Ducati’s ballistic Diavel is the cruiser in their range that has never quite fitted in with its peers. Too powerful, well-handling and fun to comfortably languish at the lower end of the performance scale, the Diavel has blazed a new genre of ‘power-cruiser’ that owes as much to the hedonistic super-naked sector as it does to feet-forward boulevard posing lazy V-twins.
It looks like some of that is set to change, though. While it’s abundantly clear that this new incarnation of Diavel is going to be no less shocking, capable, or blisteringly quick than the current model, it’s also clear that Ducati are positioning this new model much deeper in the cruiser segment. Headline changes abound, with a new frame, engine, bodywork, drivetrain and – maybe most shockingly – a feet-forward riding position.
This new model seems to be aiming its sights more squarely at the likes of Harley-Davidson’s V-Rod family of Night Rod and Muscle, dragging all of Ducati’s mighty performance focus with it.
The most obvious visual clue to the changes is the lack of exhaust headers on the right-hand side of the bike. Where two enormous snaking pipes once resided, there’s nothing but fresh air. And this airiness is further exacerbated by the lack of frame that also once wrapped around the engine. What is now abundantly on show is almost certain to be an updated Desmodromic Variable Timing (DVT) version of the Diavel’s 1198, borrowing technology from this year’s Multistrada 1200. The machined cylinder heads also help to make the L-twin engine stand out as a visual feature on this model; the truncated Monster-like front chassis leaving a useful gap to make the most of the view. The repositioning of the radiator, lack of side pods and smaller headlamp unit also help to reduce the frontal bulk of the bike. The lines continue with the new tank, now flatter and more conventionally shaped.
Nestling where once only pipes existed is the right-hand footrest, a dramatic 18-inches or so further forward than its under-your-bum position on the current bike, while the bars are also lower and swept closer to the rider, and the seat is lower. There’s also an all-new over-braced trellis-style cast swingarm, and the introduction of belt final drive.
This test mule may look a little rough, but it also looks largely finished, too. Missing only the exhaust shrouding, a bellypan, and its production paintjob – this new cruiser looks ready to go.