Classic Motorcycle Mechanics




‘Small ones are more juicy’ was a daft TV advert for Outspan oranges back in the early 1980s, but it could equally be applied to Ducati’s amazing 748… Because, many who rode both machines really did feel that the smaller capacity L-twin from Bologna was the sweeter of the two machines to ride and enjoy.

The first versions were released in 1994, a year after the 916. The ‘Biposto’ in base form and a series of SP or sports production versions over the course of the 748’s run (1994-2003.) Later SP versions would be the ‘R’ model, while the base 748 would be called the E, with a mid-range 748S thrown in for good measure. The top range homologati­on sports machines would come with updated suspension generally from Ohlins/showa, along with uprated Brembo brakes and Marchesini wheels. Power was anything between 90 and 105bhp, dependent on model.

Riding reports of the time always seemed to rave about the balance of the 748 over the 916 and that that narrower rear rim (180 over the 916’s 190) supposedly made the bike just that bit more agile in the corners. It was planted too, but then it wasn’t really the lightest supersport machine out there at 220 kilos wet. In racing, the bike was built for the European Supersport series, being raced by the Corona beer-backed Alstare team and later in the ‘new’ World Supersport championsh­ip. Paolo Casoli took his Moto 748 to the title in 1997 – the firm’s only championsh­ip win, as the Bologna firm dipped in and out of the series depending on their World Superbike commitment­s and the regulation­s.

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