By Marissa Baecker
The Diavel (the name derived from a Bolognese “Ignurànt comm’ al Diavel!” translated to “Evil, just like the devil!”) was created to compete in the muscle cruiser category.
At the 2011 Vancouver Motorcycle Show, Steve Hicks of Ducati Canada said, “This is going head to head with the V-Max [Yamaha] and the V-Rod [Harley-Davidson] but actually taking the class once again, like we did with the Multistrada, to a completely new level.”
The Diavel shares the same Testastretta 11° engine first unveiled with the Mulitstrada 1200. In Ducati’s words, “a motor that’s a racer at heart and yet ready for long distance touring or everyday urban use. … an engine for all environments…”
The bike is very masculine looking and this visually intensifies with the carbon fibre option look – a subtle Ducati statement according to Hicks.
“It is a [Ducati] Monster on steroids,” continued Hicks, “with a little Sylvester Stallone kind of look.”
If you can picture that, add in a 240 mm rear tire with a two part circular fender and raw criss-cross side frame. The visual intimidation factor of this model ranks pretty high.
“I found myself constantly explaining my breathlessness about the bike to anybody who came around,” exclaimed retired racer Kathy Hubble, “and I will continue to sing its praises until I find another one that can challenge and excite me as much as the Diavel did.”
It is true, the Diavel is an attention drawer, even in the standard Ducati solid red. The bike was on display at the Okanagan chapter of Ride for Dad and riders freely offered up their comments and a small crowd surrounded the bike for a closer look.
“Looks like a rocket ship!” – agreed, it is a rocket on two wheels.
“How fast can this thing go I wonder?”
“That’s the nicest looking bike I’ve seen in a long time”
“The seat-height is nice.”
“Where do you put the key?” – there is no key
The bike does not operate with a key but rather a remote control fob that must be with the rider. If the bike happens to ride away without the remote or it gets lost along the way, the rider will have to enter a pin code to re-start the bike. An instant theft deterrent but a memory tester for the owner.
The headlight is definitely Ducati identifiable in shape but the Diavel headlight has a strip of LED lighting splitting the light in half horizontally. The rear offers two LED vertical strip lights.
When pressing the on-switch, you will witness a start up of visual displays, whirrs and rrrrps like a computer on two wheels but with a much nicer LED light show. From there, you can choose your ride between Sport, Urban and Touring and various levels of traction control in each mode.
The Ducati Traction Control (‘a filter between the rider’s right hand and the rear tire’) is designed to limit wheel spin in each riding mode. There are eight levels of sensitivity with one offering the least amount of interference and eight for the utmost confidence.
“I got an unexpected extra thrill when I boarded the Ducati Diavel. With its 162 HP and 94 ft. lbs. of torque, I expected it to be pretty fun,” said Hubble, “but fun could not even come close to describing the unbelievable rush I experienced on my first blitz. It simply accelerates beyond what I’ve ever felt before, and is unbearably exciting to ride!”
‘Boarding’ is just what you feel like you are doing when you get on the bike. The seat is carved into the frame and is unlike any sport bike seat we have yet experienced. When you look at the width of the 17 litre fuel tank and where the width meets the seat, it appears that the pelvic bones will be tested and it could be an uncomfortable ride (like experienced with the Monster 696) but it is surprisingly to the contrary. The width is an illusion as on each side of the tank are large air intakes formed in aluminum that deliver flow to the engine’s airbox.
The 30.3” seat height – one of the lowest in the Ducati line up – paired with a low chassis, offered Hubble’s 5’1” body confident standing room when stationary but for the taller rider, the half-pipe angled seat offers room to move while maintaining comfort and control. The positioning for the taller rider was equally surprising. I had no comfort issues either standing at 5’11” with a 34” inseam and was shocked by having enough seated control without sacrificing comfort.
“The low seat height on the Diavel is another bonus for me,” Kathy said. “Who would have ever thought they could make a bike that had that kind of awesome power and performance, but would also accommodate a shorter rider? Very cool.”
With Hubble’s riding expertise she felt that with no traction control, a rider that didn’t have the appropriate experience could easily wheelie the bike up and over. Even though the Diavel is a bike that could grow with the rider’s experience, we wouldn’t recommend the Diavel for a first bike but definitely for a bike to look forward to.
Urban riding and Touring mode (both with factory pre-set traction control for each mode) and offer enjoyable rides as well.
As for handling, the bike rides like it is on rails in all three modes. The dual aluminum twin muffler produces attitude laden sound like a standard cruiser but the Diavel handles like a sport bike and follows the line like a super sport would. With ABS brakes, a rider definitely is packing extra confidence.
This is a bike I would like to try at a track day, in the safety of a closed circuit. I would like to know how it feels to just gun it without having to worry about traffic or unexpected hazards.
The Diavel is new to the Ducati line-up this year and considering how it has been received, we could expect it to stay in the line-up. MSRP is surprisingly realistic hovering just over the $20,000 mark. Plan to spend a few dollars but remember you are getting three bikes in one.