The Ducati 848, Ducati's baby superbike has always been an overlooked beauty. Visually nearly identical to its bigger brother the supersport spec Ducati was often perceived as the runt of the litter by riders blinded by the thought that bigger is better. Which wasn't necessarily true. Get a Ducati 748, or later the 749, spinning and the engine reveals itself as a rev-happy monster, more than prepared to receive the thrashing of a lifetime and return the flavor by providing a thrilling and immensely satisfying ride. So, fairly reasonably, I assumed that the Ducati 848 would follow a similar path, just with a bit more grunt. This isn't completely true.
The Ducati 848 is, according to the Ducati specifications, 20kg lighter and has 26 horsepower more than the Ducati 749. Ah, that sounds better, 134 horses in a motorcycle weighing 168kg, no we talking, that's is only 36 hp less than my Ducati 1198S and it weights less.
To recap, the Ducati 848 is lighter, more powerful and a damn sight better looking than the old Ducati 749, so why isn't Ducati promoting the 848 of being a lightweight track missile? Simple, the Ducati 848 has been designed to be an easy to ride superbike as a counter to the rather aggressive Ducati 1198.
The Ducati 848's engine is basically the same as the 1198. It has the same oval intakes for better flow of fuel/air into the cylinder, giving improved combustion and power, the same design testastretta head and same fuel injection system. But with the 848 Ducati has trimmed the capacity to 848cc, added a wet rather than the traditionally dry clutch and lightened the whole thing by a few kilos. It still has the soul and beautiful deep V-Twin growl as the other V-twin superbike Ducati's, but is far less aggressive and easier to use to near its potential.