Ducati 749S




Make Model.

Ducati 749S




Four stroke, 90°“L”twin cylinder, DOHC, desmodromic 4 valve per cylinder, belt driven


748.4 cc / 45.7 cu in
Bore x Stroke 90 x 58.8 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Compression Ratio 12.3:1
Lubrication Wet sump
Engine Oil Synthetic, 10W/40
Exhaust Single steel muffler with catalytic converter


Marelli electronic fuel injection, 54 mm throttle body


Digital CDI

Spark Plug

Champion, RA6HC, NGK CR9VX
Starting Electric

Max Power

85 kW / 116 hp @ 10500 rpm

Max Torque

82.4 Nm / 8.4 kgf-m / 60.8 ft-lb @ 8500 rpm
Clutch Dry multiplate with hydraulic control


6 Speed 
Primary Drive Ratio 1.84:1 (32/59)
Gear Ratios 1st 2.466 / 2nd 1.765 / 3rd 1.400 / 4th 1.182 / 5th 1.043 / 6th 0.958:1
Final Drive Ratio 2.78:1 (14/39)
Final Drive Chain
Frame Tubular ALS450 steel trellis

Front Suspension

Showa 43mm fully-adjustable upside-down fork with TiN
Front Wheel Travel 125 mm / 4.9 in

Rear Suspension

Progressive linkage with fully-adjustable Showa monoshock
Rear Wheel Travel 128 mm / 5.0 in

Front Brakes

2 x 320mm Disc, 4 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 245 mm disc, 2 piston caliper
Front Wheel New Y-shaped 5 spoke design light alloy, 3.50 x 17
Rear Wheel New Y-shaped 5 spoke design light alloy, 5.50 x 17

Front Tyre

120/70 ZR17

Rear Tyre

180/55 ZR17
Rake 23.5° - 24.5°
Trail 97 mm / 3.8 in
Dimensions Length: 2095 mm / 82.5 in
Width:     730 mm / 28.7 in
Height:  1090 mm / 42.9 in
Wheelbase 1420 mm / 55.9 in
Seat Height 780 mm / 30.7 in

Dry Weight

199 kg / 438 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

15.5 L / 4.1 US gal / 3.4 Imp gal
Reserve 3.0 L / 0.8 US gal / 0.7 Imp gal

Consumption Average

5.6 L/100 km / 18 km/l / 42.3 US mpg / 50.8 Imp mpg

Braking 60 km/h - 0

12.0 m / 39.4 ft

Braking 100 km/h - 0

37.5 m / 123.0 ft

Standing ¼ Mile  

11.2 sec / 203 km/h / 126 mph

Top Speed

250 km/h / 155 mph
Instrumentation Speedometer, rev counter, high beam indicator, turn signals, oil pressure warning light, low fuel warning light, neutral light, water temperature, Immobilizer


An exclusive version equipped with top quality components. A transitional phase between the R version and the basic version, designed to meet with the approval of demanding and informed customers. More powerful than the 749, with more sophisticated chassis and running gear, that make it possible to achieve very fast lap times, all combine to make this machine a highly interesting classic proposal in the purest Ducati style.


All bodywork parts have exactly the same shape on all the Ducati Superbikes, so the only distinctive elements on the 749S are details that make a difference to the ergonomics of the machine, which although they may go unnoticed at first glance, offer easily perceptible advantages in race conditions. This is the case of the footpegs, which offer several alternative positions to enable the rider to find the ideal posture, and the tank-seat combination, which on the single-seater version, can be moved fore and aft to find the preferred weight distribution. The styling of the bike is also influenced by the professional type suspension making the overall appearance of the 749S meaner and more aggressive.


Homologated for road use although designed primarily for use on the track, the 749S features a top quality chassis and running gear, with advanced suspension systems and the ability to find the ideal set-up that are even more sophisticated than those provided for the basic 749. The top of the range Showa production was chosen for the suspension, with a 43 mm upside-down fork and TiN coated stanchions, and with a professional rear monoshock. The steering damper on the 749S is equipped with an eccentric terminal, a solution imposed by the presence of an adjustable rake steering head. Ducati allows riders to choose between a rake of 23.5 and 24.5 degrees depending on personal taste and road or track conditions. But that's not all: the 749S can be personalised for each rider, thanks to the five footrest position options.


The 749S twin cylinder engine was developed by exploiting the experience gained with official race machines. Important details, such as the connection system between the valve stem and the closing rocker shim, come directly from the Borgo Panigale race department and have made it possible to achieve extreme valve timing. The result is 116 HP at 10,500 rpm, but this excellent value was obtained without detracting from flexibility of the power band (torque is 8.4 kgm at 8,500 rpm), which is one of the main qualities of this model, and while maintaining the utmost reliability.


Ducati 749S Italian Class

Full disclosure: Through no fault of Ducati, the 749 arrived to the street testing party after we'd finished our group photography. However, we were able to ride the bikes in a group in California and also rode the Duc on the same roads in Oregon where we had ridden the others. So, although it didn't get as many miles on it, we still think we represent it fairly.

Some of you might wonder about our audacity to include a $15,000 exotic in a category of $9K bikes. Sure, the Duc costs 70% more than the Kawi, but what would you do if Ducati said they'd give you one to thrash? At least we didn't include the $21,995 749R, which boasts titanium valves, retainers and con-rods, plus a slipper clutch. To fit tighter budgets, Ducati also offers the $13,995 standard 749 or the $12,495 749 Dark, the latter doing without glossy paint or a steering damper.

In a strange way of looking at things that Ducatisti understand, the S model of the 749 series can actually be seen as a bargain over the standard 749. A higher compression ratio of 12.3:1 help give it a claimed 8-hp boost, and its suspension is upgraded with a titanium-nitride coating on the Showa fork plus a Showa shock to match instead of the Sachs rear damper on the standard 749. Available in the U.S. only in the monoposto (single-seat) version, the S also has the trick fore/aft seat adjustment (20mm range) and five-position adjustable footpegs the "lowly" 749s don't.

Just looking at the 749 is enough to convince you this is a unique and special bike in this collection. Compared to the stubby multi-cylinder bikes in this test, the Duc looks long and lanky. Indeed, its 55.9-inch wheelbase is more than an inch longer than the rest of the bikes and a massive 1.6 inches rangier than the compact R6. The little Superbike feels different, too, with an ultra-slim midsection, long reach to the bars and a low, hard seat. A rider is stretched out more than on the others, but the bike feels so cool underneath that some riders quickly forgot about any pain it might induce.

"The 749 doesn't compromise form for function," says our Editorial Director Ken Hutchison. "The bike is a purpose-built carving machine, so if you are looking for a nice comfortable ride this might not be for you. Funny thing is, this bike has a wide array of adjustability with fore/aft seat adjustments as well as variable pegs mounts. But its bars are quite low, and that's what causes that ache after a long ride."

When we last tested a 749 in 2004, the Dark edition came up a bit short on the dyno with its 94.8-hp pull. Its bounty of torque couldn't overcome is top-end deficiency. The 749S we included in this shootout had no such problem, as its 106.6-hp peak exceeded the Triumph's and nearly matched the revvy Yamaha's. And, naturally, nothing else in this group could match its 55.1 lb-ft torque peak.

"The sweet V-Twin offers up the type of low-end and midrange grunt that makes you not worry so much about how comfortable you may or may not be," adds Kenny, "and it reminds you why Ducatis are so much fun to ride on your favorite canyon road."

Getting to your favorite canyon road, however, is less pleasurable. Imagine driving an early-'70s Ferrari and you'd be close: heavy clutch, wide turning radius, relatively balky shifting and crap rearward visibility.

But get your Italian steed pointed for the hills and the perception changes from awkward to bella. Thoughts of a long reach to the wheel, er, 'bars become vapor and instead turn to visions of Troy Bayliss nearly dragging his elbow over the curbing in one of Monza's chicanes. A booming, sonorous soundtrack bounces off canyon walls, and you just know the trophy girl at the end of the road is going home with you.

The 748cc Twin pumps out power everywhere, responsive and obedient, and its tubular trellis chassis is virtually unflappable. On the right kind of road - full of sweepers and long sightlines - the Ducati offers an experience the more frenetic competition just can't match.

It's in the tighter stuff where the 749 feels less adroit. Part of the blame lies in its second-laziest 24.5-degree rake angle, but it's a combination of its long wheelbase and extra poundage that holds it back. At 435 lbs with its tank empty, the Duc weighs a significant 28 lbs more than the next heaviest of the group, the GSX-R, and a massive 45 lbs lardier than the flyweight Daytona.

Thankfully, serious braking power is supplied via 4-piston, 4-pad Brembo calipers biting on dinner-plate-sized 320mm rotors. Although the calipers aren't the trendy radial-mount type, the blend of braided-steel brake lines and the largest discs in the group allow eyeball-ejecting deceleration. Our only gripes are an initial bite that can be a bit harsh and a marginal lack of feel. And, depending on the tires, the bike might stand up when trail-braking.

Thus far we've been able to paint a fairly flattering picture of the debonair Italian, but when ranked as a streetbike, there are a few rough seams in the Armani.

Along with punishing ergonomics, a rider has to endure considerable heat coming off the engine and exhaust. Gear changes are accomplished with a bit more effort and less precision, and the only slipper clutch it has is controlled by your left hand. You also won't find a handy gear-position indicator or even a redline on the tach. Tie-down hooks and on-board storage are a figment of your imagination, and trips to your dealer for valve-clearance inspections will come just 6000 miles apart, mercifully longer than the frequent gas stops forced by the minuscolo 4.1-gallon fuel tank. Also, your favorite passenger will be taking the car.

But, let's face it, if you've got the deep pockets to afford a $15,000 single-seater, you probably have something else in the garage that's a bit more practical. For those who are in that fortunate situation, you'll be happy knowing your Italian speedster offers up a riding experience that in many ways surpasses that of any rippin' upstart that revs north of 12,000 rpm.

A chassis as good as anything
Sex appeal of an exotic
Only game in town for V-Twin enthusiasts

Platinum price tag
S&M ergos
Is a redline too much to ask for?

Source Motorcycle-USA