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2009 Ducati 848 First Impressions


by Pascal Bastien ,

More than a poor man’s 1098, the 2009 Ducati 848 stands out as more user-friendly than the more powerful sibling. Equally competent on the road and the track, this little Italian beast takes the torch once carried by the 749 and raises play to a higher level thanks to gains of 100cc in displacement, 26 hp and a few pounds-feet of torque, not to mention a weight loss of 20 kg. To top it all off, it comes in Pearl White. Bellissimo!

The 2009 Ducati 848 delivers the unique looks and thrills expected of a pure Italian bike.

When you take a closer look at the 848, you can’t help but marvel at the attention to detail. Every component has been meticulously crafted to create a breathtaking package. The Desmosedici-derived, MotoGP-style dashboard might be hard to read under a blazing sun, but it doesn’t miss a thing. You get all the information you need for riding on the track, including a digital tachometer, a programmable RPM indicator light, engine and ambient temperature gauges, as well as a stopwatch controlled by a button near the left handlebar.

Love that engine!
The 2009 Ducati 848 boasts a number of innovations, starting with the silent wet clutch system and the 1098-derived L-Twin desmodromic engine that’s 5-kg lighter than the old 749’s. The new L-Twin benefits from several advancements, including lightweight bimetal valves, oval-shaped intake ducts and ports derived from MotoGP engines, and magnesium cylinder heads. At the end of the day, the 848 outperforms everything we’ve seen so far from medium-displacement Twins in this segment. Granted, 848 cc is more than your average middleweight displacement, but cheating can be so much fun at times!

Flexible and even tempered, the 848 is not a butt-kicker like the 1198. It does however offer plenty of useable torque as early as 3,000 rpm, and gives a strong push from 6,000 all the way to 10,000 rpm (with an extra dose of aggressiveness around 7,000 rpm). The Ducati 848 is way more potent than its smaller predecessor, and also more pleasant in the lower part of the rev range, delivering smoother, easier riding on the street and the track.

The engine does however offer plenty of useable torque as early as 3,000 rpm, and gives a strong push from 6,000 all the way to 10,000 rpm.
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