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Niall's Spin: Ducati 748E

It might be the latest and the greatest but don't expect everyday comfort or plush suspension

Submitted by Neeki on Thu, 30/09/2010 - 14:33

Click to read: Ducati 748E owners reviews, Ducati 748E specs and to see the Ducati 748E image gallery.

STUNNING LOOKS, TRACK handling to match all but the latest and greatest, but don't expect Honda-like practicality and reliability. This 'E' is the base model which ran from 1999 to 2003 but the spec's plenty for most people unless you're just planning track days.

Even though it's the base model don't expect everyday comfort or plush suspension: the 748 is a no-compromise racer on the road. But it is easy-going by comparison to its big brother, the 996, being less punchy, therefore easier to thrash. Not for the inexperienced though, this is still thoroughbred handling needing subtle, educated inputs.

Regular servicing needs to be done by someone who understands the bikes. Even then, rocker arms can fail and replacement is costly. Cam belts need replacing strictly to schedule. The electrics too have been known to cause a fair bit of trouble - cutting out when it rains, rectifiers failing when it doesn't (well, anytime really). The clutches, being dry, come in for a lot of abuse if the bike's ridden in an urban environment, so expect regular replacement plates there. 748s vibrate a fair bit too so a good supply of Loctite is essential.

Maintenance intensive is what we're saying, and getting it done by someone who really knows their Ducati onions will add up.

What you really want to be looking for is a low mileage example with a full service history, owned by a man who's fastidious to a fault when it comes to bike care.

Remember too that the service schedule runs on a dual timeline - mileage or months, whichever falls first - so even if the bike hasn't done the miles a five-year-old bike like this should still have a well-thumbed service book full of dealer stamps. Beautiful but temperamental, a brilliant bike.

Key ID: pillion seat distinguishes it from flashier versions. Similar to earlier Biposto model.

Walk away: if it's got high miles. There's enough around without to choose from

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