Testing the Ducato 748R and Panigale V2.

Another tick off the bucket list.

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I asked a question in my review on our ‘Let’s Review It’, channel and it was this:

“What was it that made you want to ride motorcycles?” Was it because of a family member or a movie (the Great Escape with Steve McQueen)?

 

Maybe it was racing and a desire for speed, freedom and excitement. For me my it started when I saw just one bike, a Ducati, it was love at first sight.

Now let me tell you of a dream adventure to Shangri-La… well at least the closest thing to it I could find. 

 

I am a Ducati enthusiast to say the least; if fact if it is Italian and has wheels and an engine I’m interested. I entered this treasure store and there was an absolutely pristine, mint condition Desmosedici RR which was made just to eat to eat up the racetrack.

 

There next to it was a 1200 S which is just a monster. An iconic 916 SPS Foggy gleamed in all it’s glory directly from the golden age of superbikes vied for my attention.

 

Then my eye was drawn to the shadows where a Hyper-Motard whispered to me, drawing me to the dark side and summoning up the naughty in me.  

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But why stop at two wheels? There was a myriad of cars, some of which I had only read about. I could imagine cruising in these. There was an Aston Martin Vanquish S, the same car that James Bond drove, but this one is unique – a one off – it had a manual gear box! Who knew?

 

Near it was an E-Type Jag with its sensuous lines and soft top. I could imagine myself driving along the Amalfi coast with the top down, mountains on one side, the sea on the other, the sun on my face and the wind in my hair… Oh look, over there is a Lotus Carlton – and why not.

To be this good the lair of these rarities would have to be hidden away and well protected but still close to picturesque roads where we could play with our toys, but could such a promised land really exist?

In Leicestershire, in the unassuming town of Oakham there is a place, a very special place, an Aladdin’s Cave of dreams. I approach the foreboding walls of an ex prison with its solid gates and barbed wire topped looming defences. I drove through, parked up and was met by one of the rulers of this small kingdom.

Ollie and Steve run Bikeiconics and Cariconics; they are enthusiastic, friendly and have a vast love for and knowledge of rare vehicles. Ollie had heard about my lust for 90’s Ducatis so he had invited me down to see and drool over his amassed hoard. I soon realised that these establishments were more than just businesses. They were not here just to cold barter machines, they were more like a prestigious and caring dating agency where one could come and find the ultimate love of their lives, that one fantasy vehicle which they could cherish for ever.

Bikeiconics Ollie Wood Ducatis Cariconic
Bikeiconics Ollie Wood Ducatis Cariconic

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But I digress, Ollie told me of his love of bikes and I soon realised he was not a salesman but that bikes were in his blood. As much as I enjoyed talking to a fellow enthusiast and as much as I appreciated his knowledge and understanding I was here for one thing.

 

I was here to ride a bike I had only seen on TV and had only dreamed about – the Ducati 748R.

I was excited and nervous at the same time. Could this bike match my dreams, or would I come away disappointed? There was only one way to find out. 

As I put my leathers on, I wondered to myself if I needed all the things now available for the big bikes.

 

Do bikers need 200bhp with a quick shifter? Do they need electronic suspension, downloadable telemetry and aero dynamic wings to enjoy riding on the road? Have the bikes now gained so much power and speed that the ride is now more about staying on, and being able to get to your destination without having to go and change your underpants as soon as you arrive? I was about to find out…

The Ducati 748 was made between 1994 and 2002, at a glance it could easily be mistaken for the bike which started my affair with Ducati, the 916. It was designed by the master craftsman Massimo Taburini and has a distinctive single sided swing arm and signature red paint scheme which would become synonymous with almost all the future models which include my own Ductai V4 Panigale.

Ducati 748R ON THE ROAD.jpg

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I zipped my leathers and putting on my helmet I sat astride the bike and entered the dream-come-true. I felt the weight on my wrists as I settled down to ride. I felt as if I was sitting in the bike rather than on it, time ceased to have any relevance and I became one with this iconic machine. The old-style cable throttle needed more strength to twist it, it was stiffer than an electronic one but that was fine with me. I could feel the mechanical reactions, I could sense the interaction of man and bike to a much higher degree. The analogue dials told me all I needed to know without having to press any buttons to change displays.

 

Even though this bike has less horsepower than the more modern ones I felt I could use it all without being intimidated. As for the ride itself – it was fantastic. This bike was made to ride! It got board going in long straight lines; I felt as if it wanted to lean into the bends and was as eager to see what was around the next corner as I was.

 

It strongly connected with the spirit of the biker that dwells in me. The little extra strength and effort I had to put into the ride was a real joy.

As I pulled up at the end of my ride, I knew I had experienced something special. The adventure had been just that; it had been pared back to just man, machine and road. A definite tick off the bucket list. So how did it compare to the Panigale V2?

Logic said: although the ride was a bit more exciting, the bike was older and less reliable, and the bike was expensive for what it was.

However-

Emotion said: this had been an adventure, a return to real biking in the true spirit of the term. That this was part of my own personal history and even part of my DNA.

onboard ducati 748r.jpg
Ducati 748R Bikeiconics Filming with Pan

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Would I swap my own Ducati Panigale V4 for the 748R?

 

No is the quick answer, but I would happily have both.

 

The V2 Panigale would be my everyday bike. The Ducati 748R however would be my luxury. We would go out in the fine weather and would just go there and back to see how far it was. It would be a break the hurly burly stress filled rat race; man and machine in peace and harmony with the freedom of the open road.

So that was my day and my thanks really do go to Bikeiconics and Cariconics for making it so memorable. To quote the famous philosopher:

“I’ll be back!”

So if you are looking for something special or for something a little more unusual and different then this place comes highly recommended. There is a link to their website below and you can find them on most large social media platforms.

If you want to see the video then please feel free to watch it on our ‘Let’s Review It’ website where you can see not only this one but other bike reviews, again the link is below.

 

Thank you for your time, ride free and stay safe,

Happy biking.

Check out the ride video: https://youtu.be/Q2mgw_AJqzI 

Words by William Dunton, thank you.

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