Ducati 749 (2003 – 2006): Future Investment

Author: Bike Social Investment Specialist Posted: 07 Aug 2015

Quite simply a 999 with a 749 motor and a £3000 lower price

Future Investment: Ducati 749 (2003 – 2006)

Parents can be an embarrassment and when it was released in 2003, the Ducati 749 unwittingly became embroiled in exactly the same storm that was plaguing its parent bike, the 999. Although, oddly, the smaller bike managed to weather the resulting turbulence far better than the 999 – mainly down to its price tag.

True, Pierre Terblanche’s concept for the future of Ducati’s superbike range had not gone down well, but the 749 was appealing to a very different audience to the 999. The larger capacity model was being bought by die-hard Ducati fans who lived and breathed the 916 silhouette whereas the 749, with its £3000 lower price tag, was aimed at younger riders who were taking their first steps into the world of Ducati.

And these riders spotted what a gem the 749 was.

Make no mistake, in 2003 the 749 was one hell of a bargain. Sticking to its tried and tested formula, Ducati basically took the 999 as a base and threw in a smaller engine. Both bikes share the same chassis, CAN-bus wiring, double sided swingarm and bodywork and the only real differences are the fact the 749 uses a smaller capacity version of the testastretta motor. That’s quite a spec for a bike costing only marginally more than an inline four Japanese bike. And it got even better when the upgraded 749S appeared in 2004 with its more powerful motor. By 2004 the new breed of supersport bikes were costing over £7000 – meaning Ducati ownership wasn’t that much of a step up in price. And when the ‘budget’ Dark was launched at under £8000 the 749 made even more sense. So why is now a great time to buy a 749?

Over recent years the market for the 999 has bottomed out and this once unpopular Ducati is now going through a resurgence. Prices are on the up and it won’t be much longer until decent 999 models are priced out of most rider’s ranges. When this happens the knock-on effect will be for riders wanting, but not being able to afford, the 999 to turn towards the 749 – which is exactly what has happened with the 748. At this point the supply of good 749s will be snapped up, leaving only over priced tidy bikes or shonkers on the market. And this is the issue with buying the 749.

At launch the 749 was a bargain

Due to the fact the 749 was generally bought by younger riders, there are a lot of very poorly looked after bikes out there. These riders generally upgraded from a Japanese inline four and as a result expected their new Ducati to behave similarly when it came to servicing. The simple truth of the matter is that a 749 is still a Ducati and therefore needs to be looked after properly. Thrash it from cold and you will damage the engine, fail to change the belts every two years and you will have issues, ignore the regular oil changes and you are riding a potential time bomb and if you don’t sort the niggles (electrical connectors around the battery tray area) you will enter a world of pain. Passionate Ducati owners (and those who own the 999) are far more dedicated to looking after their bike than 749 owners who tend to treat it as they would a Japanese bike. Search out a well looked after 749, or ideally a 749S, with a full service history and you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great bike with a soulful V-twin motor and excellent handling that, as long as it is looked after, won’t let you down mechanically or financially. The 999 look is currently back in vogue and even the 749 Dark with its matt paint turns heads – in fact, some would argue it is the coolest of the 749 models.

The Dark with its matt paint was many fans' favourite



Liquid-cooled, 8v, desmo V-twin


103bhp @ 10,000rpm


56lb.ft @ 8,500rpm



Original price

£8800 and £9600 for the 749S


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