2006 Ducati Superbike 749 Dark
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– 2006 Ducati Superbike 749 Dark
2006 Ducati Superbike 749 Dark
A perfect entry model to the Ducati Superbike family, the 749 Dark stands out with its totally black colouring giving it a compact and aggressive look. Ducati’s race-inspired, tubular trellis frame is matched with a front Showa fork and fully-adjustable rear shock absorber that result in confidence-inspiring and precise road holding.
The Testastretta technology that dominates the Superbike Championship is a feature common to both the 749 Dark and 999. The sophisticated engine design results in improved torque and extremely fluid power delivery.
With its short-stroke design and further innovations that extend to the very heart of the motor, the 749 is never short on power, producing 108 HP at 10,000 rpm and 59 ft-lbs torque at 8,500 rpm.
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2006 MSRP $12,495 USD
2005 has been an exceptional year for Ducati Superbikes, the range having been completely revolutionised with a series of stylistic and functional refinements and, above all, with a general upward shift in terms of power ratings and performance in both engine displacements and all versions. The 749 and 999 machines have been made more aggressive, edging closer to the dividing line between the street bikes and the official machine used on the world’s racetracks.
For the Superbikes manufactured in Borgo Panigale, 2006 will be dedicated to digesting the generational shift, which has taken place just two years from the launch of the new series, with the numerous innovations and refinements introduced in 2005.
The decision to revolutionise the machines was driven by the return of Ducati to the North American AMA Superbike Championship, which has more stringent rules than European championships with regard to modifications to mechanical parts and chassis: the new model is a result of the efforts aimed at creating a machine that would be race-ready straight off the production line, with a large number of adjustments for attitude and riding position, while also being suitable for use on the road. The result is a superbly contemporary range that is highly sophisticated and able to meet the most demanding sports rider with the basic equipment of the 749 and 999, and gradually approaching the S and R versions in a series of evolutionary steps. This brings us to the current state of the art, with the top of the range position occupied by a 999R packing a massive 150 HP, proposed for 2006 also in a Xerox replica version, sporting the colours of the “official” SBK ridden by James Toseland and Regis Laconi.
The Ducati sports machines share aesthetics based on the concept of racing aerodynamics, with fairings that are highly effective also at extreme speeds. That’s the thinking behind the development of a new upper fairing, designed to protect the rider’s head and shoulders and eliminate air turbulence. The fairing, which is higher and wider than its predecessor to increase the level of protection, joining a tapered lower section of the body, equipped with a pair of sweeping wrap-around and highly effective deflectors. Protection of the rider is one of the key concepts of the latest generation of Ducati machines: the absence of air turbulence makes the cockpit more comfortable – an important factor when riding in traffic and offering significant benefits on the racetrack because stress and fatigue levels are reduced, allowing riders to achieve consistently fast lap times for longer. The unforgiving stopwatch has amply proved this theory.
The styling and aerodynamic strategies adopted are just two of the factors used to achieve the close relationship between competition and series production machines. The box-section swingarm – very light and with very high torsional strength – comes from the world championship experience in the Superbike class and is the most evolved solution for road riding and for the racetrack, apart from adding to the already mean appearance of the 749 and 999. Style and function are also reflected in the exhaust silencer, which is integrated into the rear fairing and protected by a black anodised aluminium cover, and also in the ergonomics of the machine and the multiple possibilities for adjusting rider position. Since their introduction in 2002, the current Ducati Superbikes have been characterised by the ability to modify the positions of the handlebar levers and footrests, and also the facility to adjust steering head rake to two positions, a feature that is unavailable on any other sports machine on the market.
There’s also one final detail worthy of note: fore-aft adjustment of the seat-tank unit on single-seater versions of the machines. These unique features make the 749 and 999 the production machines that, of all the bikes currently on the market, are the closest to the thoroughbred race versions.
The sports personality of these machines are also reflected in the engines, with the impressive twin cylinder engine bringing sheer performance prowess to all equipment versions. These results have been achieved while keeping a close watch on environmental concerns: all the twin cylinder engines, including the 150 HP mounted on the 999R, comply in full with stringent Euro2 regulations.
This machine is at the entry level to the Ducati Superbike bike family. The range starts with the Dark model, the black version that offers an optimal price/performance ratio, maintaining all the characteristics of rideability on all types of roads that characterise the coloured versions of the 749 in the new gloss black version or in the classic red. The aesthetic solutions are identical to those of the other Ducati Superbikes.
As for the other Ducati families, the matte black colour of the 749 Dark identifies the entry-level machine. The Dark version is distinguished by the presence of several simplified features, such as the absence of the steering damper and the rear suspension link with fixed length in order to maintain an irresistible value. However, it should be noted that with respect to previous models the sacrifices in terms of equipment have been pared to the minimum, with the year 2006 the Dark model is equipped with the box-section aluminium alloy swingarm, exactly like the higher priced versions. Even though it’s the “smallest” of the Superbike series, the basic versions of the 749 continue to offer styling and dimensions that are identical to those of its big brothers, from the protective upper fairing and the highly distinctive over and under headlight units to the rear fairing with integrated silencer.
In line with tradition, the tubular trellis frame is the common element shared by all the bikes that come off the production lines at Borgo Panigale. The frame on the 749 features the same dimensions and structural stress resistance characteristics as the versions equipped with the more powerful and higher performance Testastretta twins. And despite the highly competitive pricing of the “smallest” Superbikes, the suspension systems feature a series of high quality features. These bikes are in fact equipped with a Sachs shock for the rear suspension, which operates in conjunction with the box-section swingarm, presented for the first time also on the entry level 749, and a Showa upside-down fork on the front end. Both elements provide ample adjustment facilities for preload and damping thereby allowing high precision set-up of the ideal attitude for all riding conditions.
108 HP at 10,000 rpm and 8.2 kgm of torque at 8,500 rpm are the credentials of the engine that provides an introduction to the Superbike series. The engine is a very recent design and constitutes the introduction to the Testastretta family. Like the engines installed on the official race 999S, it uses specific technology that serves to reduce the angle between the valves, which was achieved by flattening out the profile of the combustion chamber. This characteristic gives the name “Testastretta” (literally “narrow head”) that denotes a highly effective means of optimising engine efficiency in the most demanding conditions.
Frame: Tubular steel trellis
Wheelbase: 1420 mm / 55.9 in
Front Suspension: Showa “LR/RC” 43 mm upside-down fully adjustable fork
Front Wheel Travel: 125 mm / 4.9 in
Front Brake: 2 x 320 mm semi-floating discs, 4-piston 4-pad caliper
Front Wheel: Y-shaped 5-spoke light alloy 3.50 x 17
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR 17
Rear Suspension: Progressive linkage with fully adjustable Sachs monoshock
Rear Wheel Travel: 128 mm / 5 in
Rear Brake: 240 mm disc, 2-piston caliper
Rear Wheel: Y-shaped 5-spoke light alloy 5.50 x 17
Rear Tire: 180/55 ZR 17
Fuel Capacity: 15.5 L / 4.1 US gal (includes 3 L / 0.8 US gal reserve)
Weight * : 189 kg / 417 lbs
Seat Height: 780 mm / 30.7 in
Instruments: Speedometer, rev counter, high beam indicator, turn signals, oil pressure warning light, low fuel warning light, neutral light, water temperature, immobilizer system
Warranty: 2 years unlimited mileage
Tank and Fairing Colours: Matte dark
Frame and Wheel Colours: Metallic grey
Versions: Two seats
*=* = The weight excludes battery, lubricants and, where applicable, cooling liquid.
Type: L twin cylinder, 4 valves per cylinder Testastretta Desmodromic; liquid cooled
Displacement: 748 cc
Bore and stroke: 90 x 58.8 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.7:1
Power: 79.5 kw – 108 hp @ 10000 rpm
Torque: 8.2 kgm – 59 ft-lbs @ 8500 rpm
Fuel system: Marelli electronic fuel injection, 54 mm throttle body
Exhaust: Single steel muffler with catalytic converter
Gearbox: 6 speed
Ratio: 1st 37/15, 2nd 30/17, 3rd 28/20, 4th 26/22, 5th 24/23, 6th 23/24
Primary drive: Straight cut gears; ratio 1.84
Final drive: Chain; Front sprocket 14; Rear sprocket 39
Clutch: Dry multiplate with hydraulic control