It’s easy to get carried away dumping money into a sportbike. There’s always some component that can be upgraded or lightened, and performance parts don’t come cheap. Unfortunately, modifying a bike from its original state typically reduces its value. Fortunately, you can find some pretty sweet deals from time to time where a previous owner’s loss can be your gain. That’s exactly what we’ve got here: an immaculate, thoroughly upgraded, low-mileage, garage-kept, reasonably-priced, Ducati 749 superbike.
The Ducati 749/999 family bore a controversial design. Some loved the symmetrical, stacked headlight arrangement while others felt it strayed too far from the previous Tamburini-designed flagships. While the 749/999’s aesthetics were subjective, it was hard to argue with the performance capabilities of the Ducatis. Upon their release in 2003, magazines somewhat universally adored the new machines, with MCN reportedly calling it “simply the best V-Twin on the planet”, and MotorcycleUSA.com supposedly describing it as “stupendous” and “the epitome of V-Twin power.”
After the monumental success of Massimo Tamburini’s 916-998 lineup, Ducati knew its next model had some big shoes to fill so the Italian marque called on Pierre Terblanche who had previously worked on the design teams behind the Multistrada, Supermono, SuperSport, and Hypermotard. While the design is probably best remembered for its bodywork, the 749 and 999 machines did in fact boast some impressive mechanical achievements and were cutting-edge bikes upon their release. However the mid-2000’s were a time of great advancements in the sport bike and super bike world, and it wasn’t long before Suzuki’s mid-sized GSXR’s were giving the more expensive mid-range Ducati a good run for its money.
The 749 and 999 had more parts in common than not, though the smaller version had a narrower rear wheel, smaller cylinders, and different cylinder heads, ultimately resulting in a smaller displacement of 748cc. The 749 did however have a higher-revving power-plant than its big brother, though its peak power figures were obviously lower. The smaller version was offered in four different specs throughout its production before being replaced by the 848. The base model was the 749, though there was also a higher-spec 749S which offered adjustable rake like on the 999, a limited release stealth version known as the 749 Dark, and the highest-spec, super-trick race version – also a limited release – the 749R.
Powering the base-model 749 was a liquid-cooled, 748cc, desmodromic eight-valve, 90-degree V-Twin married to a six-speed dry multi-plate hydraulic-controlled clutch. The three-quarter-liter V-Twin put down a claimed 108hp at 10,000rpm, 59.3ft-lbs of torque at 8,500rpm, and boasted a top-speed of around 150 mph. Wrapped around the Italian engine was Ducati’s signature lightweight tubular ALS450 steel trellis frame which helped keep weight down to a cool 416 lbs (dry).
While the S and R-spec variants sported more top-shelf components, the 749 base model still featured some decent hardware. The stock suspenders on the mid-sized super bike consisted of fully adjustable 43mm inverted Showa units in front and adjustable Showa monoshocks in back. The brake hardware was made up of dual 320mm disks with quad-piston calipers up front and a single 245mm disk with a dual-piston caliper in the rear. The 749 also came standard with a trick Magneti Marelli analog/digital instrumentation unit that looks surprisingly modern for a decade-and-a-half old display.
According to MCN, the earlier 749 models had some issues with reliability, though starting in 2004 Ducati would equip the 749 with a new management chip and electrical system which helped to remedy this. Another interesting feature on the 749 was that even the base models came from the factory with an immobilizer – a feat that was noteworthy in 2003, especially on a non-flagship, mid-range model. MCN also points out that “There is a vast array of factory Ducati extras available for this motorcycle so try to buy one with a few already fitted”, which brings us to the example that is currently for sale…
This 2005 749 example is the epitome of well-kept. Its paint and bodywork look pristine, and even the chassis, engine, and suspension all look pretty spotless. The current owner says this example just received a full detailing with C-quartz ceramic coating which explains its showroom appearance. Tons of plastic parts have been swapped out for carbon-fiber bits such as the ducts, ignition-cover, heat-guard, exhaust cover, front-fender, and tank-guard just to name a few. This 749 also has a factory rear “monoposto” cowl.
Other upgrades on this example include CRG levers, TWM quick-action CNC billet gas cap, Ohlins steering damper with Ducati Performance mount, smoke windscreen, fender eliminator kit, aftermarket aluminum clutch-cover, and high-end rear-sets. In addition to a Pit Bull rear track-stand, the sale of this upgraded 749 also includes ALL the stock parts that have been replaced/upgraded. This example also recently had a set of Diablo Supercorsa rubber wrapped around its wheels.
With only 5,000 original miles on this well-maintained, garage-kept example, one can confidently assume this 749’s mechanical shape is as superb as its current cosmetic state. The seller says this example recently underwent an oil change, as well as getting new belts, spark plugs, and air-filter. This example has also supposedly never been used at the track and has always been kept indoors. The pristine Panigale that can be spied in one of the seller’s photos would suggest this is someone who meticulously cares for their high-end Italian machines. This example currently has a clean title too.
Finding a 749 at this price is fairly standard, but this example is nonetheless pretty special. Between all of the upgraded parts, (plus the inclusion of the original OEM parts), this bike’s low mileage, and its having been excellently cared for, this is one genuinely noteworthy find. Though it’s not the latest and greatest motorcycle out there, the 749 is still a competent, (IMHO) good looking, modern sport bike. Plus it’s a Ducati, and that doesn’t hurt.
You can find this 2005 Ducati 749 for sale here on Craigslist in Los Angeles, California with a price of $5,000.