The 848 does 0-60 mph in 3.20 seconds
The Ducati 848 along with the likes of the GSX-R750 and MV Agust F3 800 occupy a weird niche of Sportsbike. A class of motorcycles that sit awkwardly in between the 600 cc Supersport and 1000 cc Superbike classes.
For some this class of motorcycle was and still is the best compromise between power and handling.
Motorcycles in this class are often a little easier to handle just like 600 cc Supersport bikes but with enough power to keep the litrebikes honest.
Launched in 2008 and a year after the Ducati 1098, the Ducati 848 was a direct replacement of the Ducati 749, sporting around 100 cc extra, more power and torque and a lighter overall package.
The engine is a huge step up from the Ducati 749 that it replaced, a bike that was seen by many as underpowered.
The 749 has a claimed 108 horsepower and competed fiercely in the 600 Supersport class on the road & the track though was not the fastest in a straight line and often lost out to the smaller capacity four cylinders machines in a straight line.
The Ducati 848 certainly addressed this with an all-new motorcycle that was a step up in performance.
Ducati 848 Dyno Curve
|119 bhp @ 10,200 rpm||64 ft/lb 8500 rpm|
It wouldn’t be fair to call the Ducati 848 a baby 1098, though just like the relationship between the Ducati 749 and 999, the 848 is effectively the same motorcycle as the Ducati 1098, give and take a few differences with the main differentiator being the smaller capacity and lower power output engine.
Despite being called the ‘848’ the engine is actually 849 cc. To make the engine smaller than its bigger sister, the 848 has a narrower bore and shorter stroke of 94mm x 61.2mm.
Claimed power and torque are way up over the Ducati 749, with Ducati claiming 134 horsepower and 71.8 ft/lb. That’s around 26 horsepower less than the brutish Ducati 1098.
Taking into consideration transmission losses, at the rear wheel we see a respectable 119 horsepower at 10,200 rpm and 64ft/lb at 8500 rpm.
Just like the Ducati 1098, the power delivery is a big departure from prior Ducatis that typically have the cliche strong bottom and midrange drive, now being replaced by top-end power bias at the expense of midrange grunt.
This is primarily because the majority of big L2 engines equipped in Ducatis and also in rival Superbikes pre 848 and 1098 era, were often relatively long stroke narrow bore engines.
These engines were configured by design to have a good spread of power and torque between 3000-8000 rpm courtesy of their narrow bores and long piston strokes.
Typically, the character of these engines had a mid and bottom-end torque bias with top-end power levelling off after 8000 rpm.
The 848, 1098 and also Panigalve V2 era of motorcycles chased higher peak outputs to compete with the four-cylinder rivals of their time but this came at a cost to what twin-cylinder engines are best known for. Which is their driveability from the low and mid rpm.
For a 1000 cc two-cylinder engine, cylinders are 500 cc each in volume while rival four-cylinder engines of equal displacement have 250 cc cylinders and thus smaller pistons.
Other factors like the bore and stroke will affect the actual size/diameter of the piston head and conrod length.
A 500 cc piston along with its conrod is larger and heavier and theoretically will always have more trouble spinning at high rpm than a smaller piston – if only taking into consideration their mass.
This is why there is often a solid correlation between piston size being smaller and the number of pistons being higher for engines that rev high. We tend not to see 1000 cc plus L=twins revving higher than 12,000 rpm
The other problem for larger cylinders typically found in large displacement twin cylinder engines are as follows…
The higher rpm that the engine spins, it becomes more challenging to inject fuel, suck air, compress, combust and exhale efficiently in the tiny window of time within the complete cycle.
This becomes harder for larger volume cylinders than it does a smaller volume – 500 cc vs 250 cc.
There are two simple ways to increase power.
More capacity or more rpm, or both. Engines with large pistons are often limited by how high they can rev as per above or how efficient they are at higher revs.
To ensure that Ducati engines remain competitive, the engineers can design their L2 engines to rev higher and make them more efficient at higher rpm to make more power.
This is made possible by widening the bore of the cylinder and shortening the stroke.
A shorter stroke means that the piston moves up and down over a shorter distance compared to an equivalent longer stroke piston.
The shorter the stroke of the piston lowers the overall piston speed for the same equivalent rpm compared to a piston with a longer stroke.
This is because a shorter stroke means less distance is covered to complete its stroke resulting in lower overall piston speed and lower g-forces exerted on the piston, conrod.
There is also less friction on the cylinder liner as the piston stroke up and down, covers a shorter distance as well as a wider bore piston head often being narrower than a piston from the longer stroke engine.
The above means less heat and lower frictional losses so more power.
A shorter stroke for any given capacity means by default a larger bore.
Having a larger bore means you have more space to fit larger Inlet and outlet valves that can get more air in and more gasses out after combustion, as well as larger injectors for more fuel.
This all adds up to more efficient combustion and exhaust the higher the rpm.
All of the above means that the engine can produce more torque at higher rpm. Producing more torque at higher rpm means more power.
For those that do not know, power is a calculation of torque multiplied by rpm. power = torque x rpm / 5252.
Why do longer stoke engines make more torque?
Narrower bore and longer stroke engines typically make more torque at lower rpm than short stroke wide bore engines for various reasons.
One of these reasons is that there is more efficient combustion at lower rpm because of less air-fuel mixture thanks to smaller injectors and valves typically found on longer stroke engines, which means quicker intake, combustion and exhaust at lower RPMs, resulting in higher torque.
As wider bore shorter stroke engines typically have larger Injectors, inlet and outlet valves afforded by that extra space courtesy of the wider bore can mean that too much air-fuel mixture at lower rpm can cause the engine to choke and become less efficient.
Some of these issues can be mitigated by leaning out the engine via ECU or even VVT but despite this, it is hard to make very short stoke engines torquey at low rpm, especially twin cylinder engines with large capacity.
What having a short-stroke engine effectively does is create the conditions to allow for higher peak rpm, as well as much more efficient combustion at higher rpm. This will mean that the engine can produce more torque at higher rpm and can hold on to it for longer without it tailing off as aggressively.
Higher torque at higher rpm means more power.
— Monster — 848
If we look at the Ducat 848s dyno curve, you can see how it builds power and torque is nothing like a typical L twin of a similar capacity.
Above is a dyno graph comparing the Ducati Monster 821 and the 848. The Monster 821 has a longer stroke engine and displays a more typical power and torque curve of a large-capacity L2 engine.
The engines are not entirely apples for apples, as the 821 gives away 22 cc and is also not a Supersport engine but is an accurate representation of a typical L2 power and torque delivery.
Either way, you can see that despite the 848 making a good start at very low rpm, it has a very noticeable dip in power and torque between 5000-7000 rpm and loses out to the Ducati Monster 821.
The Ducati Monster 821 produces much more torque than the Ducati 848 where the 848 dips despite giving away engine capacity. If the *21 had the same capacity as the 848, it would look even worse.
Power and torque then surge like a two-stroke where the 848 pulls very hard and continues to do so right through 8000 rpm where longer stroke twins start to lose momentum and don’t pick up rpm as quickly.
To be fair on the 848, some of that midrange dip is also attributed to noise and emissions regulations but even if you upgrade to say an Akrapovic full system, and get your ECU flashed, you’ll make gains there but the dip in power and torque will never fully be filled in.
Ducati 848 Thrust Curve
In the real world, the Ducati 848 engine does need to be worked quite hard. Gear ratios are quite long, and it has longer gear ratios by some stretch (except for first gear) than a current Yamaha YZF-R1, but the 848 gives away 150 cc and around 60-70 horsepower and almost 20 ft/lb of peak torque.
Ducati probably could have geared the 848 a little more optimally for the road as the gearing is definitely more suited to a fast race track.
That midrange torque sinkhole is definitely felt and especially so because of the mentioned long gearing. It’s not bad enough to be felt in first gear as the ratio is low enough that there is still good response and you’re quickly out of it when you hit around 35 mph.
But If you were sitting in second gear 30-40 mph, there really isn’t a great deal of acceleration. Plenty of other bikes would roast the Ducati 848 here, even some 600s.
|Speed at 5000 rpm||Ducati 848||2022 Yamaha YZF-R1|
|Speed 1st Gear||31.1 mph||34.5 mph|
|Speed 2nd Gear||43.5 mph||41.2 mph|
|Speed 3rd Gear||54.8 mph||48.7 mph|
|Speed 4th Gear||64.9 mph||56.8 mph|
|Speed 5th Gear||73.6 mph||64.9 mph|
|Speed 6th Gear||80.1 mph||71.7 mph|
The same can be said about the remaining gears. You really don’t want to be in that dip if you want good response and acceleration from the engine.
It is not too bad in sixth at highway speeds as your rpm sits at that 4000-4500 rpm toque bulge, so the initial response is ok, but as you accelerate past 70 mph in top gear, you expect the engine to become more eager and acceleration to increase but the torque/thrust starts to fall away and only recovers from around 100 mph.
This means for rapid overtakes you should at the very least be in fourth gear but really third is best. Of course, the optimum would be second gear, but who in their right mind wants to kick it down four gears just to get past slow-moving highway traffic?
The Ducati 848 has a bit of a Jeckle and Hide engine.
The soft midrange turns into a howling top end. It is much stronger up top than a Ducati 749 and will match a Ducati 999 too, despite being 150 cc down but it just does not have the grunt of the Ducati 999, instead relying on high rpm to get a move on.
It seems that 7000 rpm and above is where the Ducati 848 likes to be.
It is not an engine where you can short-shift gears and still move with purpose.
Something like a Ducati Supersport would dominate the 848 if 7000 rpm was all that was allowed.
If you like the traditional torque of a twin, the 848 might not be for you. If you like revs and working the engine the 848s engine is great fun and feels faster than it is because of that two-stroke powerband.
Ducati 848 Acceleration through the gears
The Ducati 848 was up against the MV Agusta F3 800, Suzuki GSX-R750 and was often compared to 600s too.
Despite what people might say on the internet, the 848 is faster than pretty much all 600s.
Only a well-ridden newer shape Yamaha R6 or ZX-636 would be comparable for outright acceleration and speed.
Later versions of the GSX-R750 have a slight edge over the Ducati 848 but it’s close.
It’s not the easiest to launch as the Ducati 848 is surprisingly wheelie-happy. If you get the clutch released anywhere below 50 mph and get hard on the power the 848 will effortlessly wheelie.
The clutch is also heavy and very grabby making progressive slipping, not the easiest. String it all together and the Ducati 848 will launch from 0-60 mph in 3.20 seconds and 0-100 km/h in 3.31 seconds and sounds glorious in the process, and much nicer than the Panigale series.
A lot of riders and performance testers often short-shift first gear when launching motorcycles hard, then drive it in second gear. This can work for some motorcycles, especially those with fat midrange power.
If you are aiming for good 0-60 mph times on an 848, don’t short shift as it’ll bog and hurt times. You have to use all of first gear while managing those wheelies.
Gearing is widely spaced, and as torque does not drop off rapidly up top, to get the best out of the 848 in a straight line you should be changing up at an indicated 11,000 rpm, with the exception of perhaps fifth gear, where 10500 rpm is optimal.
Changing up any earlier and you will hurt ETs and terminal speeds.
Get a good launch, and feed the frantic 848 engine with gears while it drones away – 0-100 mph arrives in only 6.11 seconds, 0-200 km/h in 9.12 seconds.
A little over a second after the 848 will cross the quarter mile in 10.76 seconds at 133.9 mph. There’s probably another 0.2 to 0.3 to be had.
It’s not done yet and still provides exceptional acceleration above 130 mph where it pulls a least as hard as many L2 Superbikes of the past, such as TL1000R and VTR1000 RC51 and is very closely matched with the later RSV1000 too.
In just a little over 30 seconds, the Ducati 848 will hit its top speed of 163 mph. It can almost max out in fifth but does not have the rpm and won’t hit the limiter anyway, so for that last couple of mph hooking sixth will get you there.
Thankfully the 848 is quite a long motorcycle and not as cramped as many other motorcycles.
Pegs are high but there is a decent stretch to the bars and enough room to really slide back in the rear seat allowing for a decent tuck. The screen could be better but still provides better than average protection.
The 848 is not the fastest motorcycle though it has enough straight-line speed to dispatch most 600s and will trade blows with older litrebike fours and twins.
|Ducati 848 Top Speed And Acceleration|
|SS/QM||10.76 @ 133.9 mph|
|SS/KM||19.85 @ 156.5 mph|
|SS/Mile||28..26 @ 160.7 mph|
|Top Speed||163 mph|
Ducati 848 Specifications
|Engine (type)||Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke|
|Cylinder arrangement||Twin-cylinder, 90° L-type|
|Bore & Stroke||94,0 x 61,2 mm|
|Valve train||Belt driven desmodromic, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder|
|Power (Crank)||134 hp @ 10,000 rpm|
|Torque (Crank)||70.8 ft/lb 8250 rpm|
|Fuel system (type)||MARELLI indirect electronic injection|
|Fuel economy / consumption||5,74 l / 100 km (41 mpg)4|
|Clutch||Wet, multi-plate, hydraulic operated|
|Frame||ALS 450 steel tube trellis frame|
|Front tire size||120/70-ZR17|
|Rear tire size||180/55-ZR17|
|Front brake||Double disc, 320 mm, 4-piston radial calipers Brembo P4|
|Rear brake||Single disc, 245 mm, 2-piston caliper|
|Fuel capacity||15,5 l / 4,09 US gal. (reserve – 4,0 l)|
|Ignition system||Electronic type|
|Overall length||2100 mm / 82,6 in|
|Overall width||758 mm / 29,8 in|
|Overall height||1100 mm / 43,3 in|
|Seat height||830 mm / 32,6 in|
|Wheelbase||1430 mm / 56,3 in|
|Ground clearance||130 mm / 5,1 in|
|Dry weight||168 kg (without fluids and battery)|
|Curb (wet) weight||184 kg (without fuel)|