Ducati, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer, introduced its 848 sport bike in 2008, positioning it as a middleweight supersport racer that was also street legal. The model was a carryover for 2009.
Sometimes called the little brother of Ducati’s successful racing superbike, the 1098R, the 848 is powered by a racetrack-inspired 849.4cc liquid-cooled longitudinal V-twin four-stroke Testastretta Evoluzione engine with a dual overhead cam and Marelli electronic fuel injection. The six-speed transmission has close-ratio gears and a chain final drive. The throttle is extremely responsive. Ducati replaced the dry clutch used in many of its bikes—and which many riders complained about—with a hydraulically controlled wet multi-plate clutch for this bike.
The 848 has a Showa suspension system: the front end has an inverted fork with adjustable preload and rebound damping—plus five inches of travel—and the rear has a single-sided swing arm with an adjustable spring preload shock and rebound damping. A steering damper is available as an option, and some riders recommend adding it. Brembo four-piston dual hydraulic discs in front and a substantial single disc in back furnish plenty of stopping power.
The 848’s digital instrument display offers an array of information: it has the standard clock, fuel gauge, temperature light, odometer, tachometer, and speedometer, plus a trip computer.
Generally regarded as easier to handle than the 1098 or 1198 from the same year, partially because it delivers less power, the 848 has the same narrow trellis frame found on the bigger supersport bikes, a frame that is known for its stability. The rider position on the 370-pound (dry weight) machine is track oriented, with the seat and foot pegs tilting the rider forward. This is very effective for track day competition and fun for winding country roads, but definitely a drawback if you plan to ride on city streets; adjusting the suspension and switching out the seat make the bike more practical but still fun. As with other Ducati race-derived bikes, the mirrors are strictly a concession to Department of Transportation requirements—the bike has them, but they are useless. The 2009 Ducati 848 comes in two colors, pearl white and Ducati red, and a variety of options are available—full racing fairing, several different windshields, even a tail bag.