Nice post Jools.
For your extra fahsahnd pahnds for the "S" you get,TiN coated forks,Showa rear shock,adjustable steering rake,7 or 8 more bhp and slightly higher gearing.
If you are not bothered about all that stuff then the base 749 is a good buy.You could put the 'spare' grand on a Termi system and claw back some of the missing BHP.
The Dark model is a budget version of the 749 with matte black paint,no steering damper and a non adjustable ride height.
Yup,the rod is there.but it is'nt adjustable.
If you want all the bells and whistles there can be only one,...............the 749R!
NB,you can do a comparision between the models on the Ducati website.