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Ducati Diavel Revealed

Not all of us like cruisers. Okay, some of us despise cruisers and all they represent and stand for. But after years of speculation and months of teaser spy photos, Ducati’s first cruiser in a generation was officially announced today, and it may send the most hardened anti-cruiser hecklers into the nearest lifestyle leather facility to get some chaps and conchoes. 

We’ve been speculating about the exact contents of this aggressively styled package, but here, at last, are the hard facts. It uses a full-honk 162 horsepower,  94 lb.-ft. of torque version of the wonderful 1198cc Testastetta motor called the “11º,” referring to a new 11-degree valve overlap angle (in contrast to the 41-degree overlap—the time where both intake and exhaust valves are open—angle on the 1198 superbikes). That’s good for street riders—although it’s down 8 hp and 3 ft.-lbs. of torque from the 1198, Ducati claims it increases bottom-end power delivery and widens the powerband. Interestingly, the EFI is built by Mitsubishi and Mikuni rather than Marelli or Bosch. 

Aside from tons of power and original styling, the Diavel is slathered with the latest in moto-tronics and other conveniences. A ride-by-wire system is there to allow precise throttle response, with three different power modes selectable by the rider. “Sport” delivers the full 162-hp Monty, “Touring” sends full power to the wheels with moderated throttle response, and “Urban” limits power to 100 hp. Ducati Traction Control (DTC) is also rider-adjustable, allowing well-heeled cruiser-ists to rear-wheel steer their beast around the nearest dirt track. And ABS, the other side of the DTC coin, is standard as well. That user-friendliness is enhanced by a wet clutch (sacrilege, yes, but also cooler-running, quieter and smoother) that has both slipper-clutch functions at high RPM and a servo mechanism claimed to lighten clutch-pull effort. 

It may look like style over substance, but this is a Ducati, so special attention was placed on having a sweet-handling chassis. Most importantly, weight has been kept to a minimum. At just 463 pounds of claimed dry weight (456 for the “Carbon” version), the Diavel is lighter than some newbie-friendly -priced 600cc cruisers I could name. The frame is a chrome-moly trellis bolted to cast-aluminum side plates, much like the current Monster models. The front suspension uses a fully adjustable 50mm inverted Marzocchi fork, and the rear gets held up with a linkage-equipped Sach monoshock. Brakes? None other than what look like the race-ready four-pot Brembo monoblock calipers found on the superbikes. The only things lacking may be  cornering clearance—Ducati made the seat as low as possible (30.3 inches), which means lower footpegs. (Ducati videos show the rider coming close to dragging his toes on a spirited street ride) and quick steering, due to a 62.6-inch wheelbase and M-roadster-sized 240-section rear tire (which Ducati claims was specially made for the Diavel to offer phat looks and optimal handling, but sheesh, that’s wide). 

But this is a cruiser (isn’t it?), so how it looks is as important as how it goes. This is, of course, subjective, but I think Ducati’s designers have fulfilled whatever brief they started with. The bike looks low, menacing and muscular, and the “Carbon” version, with special lightweight Marchesini wheels, carbon-fiber side panels and headlamp cowling, works even better. The use of plastic is minimized, and interesting details abound, like the billet-look mirror/turn signals, hideaway passenger footpeg/bracket units (a T-shaped grab handle also deploys for passenger comfort), wheel-hub-mounted license-plate bracket and burly handlebar clamp. Not cool enough? How about a TFT color display under the idiot lights? Or forged aluminum wheels? Icing on the cake is 15,000 mile major-service intervals. 

Update:  We just learned U.S. MSRP for the Diavel will be $16,995 for the standard model, and $19,995 for the Carbon.   

This is Ducati’s first cruiser (and by cruiser we mean a motorcycle with exaggerated styling cues like extended wheelbases, lowered seats or other hallmarks of traditional-styled bikes) since the not-so-cool-looking Indiana of 1986. “Cruiser” may be the most descriptive category, but maybe we need a new one for bikes like this Diavel, thethe  Star VMAX. These machines offer heart-stopping power, sporting handling, bad-boy styling and frequently, customer-limiting pricing (although the base model Diavel appears to somewhat of a bargain by Ducati’s standards) and availability. Megabikes? Supercruisers? Roethlisbarges? 

This may require some extended testing. We’ll take ours in Carbon; send the fringed chaps and half-helmet to the MD offices.

109 Comments

  1. Steve says:

    Kind of cool—needs a stroker for about 1350cc and more bottom end

  2. RAD says:

    Very nice .
    I do not care what anyone thinks.

  3. Old town hick says:

    Looks pretty bad-ass to me. I thinks it is a smart move. Remember folks, Ducati already makes some fairly competent sport bikes…so why would they produce just another variation of what they already make available?

    This model is meant to expand Ducati into a segment in which they do not yet participate, not canibalize from their own brand.

  4. Trpldog says:

    WOW! I once got attacked by something that looked like that in a nightmare I had after bad pizza. Its the same thing as the the Japanese attempting to give their bikes personality – like trying to build a Japanese Ferrari.

  5. GG says:

    Compared to any Buell (whose elimination from the face of earth was one of the few positive results of the financial crisis), a masterpiece.

    • Zuki says:

      Whatever. Buells are/were awesome. Just the dealer support sucked. However, if Erik can get back on his feet and not be subject to the limitations H-D put on the brand… I’m riding a Buell again someday.

      • Trpldog says:

        Buells (at least the XB’s) were far better than many (who never owned one) thought. I owned 18 bikes since 1973 and the XB9 and XB12 I owned were among the very best bikes ever.

  6. Daytona675Jay says:

    I can’t believe how hard you guys are on this bike. While I’ve never been a cruiser kinda’ guy, I have to bow to the numbers. I’ve been a motorcycle salesman for years and know that this type of bike sells (or used to sell) 2 – 1 over supersports… a stat I have trouble swallowing BUT, this bike will go head to head with the V-Rod… it’s main target as far as I can tell. If you have ever been to club level drag races, you’ll know that V-Rods are very popular. Ducati now has a platform from which to launch a serious drag racing effort. Don’t for a second think that Ducati hasn’t been drooling over that lucrative ‘American-only’ style market with envy. I know that our own (very sought after) Ducati mechanic will be chomping at the bit to drag-race one of these against the Harley hordes and will no doubt stuff it to them once his wrenches have had some funtime on the bike. As for the styling, I actually think it’s spot on… different enough not to be blamed for looking like something else while still bristling with the stuff that perf-cruise guys want.

  7. Hmmmm says:

    Italian Street Rod. If you’re into that kind of thing.

  8. JAMES R says:

    THEY SHOULD HAVE CALLED IT A D-ROD HEHEHE.

  9. ABQ says:

    It’s not a cruiser until it has forward controls or highway pegs, low power, high weight, weak breaks, scrapes in the corners, and has obnoxious loud pipes, twice it’s value in aftermarket chrome, etc. This is a sportbike for short people. And, it’s beautiful. But it is NOT made to carry a passenger. Get your girl friend her own bike.

  10. Jim says:

    nope….

  11. ziggy says:

    Has MD lost its freakin’ mind?
    What’s going on with all this recategorization?

    This is a muscle bike, a sports torque bike, ala the VMAX and B KING.

    Look at the geometry–triangular–more like an ADV bike than a cruiser.

    Eds, send me your prescription and I’ll mail you a years supply of new contact lenses.

  12. John says:

    From some angles and color combos, it looks great. From others, it looks utterly hideous.

  13. NFerr says:

    Kinda cool. But it’s certainly not a cruiser.

  14. markf says:

    Yuck! The Guzzi Griso is much cooler.

  15. Patrick Connelly says:

    This thing makes perfect sense to it’s intended market…sophisticated DTC/ABS,outragous looks and enough handling to just keep you alive,much more power than should be recognized as responsible;At least one has the ability to select the proper “mode”. It even seems BMW inspired those front turn signals…(check out the K1600′s)It’s going to drive the V-Max,V-Rod guys out of their chairs…….mein Gott,it offends completely!

  16. Thoppa says:

    Oh dear. That headlight ‘surround’ looks like it came from an aftermarket parts catalogue. I’d rather have a V-Max. Or just about anything else.

  17. jorge says:

    I thought when they came out with the original Multistrada that they could not possibly come out with anything stranger looking. I see I have underestimated them.

  18. Artem says:

    Is it a “cheap Confederate”?

  19. Temporary Saint says:

    Comparing this to the VMAX is apropos; both are ugly, awkward looking and for people who just want to boast about the hp the powerplant produces. I’m not really a Harley fan, but comparing it to a V-Rod is an insult to the V-Rod. Ducati produces some of the most beautiful bikes on the planet. Not so this time.

    • monsterduc1000 says:

      Comparing this to a v-rod is an insult to Ducati. How much more superior could this bike be over that heavy and slow slab of metal. HD couldn’t even get Porsche to build a good motor for them.

  20. Roberto says:

    The more I look at it and the more I read the specs, the more I see how it might compete with Harley’s V-Rod…along with all the other muscle cruisers out there.

  21. falcodoug says:

    Useless.

    • Zuki says:

      Anymore useless than a super-sport/race replica for street use?

      • Justin says:

        @Zuyi: Sportbike = superlative dynamic behavior. Superior acceleration, braking, handling. I find this very useful on the street.

        @doug: you’ll probably find as many women who like this bike as don’t. so, that’s one use for it…

        • Zuki says:

          Superior acceleration on the street? I said super-sport, not sportbike. Do you race on the street? Street-legal, consumer super-sports are designed for amateur racing and their peak power is not legally accessible and/or the meat of their power is not instantly available on the average street. I have never liked riding a GSXR1000 on the street which is why I ride my SV1000S on the street, and it IS indeed quicker, being in its element. The power is much more usable on a bike designed for the street and not the track. Super-sports also have ridiculous riding positions that are useless on the street, and painful. Besides all this, this beast is putting out tremendous power and is relatively light. As far as handling, how do you know how this handles? It certainly won’t win any races on a racetrack, but on the street it should provide steady, smooth and predictable handling, and the handlebar should provide good leverage for quick maneuvering.

          For the street, this machine is very useful.

          Braking should be excellent too, considering the long wheelbase.

  22. Switchback says:

    As an owner of the original Multistrada I still have to say:

    WTF???

  23. Zuki says:

    I like it. Funny because, I hate cruisers. What’s more funny, this is the only Ducati that I actually like!

    • Zuki says:

      I don’t think it’s really a cruiser btw. It’s more musclebike with clean styling, and muscle to match, which is why I like it.

  24. KRay says:

    Ducati, what were you thinking? Looks like someone had a little to much vino one night.

  25. John McDowell says:

    Well, I had hoped it would look simular to the prototype at motocreations.com, but with a longer seat, so a passenger could get comfortable. Also, I do not see any foot forward pegs either, or a place to mount them. As for the exhaust, and any noise, well, it could be a sweet sounding machine id someone has the time and money to create a real pair of pipes. Sorry, not quite there yet.

  26. takehikes says:

    Not really a cruiser. Certainly a cruiser compared to the rest that Ducati offers but take a look at the riding position (especially the woman on the back) and it tells you it’s nothing like a cruiser at all. Not sure what it is. Some areas of the bike it looks sweet, others it’s lame. I agree the cruiser crowd is mostly lame ass, weekend leather warriors that wouldn’t know a wrist pin from a vest pin. I own a V-Twin supposed cruiser (Yamaha Road Star) but I chopped it. Nope she doesn’t handle like a sportbike but it has mountains of torque and pretty much zero maintenance which is a part of the appeal. Plus my hard ass riding days are gone by so 160hp would not be a good thing. It would have more talent than the rider. My guess is Ducati will sell more of these than you think though the price point is pretty stiff for a cruiser if you look at the market.

  27. Ed says:

    My god that is without doubt the ugliest Ducati yet.The original Monster was supposed to be Ducati’s cruiser and it was a huge success, why mess with success? The main thing a cruiser is supposed to do is look good, and that’s all it really has to do, which is why Harleys still sell.

  28. alan says:

    Mitsubishi/Siemens is a disaster! I know, I have the Multistrada 1200 with the same motor. They need to stay with Magnetti Marelli. Terrible to pay this much for poor fueling.

  29. Gary says:

    Let’s take a powerful, light, excellent handing bike and turn it into a powerful, heavy, ill-handling bike that looks like a castrated rhino. Yapshore.

    Next?

  30. Tom barber says:

    I have never understood the appeal of this type of bike, and never will. They handle poorly. It is a basic fact of the excessive rake. Ideally, the optimal amount of trail in the front, I.e., the distance from where the steering spindle line hits the ground to the center of the contact patch, would be achieved purely through the offset of the wheel axle/spindle, with vertical steering spindle. A modest amount of rake is a practical compromise for accommodating the wheel itself and keeping the steering head from being located way out in front of the rest the bike. But from the standpoint of handling alone, no amount of rake is desirable. Exaggerated rake is done only for styling, and the price paid is decidedly inferior handling. The wheelbase also grows, which exacerbates the handling issue.

  31. Norm G. says:

    PS: even with the return of OCC to television (and that ill-conceived association), this may have unfortunately arrived like 3-5 years late to market. reference, honda fury.

  32. chuckster says:

    As someone else said, from the gas cap back it’s stunning. But I guess when you design a bike to appeal to people who like hogs then it’s gonna look like a pig…

  33. Norm G. says:

    okay, since i thought it was strictly a mono-posto (ala desmosedici), i wasn’t too thrilled at first. :( but now that i see the 2-up pillion shot ducati has vindicated themselves. even when a bike CLEARLY lacks all practical value, yet retains the one redeeming quality of the ability to pick up chicks (ala chick magnet) and transport them back to your place for the evening…? well hell, i have to consider that as “mission accomplished”…!LOL now from the gas cap back it works, but all the “cab-forward” plastics may be a bit much. might look better just to strip all that flotsam and jetsam off there. not really sold on the exhaust routing either. definitely don’t care for it’s use on the M11EV. bologna appears to be hedging their bets with further visual tie-in to something established and accepted (ie. the monter). if nothing, this bike has marketing value in that it gets us all spun up and chattering about the brand (again, mission accomplished). no such thing as bad publicity.

    what’s up quent.

  34. Kjazz says:

    VRod, the Griso, VMax, and this bike are all very similar to me…..I think of them as “performance cruisers”. Not so much from their actual output, but rather the image they seem to project to me. And in that role, they give up a lot of versatility IMO. But, to each his own. I personally couldn’t be less motivated by this type of motorcycle….but strangely, I’m glad it’s out there with the Mad Max and the others just in case I suddenly get the urge. Oh BTW, the Griso, is my favorite of the bunch and a bike I WOULD BUY if I a new bike was in the works right now (the 8 valve motored model is my fav).

  35. Roberto says:

    As a a long time Ducati admirer and owner, would lump the Diavel’s styling into the same category as the 999 and the original Multistrada….that category is labeled “Interesting”. I really look forward to seeing Aprilia’s new Tuono later this month.

  36. xootrx says:

    The center of focus for a cruiser is its engine. You can hardly see the engine on this thing. If Ducati is going after the V-Max crowd, that’s one thing. But if they’re going for the true cruiser types, this bike will fail. It’s confused looking, and overly busy. Slapping on a fat rear tire, and a bunch of plastic, and calling it a “cruiser,” doesn’t necessarily make it one. If a manufacturer doesn’t like cruiser types, fine. But if they want to sell them something, offering a bike that only the sport-focused motorcycling press will like won’t do it.

  37. MGNorge says:

    Looking at it I don’t see “cruiser”. I see a naked which will largely go indistinguishable by the non-motorcycling public. Some of at least faint interest might have a look but the term “Cruiser” seems a stretch. Now if it only had highway pegs!

  38. DT says:

    I love it! Something different than the cookie cutter sportbikes and cruisers currently on the market. Now if only I had the $$$.

  39. GMan38 says:

    A 240 width rear tire? That’ll help handling…NOT! Styling maybe a little too ‘out there’. I’ll take a Griso, thank you.(I wish!)

  40. craigj says:

    I expect it to sell exactly as well as Ducati’s last kick at the cruiser cat, the mid-80′s Indiana (Diana? Gabe a little more research before publishing dude … The Diana was an early 60′s 250 single). That said, buy one, because in 20 years the 4 that they sell before pulling the plug on this abomination will become much sought after collectors items. While it’s pretty obvious that I think this bike isn’t worth my time or money, I do admire Ducati for at least attempting to expand into a non-traditional market for them, unlike another major manufacturer that starts with Harley and ends with Davidson.

  41. Bill says:

    I am new to the world of motorcycling and I am impressed by the multiplicity of high quality offerings, both from the engineering standpoint and in the diversity of emotional appeal. Motorcycle manufactureres are relentlessly foraging for the next big idea. For the customers, this creates an exciting environment of possible choices. With this Diavel, Ducati is attempting to capture the leather-lifestyle crowd with an advanced-engineering machine. I applaud the effort. Let’s wait an see if it meets its commercial goal!

  42. Steven says:

    I tell you, it is different and i would like to ride it. oh and I would think chicks would dig it too.

  43. ofredo says:

    Did they sweep up in Terblanche’s corner and throw all the castoff ideas on to this hideous creation?

  44. Fuzzyson1 says:

    Not crazy about the latest “add more plastic wedges craze” and not too sure about this bike either. One thing for sure, that butt-ugly poorly placed license plate holder has to go!

  45. Steve says:

    well….. ye…. maybe? I guess I could bolt on some saddlebags, tourpack, batwing fairing & some floorboards & then I’d be good to go!
    So far… after all the hype about the V-MAX & similar (V-Rd Muscle)…etc… type bikes, I never see them on the road. Saw a Kenny Dreer 880 Norton prototype, but no Max. With the Ninja Concours & the new 6 cylinder BMW Tourer out there in multiple versions, this Duc is going to have competition.
    I like the premise, but it’s just not my kind of bike…

  46. PeteP says:

    I am in the miniority who actually like it, I guess. Except for the license plate mount. That’s got to go.

    • William says:

      I had the same reaction. I like it except for the license plate position. The styling is aggressive and appealing to me, but I know the price will be out of my wallet’s range.

      Are the B-King and V-Max sales that strong that Ducati thought there would be a big market for this?

  47. BATMAN says:

    Uhhh, no thanks.

  48. Paso100 says:

    Looks like somebody at Ducati lost a bet. “OK, if I win, you have to design a CRUISER.” Some ideas should remain just that. I predict limited appeal, limited sales, and a no-betting policy at Ducati.

  49. Quentin Wilson says:

    Nicely written.