2016 Ducati Diavel Test Ride Review
2016 Ducati Diavel Carbon – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Ducati Diavel Carbon Review

Bike Tested: Ducati Diavel Carbon; Road Test No. 660

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 20,73,105/-

The Ducati Diavel presents itself like a muscular ready-for-action power-cruiser that is super fast

Let’s talk about a Hot Rod motorcycle with an Italian origin made for cruising, but not actually! Yes, this one liner pretty much sums up the motorcycle we are talking about. But there’s a lot more to it. It’s the devil’s own, the Ducati Diavel. A cruiser with a heart of a superbike made to burn the road, or an actual power-cruiser per se. The Ducati Diavel is a proper beast which can’t be tamed to go all out. This Ducati has got so much potential that if you wish to go flat out, there’s a lot to look forward to. The one over here is the middle variant of the three available trims. We did ride the Diavel last year for a short distance, but this year, it’s time for a detailed review of the Diavel Carbon. Getting onto the Ducati Diavel was a head-scratching scary moment, but eventually and with a big smile on our faces, we’ve got a detailed review here.

Motor Quest: The Ducati Diavel has been in production since 2010 with its first debut in November 2010 at the EICMA Motor Show. It is available in three variants – standard Diavel, Diavel Carbon and the limited edition Diavel Titanium of which only 500 units will be produced.

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The Italian design of the Diavel would make one sit back and admire

Styling – The Ducati Diavel Carbon is one of sexiest looking power-cruisers. As it comes from an Italian background, styling and design can never be just above average; it has to be mind-blowing and thankfully it is. For starters, it has beautiful Marchesini 10-spoke light-weight alloy wheels custom made for the Diavel with a pair of massive discs at the front and a nicely crafted single sided swingarm holding the beautiful rear wheel. The massive L-Twin engine sits under the white coloured tubular trellis frame. Right next to the frame is a pair of shiny exhaust pipes coming out in the form of 2 into 1 and again splitting into two slashed cut end-cans.

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The Ducati Diavel is pretty wide due to various design elements

Almost every body panel of the Ducati Diavel Carbon is made of carbon fibre

Moving on from the elongated lower half of the motorcycle, the upper half has massive appeal with an expansive tank that sports a pair of scoops on both the sides to suck in air for the radiator. The front holds an all LED headlamp designed intricately. As we come to the rear, the seat is specifically designed for the Diavel to provide comfort while having good space for the pillion too. The pillion seat is covered by a removable cover and it looks much better with it. The tail ends with dual LED tail lights that hold indicators on either sides. The last tip of the bike is an aluminium number plate holder covering some portion of the rear tyre.

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The feature loaded instrument cluster is one of the best in its class

Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – While most bikes feature a single console to display data, Ducati doesn’t settle for just one, instead it provides two all-digital instrument clusters; one mounted on the tank and the other placed on the handlebar. The one on the handlebar displays essentials like the tachometer, speedometer, time and temperature gauge. The lower one is for rest of the information like the fuel gauge, fuel consumption, odometer, twin trip meters, gear indicator, riding mode, power output, traction control level and a lot more options to fiddle around with.

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Information from the console is readable even in bright daylight

These two meters are not just limited to displaying data but have loads of options to play around. For example, brightness of both the LCDs can be adjusted and managed separately, switching into various modes of traction, turning off/on the ABS and a lot more. All this is done by the switchgear on the left hand side. Also, the Diavel has three riding modes which are electronically controlled and to switch between these the second console comes into play. The headlamp is an all time on headlamp with a set of DRLs added as well. If one would like to switch to high beam or dipper mode, a tap vertically on the pass light switch is all that’s needed. It also gets a unique engine kill switch with an integrated starter button. You get keyless go so no need to remove the keys from the pocket, even when unlocking the handlebar as the lock is digital too.

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One of the most comfortable seats specifically crafted for the Diavel

Ergonomics – The Ducati Diavel Carbon is scrunched in between both the wheels. The seating position is quite upright but you actually don’t sit on the bike, you sit within the bike. The seat height is just 770 mm which is very low and perfect for a cruiser. The handlebar goes straight ahead and tilt towards the end while the footpegs are placed rather forward, justifying the cruiser ergonomics. The tank compared to the overall body is bulbous and comes right in between the thighs. The engine is huge and hence the tank capacity is less even after having a bulky and muscular tank. The rear seat is covered by a removable cowl and once removed the pillion can enjoy the ride on the beast. The pillion sits on a level above and can have a good view of the front as well. The rear footpegs are retractable ones while the grab-rail is on the rear tail lamp which actually looks like a small spoiler for this motorcycle, one can close it too.

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A proper power launch and you lift the Diavel with no effort

Performance – The 1200cc Testastretta L-Twin engine puts out 162 BHP of power at 9250 RPM and 130.5 Nm of torque at 8000 RPM with the output being transmitted to the massive rear tyre. Each cylinder is fed via four Desmodromically actuated valves to ensure minimal wastage of fuel and proper power delivery even at higher RPMs. Also the Mitsubishi fuel injection system makes sure that the power delivery is not compromised. The story doesn’t end here, the Diavel has so much of electronics running around that the throttle is ride-by-wire. No cable pulls the throttle at the engine, everything goes electronic with the twist of the throttle and the craziness of the ECU. The ECU makes the mighty beast act in three very different ways with its three riding modes. The Urban mode is suitable for city riding, the Touring mode works well for long rides or if you want to experience all the 162 horses and the Sports mode is something which should be used only in controlled conditions.

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The Testastretta L-Twin powers most of the 1200s in Ducati’s line-up

Ducati engines have a very different feel to them due to their configuration

If it’s ones first run with the Ducati Diavel, it has to be on Urban riding mode where the power output is limited to 100 BHP making it a little easier to tame. These 100 horses aren’t less as only the power is reduced but the urgency to deliver the power remains almost as aggressive. Next comes the Touring mode where there’s no limit to the power output but the urgency is enough to scare the rider. Next comes the Sports mode where the 162 Italian horses, all mad and angry waiting for a twist of a throttle, go berserk and over that there’s the least amount of traction control for minimal computer interventions against the rider’s inputs. This mode is the one to be thought about before switching to.

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Turn the traction control low and hit the power band right, you lift!

Ducati Traction Control (DTC) has eight levels pre-programmed into the Diavel. For each mode of riding, the individual traction is pre-set, though one can play around and adjust the traction accordingly from 01 to 08. The smallest number offering the least intrusion from the electronics and the maximum number letting the computer do its job. The most fun is the least intrusive setting which is the default setting for the Sports mode and with a proper launch in this mode, hitting the ton is a matter of under 3 seconds. The first gear tops out at 100 km/hr while the second does about 140 km/hr, third pulls till 180 km/hr and fourth doesn’t mind clicking 215 km/hr. To go any further in fifth and sixth gears, one would need a good long road and a lot of confidence as these speeds come in very quick.

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At higher speeds, windblast becomes an issue holding you back

Hitting the ton in first gear is great but while cruising at 100 km/hr in top gear, the tachometer barely hits 4000 RPM and we achieved an overall fuel efficiency of 12.7 km/l which isn’t bad considering the power on tap. If we talk about the NVH of the Ducati Diavel, it would require lots of explanation but keeping it short, this Italian beast has the best stock sound for a twin pot engine. The vibrations are all over the bike even at idle, there is no harshness though. If one goes down to a lower speed, shifting down is necessary as higher gear and lower RPM does give out some engine knocking. The slipper clutch works well while down shifting and helps slow the bike down in a gradual manner.

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Proper mixture of power and comfort sums to great riding dynamics

Riding Dynamics – Riding a Ducati is not a joke, there’s immense power and a lot of things to understand in the first place to be able to ride one. The Diavel is a unique motorcycle in its category, the category of power-cruisers. Ergonomics are perfect for a cruiser without being too laid back. Ride-by-wire actually cuts of the feel of the throttle but it becomes so crisp that even with a small roll, there’s wheelspin all over if traction control is set to low. The traction control is an amazing thing for riding dynamics as the extreme amount of power is cut off by the DTC unit and power is belted to the rear tyre in a more controlled fashion. Straight-line stability is astonishing on the Diavel but tipping into corners is a bit of a concern due to the body style and weight.

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Go cruising at high speeds and you will only stop for refuelling

Relaxed and upright riding posture, the Ducati Diavel is a perfect power-cruiser

Cornering won’t make the Ducati Diavel fall; however the tyre is so wide and the weight of the bike is so high that flicking around isn’t possible. Counter-steer and the bike leans in for a particular angle. Keep the throttle gentle and the heavy uncontrollable beast becomes a part of the rider. The pair of Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres provide the required grip in all situations. With the 240 section rear tyre, the bike grips in a manner inspiring confidence all the time. But when it comes to even a bit of mud or loose gravel, these road tyres give in and we don’t blame them. Here is when the ABS with excellent monobloc brakes from Brembo get the Italian machine back in control.

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The big bike feeling doesn’t stop one from having a little fun

The three riding modes are perfect for three different situations but the factory suspension setup is just about right. Both the front and rear suspension is manually adjustable and if the suspension is adjusted according to the rider’s need, the ride becomes even better. Considering the roads in India, especially in Mumbai, the Sports mode is of no use at all but the Touring mode with the factory suspension setup is perfect for weekend rides and the Urban mode with the soft setup is brilliant if someone wants to use it as a daily rider.

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Humongous rear tyre does make the rider look small

Verdict – The Ducati Diavel Carbon is a beauty wrapped onto a heart of a beast. The long list of features and electronics kept us busy during the time we had the bike. The Diavel has everything to appeal both to serious riders as well as those who like to pose. A service interval of 15,000 kms or one year is a boon and would help keep service costs a little low. One can sit back and admire the exposed Trellis frame, carbon fibre bodywork and the amazing exhaust with Marchesini 10-spoke wheels. Many of the features are present only in cars and having them on a motorcycle just makes you feel special. Though the Ducati Diavel is a costly affair, if I could afford one, I would surely own one.

The Ducati Diavel Carbon is a motorcycle that competes with bigger Harleys in India. But comparing a Harley to a Ducati doesn’t make a correct comparison. The Ducati is far more advanced and feature loaded with performance only sport bikes can match.

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Few bits do make the Ducati Diavel Carbon look very appealing

What’s Cool

* Powerful engine and the riding modes give a lot of options
* Feature loaded with lots of rich hardware
* Comfortable seat and perfect bike for cruising at high speeds

What’s Not So Cool

* Fuel efficiency is just about average
* Vibrations and knocking of gearbox at low speeds

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Fancy some attention? This Ducati grabs a lot of it

Ducati Diavel Carbon Specifications

* Engine: 1198.4cc, Testastretta 11° L-Twin, liquid-cooled 4 Desmodromically actuated valves per cylinder
* Power: 162 BHP @ 9250 RPM
* Torque: 130.5 Nm @ 8000 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed straight cut gearbox
* Fuel Consumption: 12-15 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Tubular Trellis Frame
* Suspension: Fully adjustable 50 mm USD forks (Front), Fully adjustable monoshock with progressive links (Rear)
* Tyres: 120/70/ZR17 (Front), 240/45/ZR17 (Rear)
* Brakes: Dual 320 mm semi-floating discs with 4-piston callipers (Front), single 265 mm disc with 2-piston callipers (Rear), ABS

Ducati Diavel Carbon Dimensions

* Length x Width x Height (mm): 2235 x 860 x 1192
* Wheelbase: 1580 mm
* Ground Clearance: 160 mm
* Seat Height: 770 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 17-litres
* Kerb weight: 234 kgs (wet)

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The attention to detail on the Ducati Diavel is truly noteworthy

Testers’ Note:

“Superbikes are very demanding and can be tough on your body but the Ducati Diavel brings the best of both worlds by giving superbike-like performance in a cruiser package. This means that the Diavel has more than enough poke to keep up with litre-class machines while also offering comfort. What impresses the most is the tech and styling on this motorcycle. Not only can it attract a crowd in a jiffy, it has all the goodies to make you feel you have got your money’s worth.” – Faisal Khan, Editor, MotorBeam.
“Having heard that taming a Ducati isn’t a task for the faint-hearted, the first few kms had me riding the bike in Urban mode to understand what this power-cruiser is all about. I then switched to Touring mode and gave it the beans. And boy, does it scare you! As I got off the saddle, my hands were trembling and the ride is etched in my mind till date. That is what beast of a machine does to you. If you are looking for a power-cruiser with a lot of character, look no further.” – Aman Sancheti, Road Tester, MotorBeam.
“The Ducati Diavel Carbon is a machine made for cruising at high speeds. Once on the saddle, you take time to get used to it; but once the adrenaline rush is matched with the bike, nothing else would be left to impress. With 3 riding modes and so many features like traction control, ABS and much more, the Diavel is something much more advanced. And with the Italian art put together, the Diavel looks like a pure beauty.” – Dhanil Vira, Road Tester, MotorBeam.
“The Diavel has been aptly named to suit its diabolical character. A twist of the wrist and you wish you had taken the bike seriously. With 3 modes of riding and Ducati’s traction control, the bike is capable of adjusting its character, but only a tad. While the Urban and Touring modes make the bike tamable, the Sports mode will blow you away as the devil is practically unleashed. It is not pleasure that the bike gives you, but a sense of pride and infernal satisfaction.” – Adwait Babras, Road Tester, MotorBeam.
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A bike which can cruise yet unleash madness with a twist of the wrist

Picture Editing: Sri Manikanta Achanta

Further Reading

Ducati Diavel First Ride Review
Ducati Panigale 899 Review
Ducati Monster 795 Review