I’ll admit it: when Ducati first announced the Diavel, my first thought was “fail”, especially in the U.S. market. BMW had been down that road with the R1200 C, and even Moto Guzzi had a swing and a miss with their California series. Euro bike makers just can’t compete with Americans when it comes to cruisers, and the high end niche where the Diavel is priced doesn’t get many customers these days. I can’t speak for sales or even demand, but I’ll say this: I was dead wrong on the Diavel. It isn’t just another Eurocruiser, and it isn’t even another power cruiser destined to slug it out with the Yamaha V-Max or the Suzuki B-King. In fact, the closest concept I can think of to the Diavel is Yamaha’s old Warrior, from the pre-Star Motorcycle days. Is the Diavel a power cruiser? Sure, but with the heart and soul of a sportbike. Watch the video to see what I mean.
So let’s sum it up: the Diavel gives you an L-twin motor sourced from the 1198 Multistrada, good for 162 horsepower. Ducati’s traction control helps to moderate that power, as does a rider’s choice of three separate ECU modes. “Sport” gives you full power and maximum throttle response, “Touring” give you slightly less power and a delayed throttle response and “Urban”, which drops horsepower to 100 and eases throttle control settings. Think of “Urban” as “Rain” mode, and you get the picture.
Like the Pirelli ad says, power is nothing without control, and here’s where the Diavel starts to get interesting. Brakes (ABS, of course) are Brembo units borrowed from the 11998 Superbike. The 50mm Marzocchi front fork is adjustable for spring pre-load, compression and rebound damping, and the Sachs rear shock is adjustable for compression and rebound. Specially developed Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tires ensure that the Diavel sticks as well as it goes, even in wet weather. Despite the meaty size of the rear (240/45-17), MotoUSA calls it “not as distracting as anticipated” when the roads get twisty.
At a starting price of $16,995 for the base model, the Diavel is priced outside of my league. That’s a shame, because hideous rear fender aside, I’d really like to ride one. I’m not ready to slow down to cruiser mode just yet, but sport bikes just don’t work for my knees and wrists anymore. The Diavel could be the perfect solution for guys like me, as long as they’re in a different income bracket.