The Ducati 748 was the smaller version of the Ducati 916, an Italian sports motorcycle manufactured by Ducati from 1994 to 2002. It was succeeded by the Ducati 749. Ducati 748 is identical in almost every way to the 916. The only differences are rear tire size and engine capacity of 748 cubic centimeters. The engine’s shorter piston stroke gives a higher rev ceiling of 11500 RPM, and the smaller pistons help the engine accelerate more quickly. Ducati produced several variations of the 748, starting with the basic 748 Biposto in 1994 and then the 1995-96 748SP and 1996-99 748SPS followed as more powerful options. The different variations of the engine produced at least 95 Horse Power. The SP and SPS engines were in a higher state of tune and also came only as Monoposto, although it was possible to order the base 748 with a motorcycle option, and were intended as homologation machines for World Supersport racing. Other extras over the base model included Ohlins rear shock and fully floating cast-iron Brembo brake disks. The engines also came with an oil cooler.
The Ducati 748L, also known as the Neiman Marcus edition, is a limited edition model produced by Ducati Motors. One hundred were produced in 1998 and sold exclusively through the Neiman Marcus catalog. The 748L features Mercury metallic paint, carbon fiber front fender and chain guard. In 2000, Ducati revamped its 748 model line to include a third variation: The base model was now known as the 748E, available as Biposto or Monoposto, with 3-spoke gold wheels and gold frame. Gone were the quick-release Dzus fasteners on the fairing, replaced with plain fairing fasteners, and the frame also had a fixed steering head angle. The rear shock was a Sachs-Boge unit with Showa forks at the front. This helped to keep costs down.
The intermediate model was known as the 748S. This had lighter 5-spoke Marchesini wheels in grey to match the grey frame, also retaining the earlier adjustable steering head. The rear shock was now a Showa unit with Showa forks at the front, making use of Titanium-Nitride coating on the fork stanchions to “reduce stiction”, which also gave it a gold coloring. The engine was a derivative of the earlier SPS, making use of the higher state of tune, and also included an intermediate exhaust system of 50mm headers connected to 45mm exhaust cans.
The top of the range model was now the 748R, Ducati’s racing homologation model produced only in very limited numbers. This engine was again a derivative of the SPS model but with more tuning. The main difference is that the R model has an overhead shower-injector arrangement compared to the 748E and S model’s traditional throttle bodies, titanium conrods, titanium valves, and more extreme valve timing. As such, the 748R has a larger, two-part airbox and thus the frame was also different to accommodate this.
The suspension choice was Ohlins for both the rear shock and front forks, although the very first models in 2000 used Showa TiN front forks and a Showa shock absorber. The engine included a very basic slipper clutch to ensure that this would then be homologated for use in racing, as well as an oil cooler. Ducati also produced a very limited run of 748RS machines, which were intended as full racing machines and as such came with no road-going equipment. The engine internals and components were vastly different from any road-based Ducati, using a variety of light-weight, high-strength materials making them extremely expensive to purchase, run and maintain. The RS came with a 54mm exhaust system and a slightly smaller size and gauge of Chromoly tubing were used on the frame to reduce weight even further.