It’s safe to say that “cruiser” isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of Ducati, or even the third, yet here we are with the XDiavel and its slightly dressier, “S” trim package that carries the brand into uncharted waters. The “X” is meant to signify the cross and blending of the two worlds— cruiser and sport — and the end result is what the factory calls a “Technocruiser” due to its melding of Italian performance DNA and a more cruise-tastic rider triangle than you normally see from this brand.

For years, Ducati has been all about the sportbikes, and has recently ventured back into Scrambler territory after a roughly half-century hiatus, but this push into the power-cruiser sector is something new. Today I’m going to take a look at these two bikes to try and get a feel for how well they will stack up against the competition in this densely packed field.

Continue reading formy review of the Ducati XDiavel and XDiavel S.

  • 2016 - 2017 Ducati XDiavel / XDiavel S
  • Year:
    2016- 2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Testastretta L-Twin
  • Displacement:
    1262 L
  • Price:


2016 - 2017 Ducati XDiavel / XDiavel S
- image 695087

Individually, most of the features and components are very sporty looking and would look at home on bikes with a racier bent. Heck, they look racy on the “X” as well, but the adjustable forward foot controls and pullback handlebars place the rider well into the windsock position, which of course is unique to cruiser-country.

A solid-looking front end comes with blackout, usd forks and a boxy little headlight can that comes complete with daytime running lamps built in for a distinct look from the front and a little extra visibility/safety. This Italian stallion has a definite passionate side with some sexy curves in the lines of the fuel tank, saddle and ass-end components. A minimal subframe supports an almost non-existent p-pad area, and the tucked-away taillights and fender-mount turn signals keep the tapered rear squeaky clean.

The single-side swingarm and short tail section leave the massive rear wheel almost completely exposed with only a pair of teensy, sportbike-style tire huggers in the way that leave nothing to the imagination. Like I said, a combination of very sportbike-ish features arranged in a cruise-tastic format, but not too cruiserish; its still capable of 40-degree lean angles in the corners, handling that most traditional cruisers can only dream about.

Stock seat height is right at the border between the two factions at 29.72-inches high, and is probably one of the reasons the Diavel range is so popular with the fairer sex. The factory offers a selection of seats, handlebars and foot controls for a variable rider traingle with a total of 60 possible configurations, features that allow for minute adjustments and comfort customization.


2016 - 2017 Ducati XDiavel / XDiavel S
- image 695094

(XDiavel S)

Visible below the fuel tank is the exposed, tubular-steel, Trellis-type frame that gives the “X” siblings a naked-streetfighter vibe on top of its already exotic looks. The single-side swingarm is a tubular Trellis construction as well with a removable forged steel section for extra rigidity. Rake and trail measure out at 30-degrees and 5.12-inches respectively, so it retains a measure of stability even in hard corners. In order to lighten the frame a bit, the engine is used as a stressed member, eliminating the downtube and cradle section of the frame. Not only does the visible portion of the frame look very sporty, but it also lends the impression of great strength and rigidity.

Brakes are top shelf with the Bosch Cornering ABS to manage the dual Brembo four-piston front calipers that bind a pair of 320 mm discs with a twin-pot caliper and 265 mm disc in back. The suspension components are definitely more typical of the sportbike field with adjustable spring preload as well as variable compression and rebound damping. Much like the DBP forks, these struts split damping duties between the right and left side, with the preload adjuster joining the compression on the left side, and rebound damping by itself on the right.

The front end on both models received the Diamond-Like Coating treatment that helps reduce wear and friction, and the rear monoshock comes with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping. I gotta’ say, this is the suspension that cruisers have always wanted but were afraid to ask for, and one can always hope the world follows Duc’s example here.


2016 - 2017 Ducati XDiavel / XDiavel S
- image 695097

(XDiavel S)

Ducati’s all-new Testastretta DVT 1262 L-Twin powers this pair, and it brings even more technological yummy-goodness to the table that are unheard of on a cruiser, even within the generally more advanced power-cruiser segment. A 106 mm bore and 67.9 mm stroke give us a 1,262 cc total displacement, hence the ingeniously clever name, but a hot compression ratio of 13-to-1 will put you at the supreme pump every time.

The four-valve heads are timed by Duc’s Desmodromic Variable Timing (or DVT, another bit of un-subtlety in the name) that uses oil pressure to adjust the timing of both the intake and exhaust cams to vary the valve overlap. Yes, that’s right; rather than choose between tuning for top- or bottom-end power, Ducati opted to go for both, and the DVT allowed it to do just that while keeping within strict Euro 4 emissions standards.

A Ride-by-Wire throttle controls power delivery through the Rider Mode function that provides three separate profiles for variable performance based on prevailing conditions and rider tastes. Additionally, the traction control feature has eight levels of intervention to control rear-wheel slip, and it comes bundled with the riding modes for hassle-free use. The traction control enables the use of the drag-tastic Ducati Power Launch feature that assists with the holeshot and on up till you hit third gear or about 65 mph.

I started to say something about the DPL being a feature with limited utility for this class, but then I thought of all the light-to-light sprints I’ve seen from “cruisers,” and decided to walk that back a bit and simply point out that while it can be useful, you usually don’t see this on anything short of a streetfighter or full-on racebike. Performance numbers from this mill would shame many sportbikes and most cruisers with 156 horsepower at 9,500 rpm and 95 pound-feet of torque at five grand. In the end, I have to say that so far the only thing laid back about this ride is the (variable) riding position.


2014 - 2018 Honda CTX700 / CTX700N
- image 695063
2016 - 2018 Yamaha VMAX
- image 671463

Duc didn’t make it easy for me to find a direct competitor, in fact, I’m comfortable saying that there isn’t any actual apples-to-apples comparison, so instead I looked to bikes that might appeal to the same sort of buyer on some level.

First, I found that the CTX700N kind of shares the same sort of “I’m really a sportbike, just with a cruise-tastic rider triangle” vibe that the XDiavel exudes, and even carries a similar longish fuel tank with a gentle swale to the upper lines. Granted, the Honda ride doesn’t have quite the same sex appeal that the Duc brings to the table, nor can its 670 cc mill hold a candle to the almost twice as large plant in the “X,” but Honda does offer something Ducati doesn’t; the option for the DCT automatic transmission that allows for push-button as well as full-auto shifting. This feature makes the CTX700N suitable for folks unable to shift because of reasons, and those looking for a more effortless ride than traditional equipment provides. That, and the ABS, are the only tech nuggets on the CTX so it is a much simpler machine. This is a tradeoff though, because Honda generates much less pain at checkout with its $6,999 sticker than does the $20K Ducati. Such a huge price difference must make you question my choice, but I will offer that beyond the visuals, another common thread between these two is that they are popular with women riders, and so that ties them together a bit more than may be evident on paper.

Next up is one of my favorite power-cruiser models, the VMAX from Yamaha. Though it doesn’t have the stock forward controls and instead runs with mid-mounts, the VMAX nevertheless presents a relatively upright riding position over a sporty and muscular machine. At 1,679 cc, the VMAX is packing a few more cubes than the 1,262 cc Testastretta lump, and naturally this is reflected in the power figures. The Duc is strong enough with 156 ponies and 95 pounds of grunt, but the VMAX crushes it with 170+ ponies and 120+ pounds (depending on whose dyno is used), well into the power-cruiser range, and I can tell you from personal experience that the VMAX will come out of the hole like a scalded dog. Methinks it would benefit from Duc’s launch control, but alas, no such luck. Engine control is RbW and both run a slipper clutch, but Duc still holds the technological edge here. Prices are closer than with the CTX; MSRP on the VMAX is $17,999, definitely in the same neighborhood as the “X” family of bikes.

Similar looks, stances and/or prices are all good and fine, but it’s hard to be an Italian product for sex appeal, and in that, the XDiavel family stands head and shoulders above the field.

He Said

“A really good-looking bike, but I think it looks kind of odd; the seating posture simply does not match the sporty stance, and forward controls will never look right on such a bike. The non-XDiavel rides look more natural with their mid-mount controls that pulls the feet back to a more reasonable position. Having said that, the “X” family looks poised to expand the overall Diavel legacy quite nicely.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "Yes, this is popular with the ladies. Traditionally, women are stuck with cruisers because of the low seat height unless they get practiced at doing the tippy-toe-bounce from side to side. Ducati’s low seat height is a boon for the gals with inseams that just can’t handle the tall sportbikes. The XDiavel is nimble and fast like you’d expect a sportbike to be, but I like the more comfortable cruiser seating position. This is a nice blend of two worlds."


Type: Ducati Testastretta DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing), L-Twin, 4 Desmodromically actuated valves per cylinder, Dual spark, Liquid cooled
Displacement: 1262 cc (77,0 cu in)
Bore x Stroke: 106 x 71,5 [mm] (4,17 x 2,81 [in])
Compression ratio: 13:1
Power: 156 hp (114,7 kW) @ 9500 rpm
Torque: 95,0 lb-ft (128,9 Nm) @ 5000 rpm
Fuel injection: Bosch fuel injection system, Full ride-by-wire system, Øeq 56 oval throttle bodies
Exhaust: Stainless steel exhaust and muffler with dual oval exits, Catalytic converter and 2 lambda probes
Gearbox: 6 speed
Primary drive: Straight cut gears, ratio 1.84:1
Ratio: 1=37/15 2=30/17 3=27/20 4=24/22 5=23/24 6=22/25
Final drive: Belt, Front sprocket Z28, Rear sprocket Z80
Clutch: Slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch with hydraulic control
Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame
Front suspension: Adjustable Ø 50 mm (Ø 1,97 in) usd fork (XDiavelS: with DLC treatment)
Front wheel: Light alloy, Cast, 3,5"x17"
Front Tyre: Pirelli Diablo Rosso II, 120/70 ZR17
Rear suspension: Single shock absorber, Adjustable preload and rebound, Remote reservoir, Single sided swingarm, Cast/trellis frame (XDiavel S: natural anodized and brushed swingarm )
Rear wheel: Light alloy, Cast, 8,00" x 17"
Rear tyre: Pirelli Diablo Rosso II 240/45 ZR17
Front wheel travel: 120mm (4.7in)
Rear wheel travel: 110mm (4.3in)
Front brake: 2 x 320 mm (12,60 in) semifloating discs, Radial Brembo monobloc 4-piston M4-32 callipers (XDiavel S: M50) and radial master cylinder, Bosch cornering ABS as standard equipment
Rear brake: 265 mm (10,43 in) disc, 2-piston floating calliper, Bosch cornering ABS as standard equipment
Instrumentation: 3,5" TFT colour display and dedicated warning light display
Dimensions and weight:
Dry weight: 220 kg (485 lb)
Wet weight (KERB): 247 kg (545 lb)
Seat height: 755 mm (29,72 in)
Wheelbase: 1615 mm (63,58 in)
Rake: 30°
Trail: 130mm (5.1in)
Fuel tank capacity: 18 l (4,75 US gal)
Number of seats: Dual seat
Standard Equipment: Riding modes, Ducati Safety Pack (Bosch cornering ABS + DTC), DPL (Ducati Power Launch), RbW, Cruise control, Hands-free, Full-led lighting, Backlit handlebar switches (XDiavel S : Bluetooth module, Infotainment system, Glossy black engine with machined belt covers, Premium seat, Machined aluminium mirrors)
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Emission Standard: Euro 4
Consumption: CO2 124 g/km – 5,3 l/100 km

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