Bike Reviews Reviews

Ducati Diavel: First Ride Review

Ducati Diavel: First Ride Review
Parichay Malvankar
Written by Parichay Malvankar

The scarlet red colour when comes to the automotive world, is symbolic of two brands – Ferrari & Ducati. Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. is an Italian company that designs and manufactures motorcycles. Headquartered in Bologna, Italy, Ducati is owned by German automotive manufacturer Audi through its Italian subsidiary Lamborghini, which is all owned by the Volkswagen Group. In India, after having a rough start in the operational department with the sole distributor going rogue; Ducati customers in India were left stranded with no touchpoints for sales & service. Now however, the brand has taken things in its own hands and has entered India officially, without any intermediary. Ducati has set up showrooms Delhi, Gurgaon & Mumbai at the moment and is working on more locations across the country. What has earned brownie points for the brand is that Ducati will offer service support to existing customers in India. Ducati has brought almost the entire range to the Indian showrooms, in CBU guise. Prices range from Rs. 6.38 lakh all the way up to Rs. 46.75 lakh.

2015-ducati-diavel-india-review-01

Price list: (ex-showroom Delhi)

  • Diavel: Rs. 13,92,255
  • Diavel Carbon: Rs. 17,54,255
  • Diavel Titanium: Rs. 37,30,171

When we visited one of Ducati’s latest showrooms, we were informed that regardless of the entry-level superbikes on offer, the most popular motorcycle here in India is the Diavel. With looks which are unique and second to none in the segment, the Diavel does stand out when on the streets or in the showroom. The Diavel is Ducati’s second cruiser model. They had first entered the power-cruiser segment with the Indiana in 1986 – 1990. The Diavel was first revealed to the world at the 2010 EICMA show in Milan. So with a lot of eyeballs being gathered here in India, we thought about taking the Diavel for a quick spin to find out if it does enough justice to the buzz around it. Visit to the Ducati website though, and it screams ‘Don’t Call Me A Cruiser’. Then what exactly is the Diavel, let’s find out…

Styling:
One glance at the Diavel it stands out as a completely wicked machine on the streets. It looks unique, and those looking at exclusivity amongst the ever increasing number of superbikes on the Indian streets will be quite content. The design is not very typical of cruisers, but even when you just look at it, you know that it will be fairly easy (comfortable) to ride. The Diavel measures 2,235mm in length, 1,192mm in height, 860mm in width and has a wheelbase of 1,580mm.

2015-ducati-diavel-india-review-03

At the front, the most striking design highlight is the LED headlamp housed in brushed aluminium. Multiple LEDs are used to create an ornament like effect at the front and they even illuminated the road well along with functioning as DRLs. The headlamp is split in two parts – a upside-down C section which works as DRLs and a separate centre section which works as high-beam. Above the headlamp, you have a swept back bikini fairing which extends all the way up to the instrument cluster. Upside-down front telescopic fork is painted in black and holds on to a multi-spoke black & silver alloy wheel. The alloy wheels house 2 X 320mm semi-floating discs, radially attached Brembo Monobloc 4-piston calipers with ABS as standard equipment. Front wheel gets a very short mud flap, primarily covering only the top section. Looking at the bike from the front, things are minimalistic, still quite an eyeball magnet.

Come to the side, and the Ducati Diavel has a lot to show off. Let’s start with the fuel tank. The XL sized fibre body runs long from under the handlebar till the rider seat. Seen here is the entry-level Ducati Diavel which gets a matte black body colour. Not just the body colour, but even Ducati & Diavel emblems on the motorcycle are seen in matte black. The fuel tank also houses a small digital screen ahead of the fuel-filler cap which offers riding data. The side cowl protrudes out from the fuel tank all the way till the headlamp. On its mouth, it has a mesh section which helps direct cold air in the engine (radiator) chamber. The radiator fans are side mounted under these side cowls. Seen here in black, the Ducati Trellis frame is exposed on the side. The engine bay is tightly packed. Rider seat is significantly scooped out while the pillion sits noticeably higher. What we loved was how the pillion footpeg can be neatly tucked under the rider seat.

2015-ducati-diavel-india-review-06

Come to the back, and the unique styling continues. Firstly, the Diavel gets a single-sided swingarm, hence exposing the full rear wheel from the RHS. This looks fantastic and shows off the machine finished alloy design very well. The Diavel gets two LED strips as tail lamps under the pillion seat. Looked sideways, the pillion seat ends noticeably ahead of the rear wheel. The number plate mount again is quite funky with a separate unit placed lower behind the wheel which also works as a tyre hugger. Rear alloy wheel holds on to a single 265mm disc, 2-piston floating calliper ABS as standard equipment. The Diavel sports a 2-1-2 exhaust system. The twin end cars are wrapped up in a black heat shield and are upswept.

Overall, the Diavel scores well in the design department. Its unconventional looks grab a lot of attention to boost your ego while on the run. If bold & beautiful sounds a bit odd, may be bold & beast-like sounds more appropriate for the Diavel.

Instrumentation & ergonomics:
The Ducati Diavel has the instrumentation split in two parts – one LCD display mounted on the handlebar and a colour display TFT screen mounted on the fuel tank. Together, this offers a host of riding information. The upper screen works as the standard speedo console. Above this, you have all the necessary tell tale lights. 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 colour 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. When you switch the bike on, this screen welcomes you with a cheesy Ducati logo as well. An ignition on / off kill switch is placed between these two display screens. Although all this looks fancy, there is more. The Diavel doesn’t get a keyhole. It gets keyless systems. Just sit on the bike and pull the engine button on the RHS control switch. This is quite annoying though as it takes a couple of seconds to fire things up. Nothing beats a regular self-starter & a key slotted-in.

2015-ducati-diavel-india-review-13

Quality of plastics used, and the touch & feel although doesn’t feel very premium, is acceptable. On the LHS control switch, you have the buttons for the horn, riding modes & high beam. The RHS switch only houses the ignition switch. Mounted on a conventional handlebar, the rear view mirrors do a decent job of showing you what’s happening behind. These units are wide, but were a bit narrow for our taste.

Hop on the Ducati Diavel and the low 770mm seat height welcomes riders with ease. Taller as well as shorter riders will be at ease when on the Diavel. For the shorter ones, both your feet flat on the ground will be surely appreciated. With a dry weight of 210 kg, the Diavel seems heavy on paper, but getting it on and off the stand, or moving it at parking speeds is not very difficult. Riding position although cruiser like, is a bit sporty on the Diavel. Footpegs are not front-biased and you even lean forward a bit to grab the handlebar. Taller riders will find the riding position a bit upright, while the shorter ones who need to lean ahead to grab the handlebar will find it a bit sporty.

2015-ducati-diavel-india-review-23

The rider seat is fantastic. Neatly scooped out, it keeps you in place at all times. Either accelerate hard or move over a rough patch; the rider seat keeps you in place hence inspiring confidence while pushing hard. This however has its own limits. Those on the heavier side might find the room a little inadequate or a tight squeeze. For the pillion, the seat is flat and offers decent room. Getting on & off from the pillion seat is fairly easy. The pillion rider also gets a grab hook behind the seat, which is a standalone unit. Pillion footpegs can be completely retracted under the rider seat when riding solo.

Engine, ride & handling:
Powering the Ducati Diavel is a 1,198.4cc, Testastretta, 11° L-Twin, 4 Desmodromically actuated valves per cylinder, liquid cooled petrol motor producing 162 BHP of power @ 9,250 RPM & 130.5 Nm of torque @ 8,000 RPM matched to a 6-speed gearbox with a slipper clutch in between.

Fire up the engine, and the twin-cylinder motor sounds, well, not so nice. For those used to a million rupee plus motorcycle giving out a pleasing exhaust note; this will sound rather choppy & not so refined. However, although it sounds choppy, there are no (minimum) vibrations felt on the handlebar & footpegs. The bike is not very loud at idle, but then, not smooth sounding either.

2015-ducati-diavel-india-review-19

While riding within the city, we switched to the Urban riding mode. This mode not only makes the motorcycle more ideal for city commuting, but also limits the power output to a 100 horses with DTC (Ducati Traction Control) at the highest level. When you wring the throttle in this mode, you can feel the traction control kicking in to offer you a more linear power delivery, suited for city conditions. This mode will be loved by riders during the monsoon as even with your most aggressive throttle input, the rear wheel wouldn’t start spinning all over the place. In-city rideability is good and there’s plenty of torque available lower down the revv range. We managed to stay in second gear for a good distance while stuck in traffic. Engine shows no signs of rattling or stalling while doing so. We do not suggest lugging the engine though and recommend downshifting to first at speeds below 10-15 kmph.While the ground clearance of 130mm doesn’t sound very generous, the motorcycle managed to tackle medium sized speed breakers well, without scraping.

Out on the open streets, we switched to Touring & Sport modes. While these modes unleash all the 162 horses available, in touring mode, the DTC is active at level 3 and goes down to a full minimum of level 1 on sport mode. Wring the throttle and the acceleration is fantastic by cruiser standards. The scooped out seat keeps you in place when when you throttle aggressively. Traction control did kick-in a few times, but was not as intrusive as it was in the Urban mode. Achieving a ton on the speedo is a fairly easy task and reaching the double ton also doesn’t take too long. Wind resistance however is high, as is the case with most naked / cruiser motorcycles. Exhaust note on high speeds is loud, but not as pleasing as a 3-cylinder Triumph or the 4-cylinder Japanese rivals. The exhaust growl will gather attention, but then, it was not really to our taste. Aftermarket fitments can however deliver some extra aural bliss.

2015-ducati-diavel-india-review-28

Suspension duty performed by a Marzocchi USD fork at the front and rear monoshock with preload adjustment was complaint. It is a bit stiff, but that’s the case with most performance bikes. We couldn’t push it around twisties, but in a straight line, the bike stays put and does not bounce around. With adjustment offered for the suspension setup, we assume the Diavel will do a decent job over bad patches as well. Coupled with an easy riding position, most would be comfortable on the Diavel over longer distances. The Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres offer immense grip & confidence when on the run. On dry patches, it holds the line nicely and allows you to attack corners without hesitation. Regardless of the heavy weight, the Diavel turns in rather easily. The bike flicks into corners in a nimble manner, which is unique to the cruiser class.

Brembo brakes with ABS as standard stop the bike without any fuss. Braking bite is good and there was no fishtailing felt under hard braking. ABS can be turned off for times when you want to have some fun.

2015-ducati-diavel-india-review-31

As a complete package, the Diavel is a very interesting power cruiser in the price range. 162 BHP of power is more than acceptable by segment standards and the bike even looks the part. The intrusive DTC aside, the bike is fun-to-ride and can even work well as your daily workhorse. Seating position is comfortable too and with a design that grabs eyeballs easily, you will have a grin on your face at all times. So if you’re in the market to spend over 1.5 million rupees of a motorcycle, we recommend you give the Diavel a shot. With superbikes becoming a common sight on the Indian streets, you might as well have something different to look at rather than the fully-faired Japanese or old-school Harley’s.

Click here to check out the Ducati Diavel photo gallery.