In the Ducati family it's no secret that the 848 is following in the footsteps of its 1098 older brother. As it shares many common parts with the 1098-most notably its bodywork-making comparisons between the two is inevitable.
In reality the 848 shouldn't be looked at as a diluted 1098, but rather as a supersized version of its predecessor, the 749. In that regard the 848 comes into its own as the perfect middleweight bruiser. To quote the Ducati press material, the 848 is "as agile and light as a Supersport, and as powerful as a Superbike." In a time where more and more motorcycles are gaining weight (in order to meet emissions requirements, mainly), weight savings has been among the top priorities with the 1098/848 makeovers at Ducati. According to the company the 848 comes in at 11 pounds less than the 1098. In reality, our 848's wet weight was 435 pounds, just eight pounds lighter than the 1098 we tested last year ("Mind the Gap," Jul. '07).
Besides a rigorous diet plan, the 848 shares many of the same technological advances first shown on the 1098. Of course, motivation comes from an 849cc Testastretta Evoluzione engine with an oversquare bore and stroke of 94mm and 61.2mm, respectively. Elliptical throttle bodies measuring an equivalent diameter of 56mm are employed on the 848 and are fed fuel through a single injector. Valve angle on the new engine has been reduced to allow a more efficient and straighter path to the redesigned combustion chambers. All this equates to the 848 pumping out 116.5 horsepower and 61.7 ft-lb of torque at 10,250 and 8250 rpm on the SuperFlow dyno.
The Brembo brake calipers...
The Brembo brake calipers on the 848 may not be monoblocs, but from the saddle it'd be hard to tell the difference. The four pistons squeeze the two pads onto the 320mm rotor with great power.
Though the 848 shares the...
Though the 848 shares the same rear shock as the 1098, the suspension linkage doesn't allow for ride-height adjustment. Most definitely a cost-cutting measure.
On the chassis side the signature trellis frame on the 848 hasn't escaped the fine-toothed comb, either. Main-section tubes now increase in diameter from 28 to 34mm, while wall thickness is reduced to 1.5mm from 2mm. Front-suspension duties are courtesy of a 43mm, fully adjustable, inverted Showa fork. The same Showa rear shock as used on the 1098 handles the bumps out back. Strangely, as a cost-cutting measure the rear-suspension linkage doesn't provide the collars to adjust ride height-even some of the Monster models came equipped with this feature. Stopping power is provided by Brembo four-piston calipers, employing two pads each and clamping on 320mm discs. A single 245mm disc and two-piston caliper sit in the rear. Unlike the 1098, however, the front calipers on the 848 are not of the monobloc variety.
To really find out if the 848 could step out of the 1098's shadow we flogged the bike on the street and on the track to get some real-world impressions and see its racetrack prowess.