Ducati 748 info required

Hi everyone. I am thinking about buying a 748 Ducati, Circa 2000 onwards. I would like to cut through all the BS i keep reading and hear from actual owners as to reliability/ownership etc. Are they as troublesome as some people would have you believe ? I hear that the rockers can start flaking and damage the camshafts. They stop in the rain, and won’t even start when it turns damp.
So, i want the “skinny” from people that actually own them and not some fictitious story from someone that has never owned one.

I’m not looking for a daily driver, just a play thing that i can use to go out for reasonable length rides when the need arises. I understand they aren’t tourers of long distance machines, but i don’t want to be dumped by the roadside whenever i want to do a 200 mile ride.
I am a mechanic by trade, so most jobs on the bike wouldn’t bother me.
What do i look for when buying one ?
Your comments would be appreciated.

Well i guess no one has one, or are too embarrassed about talking about reliability ?

As far as I know the 2000 and newer do not have the flaky rocker issue that afflicted earlier bikes (certainly up to and including my 1998 916).

If it has standard footpegs and the ends are scraped it has been dropped unless the previous owner was called Fogarty or Hodgson.
There is a small locating peg on the handlebar clamp and if this has torn away at its groove in the top yoke the bike has probably been dropped.

Wiring from generator to rectifier is suspect on the earlier 2-wire models, the later 3-wire ones are generally OK but check the plug near the rectifier for signs of overheating. Common cures are cutting wires back to the alternator and replacing with thicker wire, also cutting the plug out and soldering the joint to the rectifier is useful.

Cush drive rubbers are prone to failure and walk out of their location, the usual sign of this is alloy filings on the swingarm as the metal surround on the rubber, mills away at the chain adjusting ring.

Headlights are adequate for legal speeds at night. A white milky staining on the inside of the headlamp lens is easily fixed with a bit of meths or brake cleaner.

That’s just scratching the surface, from my experience of owning a 916 Biposto from 1997 to 2004 (45,000 miles), and a 916SPS from 2005 to present (35,000 miles) accumulated on anything from Sunday morning blasts to 500 mile days.

Most maintenance is straightforward, not being an experienced mechanic I leave engine work to professionals.

I don’t have a modern phone, so I only look at this forum from my PC every week or so but if you need more information you can find my details in Desmo.
Steve Blades

Thanks Steve. I did own a very “rough” Monster for a short while so i have knowledge on the charging circuit…
My head tells me to buy a Japanese bike again, but my heart wants a Ducati 748/749, and i’m at that time of life where it’s now or never…
Thanks for the reply. :wink:

I don’t know about 749s (although I nearly bought one before decided on the 916SPS) but I would think that it would be a better ride from a performance and reliability point of view, and even a dyed in the wool 916-ist like me doesn’t mind the looks of them these days.
So 748 if you want to look at it, 749 if you want to enjoy the ride more often.

Let us know which way it goes.

Well i bought a yellow 748 last night. It’s pretty mint, but needs a service. The cambelts have only done 3000 miles, but were done 5 years ago… According to a local dealer they need changing on a time/mileage basis…
I was pretty nervous about buying it as Ducati’s have this reputation of reliability woes, but i’ve never found anyone yet that spouts off about reliability that has actually owned one ! Hopefully it’s just a myth that snowballed.
I’ll post some pics when i get time.

Enjoy your new bike! Will you be doing the servicing on it?

I’m tempted as it’s within my skill set, but as i’m super busy at work at the moment, i’m going to put it in the hands of Ducati Performance in Strood, Kent. It had belts 3000 miles ago, but that was 5 years back. So i think it would be wise before i actually use it to have it checked over.
Do the new kevlar belts last longer ? Am i right in thinking they should be changed on a time basis as well as mileage ? They’ve only done 3k, but would they deteriorate over the years ???