Ducati 749 Dark (2005 - 2007) review

Yes, less really is more. Less motor, less (harsh) suspension with less colour for less money equals a Ducati four-valve supersport bike which is, quite simply, more super than a 999
Softer motor makes it easier to ride and the dark look is very cool.
Not the most comfy bike out there and looks still causing concern among some hard-core Ducatisti

I admit I’ve never been a fan of big, high performance race rep twins – in fact Ducati is convinced I have something against them – but this baby 999 has come close to converting me. For a start, I liked the matt black finish, which contrasted well with the standard chrome fork legs and the big white dash, plus I’ve always thought black is the only colour that suits the unusual look of the 21st century Ducati’s front end.

I actually had a ball riding back through Glencoe with the summer rain pissing down. The suspension seemed to be set quite soft which complemented the Pirelli Diablos, so I just rode and rode. There was a fair bit of standing water, but the handling was sweet apart from a few front aquaplane twitches. We’ve experienced the odd misfire or electrical gremlin from Ducatis in previous wet tests, but this time the Ducati never missed a beat in some really extreme weather.

Soft power from the free-revving engine let me open the throttle early and longer, which all adds to the feel of being the boss in the rider/bike relationship. The light handling doesn’t wear you down, but I had to get used to the pin sharp brakes. I found it easy to miss gears if I wasn’t super positive while shifting, especially while accelerating hard through the box.

Like the GSX-R750, I now think the 749 is a more enjoyable and useable package than its bigger sibling. After a few hours of riding, my knees started to cramp, so I wouldn’t like to do huge trips on a regular basis, but then not everyone has mangled knees like me.
The day after our test was complete, I had to choose a bike for my Knockhill Riding School. I picked the 749 and it rocked.

I admit I’ve never been a fan of big, high performance race rep twins – in fact Ducati is convinced I have something against them – but this baby 999 has come close to converting me. For a start, I liked the matt black finish, which contrasted well with the standard chrome fork legs and the big white dash, plus I’ve always thought black is the only colour that suits the unusual look of the 21st century Ducati’s front end.

I actually had a ball riding back through Glencoe with the summer rain pissing down. The suspension seemed to be set quite soft which complemented the Pirelli Diablos, so I just rode and rode. There was a fair bit of standing water, but the handling was sweet apart from a few front aquaplane twitches. We’ve experienced the odd misfire or electrical gremlin from Ducatis in previous wet tests, but this time the Ducati never missed a beat in some really extreme weather.

Soft power from the free-revving engine let me open the throttle early and longer, which all adds to the feel of being the boss in the rider/bike relationship. The light handling doesn’t wear you down, but I had to get used to the pin sharp brakes. I found it easy to miss gears if I wasn’t super positive while shifting, especially while accelerating hard through the box.

Like the GSX-R750, I now think the 749 is a more enjoyable and useable package than its bigger sibling. After a few hours of riding, my knees started to cramp, so I wouldn’t like to do huge trips on a regular basis, but then not everyone has mangled knees like me.
The day after our test was complete, I had to choose a bike for my Knockhill Riding School. I picked the 749 and it rocked.

Dryweight (kg)189
Seats0
Seat Height (mm)780
Suspension FrontShowa 'LR/RC' 43 mm upside-down fully adjustable fork
Suspension RearProgressive linkage with fully adjustable Sachs monoshock
Tyres Front120/70 ZR 17
Tyres Rear180/55 ZR 17
Brakes Front2 x 320 mm semi-floating discs, 4-piston 4-pad caliper
Brakes Rear240 mm disc, 2-piston caliper
ChassisTubular steel trellis
Cubic Capacity (cc)992
Bore (mm)94
Stroke (mm)71.5
Compression Ratio10.1
IgnitionElectronic
CoolingAir Cooled
Fuel DeliveryEFI
Stroke TypeFour Stroke
DriveChain

Softer motor makes it easier to ride and the dark look is very cool.
Not the most comfy bike out there and looks still causing concern among some hard-core Ducatisti