Nicknamed the “seven-four-nine,” the Ducati 749 made its debut in 2003. Although it would only have a brief run--its manufacturer, Italian bike maker Ducati, stopped production three years later--the Ducati 749 became popular for its sheer power, great design and enviable performance. The 2004 model year was when Ducati stepped it up a couple of notches: by splitting the seven-four-nine into multiple models.
Available in a red or yellow finish, the 2004 Ducati 749 is split into three models: the regular 749 (749 Base), 749S and 749R. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $13,495 for the Base model, $14,795 for the S model and $21,995 for the S model.
The 2004 Ducati 749R, in particular, is the top-of-the-line model and designated as the racing version of the bike. It is lighter than the other models (423 lbs instead of 435) and has a larger tank for premium fuel (4.8 gallons instead of 4.1). The L-Twin (two) cylinder, four-valves-per-cylinder liquid-cooled Testastretta engine that goes on the 749R produces 121 horsepower: compared with 108 and 116 horsepower on the 749 Base and 749S, respectively. This is the result of a longer bore, shorter stroke and larger intake valves on the 749R engine.
The engine on each 2004 Ducati 749 is paired with a six-speed manual for a simulating ride, while the inverted fork and rear twin-sided swing that comprise the suspension makes sure that driving is smooth. An aluminum frame construction makes the bike lighter, yet retains its sturdiness. The digital dashboard is rich with instrumentation that includes a clock, tachometer, trip odometer, lap time, speedometer, service reminder indicator, and temperature and fuel level warning lights. Other standard features on the ‘04 Ducati 749 include an engine immobilizer as a theft deterrent, mounts for installing a windshield; and halogen lights and rearview mirrors for increased visibility. With the 749S model, you have the option of getting a single or dual vinyl seat; the Base model gets a dual, while a single is standard on the R version.
The 2004 Ducati 749 shares several similarities with its sibling, the 999. Although the latter has larger engine displacement due to the larger size of its cylinder heads, the ‘04 seven-four-nine uses many of the same components, including suspension, brakes and throttle body for fuel injection. Also, the Ducati 749 has a rake, which is adjustable on the S and R models and is rare on motorcycles in general.
Sporty performance leans heavily in favor of the 749R version of the 2004 Ducati 749. So, for the performance enthusiasts, the 749R should be the top choice. However, the R model is rather rare, as it was produced in limited quantity. Ultimately, though, expect a fun-to-drive motorcycle from the ‘04 seven-four-nine, regardless of model.