2002 Ducati 748
You must own one before you die
The master cylinder for the front brakes went, and there is no rebuild kit from Brembo. You have to buy the entire replacement. A radial model is available, but I already had Pazzo adjustable levers, which are not compatible, so I simply ordered a stock replacement. It was $200, and included only the master cylinder. You have to pay extra if you need a new brake switch, and have to use all the other old associated parts. It took 4 weeks to get from Ducati, so I assume it was delivered via donkey from the hills in Sicily and then by ocean-going freighter.
You don't ride this motorcycle; it rides you. All I need to do is simply THINK, and the motorcycle will do exactly what you want it to. Never in my life have I ridden such an incredible-handling bike. Without telling you to ride one, no further overall comments are possible.
Maintenance: Let's just say if you can afford to buy a Ducati, you must be able to afford to fix one. I would say approximately $1 spent = 1km ridden. Thank goodness the valve maintenance is only required once every two years or so. While you're at it, replace the rocker arms. The chrome has been known to flake off, and they will wear to where adjustment becomes impossible.
Comfort: Apparently, there is no Italian word for this. The seat is basically a pizza box, and the rearsets make you look like a dog in heat trying to get it on with a football. The clipons ensure that you continually fear vaulting over the handlebars. Ladies & gentlemen, this bike was built with one sole purpose, and that's just what it does - TO RACE.
Looks: this particular model is perhaps the most stunning motorcycle ever built. I'm partial to yellow, and the cat-eye fairing & single-sider that epitomizes Ducati will guarantee to get you a attention from the opposite sex, at every stop, every time. The first thing you do with this bike is change the clutch cover, and put something vented on, so everyone can see and hear it when you pull up to the lights. Add some carbon-fibre (and buy the real stuff, this IS a Ducati, remember), and you're good to go.
Sound: From stock, the bike is extremely restricted. However, the first thing any sport biker does when they purchase a new bike is replace the exhaust system anyways. Full system or slip-ons. I'd recommend the slip-ons. Full systems are nice, but if you wanted to add more power, you should have bought the 916. Slip-ons require no tuning after the fact; you just put them on and go. There are several exhaust manufacturers out there, so pick your favorite. Once the aftermarket exhaust is on, the sound is quite unique. The bike has a roar/buzz that sounds like a Stuka on a bombing run, and contribute to helping you stand out.
Overall, there are those who own Ducati's, and those who WISH they owned one. Make sure you are the former, and your existence will be complete.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 16th April, 2008