Text – Faisal Khan; Pictures – Om Vaikul
Ducati Diavel Review
Bike Tested: 2015 Ducati Diavel
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 17.3 lakhs
The Ducati Diavel is an excellent alternative to superbikes as it is much more practical
Ducati’s most popular model in India is the Diavel, out of all the bikes booked in the past few days of Ducati’s official re-entry into India, the Diavel accounts for 70% of the sales. Clearly there is something special about this motorcycle which isn’t even available in Ducati’s signature red colour, the only shade available on the base Diavel is ‘Dark Stealth’. There are three models on offer; the standard Diavel (pictured here), the Diavel Carbon (costs around Rs. 4 lakhs more) and the Diavel Titanium (costs a whooping Rs. 23.38 lakhs more than the standard variant but is a limited edition model). A very successful model for Ducati, we get on the saddle of the Diavel to see what makes it tick.
The Ducati Diavel’s tagline is “Don’t call me a cruiser” which is clear indication to the positioning of this machine. It’s a hybrid of a cruiser and a street-fighter so power-cruiser will be the apt name for this Italian beast. This bike looks wicked and grabs the attention of each and everyone on the road. The attention grabbing elements are those full LED lights (both at the front and rear), twin exhausts, single-sided swingarm, massive 240 section rear tyre on 14-spoke wheels, sleek numberplate mount, thick seats and of course that long tank which also houses a second display. Then there is the exposed trellis frame which isn’t as striking when finished in black but when done up in red or white, it instantly stands out.
With the key in your pocket, you just need to hold the start button to get going, the keyless start being very convenient and also super cool (keeping the switch pressed all the way down locks the handle, no key needed but the electronic key flips open to access the under-seat and fuel tank). The instrument cluster is all digital with the tell tale lights placed on the top. The split cluster has the main console in LCD with the usual speedo, tacho, temperature meters while the second one is a TFT on the tank and displays riding modes, fuel meter, gear position indicator, DTC level, trip meters and a host of information like fuel consumption, mileage, etc. Switchgear quality is top notch but making changes to the traction control modes isn’t as easy a task as it should be.
The Ducati Diavel has a very comfortabe riding position and the seats are very supportive too. The attention to detail is simply mind blowing, the pillion foot pegs are a work of art and the grab handle too is very unique, both being made of forged aluminium and are black anodised to gel well with the rest of the bike. Power comes in from a 1198.4cc, L-Twin Testastretta engine which punches out 162 HP of peak power at 9250 RPM and an impressive 130.5 Nm of peak torque at 8000 RPM. There are three riding modes – Urban (reduces power to 100 HP), Touring (linear delivery) and Sport (aggressive delivery), the latter two giving full power but traction control levels differ, it’s the least intrusive in Sport. As expected, throttle response is instant, lucid and jerk-free, the Diavel showing utmost urgency to gather pace.
The Ducati Diavel packs in a serious missile like punch with performance that’s brutally quick
However, when you give it full throttle, the Ducati Diavel takes off with the urgency you would expect only from superbikes. It blurs scenery in an instant and has so much grunt to whizz past everyone around you. The ride-by-wire throttle is super responsive, offering instant twist and go feel but it’s really the mid-range where this bike shines, zooming to its redline in no time. 0-100 km/hr comes up in a super fast 2.6 seconds while the top whack is an equally impressive 270 km/hr. The best part is the sound, it is melodious and the shriek it makes at high revs is truly outstanding. The clutch is a bit on the heavier side while the gearbox is a smooth shifting unit, this Ducati gets a slipper clutch.
Top drawer hardware features on the Ducati Diavel, it’s underpinned by a trellis frame, uses Marzocchi fully adjustable inverted forks at the front and Sachs monoshock at the rear. The tyres are Pirelli Diablo Rosso II (the 240 mm rear tyre is double the size of the 120 mm front). The Diavel does look intimidating, it isn’t quite heavy at 239 kgs but when you ride it, you are surprised to find it very nimble and easy to pilot. Ride quality is good and the motorcycle is supermely stable at speed. Handling is very eager, not superbike like but still very engaging and there is DTC (Ducati Traction Control) with 8 levels of sensitivity which can be manually chosen (8 is the most restrictive while 1 is the least intrusive) to prevent wheel spin. The Diavel corners with quick directional changes and leans into corners with much ease. Braking performance is excellent courtesy of the Brembo monobloc callipers and ABS.
The Ducati Diavel is a motorcycle which fits into many roles quite easily. It’s comfortable enough to be ridden for long distances while having more than enough reserve to scare you silly when you want to ride fast. The engine is a gem and there are a ton of electronics on board to keep you safe at all times. Unlike typical cruisers which are more into being ridden fast and straight, the Diavel is dynamically potent and offers a good blend of both worlds. The big plus is of course the styling, just look at it, if that isn’t enough to sign the cheque then a ride on this beast will be enough to seal the deal.
The Ducati Diavel blends ease of riding (suits short riders alike), performance, dynamics, technology and design in one well crafted package. At its current price, it makes for a splendid alternative to other cruisers (and some superbikes) in the market.
* Pure-eye candy styling, looks like nothing else on the road
* Punchy twin-cylinder engine, has instant throttle response and accelerates quickly
* Comfortable ergonomics for all kinds of riders
* Balanced dynamics, handling is nimble and precise
* Loaded with a lot of tech and equipment
What’s Not So Cool
* Ducati’s limited sales and service outlets in India
Further Reading –
Ducati Monster 795 Review
Ducati Panigale 899 Review