DUCATI DIAVEL 1260 S (2019 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Powerful cruiser with Ducati style
  • Incredibly clever DVT engine
  • Agile handling despite size

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £200
Power: 159 bhp
Seat height: Low (30.7 in / 780 mm)
Weight: High (538 lbs / 244 kg)

Prices

New £16,795
Used £14,000 - £15,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Ducati Diavel 1260 S is a riding experience that you just can’t get anywhere else. A bike this, solid-looking and brawny, shouldn’t be able to dance through corners in the way that the new 1260S does.

Yet the 2019 Ducati Diavel handles like a sports roadster half its size, gives acceleration thrills to rival any hotrod, is comfy enough to ride all day, is as sophisticated as a top-spec sportsbike, and has the style to hold those long, lingering looks over you shoulder as you close the garage door. 

The electronics package and DVT engine bring the Diavel bang up to date after eight years in no-man’s land - and in terms of performance and spec, there quite simply isn’t another bike to rival it. All hail the MegaMonster.

Once you've read this review and our owners' reviews, you may want to

MCN's Emma Franklin testing the 2019 Ducati Diavel

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Although the riding position is exactly the same as the previous Diavel, the entire chassis is completely new. The most dramatic part of the Diavel’s transformation is the way that it handles. The 2011 Ducati Diavel was no slouch in the corners, and handled much better than its looks would suggest, but the 1260 has moved the game on dramatically. It’s incredibly easy to steer and changes direction with a lightness than belies its 244kg. In fact it feels much lighter than the old Diavel despite being 5kg heavier!

Just as before, there’s 41 degrees of ground clearance, with the pegs only touching down around the tightest of Andalusian corners - but for everyday, fast-paced riding here in Britain, there’s ample lean on offer.

Action cornering shot on 2019 Ducati Diavel

The whole chassis package has been redesigned. Starting with the front end, the steeper 27-degree rake angle and 120mm trail means the new bike’s geometry is closer to that of a sports roadster than a cruiser.

This change has been facilitated by the arrival of a front-mounted radiator, rather than the side-mounted units of the old bike, which has allowed the engine to be mounted further back and closer to the centre of mass. Bolted to the top cylinder is the new tubular steel trellis frame, and to the rear is a new, shorter single-sided swingarm. But overall the new bike is 10mm longer than the previous Diavel, boosting stability with no impact on steering.

Ducati Diavel shock

The shock has also been repositioned and is now mounted laterally above the silencer, and it’s this in conjunction with increased rear wheel travel, that has also made the new bike feel much more comfortable over bumps - the old bike was a real kidney-rattler as it pummelled you over rough roads, but the new chassis provides all-day comfort and doesn’t try to turn your internal organs to pâté.

The big, scalloped-out seat also helps here - it’s narrow at the front but wide at the back as well as being generously padded. Stick a screen on it and you’d easily do long days in the saddle, no worries at all. 

Ducati Diavel front wheel, suspension and brakes

The Öhlins suspension provides damping that’s just right for road riding - doing both a good job at stabilising the Diavel’s considerable weight whilst braking hard and also ironing out road imperfections. 

The Brembo M50 calipers look stunning and are simply perfect, both in terms of power and feel, but I’d say the standard bike’s Brembo M4.32 radial monoblocs will be just as good.

In spite of all the electronics blinking away keeping you safe, the mechanical feel and feedback the Diavel gives to the rider makes you feel very confident exploiting the amazing engine performance when powering out of bends.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

First introduced in the Multistrada, the Testastretta DVT has also graced the XDiavel. In the new Diavel, it’s been optimised via mapping for maximum performance and feels more aggressive and sporty than it does inside the Multi or XDiavel. It’s something of an iron fist in a velvet glove.

For road riding, the super-sophisticated 1262cc V-twin is damn near perfect: the insanely clever hydraulically actuated variable valve timing system works seamlessly at all points in the rev range to deliver a feeling of limitless power, whatever gear you’re in. It’ll plod along smoothly through town, or you can thrash its upper limits in full attack mode and it’ll respond just like a sportsbike.

Ducati Diavel responds just like a sportsbike

It’s massively flexible, and - god knows how Ducati got it through noise homologation - the sound from the new low-slung silencer sounds like someone’s stolen the steak from a pride of hungry lions - it really roars and barks. 

Peak power is up 7bhp on the old Diavel, but crucially the new bike makes more torque at almost every point in the rev range than the outgoing machine. There’s a massive 95ft-lb at 7500rpm - but it makes over 75ft-lbs at just over 3000rpm! It’s keen and revs freely, and there’s none of the agricultural feel that was so common from older Ducatis. It’ll pull higher gears at low speeds and does so pretty smoothly.

The Ducati Diavel 1260 motor

The only blot on its copy book is that the throttle response in Sport and Touring mode is quite abrupt (more so in Sport) and makes the bike lurch at small throttle openings, which becomes a bit mind-focusing when negotiating tight corners in torrential rain. There’s a lot of engine braking too - which is great for high-speed riding on fast, flowing corners as it means you don’t have to touch the brakes, but can be unsettling on tighter, slipperier corners when it can make it difficult to balance the bike. 

Ducati's DVT in the Diavel 1260: how it works

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Previous models of the Diavel have been extremely reliable, with only a couple of recalls early on relating to the keyless ignition failing to unlock the steering lock, and another for a coolant leak. As this is a heavily updated model, the 1260 is unlikely to suffer those problems, and modern Ducati reliability is extremely good. As you’d expect from a premium bike like this, build quality is impressive.

Ducati Diavel 1260S owners' reviews

Our 2019 Ducati Diavel owners' reviews show extremely positive results, with buyers very happy with their purchase. 

MCN lived with a Ducati Diavel for a year during 2019, and found it a comfortable yet seriously capable motorcycle. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

This is a £20k bike, and that’s an awful lot of money. However, Ducati have attempted to ease the financial pain of ownership by making the service intervals impressively wide - it’ll only need to see the dealer for an oil service every 9000 miles (roughly £284), and valve clearance check every 18,000 miles (at a cost of around £378 if nothing else needs doing - shims can cost big money if they need replacing). An all-in price of a 15,000-mile Desmo service on the Diavel will cost around £1200 (including a chain and sprocket plus the valve clearance check).

Those service intervals are astonishing for an engine with this much performance and it’s testament to Ducati’s engineering skills and component choices. 

The Ducati Diavel is a beautifully built machine

Tyres, on the other hand, might be a different matter and due to the bike’s power and weight (plus the way it eggs you on to gas it up everywhere) you may be getting through a fair few of the special 240-45 rear Pirellis. Due to the rounded profile of the tyre, designed especially for the Diavel, dealers always recommend the use of the OE Pirelli Diablo Rosso III. 

Ducati Diavel 1260 S vs Triumph Rocket 3R - the big question

Ducati Diavel 1260 S vs Triumph Rocket 3 R

Riding a stylised bike such as a cruiser should be an event that sticks in your mind, which is where the Diavel struggles and the Rocket 3 R excels. And it’s all down to that enormous motor. Every time you accelerate, the sheer grunt delivered by 2.5 litres of Hinckley muscle takes your breath away and when combined with the muscular riding position and overall feel of excess, it leaves a lasting impression.

That’s not to say the Diavel isn’t a great bike – it’s a fantastic performance cruiser. But because its Testastretta V-twin is in other models it fails to be such an event. You can still have tremendous fun on the Diavel and its chassis is remarkably agile, but it doesn’t have the ‘Wow’ factor you get on the Rocket 3. Its look also now lacks the visual impact it had when first unveiled in 2011. At just shy of £20K the Rocket 3 R is undeniably a substantial investment, but you get a bike that’s guaranteed to deliver a memorable experience whenever you take it out.

Triumph Rocket 3 takes on Ducati Diavel on the MCN250

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

It’s got the lot. This S model comes with a two-way quickshifter that’s been developed using protocols from Ducati Corse so it’s really smooth at high/full throttle openings. Downchanges via the autoblipper become addictive, and make you feel like you’re on a proper sportsbike as you barrel into corners. It works very well. 

Both versions of the Diavel also get Ducati’s very latest rider aids package - the Evo system - which now includes wheelie and launch control. Using data about the bike’s speed, position, lean angle and rpm from the 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit, both the Bosch cornering ABS and Ducati Traction Control work together to provide a safety net that’s completely invisible to the rider.

Ducati Diavel from the left-hand side of the bike

The Traction Control now works by adjusting the bike’s throttle valves, spark advance and fuelling. The software protocols have been developed from Ducati’s racing experience and it feels a lightyear ahead of the first generation DTC that graced the original Diavel, which you could feel chiming in when the ECU thought you were at risk of wheelspin. There’s none of that on the new model; even in torrential rain, managing the 95ft-lb torque through the crazy-wide 240-section tyre was made to feel effortless, and the chassis and electronics gave great confidence.

The TC, ABS, throttle response and wheelie control levels are preset within each of the three modes - Sport, Touring and Urban - but you can customise each of the modes to your own preference, should you wish. Sport and Touring give you access to the engine’s full power, whereas Urban softens the throttle response right down and limits the engine to 100bhp.

The 2019 Ducati Diavel - what the rider sees

The S model is also compatible with the Ducati Link app which allows owners to record routes, share data, customise modes and get software updates direct to their smartphone. There’s also Bluetooth connectivity for calls and music.

Another nice touch is the 1260’s new ‘3D blade’ indicators mounted on the shoulder fairings. A feature of both models, these LED lights are visible from both the front and the side of the bike and really stand out. There’s also keyless ignition.

Specs

Engine size 1262cc
Engine type v-twin
Frame type steel trellis
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 780mm
Bike weight 244kg
Front suspension 50mm USD fork
Rear suspension preload adjustable monoshock
Front brake Brembo M4.32
Rear brake 2 piston Brembo
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 240/45 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 52.3 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £200
New price £16,795
Used price £14,000 - £15,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term 24 months, unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 159 bhp
Max torque 95 ft-lb
Top speed 160 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 9.98 secs
Tank range 195 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2011: Ducati Diavel introduced. Powered by a retuned version of 1198cc Testastretta engine from 1198 Superbike. Available in two versions: Dark (standard model) and Carbon (higher-spec model with Marchesini wheels and carbon trim. 
  • 2015 Updated model with twin-spark engine and small styling tweaks.

Other versions

Ducati Diavel 1290

Owners' reviews for the DUCATI DIAVEL 1260 (2019 - on)

2 owners have reviewed their DUCATI DIAVEL 1260 (2019 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your DUCATI DIAVEL 1260 (2019 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Equipment: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £200
5 out of 5 Ducati Diavel 1260s ... go get one
14 June 2020 by Frosty

Version: 1260s

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £239

fabulous bike, handles like a naked sports bike, can really throw it about and the acceleration is simply addictive,

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Brembo's are wicked, so much feel and good bike for reasonable journeys, need a coffee after about 2 hours

Engine 5 out of 5

awesome, simply awesome

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

no issues at all

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

bang up to date, gear box is great on the move but trick to find neutral

Buying experience: Bought from Woods of Abergele, great customer srvice

5 out of 5 2019 Diavel 1260 S: A spectacular update to an amazing model
28 May 2019 by Chris L

Version: S

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £160

Ducati listened to its customers! Every complaint I had with the previous generation has been resolved with this redesign, from the unreliable menu switch to the hard-to-open key fob to the transmission that made finding neutral difficult. The new swingarm leaves more room to clean and lube the chain. To take an already incredible machine and improve it so drastically was a big feat! So far, my only complaint is that the turn signal switch is too easily pushed to the side when pushing it inward to cancel the signal. I often think I've cancelled my turn signal, but look down and see the right-turn signal flashing. This is negated to some degree by the fact that turn signals are self-cancelling, but this feature doesn't work during lane changes.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

The engine is the centerpiece of this bike in every way. It is strong and smooth, and is prominently on display from either side as a stressed member of the chassis, offering a break from the classic open trellis frame.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Only time will tell, but after owning a 2015 model for 4 years and 13,500 miles, my expectations are high.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

This is, as anyone reading should recognize, an exotic motorcycle. It is not cheap to purchase or maintain. The factory recommended service interval is very broad at 9,000 miles, which helps keep preventive maintenance costs down, but this interval necessitates the use of expensive synthetic oil, plus shop labor rates that have inflated drastically over the years (unless you perform your own service). But you probably don't care so much about dropping around $160 every 9,000 miles after shelling out $24,000 (after tax and fees) for the bike itself. After all, it is absolutely worth the expense! I found insurance to be quite reasonable. There are other factors that helped reduce my rates over time, including age and marriage, but compared to a 2010 Kawasaki Z1000 that I purchased new, comprehensive coverage on my 2019 Diavel S costs only about 25% as much.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The electronics package on offer is top notch, including advanced features such as launch control, quickshift, and self-cancelling turn signals, in addition to more common features like traction control and ABS. Additionally, cruise control is a welcome addition from the previous generation, and the bluetooth hub is quite clever. It allows connection of up to 4 separate devices and uses hand controls to manage music, communications between rider and passenger, and incoming phone calls, and can display certain related information (such as song title) on the built-in LCD screen. Ohlins suspension is optional, and Ducati already has a plethora of accessories available to customize your ride. Understandably, aftermarket options are still limited.

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