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2009 Ducati 848 Comparison

Friday, March 20, 2009
2009 Ducati 848 - Wallpaper
Ducati 848
MSRP:
$13,999
Horsepower: 112.3 hp @ 10,200 rpm
Torque: 57.6 lbs.-ft @ 8100 rpm
Weight: 419.6 lbs w/fuel – 396.5 lbs w/o fuel
Superpole Time: 1:21.54 (Atlas)
¼ Mile: 11.09 @ 134.37 mph
Top Speed: 165.41 mph
Overall Ranking: 3rd-place
Are you a man or woman of style? Do you have passion for elegant design with performance to match? If so, Ducati’s 848 may have your name all over it. Heck, it looks fast with the kickstand down...

Completely unchanged for 2009, the Duck is every bit the Italian supermodel dressed in white, and the Ducati squad backs up that beautiful styling with plenty of performance in this mini-version of the 1198 (or mini-1098 as compared to its big brother last year). Check out the 2009 Ducati 848 video and see for yourself why we love this motorcycle so much.

Due to a bit of a tough time getting the Ducati set up on Michelin's radical tires, we weren’t able to get it as dialed in as we would have liked. Ducati's Jeff Nash (former AMA Pro Thunder Champion) got us the ballpark after busting his knuckles all day and that's when the solid trellis chassis showed us just how much potential it has.

Hitting you smack in the face every time you got on the 848 is the sheer difference between this and all the other bikes, especially the Japanese machines. Its tall, narrow and feels like a unicycle compared to the saddle girth of the R6 and ZX by comparison. It's designed as a racebike for the street and Ducati makes no bones about it. It is what it is: A racing motorcycle with lights.

The middleweight Twin requires higher corner speed and less shifting to get the most out of it, and when jumping from the Inline-Fours to the Ducati it takes a few laps to get used to things. It's also far more rigid compared to the competition and every last bump and crack in the pavement is felt by the rider, almost as if one is running their hand directly against the pavement – no doubt in completely stock form this motorcycle has the most promise of the group to be an awesome track weapon.

It s a Ducati. What more really needs to be said
It's a Ducati...what more can we say...
“Given the means, if you’re not going to change a thing, for a trackday bike the Ducati would be my choice,” Sorensen says about the race-worthy 848. “This bike has always made me feel I can get away with things I couldn’t on other bikes. I think you can explore limits in your riding further with this machine.”

One of its major advantages is the engine, which by far makes the most horsepower of the bunch (112.3 hp @ 10,300 rpm), as well as the biggest torque numbers (57.6 lb.-ft. @ 8100 rpm) by a healthy margin. Once we uncorked the Ducati at HPCC all those ponies showed through. It recorded the highest top speed of the test, passing the gun at 165.41 mph with effortless ease, not to mention sounding like a FA-22 fighter jet in full attack mode. Damn it sounds good! And despite a tough-to-use and grabby clutch, it powered to the fastest quarter-mile time of the bunch, laying down a 11.09 @ 134.37mph. No question if the Ducati was as easy to launch as the Suzuki it would have been the only bike into the 10-second bracket.

The 09 Ducati has one of the most advanced cockpits of the bunch  though the bar-graph-style tach can be hard to read at speed
Single-sided swingarms just plain look cool. Period
Ducati’s 848. Undoubtedly the prettiest of the bunch
Think Italian Supermodel - Beautiful, but expensive. The difference is you can actually buy one of these.
“The 848 is still one of my favorites,” says Hutch of the Ducati, “but for some reason it didn’t shine as brightly as it did in the past. It didn’t seem to have as huge of an advantage over all the multi-cylinder bikes this time around.”

Garcia disagreed, saying: “The 848 is a really strong Twin. It is nothing like the other five bikes but is still a fun and a good bike to ride or race. It has the most torque out of all the bikes, it just took some getting used to when it came to shifting. It was hard to tell when it was going to hit the limiter.”

As Garcia and some others pointed out, the weak point of the Ducati at the track is its notchy shifting and the fact that it is one of the three bikes in the test without a back-torque-limiting clutch. The wet clutch works well but the long throw of the shifter and vague feeling through the lever works against it - but not everyone needs it as two of our top three bikes were sans-slippers.

“The transmission is one area it would be nice to get the fit and finish of the Japanese bikes,” adds “Funny Man” Sorensen. “The large throw between gears and less positive shifts make it harder to be consistent on the Duck. It takes a bit of time to get used to the function of this machine. The clutch, on the other hand, I had no complaints.”

Mid-corner stability is where the Ducati really shines, once again showing just how racy the V-Twin is in completely stock from. When cranked on its side the Duck begs and begs to be leaned further and futher, taunting you to approch elbow-dragging lean angles like a girl at the bar giving you 'the eyes.' This stability helped boost the Ducati to fourth overall in the Suerpole session with a best lap of 1:21.54. Nearly every one of our testers ranked it top in this department. And rightfully so.

“Stability on the Duck is a different feeling compared to the other bikes,” says Sorensen. “I get a feeling of being connected to what is going on with traction in both front and rear in corner entry and mid corner. I have always felt this chassis asks to be ridden harder as you go faster.”

“The 848 is like a slot car,” Hutchy confirms. “Once you get it on track it sticks and carves a turn like no one’s business. It’s fairly unflappable and it’s no wonder it is so rewarding when ridden on a faster, more-flowing racetrack.”

In the Ducati’s case an extremely stable chassis comes with the byproduct of sluggish steering. Pulling it from side-to-side takes effort, as one had to wrestle it from left to right in transitions. And compared to the competition, this put the Italian Twin at the back of the pack, scoring low on the track subjective catagories in this area from nearly every rider in the group.

Waheed explores the vast range of the Ducati s torque curve
Exploring the Ducati's impressive torque curve can be quite fun. But do what Adam does and keep it off the street.
“As always, the 848 takes more effort to muscle into a turn initially than the Inline bikes do,” notes Ken. “It makes it a more-manly machine.”

“The Ducati’s turn-in is probably one of the most stable but the trade off is slower transitions left to right and more effort flicking the bike in,” observes Sorensen. “For me personally, I think this trade off is more than worth it. I have said it before and I will say it again, this chassis is the truest race-bred machine of all the bikes in this shootout.”

While proving to be liked by all for its rigid and racy feel at the track, with this comes a high level of discomfort on the street, much due to its aggressive stance. Only our resident hooligan Waheed praised the Ducati on the roads, because in his words “it wheelies the best with all that torque.” But Waheed isn't quite right in the head, if you know what I mean.

“The Ducati ergonomics are much more geared towards the racetrack,” Sorensen adds. “There is a lot of weight on the rider’s wrists and a fairly long stretch from pegs to seat. This seating position is more comfy than the previous 999/749 combo, though a full-day street ride still leaves you quite sore, but then again I'm a wimp.”

Across the board it was chosen as the best looking machine, fully living up to the Ducati standard of being the Ferrari or Porsche of the motorcycle world. When it comes to styling those Italians don’t mess around (except for maybe the 999/749, but that’s a whole different story).

“The Ducati looks awesome, much better than the rest,” Waheed interjects. “Those Italians know how to make beautiful
Sorensen instantly felt at honme on the V-Twin
Chuckie felt instantly at home on the Italian V-Twin...
motorcycles, cars, clothes – you name it they have the best style. Do you have any idea how much they build the 848 with passion and it shows.”

Impressive performance numbers – highest top speed, quickest quarter-mile, and biggest horsepower – allowed the Ducati to work its way up the chart. This was aided by its racetrack ability, though a lack of set-up time did hold it back ever so slightly. But what kept it from the top was its far too aggressive street nature and price premium. Even so, considering how closely matched this group is, coming home third to the rippin’ Kawasaki and do-it-all Honda is by no means something to be ashamed of. The Italians sure made a real good one in the 848.

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2009 Ducati 848 Video
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2009 Ducati 848 Shootout Gallery
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Ducati 848 Dealer Locator
Ducati 848 Highs & Lows
Highs
  • Just Look at It
  • Best Sound of the Bunch
  • Racebike Chassis
Lows
  • Price
  • Less Than Ideal Street Manners
  • Give us the 1098 Brakes, please! 
Related Ducati 848 Articles
2009 Ducati 848 Suspension Settings
Under-seat exhaust - not the best for weight dist but damn good looking

Measured from stock
(+clockwise, -counterclockwise)
Front
Compression: -1 turn
Rebound: -10 clicks
Preload: 2 lines showing

Rear
Compression: -1 1/4 turns
Rebound: -1/2 turns
Preload: -2 turns
Ride Height: 242mm
*Note this set-up is quite radical due to the size, shape and profile of the Michelin tires.

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Comments
adam - motousa -not that uncomfortable  November 16, 2010 12:16 AM
for me-i could ride everyday no problem
Rob -Question  August 31, 2010 02:50 PM
I have yet to ride the 848, but it has held my eye since it came out. As someone who is used to dirt bikes, a street bike is not all that much different. My question to you is...for those who have ridden it and/or own one...for just street riding, is this bike really that uncomfortable?
accomplished rider -from wow! to OMG!!  August 7, 2010 11:03 PM
I recently sold my awesome R6 yamaha and bought a ducati 848 (perl white). I had some doubts at the beginning.. heavier, sounds different, pure race posture.. why am I gonna switch from my 600cc to a muscle milk 849cc?? First of all the price, it is really expensive compare to japanese bikes. That has an impact on your ride, you now have more than $12k in between your legs so think about that before going crazy.. I finally bought it and I still remember my first miles on it! I was like OH MY GOD what is that sound coming from?? Are there two Harley riding on my back?? About torque I can give you an example, let say I was in third gear at this point with my R6, now I go 1st gear with the 848.. no vibration at high speed the chassis is just amazing. Low turns, high turns everything is now easy. I thought the 600cc R6 was a toy, easy to ride and a lot of fun. No way, the 848 is brutal, stable and really really fun! So if you have some hesitation... I'd say just go for it. It's gonna be hard for me to go back to japanese now
TEFLON434 -WERA RACER  April 14, 2010 10:46 AM
The 848 (*$*) its not for everyone, Most are hooked on what THEY have been USED to. DUCATI has done their job, in this class. They have provided motorcyclists with a very capable tool for racing as well as riding. The 848 does really well when ridden hard and is more likely to help you out when you make a mistake instead of throwing you on your arse like some of the "race oriented" 600's that I have owned/ridden. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when I LOOK at it, it screams ART, then you Listen to it, it screams PASSION... I made the switch from 4cyl. to the TWIN & I'm very happy with it. You have to ride one in different scenarios to truly understand it!!!!! TEFLON434 (google that)
Duke -Bells  April 2, 2010 05:48 AM
Truly a beautiful ride. I've had a Monster for four years and love absolutely love it. I've test ridden some of the Ducati sport bikes and the ergonomics aren't what you want if you're a dialy rider. I'm sure Ducati has some (high priced) risers in their catalog. The engine power distribution is what does it for me. And the styling. Bella, bella
Arne Brouwer (I am Dutch) -Ducati 848  March 25, 2010 01:09 PM
Amazing bike,high performance (most hp and most torque). And then its shape, as one of the testriders said, made with italian love and passion. And then the sound, great, really great, of course especially in high rpm's. High-priced though. But overall, i rate this bike really high. Lots of praises!!
D -Subjective  November 12, 2009 09:50 PM
I enjoyed the article, and it is good to see (after the poor 749 effort) that Ducati has come up with such a great bike. It is something I have desired since school, and although I can't quite afford one now I am pretty sure I will own a Ducati at some stage in my motorcycle career. It's like car lovers having to own an Alfa - it is just a bike that I think many bikers want to own!
adam -shootout  April 23, 2009 07:28 AM
the best bike for me ? the ducati ! why ? just because LOOK AT IT ..... and then ? LISTEN TO IT .....
Duc@t1st@ -molto bene  April 13, 2009 09:55 PM
despite all the other comments on the other 6 pages of this article, I just wanted to say thank you. good job. I enjoyed reading the article because I learned something from it. now should I proceed to complain, and tell you all how to do your jobs as if I know how to do them better than you do? should I ask some stupid questions and point out how, in my amateur opinion, your comparison is flawed because my favorite bike didn't come out on top? should I moan about how unprofessional I think you are because of the shortcomings that you actually admitted to in the article and about how I know better than all of you do? damn, that's the one think I dislike about blogs. you've got to filter through 95% idiocy to find a relatively intelligent comment where the writer knows how to spell! take this clown Teimur, for instance . . .