I love my bike, and have to say that I never thought I would own a Ducati. As for my opinion on the bike. I'm not sure I'm the one to ask. I think that Sporty would be able to give better information. I'm doing my first track day in March at Jennings, and will be doing Barber in May. I'll let you know what I think then.
Contrary to what everyone thinks, Ducati's well at least mine wasn't a maintenance whore! Yes I did have the head gasket leak on it, took it in and had it back in a couple of days free of charge. And yes there is more maintenance checks on it then most bikes but that's all they are, maintenance checks. I had more problems and battles with my CCT on my f4i's then I did with anything on the 748. Honda still refuses to acknowledge the fact that there is an issue with their CCT's.
I loved my 748, loved to hear that dry clutch and the v-twin rumble. How many times I was asked if there was something wrong with my clutch, well let's just say I lost count! Just like I lost count how many times people would tell me that I had a headlight out on my F4i. Don't expect much power from the 748 in a straight line, cause that's one thing it doesn't have when comparing it to other 600's. But expect to take them from the start or coming out of a corner with the torque you get from the v-twin. Cornering a 748 was something else too, that damn bike loved to corner and made it effortless too. Between the 748 and the F4i, I could corner a lot easier with the 748, not to say the F4i can't do it, I'm just talking about effort.
But, and yes there's always a but, if I had dropped my 748, you better believe I would have cried! I've dropped my F4i and been upset but hell finding parts and paying for it on the F4i is a lot simpler then the 748. Plus the F4i is half the price of the 748 so take that into consideration. Also, reselling the 748 isn't that easy as it is with any other 600 out there. The Ducati's have a stigma attached to them that they are maintenance whores. Also, Ducati owners are a very small group at least in my area they are. Riders in my area usually prefer the Japanese makes and don't really care for the Italian bikes.
The the Desmo's have never been HP monsters (I put out only 135), but it's the torque that makes them a blast. However, I ride a 996S, not a 748. As far maintaince goes, I haven't had anything crazy to talk about. I am however 1,000 miles from having my valves checked.
The whole dropping the bike thing, though... I had someone knock my bike over in a parking lot. That *sucked*! I have aftermarket Corsa pegs with carbon fibre that don't fold and it snapped the left one (side it landed on) right off. Also broke my front blinker from it's mount. I'm always looking for flush-mounts for the front, but it's such a pain in the ass!!
And yeah, if I had $1 for everytime I was asked what 'that noise' was, or if 'my bearings were going out', I'd be able to buy a 999R.
How often are you supposed to change the timing belts on the Ducati's? The guy at the dealership said that they should be changed every 2 years regardless of miles. I'm not complaining, but that seems too frequent to me??
And did you find any other quirks with the bike maintenance wise???
I have everything looked at ever 6,000 miles. I have another 947 miles before I do it again (I ride A LOT).
Also make sure to pay attention to the valve rockers. The chrome likes to come off of 'em...not good. There's places on the net that have some 'speical' thing they do to the rockers to make them not flake anymore. Either way, I'll post more about it later, I have to take off.