It was a love at first sight type of thing. I knew I wanted a Ducati, but I walked into the dealership not knowing what to expect. It was the only used 749 there and it was perfect. No after market work aside from a carbon fiber rear fairing, jet black double bubble wind screen, and a titanium clutch cover from Ducati Performance. It had 7,500 km on it and was basically a new, unmolested Ducati for a great price. I slammed a down payment on it almost immediately, knowing that there were at least four people seriously considering the motorcycle. The rest is history.
The bike weighs in at just over 400 lbs, so it's not as light as most crotch rockets. It's also top heavy.
Being a bike with a dry clutch it does require that you whack it into neutral at all stops, in order to keep from overheating and possibly frying your clutch. They can't be ridden nearly as much as a wet clutch, it's just not good for them. On the plus side, they are easier and cheaper to maintain. I like to clean mine out with an air hose every once in a while to get the dust out that builds up from friction. I do love that 'clack clack clack' noise that it makes when out of gear.
The bike accelerates with instant torque and wants to go. It reaches its peak power in and around 10,000 RPM, which is a nice time to shift. It's no whimp at low RPM like an 18,000 RPM revving rocket from Japan, that doesn't even see power until 10grand. It could be considered a muscle bike for that reason. Instant torque, and no child's play. This, together with the dry clutch can make it a very inconvenient and user unfriendly motorcycle for town riding, depending on what kind of person you are. I myself couldn't give a damn, because these kind of bikes are what appeal to me.
If you're buying this motorcycle with the intent of saving on gas, forget it and buy a Ninja. When I'm in town in slow traffic, first and second gear see about 9 or 10 mpg at the most. On the highway at a steady pace, I can get about 20mpg. So, basically it's complete crap. I found one site that claimed 35mpg at best for this bike, and that's true only when you're coasting down a hill with the wind at your back. I don't even know why they include a fuel consumption meter on the dash computer. Every time you look it's like having someone finger you. Your subsequent facial expression will be the same.
By being top heavy, this bike can sometimes leave you lacking confidence on a snaky road at high speed, because it feels like a tank. But when you do hit that right line of attack, the rewards are great. Nothing like big torque to spit you out of a nice sweeper.
All in all, I see my 749 Dark as the perfect bike, only because it's what I love. I don't care about gas mileage or the fact that I can't really go grocery shopping. This Ducati has become a part of me, and being unmarried with no kids, it's still safe for me to say that it's the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.