Two great machines — one fun, practical and approximately sensible; the other fun, impractical and insane. A quick reference to first principles and it’s no contest — insanity wins every time. So it’s the 748 for me. Now for the fun bit — the dealing.
The 748 lists at £9400, £9750 on the road. A UK-spec parallel (or a parallel fully converted to UK spec) is around £8500 on the road. The very cheapest import I’ve seen was at £7900. Quite a difference.
Looking at the cheap parallels reveals however that they invariably don’t have the headlights and clocks converted to UK spec and that everything is extra. More realistic is to make a comparison with a full-spec. parallel against the official machine.
It’s also very much worth remembering in negotiation that it’s much easier for a dealer to throw in extras at their marginal cost, resulting in a better deal for you as the punter who pays retail prices. I was after a Spyball Alarm/Immobiliser, Datatag coding, a factory paddock stand (essential on a machine that’s only got a sidestand, even if the only maintenance you’ll do is lube the chain) and a decent lock. Total retail (including fitting) on that lot was about £650.

This is where it gets interesting. I’d have paid £8400 on the road for a parallel, with the extras taking it to just over £9000 all in. There was also the matter of the parallel warranty not being quite up to the level of cover provided by the factory — I reckon that’s worth a couple of hundred pounds in peace of mind alone (especially on a Ducati). Another hidden one is that the ‘free’ first service on most machines is subsidised by the importer — on the 748, that can be several hundred pounds, as it involves checking just about everything, including Desmo valve clearances.
That’s my marker then. Time to go to Pegasus and see what they’d do. Proved remarkably easy — some sharp intakes of breath, the “we’re all reasonable and realistic people here” approach, a couple of tactical pauses and the deal was done — £9300 all up, against a full list of about £10500. So it cost me about £300 (about 3.5%) more to buy an official machine than a parallel — from a dealer who’d been happy to offer test rides and full backup. For me, that’s worth it.
Deal done, deposit paid and about a week’s delivery time.
Which gives me time to sort out the insurance. Haven’t had bike insurance for fourteen years, and am insuring an exotic Italian machine against a background of rising claims from returning bikers. Like me, f’rinstance. This could be expensive. I am however completely unprepared for the response — some insurers simply wouldn’t touch me, others would only do Third Party insurance. A bit more digging brought a range of Fully Comp quotes ranging from £540 to £1800! A bit of pushing at the lower of these got it down to about £470, with an excess of £500, which I was prepared to swallow in the hope that my No-Claims bonus would kick in next year. As a final check, I called up the Ducati importer’s scheme to see what they could offer. A new 748, sir? Fully Comp? Of course. £250 excess? That’ll be fine, sir — £270 to you. Sorted.