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Ducati 848 Review

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)

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Ducati 848 Review

The Ducati 848 where it excels: the track.

Photo © Ducati

The Bottom Line

A kinder, gentler, and more tossable version of Ducati's amazing 1098.

Pros

  • All the sexy personality you'd expect from an Italian exotic.
  • Nimbler than the pricier 1098.
  • Same gorgeous body as the 1098.
  • Individualism galore.

Cons

  • All the ergonomic discomfort you'd expect from an Italian exotic.
  • Not as quick or torquey as a 1098.
  • No slipper clutch.
  • That lingering worry that you should've bought a 1098.

Description

  • Same bodywork as the Ducati 1098/1098S.
  • Powered by an 849cc, 134 horsepower L-twin.
  • 320mm, 4-piston Brembo brakes.
  • 370 lb dry weight.
  • Multiplate wet clutch (vs. the 1098's dry clutch.)
  • Retail price: $13,495.

Guide Review - Ducati 848 Review

The Ducati 1098 ($15,995) is a phenomenally powerful and focused bike, but its 160 hp engine is arguably more power than you can safely use on the road. Enter the Ducati 848 ($13,495): its 134 horsepower, 849cc L-twin may lack the low-end torque of its big-bore big brother, but it offers a lighter package wrapped in the same sexy skin.

If you've ever straddled a 1098 you'll experience a case of serious déjà vu when you climb aboard an 848; from its narrow body to its MotoGP-inspired instrumentation, the 848 feels essentially the same. An underseat exhaust heats up the seat when the ambient temperature rises and you'll still reach far and low for the grips, a posture that isn't very conducive to comfort... but touch the small "Start" button on the right grip and you'll likely forget any discomfort, at least for a while.

The 848's L-twin sounds like nothing else; it's got a decidedly unique, irregular exhaust note that's loud and distinctive-- very Ducati, indeed. Its wet clutch doesn't rattle like the 1098's dry clutch, and shifter lever action is light, though false neutrals were encountered several times between 5th and 6th gears. Off the line, the 848 accelerates with a torqueyness you just don't get from an inline-4 (though it's noticeably less grunty than the 1098.) You'll have to push the revs to around 8,000 rpm for serious speed.

The 848 turns in crisply and handles with excellent accuracy. Though it lacks the premium Öhlins suspension components of the 1098S, its light weight makes it eager to turn and lean, and its brakes are plenty strong.

Quick, nimble, and unrelentingly sporty, the Ducati 848 is a great choice for riders not quite ready for the 1098's over the top performance. It may lack literbike caché, but it's also a great way to save a few bucks without sacrificing fun.

Click here for a photo gallery of the 2008 Ducati 848

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Ducati 848 fun, Member Paullavelle

I am 55 years old and have rideen approximately 41 years. Everything from a honda 305 Super Hawk to my current 848. I have had mostly 750 to 1100 sportbikes and lived in SoCal for 26 years of canyon riding. I estimate I have about 600,000 miles on bikes. I moved to Florida 6 years ago and sold my 2000 GSXR 1000 and older Gs1100. I didn't think I would enjoy bikes in the flatlands of Florida. After a while, I started to get bike fever. I found myself back in the Japanese dealers looking at sportbikes. My entire life I had wanted a Ducati, but being my primary transportation in Ca., the maintenance was too intensive. I then found that Ducati had significantly improved their maintenance intervals and this bike would not be my primary transportation. That is provided by my Audi S4. So, I test drove numerous bikes and settled on the 848. I could have afforded th 1098S or any other, but my age and desire for longevity tempered my previous ""faster is best"" mentality. The 848 is an excellent blend of power, handling, brakes and exclusivity. I enjoy it every time I fire it up. It is definitely fast enough for me at this point in my life. It is track worthy right from the dealer. I did drop a tooth on the front sprocket to enhance its' lower speed driveability. It is geared tall from the factory. Wheelies are a breeze in 1st and 2nd with this mod. I have added some nice rearsets, some carbon fiber bits, eliminated the rear seat and pegs etc... I find it to be an absolute hoot to drive. Stability and brakes beyond my capabilities (or cajones at my age) and torque befitting of a literbike. I now need a two up sport tourer to satisfy my girlfriends rare wishes to go for a ride. It won't be at the cost of getting rid of the 848. It will be in addition to the 848. I refuse to give up the performance, fun and exclusivity factor. Not to mention, it is a really beautiful bike with nice Brembos, Marchesini wheels, Pirelli rubber and on and on. The single sided swingarm is a thing of beauty. I heartily recommend this bike for anyone in the market for near superbike performance, beauty, exclusivity and an exhaust note to die for. Also rare is the fact that Harley riders do not express the typical disdain for Japanese bikes when I show up somewhere on the Ducati. Not that I give a rats behind, but there i something special in a Ducati.

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