On November 6, 2007, motorbike enthusiasts were happy to learn that Ducati was introducing a sport bike-the Ducati 848 for the 2008 model year. It was supposed to be the smaller-displacement version of the 1098 and would have a higher engine displacement than the Ducati 748 and the Ducati 749. That was then, and the hyped motorbike barely lasted for five years before being replaced with the 899 Panigale. So what happened to the Ducati 848? Let's tell you more about the motorcycle and reasons it went out of the market.
It Set a Precedent
For the first time in Ducati's history, the manufacturer decided to use a wet clutch and depart from the dry clutches used in all previous models. Ducati claimed the wet clutch reduced weight and noise while improving the clutch's feel and service life. Wikipedia reveals that Ducati had used dry clutches before because, to them, the sound of it rattling like a bucket of rocks was music to a rider's ears. The only reason they opted to use a wet clutch for the first time is that they realized each motorbike should be in line with the target audience and intended environment. Additionally, the Ducati 848, along with the 1098, was the first to have a data acquisition system installed as standard equipment.
The system stores data such as speed, mileage, coolant temperature, engine rpm, and throttle position in a 2mb flash memory device that can record for three and a half hours. The two models were also the first to be uniquely constructed for weight-saving single-sided swingarm. The engine also introduced a new technology called the VacuralO casting for the engine crankcase construction. As Top Speed explains, it is a forced die casting technique that facilitates jet characteristics to be improved by eliminating oxidation, gas inclusion, and porosity. It also enables wall thickness to be modified, and as a result, the weight was reduced by 3.5kgs and reliability standards were met.
Why It Was Discontinued
The Ducati 848 Evo, which replaced the Ducati 848, was ranked among the worst Ducati bikes you could ever buy. Hot Cars clarified that the impressive speed of 150 mph was not enough to mask the other problems that the bike had. The article cited poor acceleration, low mileage, ignition failure, and low headlight. The issues became so much that Ducati experienced so many recalls as customers complained of regulators, batteries, among other components. The bike's issues became too many that even dealers, who would have been glad to sell the bikes, warned customers about buying the Ducati 848. One thread on ducati.org displays the extent to which the Ducati 848 was grappling with sales.
The discussion starter said that he wanted to buy a Ducati 848, and after talking to the dealer, the dealer admitted that they had many problems with the model. Hence, they did not plan on restocking since it caused too much work on their side. The dealer added that he would not buy the bike, which prompted the prospective buyer to wonder if the dealer was justified in his conclusion or was just not a Ducati fan. Of course, when dealers are not ready to stock your products, it makes no sense to continue with production; hence the Ducati 848 had to be replaced.
The Common Problems That Pushed Ducati 848 out of the Market
One rider said that his Ducati 848 was reliable, sturdy, well-designed, beautiful, and had an incredible torque. His only issue was that the seat was rock-hard such that in summer, your groin would feel like it is in an oven. The price was also steep, so riders had to be careful about how they used it; thus, most never pushed it too far. You also had to do the servicing yourself, but there were mandatory service intervals to ensure you kept your warranty. Other than that, the most common problems affecting nearly all riders as listed by Motor and Wheels included:
For a Ducati 848 engine to run effectively, the air and fuel must mix well lest you experience an acceleration problem. You can notice when the bike has poor acceleration through the delayed response, such as when you twist the hand throttle to increase the speed, and it does not do so immediately. Before you blame the manufacturer, the problem could also be on your side; for instance, if you have not ridden your bike for so long, you can expect it to be lazy when accelerating. Also, a clogged air filter prevents enough air from mixing with the fuel. Additionally, even if you are running low on fuel, you should always use the recommended gas; using unleaded fuel with ethanol could cause poor acceleration. All the same, since it has been established the Ducati 848 easily falls victim to this issue, you are not guaranteed to be on the safe side even if you regularly service it and do regular checkups.
One rider had a regulator recall, but the problem was massive; hence, it persisted for some Ducati 848 owners. The bike's voltage can climb to 18.42 volts while running, and the bike's temperature can go up to 210 degrees when idle. With a faulty regulator, you might notice flickering headlights, and if the problem is not immediately rectified, your bike runs at a high risk of the engine stopping completely.
It seems like the person who was complaining about the seat getting too hot knew what he was talking about because overheating, especially during hot days, is listed as an issue with the Ducati 848. As explained, the bike has mufflers and exhaust pipes under the seat; therefore, during warm days, the rider feels the scorching heat from the seat, and it can be quite uncomfortable. No rider wants to store the bike until the weather is favorable because you will be exposing your bike to even more issues such as the poor acceleration after a long time of the bike not being in use. It is safe to say that with these and more problems, the Ducati 848 had its fate already spelled out, and it was only a matter of time before its production came to a halt.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith