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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. Ed says:

    I owned a 2003 V-Max and absolutely loved it. The new V-max appeals to me but the range is way too short. The longer I look at the Diavel the more it grows on me. I’m gonna wait and sit on it and see how it goes, keeping an open mind.

  2. brinskee says:

    Saw it at the San Mateo CA bike show. It actually looks much nicer in person and when I sat on it, I quite liked the seating position. I would take just about any other Ducati over it, but I didn’t hate it.

  3. david torquati says:

    Its not about speed!! yea , right . I own a ducati s4 antiquated engineering , I mean the bike is a 2001 , still there isn’t much that can touch it !! Can’t wait to own a diavel ! my attraction to it ? I am 5’2″ To me ducati’s are exotic! everyone owns a yamaha or harley

  4. DesmoDemon says:

    Everone can disagree all day long and it changes nothing. This bike looks killer and will out perform and outhandle anything in the so called cruiser class. A big plus it’s not a huge overweight pig like the V-max or the weird butt ugly B-king. The Ducati will rule these pigs with ease and all others will be humbled. Look at the power to weight ratios and it’s not even close!!!!

  5. Mar says:

    I’m from Italy, I had a Yamaha R1, Aprilia RSV1000, etc. I mean I’m used to drive fast motorbikes and the first time I saw the Diavel on pictures I was a little disappointed. Then last week I went at the eicma fair and I saw it from real. I felt in love with it and even more when I jumped on it to test the confort: it’s made for me (i’m not tall), driving position is perfect, never had the same feelings with other bikes.
    There’s no test of performances but I guess they will be very close to the multistrada: 250km/h, 0-100km/h in 2,5 seconds (in the official ducati’s site it’s written: “2,5 seconds to remain without breath”).
    Many people there said it was ugly and I really don’t care if it is to consider a custom, muscle or cruise bike, it’s a ducati and that’s it :) The chassis is one one the best in the world for stiffness and torque and 160 horses it’s not bad at all.
    I’m ready to order the diavel but have to wait january :(

  6. ralf says:

    To all of you, who compare this Ducati to Japanese mass produced motorcycles: give your heads a shake! You wouldn’t compare a Nissan to a Maserati, or a Lexus to a Ferrari or Lamborghini, no matter how close their specs might be – that would be sacrilege. So, why would you compare a Ducati to Hokawayamazuki models? Ducatis, like Ferraris, make life worth living, if for no other reason than to KNOW they exist. The Japanese build within the statistical mean, thus they succeed, obviously – no miracle there. Ducati, Moto Guzzi and Benelli build outside of it, thus LIVE the spirit of freedom and individualism that once defined the sport of motorcycling. They are Champagne in a Table Wine world …

  7. Rick Hermanns says:

    This bike is not original in any way other than the fact that it’s out of character for Ducati. The front end is pure Suzuki MT-109, the right side/exhaust area is new V-Max, and the gas tank/air scoops are B-King! This was design-on-a-dime! Is H-D considering buying Ducati?

  8. Det says:

    It makes me think of the Porsche Cayenne or even the Panamera. Some say that the Cayenne saved Porsche. If the Diavel keeps Ducati going strong so they can invest more in their core market, so be it.

  9. Blackthistle says:

    It seems everyone has forgotten the original king of the power sport cruisers , the Star Warrior! No it didn’t have a motor derived from a sport bike such as this Duck or the V-Rod – “or to put it right, not a “Porsche”engine but the H.D.-VR Race bike engine tamed down for the street by Porsche . The V-Max old or new is in a class all it’s own “American Hot Rod cruiser” The Duck is aimed strait at the V-rod. The Warrior still King of the push Rod class and it ain’t a Harley!

    • Mike says:

      Are you kidding me? A Warrior the king of power sport cruisers? Ever hear of a Honda V65 Magna? 1983 technology would destroy a RS Warrior. Trust me, Ive owned both. Anyway I personally love the new Diavel. Kudos to Ducati for trying something new when most companies are satisfied with revamping the same old stuff.

  10. Eric says:

    Uhh, looks like the product of an unholy union between a VRod and Speed Triple.

  11. mark says:

    Very disappointing and ugly.

  12. Rick Hermanns says:

    I think they misspelled DRIVEL!

  13. bujee1 says:

    I like this bike but I wouldn’t call it a cruiser, or even a power cruiser. I ride a Suzuki m109r (which is faster than a VMAX by the way), 200 miles at a time no problem. My knees would hurt on the Ducati. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t consider the Duc as a second bike for riding around town, crusing the mountains locally, or short rides to Starbucks.Now, if i could just get it past the wife…..

    • Zuki says:

      M109R faster than a VMax? Did you race a 25 year-old first generation Vmax to come to this conclusion? The M109R is heavier by about 80 lbs than the new VMax, which is close to 200 hp (roughly 75 more than the M109R). Sure, the M109R is powerful for a cruiser but it certainly isn’t quicker/faster than the VMax. Even the first generation VMax had more power than the M109 after a a few years of improvement. To cap it off… The Diavel has a better power-to-weight ratio than the new VMax.

  14. kawatwo says:

    Someone mentioned the muscle car formula and that is exactlly what Ducati have done A big engine in a small “car”. Looks pretty mean, though carbon fiber just doesn’t look as good as paint to me so I don’t get it. Cruiser riders won’t buy it but people who know what real cool is will. Makes you wonder why bikes have to weigh so much these days, especially cruisers.

  15. WHY did they slather this…. thing…. with all the techno goodies like traction control and ride by wire? This is lost on cruiser folks, most of whom never touch their front brakes, lest they go “flying over the handlebars.” What a waste! Ducati could sell a million of these if they stripped out all the tech, used throttle cables, some single-piston brakes from China, took away about 50 horsepower, added in more torque (and chrome) and dropped the price accordingly.

    If they think 1198 buyers are going to flock to this barge, I think they are mistaken. A total miscall on the target market. DUMB.

    • Zuki says:

      You think this was intended to attract 1198 customers? That’s a total miscall and not the target market. Dumb. Plus, your description of how they should build it is lame, and “nonsensical”.

    • duckboy says:

      zuki’s right. the intended target market for the diavel is not the cruiser market. it’s essentially a new genre of bike since nothing else can compare with it. lightweight, quick, stylish, and good handling. let’s hope this bike starts a whole new trend in the industry that has been complacent far too long.

  16. DingerJunkie says:

    That is definitely a muscle-bike in the vein of the V-MAX, for sure…I really like the attitude. Looking forward to a personal evaluation.

    However, it will NOT be recognized as a cruiser in the same way that VMAX is not. In North America, “cruiser” means “Stuff that bikers or Sturgis-attendees think is cool.” They would turn their nose up at this the same way they did at Harley’s own V-ROD.

    Glad to see that Ducatig was smart enough to not really care about the N.A. “cruiser” demographic.

    • MikeD says:

      I haven’t come to terms calling both the Diavel and VMAX Cruisers…i think it won’t happen, not enough nonsense useless B.S build into each. STILL Too functional and Techy on my book.

  17. Zuki says:

    I am not one of the rejectors of this bike and I really like it. I’ve checked out Ducati’s website and the more I look at the Diavel, and the more I know about it, the more I like it. This is coming from a strict sportbike rider that absolutely detests cruisers unless they’re the real deal… something like a vintage Indian, or the like. This bike is much more appealing than any other bike that could possibly be compared to it, such as the V-Max, simply because it has such clean, uncluttered styling. It’s almost in its own class entirely! The V-Rod simply does not begin to compare to this in my opinion.

    To me, the Diavel is like a modern expression of a classic theme or appeal used in the automotive world throughout the 1960s and into the ’70s… a “personal GT” or “personal luxury” car with a lot of power, luxury and design elements. Cars such as the ’66-’70 Oldsmobile Toronado, ’67-’70 Cadillac Eldorado, ’63-’73 Buick Riviera, and ’62-’72 Pontiac Grand Prix. Interesting to me too is that the taillights remind me of the Cadillac Eldorado’s vertical lights. Ducati’s other models such as the Monster and the 1198 are more in line with the Camaro/Firebird theme, and the Corvette.

    The website shows interesting options such as a touring windscreen, and a GPS navigation unit. It’s a high-performance personal muscle/luxury bike with styling that reflects its role. Definitely not a “cruiser” that most people associate with that name.

    I could ride this bike everyday, and do some sport-touring on it too and have a really good time. I’m sure that Ventura will have a kit soon to mount their soft luggage. They make kits for almost any bike it seems.

  18. Make no mistake, this bike is not a cruiser.

    The ergonomics are all wrong. The seat is still five to six inches too high and the pegs are way too far back. (This coming from a former owner of two Ducatis and a couple of different cruisers as well.) The driver’s legs look like they will cramp up in less than 45 minutes in that position. Also, there is only very minimal passenger accomodations. And where do you mount the saddlebags? How about a windshield?

    Overall this bike is simply not made for “cruising”. What is it then? It’s a sportbike for old fat guys. (Like me.) Can’t quite bend into the “crotch rocket crouch” anymore and need to get a little closer to the ground to keep that old, weak body with poor balance from dropping the bike at a stop.

    It’s a muscle bike, maybe. But not a cruiser.

  19. Brian says:

    I find this bike strangely appealing…

  20. larlok says:

    I would be afraid to ride it.I might catch a glipse of my reflection in a store-front window and turn to stone.

  21. It looks good in the pictures. The real test is what it will look like in the flesh. I have been thinking of getting a Griso but this looks just as mean if not meaner. Plus it is a lot more powerful. Weel done Ducati!

  22. MikeD says:

    I like it, but wouldn’t yet choose it over a V-MAX, overweight and all.
    Hope it makes the other OEMs take notice and keep refreshing and improving their offerings with out cutting it’s Testis. Lighter VMAX with power modes switch, a 6th gear and 100lbs less? LOL, day dreaming is so sweet.

    • jimbo says:

      Yamaha states V-Max wet weight is 685 lbs, Ducati says this is 464 lbs dry (estimate 500 wet). By any metric this Diavel is far closer to 200 lbs (vs. 100) lighter than the Yamaha pig.

  23. Maynard says:

    2 words: rearsets & clip-ons.

  24. jimbo says:

    Oh, BTW, the Diavel is guaranteed to provide the shortest breaking distance among production motorcycles…the result of its combination of race spec components and far-longer wheelbase than any race-replica (the longer the wheelbase the less rear wheel lift, the less rear wheel lift the more rear brake effect).

  25. jimbo says:

    Way outclasses every other cruiser by any metric: exclusivity, looks, performance (150 lbs lighter than the next heavier, way more power/torque…) Great to see the Italian Ducati release the new benchmark for the category and out-class every other country/every other maker including the USA. Good on Ducati! Shame, shame, shame on H-D for offering only also-ran in a category they invented.

    For me personally, even when I’ve lusted for the occasional cruiser based on its looks, every time I sit on one, push its insane, useless, 700+ lb mass back and forth between my legs (I’m 6-3 and leg pressed over 1k lbs), any desire instantly flies out the window.

    No such problem with this sub-500 lb baby!

  26. Frank Bruyn says:

    I’m a sport bike guy and getting older has become an issue with riding position, but that’s a nice looking cruiser and still looks very Ducati. Now if it would only come with shaft drive. I think I could find a spot in my garage for one.

  27. James Allmond says:

    Crap, screw the Honda adventure bike, think I’ve found a Duc I can live with instead…and I ride “cruisers” (if that is what you consider an E-Glide Sport and Road King, ride Beemers too for that matter), don’t wear chaps, have no conchos, do have a modular helmet and like my armored riding suit…just call me an anomaly…

  28. geerod says:

    I own a V-Rod & am very interested in a checking out this bike. I think it looks great! The power & technology in this bike look to be class leading. Can it lean & as far and handle like a true sport bike no, but that’s not the rider Ducati’s trying to attract with this bike. When I want to on rails I ride my MV Brutale, not the V-Rod anyway. Looking forward to a demo ride!

  29. falcodoug says:

    V-Max + Buell thing

  30. ryan says:

    This bike isnt for everyone but by the looks of it the technology and quality is impressive..Looks are a matter of opinion and it looks lighter than a V-Max and more power than a Griso so lets see first before we judge this bike..The V-rod is slow so it doesnt count..