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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone,

I'm seriously considering one of these bikes, I'm not too concerned about performance because I imagine even the most basic 748 would be more than enough for me.

What I would be after is the most reliable example (considering maintenance as well) also a small pillion seat would be great. So I'm thinking one of the later 748's?

Don't know too much about these bikes other than they are V-twin which I like and are very attractive to my eye!

Would appreciate any pointers. Thanks!
 

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They're all great bikes. I've had my 98' Ducati 916 for over 12 years now, and I wouldn't sell it or trade it for any of the newer bikes. I've ridden the latest Panigale 1199, and it's a great bike too, but to me it doesn't have that old school soul that the older Ducatis possess.

The 748 is a good bike also, I've also owned one of those. They turn up a little faster in the bottom end, but of course they don't have the mid range grunt or the top end rush of the higher displacement bikes.

Do your research and I'm sure you'll pick the right bike.
 

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The older bikes are very unique and for anyone who's owned newer Ducati's, it's very cool to try an older one just to get the experience. However, for someone who hasn't owned a Ducati before and doesn't know the nuances, it's hard. If you're willing to learn, if you're willing maintain any Ducati you wind up buying at home, learning all the processes to do maintenance yourself, then it's worth it. The challenge of owning and older Ducati can be very rewarding because unlike the newer bikes, the older one's have a lot of soul, they really are the essence of what Ducati means. It's very unfortunate they stepped away from that on the new bikes, but that's progress for you and unfortunately, most people don't like to work on their own bikes.

So this begs the question, which model? Well… the 748's all have problems, they're the worst of the problem Superbikes of that generation. Rocker arm's, rocker pin's spinning and stripping out the pin cover plates, bottom end issues, even the oil galley plug issue which you never hear about anymore, these are all inherent problems with the 748/916. Ducati did fix MOSTLY ALL of the problems with the 2002 748 and 998, however there weren't very many examples made AND they use a different head design, one side is shorter, making parts very difficult to source. It's almost better to have an older bike, build the motor properly to begin with and have the option to run more normal parts.

If I were to buy a classic Ducati right now and couldn't afford or absolutely wouldn't buy a 998 (The best of that generation) I would absolutely buy a 2001 748R. They are amazing little bikes and they don't have the problems of the standard 748/916 because they use 996 parts, not 916 parts. So the motor is actually the most updated engine. Plus the "R" really sings, it's got a beautiful power curve which is exciting and a lot more fun then the standard 748. The only thing you'd need to buy is a set of new rocker's and MBP collets. Simply pull the stock collets out, measure them and replace them with MBP's like for like. Then buy a set of updated rocker arm's and rocker arm pins. This will run you about $2k for the whole kit, but well worth it.

However with all that said… the most reliable bike in that body style is the 998, preferably mid 2001's and newer. The sticker on the frame tells you the production date and any bike made past August of 2001 doesn't have the rocker issues. Any bike previous, has the rocker issues. The 998FE is on a very short list of bikes I'd like to own before I die.

The other option is an S4 or S4R, which is a 996 or 998 engine in a Monster… beautiful bike, well worth the money and pillion passenger will be happy. The 916/748/996/998's are horrible pillion bikes and a lot of them can't be converted due to the use of a lightweight aluminum subframe to cut down on weight. So if it's not a biposto from the factory… you may not be able to do it. I wouldn't dare throw a passenger on one of those bikes, it's scary just thinking about it.

Sorry for the load of information, but there ya have it! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
The 748 is a good bike also, I've also owned one of those. They turn up a little faster in the bottom end, but of course they don't have the mid range grunt or the top end rush of the higher displacement bikes.
This is what initially attracted me to the 748 model, I'm told they have a more dated "tractor" style feel to them especially with low down grunt although combined with superbike performance, which the later evolutions don't being more superbike than tractor throughout.

Imagine I am usually a classic Norton 750 rider, so I am very much in tune with agriculural motorcycles that can go fast!

Ducati did fix MOSTLY ALL of the problems with the 2002 748 and 998, however there weren't very many examples made AND they use a different head design, one side is shorter, making parts very difficult to source. It's almost better to have an older bike, build the motor properly to begin with and have the option to run more normal parts.
In this case it would certainly be better to get a 748 and work out the problems, that or just get a later 998.

The 916/748/996/998's are horrible pillion bikes and a lot of them can't be converted due to the use of a lightweight aluminum subframe to cut down on weight. So if it's not a biposto from the factory… you may not be able to do it. I wouldn't dare throw a passenger on one of those bikes, it's scary just thinking about it.
It'll have to be biposto then, I need a pillion function if only for short rides.

The challenge of owning and older Ducati can be very rewarding because unlike the newer bikes, the older one's have a lot of soul, they really are the essence of what Ducati means.
You may have sold the old 748 with this statement! I work on all my bikes, and want to narrow it down to two, Norton N15 and a Ducati. So I'm thinking perhaps a 748 engine rebuild! So I understand the later 748 engines are not the same as the earlier ones?

I would also be inclined to slightly detune the engine if this ensured higher reliablity and less maintenance interval.

With the Norton Atlas engine, this is simply a case of ironing out the problems they have and being conservative with the power output, i.e. not pushing the already overextended unit too far.

Sorry for the load of information, but there ya have it! :)
No I really appreciate it.
 

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Maintenance issues only, stick with a 996 and avoid a lot of the issues, prices are quite low. You're going to have to work on this bike yourself in my opinion or basically outspend the purchase price in service. The service is easy, I am not a mechanic, and can do 80% of the work myself with patience and a shop manual (and the collective forum wisdom). If you like the idea of a bike with character and that needs attention, you're on right path. Given that you can have a model that won't strand you and will last for well over 50k miles. The 996S models are generally better taken care of with lower owner numbers in my hunts - and for about a 20-25% premium. But gorgeous bikes can be had in the US for $6-$8k. The non-s models you find might need a bit more work up front, be a bit more modified or with a checkered history but also no less wonderful - and at a savings of a couple of grand easy. Records, records, records. Well over low miles is one ridden but maintained. But if you don't like the idea of working on it yourself or want to let it sit more than move, you might want to move forward in time to a newer (and possibly less charismatic) model.
 
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