The Ducati Diavel represented a step in a new direction for the Italian manufacturer. Better known for making the kind of exotic sportsbikes that adorned the bedroom walls of teenagers, a cruiser-style muscle bike was a surprising addition to the range.
But Ducati didn’t just dip a toe into the sector, they pretty much re-invented it. The light, agile and immensely powerful Diavel blew everyone away and brought a new level of sophistication to what had been a slightly agricultural end of the bike market.
Ducati Diavel performance
With 152bhp on tap from the 1198cc V-twin engine, a 240-section rear wheel and a long, low stance, the Diavel was never going to feel slow in a straight line. It’s actually quicker from 0-60mph than a Ducati 1198.
The truly astonishing thing, though, is how well it stops and turns. At 210kg it is light for a cruiser, but that is still a lot of weight to hustle through a corner. It handles almost as well as well as a super naked and will humble plenty of sportsbikes on track.
Ducati Diavel features
The Ducati Diavel also boasts three switchable riding modes which alter the engine map to suit the situation. Urban restricts the power to 100bhp to make the bike more manageable around town, while Touring and Sport both give you full power. The Touring mode delivers the power in a much smoother way.
Bikes in the cruiser market are judged more than most on their looks and quality of finish. The Ducati Diavel’s looks may not be for everyone but the finish and attention to detail is exquisite. From the raised badges to milled aluminium components and neat, retractable pillion grab rail, the Diavel exudes quality.
What are the Ducati Diavel’s competitors?
You don’t get a true sense of how much the Diavel moved things along in the cruiser sector until you take a look at the competition it had when it was released.
The obvious alternative is the Harley-Davidson V-Rod, which weighs 307kg, or to put it another way, it weighs more than a Ducati Diavel carrying a Honda CRF125. The Harley only manages to muster 109bhp from its 1250cc engine, too, meaning the Diavel felt like a rocket ship by comparison.
The 2008 Yamaha V-Max was arguably the first bike to shake things up in the cruiser sector, and while its performance stats are truly astonishing it cost a whopping £21,500 when it was launched, over £7,000 more than the Diavel. The Yamaha’s V4 engine also lacked some of the soul of the Ducati’s V-twin set up.
The Ducati Diavel’s performance meant that it didn’t fulfil the laid-back and comfortable requirements of a true cruiser for some riders, particularly in the American market. Ducati’s solution to this problem was to launch the Ducati XDiavel in 2016 with a more traditional cruiser riding position and the DVT variable valve system 1262cc engine previously seen in the Ducati Multistrada 1200.
Although the XDiavel bears a family resemblance to the Diavel, it is a completely new bike. It has sacrificed none of the Diavel’s handling prowess or power, but the maximum 95ftlb of torque is unleashed at just 5,000rpm.
The XDiavel also switched from chain to belt drive, which is much more commonplace in the cruiser sector.