here is mine tracked on Fuelly. The rear brake is next to useless. Reliability wise it was been ok for me, but for some reason it occasionally loses charge in the battery. Not sure why but apart from that I have had no problems with it. Mine I’m sure some think is too loud, it’s a bit obnoxious but I quickly grew to love it –  here is a video:

I hope this helps if you are considering buying one. Leave any comments with your thoughts.

10 things you should know before buying a Ducati Superbike

Check out my Ducati 749 Review

1. They are not cheap to run. Even those that don’t have any issues will always be shouting for some new titanium/carbon or other expensive part to be fitted to suit the new owner.


2. Ducati Dry clutches make noise. Some make a lot of noise, some not so much. But ALL dry clutches make some noise. It is how they are. Whether you embrace the noise and open the cover up to share it with the world, or fight to make it quiet is solely down to the individual. If it really annoys you so much and you really must have a Ducati, then find one with a wet clutch. Note:- Only go the wet clutch route if you are prepared to sound like a japanese v twin on approach though. like it or not, the rattle and sching of a duke clutch is very distinctive. Clutch action is invariably heavier than any jap rider will expect and some clutches are more forgiving and controllable than others. For anyone in the older model early 90’s ducati range, the ‘select neutral before you come to a stand’ technique is regularly used. Otherwise its the 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st neutral, not quite but nearly, 2nd, 1st oh the lights have changed lets go approach.


3. Ducati’s are usually more expensive than the average Japanese bike of similar performance. Some are more desirable than others. bikes with an S, SPS or similar will hurt your wallet more than a less high spec model. For the majority who ride legally on UK roads, none of that matters. But if you want to be elitist, you go the extra mile. That said, there is an element of elitism in owning any Ducati, so the S just takes you to a ‘wheels within wheels’ scenario. When you get to desmosedici heights, you have to ask is it any better than the model you really want. Which is better in the car world? an Aston martin DB5 or an Aston martin DB9. Newer bigger better isnt necessarily always the case when it comes to buying what your heart tells you it wants.


4. Exhaust noise is usually loud on a Ducati. Mainly as the average owner wants it to sound and breathe like any Ducati should. This makes early morning riders especially obvious to all around them as the sound of a big v twin on open race pipes is ever so slightly louder than the twittering birds of the dawn chorus.


5. Comfort. Difficult one this. Some are comfortable. The Superbikes however are, on the whole, not so comfortable. With riding positions in virtual race stance and little padding in the seat. Many are one step away from a torture tool over long distances.


6. Town riding and stuck in traffic. Try to avoid this as much as possible. Ducatis were not designed to sit in traffic and most Ducati models will prove this to you in every way they can. Lousy steering lock, grumpy clutch action, a propensity to refuse any of the accepted legal speed limits as a place where the bike will be happy in one gear at constant revs. 30? forget it. 40? possibly, but still not nice. 50? just about the 1st place where none snatchiness can be achieved at a constant. A far better option is the slow down a little and speed up to where you want to be before letting the bike bellow on the overrun as it comes down in speed again. Handle Bar and peg positions often lead to wrist pain for many owners in slow riding. The only real cure being speed. Higher speed equates to less weight on the wrists.


7. Comments from people who dont know about Ducati’s. Is it going to break down? and how much will it cost to fix that problem? are usually directly related to the dry clutch when an average Jap owner hears it.


8. Reliability. Do Ducatis have problems? yes. All bikes do. Honda were forgiven for the chocolate cams in their vfr750, kawasaki for their lousy cam chain adjusters.Suzuki for the killer handling of the TL range. Ducati dont seem to get that same forgiveness from the public though. Regulator rectifiers have a (deserved) reputation for going wrong. It is a genuine fault,easily cured (and avoided if you check the connectors and ensure they are good). Cam wear on 748 through 996 is always a gamble and can happen to any of them. But as long as the bike is used regularly, the majority are trouble free. They just don’t like standing around doing nothing for months on end. Where a japanes four will start up after 6 weeks alone in a shed, the average duke will just sulk about the whole being left alone aspect and refuse to play. At least when it starts it will move and stop. Brembo brakes rarely suffer seized pistons. Unlike tokico stuff that seizes because it looked rainy 5 miles away. Although belts are a constant drain on a long term owners wallet, the instances of belt failure are almost unheard of. Certainly a lot less than cam belts on cars are known to fail.


9. Paintwork and finish. Difficult one this. Some models have good paintwork. Resilient to weather, good paint and generally spot on finish. Others don’t. Those that don’t have paint that is generally allergic to being attached to anything other than itself. Flaking engine paint, ultra thin paint on frames that rubs off if a wire harness even gets close enough to scare it. Fasteners rust if they are in a country that has more than 3 millimetres of rainfall in a year and you are daft enough to get them wet. Common sense says either fit stainless stuff or avoid the water and winter at all costs.


10. Why would anybody want one? Because they are something special. They look good wherever they are. Pull up at a pub and it stands out from the sea of Japanese road rockets. It announces itself in a cacaphony of noise and then sits there like the king of the world. Some models verge on being a form of art and all make you smile. A good ride really is a good ride and leaves you with a huge smile. A comparable litre Jap 4 will still get you there, but often without that same feel good factor. That said, a Ducati can also have a sulky day and make that same ride a nightmare. But when you park it up, it still sits there looking like a million dollars in a sea of blandness.


One last thing. Nobody knows where the tax disc should be mounted and no answer is ever likely to definitively answer it. Don’t bother asking. Ever.

Irish Motorbike Test Advice, Tips & Tricks.

Motorbike Test Advice

I just did my motorbike test last week. It was stressing me out for a good few days before; I was worried I was not prepared, so I made sure to cram and practice as much as I could – and it paid off as I passed with flying colours :-D

I hunted down as much info as possible by asking friends for advice and searching all the forums, which really helped me a lot. In the hope of helping others too – I thought I’d write all my tips and advice down in a blog post – if you have your test coming up – study and know this, practice, and you’ll be fine.

General Stuff:

Lessons – Get them – no matter how good a rider you think you are, get a pre-test at least. There are lots of little things you might not think of that you can fail for easily. Definitely get a pre-test at a minimum, but do it early, weeks before your date. Practice is key – In the few days up to the test, whenever you are on your bike, ride like it was your test, do not be lazy. It’s very hard to just “Switch it on” for the test and start doing everything perfect. Sometimes you do know exactly what to do, but you can just make mistakes and forget stuff. Try talking to yourself and narrating your actions – it actually works!

Wear all your gear, boots trousers, Yellow reflective jacket with L plates -and make sure it’s not brand new looking, dirty it up a bit. Park your bike in backwards so you can drive straight out and not have to reverse. Know the road signs, especially Clearway, Bus lane, Contra flow bus lane, pedestrian zone etc. Look the part and answer questions confidentially without rambling, and you are already off to a good start.

He’s going to ask you all about your bike, how to check oil, brake pads, adjusting chain tension etc – know all this inside out. When he asks you to get on your bike, put your right hand on the bar and hold the brake before swinging your leg over.

When out on the road – be confident. Don’t drive stupidly slow and carefully – he will fail you. Drive normally but just drive as near to the speed limit as possible at all times. Driving too slow is one of the main reasons for failure. Don’t hold up traffic. If in a 50kph zone, you can get away with doing a 33/34kph a few times – just don’t do it consistently.
Don’t worry if you make a mistake – you can get away with a few and still pass- but you don’t know, he might not have even seen it! Don’t give up, give it your best at all times and relax…

Exaggerate your observations – move your head, not just your eyes – if he can’t see you looking – you did not look – so make sure he sees you. Indicate early and manoeuvre – but not too early. Look into approaching junctions early.
Check mirrors every 20 seconds or so. Don’t look at one mirror and then the other immediately, look straight ahead for a second or two in-between. Check your mirrors every time before you slow down, or even come off the throttle.
Look out for stop signs – made sure to put your foot down at/before sign – regardless if there is not traffic.
Keep elbows down especially on lifesavers – if your arms are straight when you look over your shoulder, your bike will turn slightly when you do a lifesaver – this can send a false indication to the driver behind you.

U turn: Mirror and look behind you, but keep your hands on the handlebars, do not take your hand off to look around. Don’t drive too far forward before turning, be confident. Turn your head all the way around and look back up the road, do Not look at the opposite curb. Lean into it, drag back brake, feather throttle if needed. Don’t kit the curb whatever you do, you won’t fail if you put a foot down. He may ask you to do it again. Don’t forget to mirror, indicate, lifesaver and pull in on the other side. Practice these a lot.

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