What The Offspring Of A Sportbike And A Cruiser Would Be

The Diavel is Ducati’s second venture into the cruiser market — the Indiana being the first — but I’m not sure the designers have the same idea of what a cruiser is as the American motorcycling public thinks about a cruiser. Powered by a 1198 cc engine packing 152 horsepower and 91 pound-feet of torque, the Diavel is more of a power-cruiser-sportbike and might appeal to riders from either market.

Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Diavel.

  • 2016 - 2018 Ducati Diavel
  • Year:
    2016- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    L-Twin
  • Displacement:
    1198 cc
  • Price:
    19195
  • Price:

Design

2016 - 2018 Ducati Diavel
- image 671862
While the Diavel feels in its element at speed on the highway, it's a bit of a slug in low-speed maneuvers.

In “Sport” mode, give the throttle a twist and you’ll quickly see why the Diavel has a deep saddle. If it didn’t, you’re butt would slide off the back and you’d be holding on for dear life with one wheel in the air. With the whole is-it-a-cruiser-or-is-it-a-sportbike thing going on, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing; I’m just saying it’s different. In fact, I’m really not saying it’s a bad thing; just the opposite. I’m kinda digging this sport-power-cruiser hybrid.

Statistically, the Diavel and its stablemate the Diavel Carbon are popular among experienced riders over 50 and among women, and also seems to appeal to Harley-Davidson V-Rod riders who want what the V-Rod used to offer, but want more of it.

Why does it appeal to women riders? Speaking as a woman rider, it’s my opinion that a lot of women are dissatisfied with having only cruisers as an option. Cruisers typically have low seat heights and women, typically being shorter than what motorcycle manufacturers consider “average height” for a man, generally gravitate to cruisers. Not everyone is happy with the easy, laid back style of a cruiser, however. Some chicks want to go fast, too.

Enter the Diavel with its hybrid nature. The pullback gives your upper body the upright position of a cruiser, yet the foot position is high and tight like a sport bike. The most notable spec, though, is the seat height. At 30.3 inches unladen, the seat is quite low compared to a typical sport bike, so it would definitely attract women riders with cruiser-size inseams who are looking for the thrill of a sport bike. The dark stealthy look appeals to the bad-boy (or gal) personae and it combines an almost-naked look with fierce styling to make a bike that looks like it means business even standing still. Love it or hate it — I get that not everyone likes that look — but it’s not to be ignored.

While the Diavel feels in its element at speed on the highway, it’s a bit of a slug in low-speed maneuvers, so you might feel like you’re wrestling all 500+ pounds of it in the parking lot. It looks like it is a big heavy bike....and it is. Don’t lose sight of that, but performance-wise- it’s a sportbike in cruiser clothing.

Chassis

2016 - 2018 Ducati Diavel High Resolution Exterior
- image 618363
Ducati joined forces with Pirelli to engineer the Diablo Rosso II sport tires for superior traction through 41 degrees of lean.

Ducati built the bones of the “Devil” using a combination of die-cast sections and thin-wall tubing, all in lightweight aluminum. The factory uses what they call a “techno-polymer” member to bring the two main sections of the frame together and form the abbreviated sub-frame assembly. This leaves us with a stiff frame capable of handling the great torsional stresses generated by aggressive maneuvers without chunking out above its 527-pound fight weight.

A single-sided swingarm, also in aluminum, finishes out the frame and it provides a spectacular view of the rear wheel, plus it carries a little extra length to push the wheelbase out to 62.6-inches long for straight-line stability and a little extra moonshot prevention. Necessarily, the drive chain and sprocket are on the same side as the brake disc, so there is absolutely nothing but aching, empty air to obscure the 14-spoke wheel from view on the right side of the bike. To be honest, single-sided swingarms used to worry my nerves a little because they seem so insubstantial, but I suppose the technology is mature enough to be trusted at this point.

The cast, 3.5 x 17-inch front rim finishes the rolling chassis up front, while the so-called, “flow-formed,” 8 x 17-inch rear rim provides lightweight strength for the rear. Ducati joined forces with Pirelli to engineer the Diablo Rosso II sport tires. While the front hoop comes with a water-shedding tread, the rear tire comes with the Enhanced Patch Technology (EPT) meant to provide traction from sidewall to sidewall through 41 degrees of lean, even in wet riding conditions. Plus, the 240 mm wide profile makes for quite a large contact patch to begin with, all good stuff if you are no fan of lowsiders.

Steering neck angle and a sharply offset tripletree with a cast lower and forged upper give us 28 degrees of rake and 5.1 inches of trail for decent tracking at speed, and a 70-degree steering arc aids in parking lot maneuvers, at least as much as a triple can. Following this angle are the 50 mm, inverted Marzocchi forks that come with adjustable preload as well as compression and rebound damping, and run with Ducati’s diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating that reduces friction between slider and tube. A horizontal-mount Sachs monoshock manages the swingarm motion, also with adjustable compression and rebound damping plus a remote preload adjuster for complete control over the ride quality.

Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame
Rake: 28°
Trail: 130mm (5.1in)
Front suspension: Marzocchi fully adjustable 50 mm usd fork with DLC-treatment
Rear suspension: Fully adjustable rear shock with progressive linkage. Remote spring preload adjustment. Single-sided aluminum swingarm
Front brake: 2 x 320 mm semi-floating discs, radially attached Brembo Monobloc 4-piston calipers with ABS as standard equipment
Rear brake: 265mm disc, 2-piston floating caliper ABS as standard equipment
Front wheel/ Travel: Lightweight alloy, 14-spoke with machined finish 3.50" x 17"/ 120mm (4.7in)
Rear wheel: Lightweight alloy, 14-spoke with machined finish, 8.00" x 17"/ 120mm (4.7in)
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR 17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II
Rear tire: 240/45 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II

Drivetrain

2016 - 2018 Ducati Diavel High Resolution Exterior
- image 618366
Ducati took its race-proven 1,198 cc Testastretta L-Twin and tuned it for street use with a somewhat gentler power curve.

Ducati took its race-proven, 1,198 cc Testastretta mill and tuned it for street use with a (somewhat) gentler power curve. This water-cooled, 90-degree V-twin, called an L-twin by the factory, runs the famous Desmodromic valvetrain that uses a push-open/pull-close cam arrangement instead of springs, so valve float is a non-issue. The Desmo system used to be rather high maintenance with short service intervals, but nowadays it’s right on par with, and in some cases lower maintenance than, pushrod engines with solid lifters.

Massively oversquare, the lump runs a pair of 106 mm x 67.9 mm jugs with superbike piston crowns that help shape the combustion chamber and drive the compression ratio up to a hot, 12.5-to-1. Dual-spark heads create separate flame fronts to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.

One of my favorite features on this engine is the fuel-injector angle. It is a law of physics that a liquid will not burn, and we rely upon a split-second of time between the air-fuel mixing and the combustion event to allow the atomized fuel to produce vapors that will burn. Not so in the Testastretta. The injector sprays fuel onto the backside of the intake valve where stored heat flashes the fuel into vapor, ensuring complete combustion and reducing free hydrocarbons in the exhaust stream. Nifty, huh?

A ride-by-wire throttle controls induction through the elliptical throttle bodies and enables the Traction Control system (DTC) as well as the Rider Modes. The DTC monitors wheel speeds and intervenes when slippage is detected, sort of the opposite of ABS if you will, and the Rider Modes shape and limit the power curve. Output is limited to 100 horsepower in city mode, but the sport and touring modes unleash the full 162 ponies from the stable. The mill also produces 96 pound-feet of torque for plenty of stump-pulling power. An electrically-actuated, intermediate valve between the two-into-one-into-two silencers and the 58 mm headers varies the back-pressure in the system, so the tuning isn’t fixed to a specific rpm range but instead dynamically tunes itself across the board.

A hydraulically actuated slipper clutch couples engine power to a six-speed gearbox, and a tough, chain-and-sprocket final drive makes the final connection to the rear rubber.

Engine: Testastretta 11° L-Twin, 4 Desmodromically actuated valves per cylinder, liquid cooled
Displacement: 1198.4 cc
Bore x Stroke: 106 x 67.9 mm
Compression ratio: 12.5:1
Power: 152 hp @ 9,250 rpm
Torque: 91 lb-ft @ 8,000 rpm
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection, elliptical throttle bodies, fully ride-by-wire controlled
Exhaust: Stainless steel muffler with aluminium tips; catalyzer and 2 lambda probes
Gearbox: 6 speed
Clutch: Slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch with hydraulic control

Pricing

2016 - 2018 Ducati Diavel
- image 671858
MSRP is up around $19k with the Dark Carbon about $3k more.

MSRP on the 2018 Diavel is $19,195 and comes in Dark Stealth with a Racing Black frame. The Dark Carbon version with the dark exhaust and exclusive wheels will run you $22,395. Ducati covers your Diavel with a 24-month unlimited mileage warranty.

Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: Dark Stealth
Price: $19,195 (Dark Carbon: $22,395)

Competitors

2016 - 2018 Ducati Diavel
- image 671604
2018 Yamaha MT-09
- image 754300
Yamaha scores a win at the till, but that's the only benefit you can expect.

The Diavel is something of a strange bird, indeed. It sort of fits into several categories at once, while defying attempts to pigeonhole it into one single bracket. As such, it’s difficult to settle on a true, apples-to-apples comparison. So, with that in mind, I decided to settle a question I hear from sportbike riders: how does the Diavel compare to Yamaha’s MT-09? Really? I mean really? Okay, let’s see.

Well, like it or not, here’s your answer. Yamaha scores a win at the till with a less-than-half sticker of $8,999, so you literally could buy one for the daily commute and one for weekends and still be ahead of the game. Unfortunately, that’s the only benefit you can expect from The Tuning Fork Company.

Now for performance. Granted, the 847 cc MT-09 lump is significantly smaller than the 1,198 cc Testastretta, but I would remind you that I didn’t pick this competitor; popular curiosity demanded it. So, it should come as no surprise that the Diavel absolutely destroys the MT-09 with its meager 64.5 pounds of torque and 115 ponies versus 96/162 from the Ducati.

If you are a young person looking for a sporty budget ride, then the MT-09 may be for you. However if you are really concerned about performance, compared to the Diavel the MT comes off looking very much like just another disposable UJM, kind of like the motorcycle equivalent of a Bic lighter versus a No. 12 Zippo. You asked, don’t cry about it ’cause you don’t like the answer. Yet again, Duc comes out on top in every important parameter except price, but in the end it depends on where your priorities are, and how much financial muscle you can flex at the dealership.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike the MT-09. It’s a zippy, fun ride that’ll unseat you if you get too twisty with it unprepared; but no, I don’t think it’s in the same league with the Diavel.

He Said

My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, “Man, what a sexy ride! The lines, the curves, the performance. What’s not to love? As much as I like the look of the tail/seat section, I gotta say I wouldn’t put anyone I loved back there, or even liked a little bit, because there is nothing to keep the passenger on board other than a white-knuckled deathgrip around the pilot’s waist. Don’t get me wrong, I like breasteses (sic) pressed against my back as much as the next guy, but I have zero confidence they will stay pressed against my back if I grab even half a fistful of throttle. Just sayin’”

She Said

“As a shorty-short, I can have one or the other foot flat, but not both at the same time unless I tiptoe it on the Diavel and that makes me a little uncomfortable at low speeds when you can really feel the weight of the bike. Still it has an awesome feel at speed, flicks fairly well — better than a cruiser but not like a proper sportbike — but that may be the trade-off to have a bike that fits between the two worlds. If you like cruisers but want to put a little zip in your doo-dah, take a demo ride on a Diavel.”

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Testastretta 11° L-Twin, 4 Desmodromically actuated valves per cylinder, liquid cooled
Displacement: 1198.4 cc
Bore x Stroke: 106 x 67.9 mm
Compression ratio: 12.5:1
Power: 152 hp @ 9,250 rpm
Torque: 91 lb-ft @ 8,000 rpm
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection, elliptical throttle bodies, fully ride-by-wire controlled
Exhaust: Stainless steel muffler with aluminium tips; catalyzer 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: Chain drive; 15 tooth front sprocket, 43 tooth rear sprocket
Clutch: Slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch with hydraulic control
Chassis:
Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame
Rake: 28°
Trail: 130mm (5.1in)
Front suspension: Marzocchi fully adjustable 50 mm usd fork with DLC-treatment
Rear suspension: Fully adjustable rear shock with progressive linkage. Remote spring preload adjustment. Single-sided aluminum swingarm
Front brake: 2 x 320 mm semi-floating discs, radially attached Brembo Monobloc 4-piston calipers with ABS as standard equipment
Rear brake: 265mm disc, 2-piston floating caliper ABS as standard equipment
Front wheel/ Travel: Lightweight alloy, 14-spoke with machined finish 3.50" x 17"/ 120mm (4.7in)
Rear wheel: Lightweight alloy, 14-spoke with machined finish, 8.00" x 17"/ 120mm (4.7in)
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR 17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II
Rear tire: 240/45 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II
Dimensions & Capacities:
Dry weight: 210kg (463lb)
Wet weight (KERB): 239kg (527lb)
Seat height: 770mm (30.3in)
Wheelbase: 1580mm (62.2in)
Fuel tank capacity: 17l - (4.5 US gal)
Number of seats: Dual seat
Details:
Instrumentation: Handlebar mounted instrumentation with LCD display: speed, rpm, time, coolant temp. Warning lights for: Neutral, turn signals, high-beam, rev-limit, DTC intervention, ABS status, oil pressure, fuel reserve. Tank mounted instrumentation with TFT color display: gear selected, air temp, battery voltage, trips 1 & 2, fuel reserve trip, average and actual fuel consumption and speed, trip time, scheduled maintenance. Full status and/or management of Riding Modes, DTC, RbW and ABS.
Standard Equipment: Riding Modes, Power Modes, Ducati Safety Pack (ABS + DTC), RbW, Hands-Free, full-LED headlight, front turn signals with guidelights.
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: Dark Stealth
Price: $19,195 (Dark Carbon: $22,395)

References

Yamaha MT-09

2018 Yamaha MT-09
- image 754301

See our review of the Yamaha MT-09.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: ducati.com, yamaha-motor.com

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