Buyer Guide: Ducati 999 & 749

Everything you need to know about running the Ducati 749 and 999 from actual owners

Posted: 12 October 2010
by Visordown
2003 A new era: The model range is launched with the 749 and 999, higher spec 749S and 999S and also the range topping 999R. Prices were 749 (£8800), 749S £9600), 999 (£11,250), 999S (£13,950) and 999R (£19,995).
2004 Homologation special 749R: The 749 gets a top-spec R version, priced £13,595.

Click to view: Ducati 999 & 749 owners reviews, specs and image galleries.

Sometimes the big boys do get it wrong. There’s no shortage of folk who’d claim the 749 and 999 family of Ducatis never had the visual appeal of the instantly iconic 916/748 family these bikes replaced.

A few tweaks, some subtly different paint and the passage of time has changed quite a few opinions on the 749 and 999’s looks. The controversial design was penned by Italian/South African Pierre Terblanche. While it’s not the obvious wasp-waisted, high cheek-boned supermodel the 916 was, it’s still a visually stunning bike and from certain angles it looks very fresh, especially the subtly updated 2005-on bikes. It remains a machine that splits opinion, and that helps keep prices low on the used market – especially as the more beautiful 848 and 1098 family has now replaced it in Ducati’s line-up. There are bargains to be had.

Looks aside, the 749 and 999 are sublime sportsbikes. Dynamically they’re a significant leap ahead of the models that preceded them. They make a lot more power and they handle even better, which is, after all, what race-reps are all about. The 999 is the most successfully raced Ducati ever. Forget the image and remember these are some of the most capable sportsbikes money can buy.

Sixty-nine owners filled in our online survey this month. Of those, six have the 749 Dark, 11 have the 749, 17 the 749S, five the 749R, 15 the 999, 14 the 999S and just one lucky guy has the 999R. They’ve covered about half a million miles on these machines in total so forget your prejudices and believe everything you read here.

Continue the Ducati 999 & 749 Buyer Guide

Owner Case Study: "I’ve had two – one bad, one good."

Alan Edwards has had Ducatis for 20 years. His first 999, bought new in 2004, was the worst of the lot

"It had a problem which meant it kept cutting out when I went to overtake. In the end it was sorted by Woods of Abergele. They had it for about 12 weeks but they gave me a courtesy bike during that time and I thought they were great. In the end they swopped the tank with one from another bike and that cured the problem. They then stripped my tank down and found debris or sand in there which went backwards under acceleration and blocked the fuel pump intake. I’ve since heard a few other bikes have suffered the same problem too. After that was fixed it had some electrical problems and with 6000 miles on the clock, I persuaded Ducati UK to take it back and do me a deal on a new 999S. I’ve done 19,000 miles on that and it’s been fantastic. It’s beautiful to ride, you really feel at one with it. I’m about 5’11” and I find it perfectly comfortable over a four-day tour of Scotland. I adjusted the footpeg position and the bars slightly which helped. I can’t praise it enough, and I know I’ll never be able to use all its ability on the road.

"I haven’t been put off Ducatis by the first 999 at all, though there’s nothing in their range at the moment that really rocks my boat. I've got a KTM 990 Adventure as well as the 999S in my garage and for me that’s all the bikes I’ll ever need."



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