It’s ironic, but a traditionally irrational Italian company is attempting to turn a class that’s never been about logical decision making on its head with a muscle bike/cruiser thing that’s all about numbers. Not just outright power or torque either. While the Ducati Diavel makes a lot of power — 162bhp — it’s also very light weight, at least for muscle bike/cruiser things — 210kg (dry). How’s that stack up to bikes like the VMAX and B-King? We crunched the numbers to find out.
Update: BMW K1300R added.
The muscle bike/cruiser class is an interestingly nebulous one, defined not by mechanical configuration — everything from V4s to Porsche-designed v-twins and 2.3-liter inline-threes — but by a certain concept of a performance image over actual performance. Think of these as the two-wheeled equivalent of ExtenZe. Huge engines make good power and torque, but they also mean huge weights, which makes just about all of these slower than, oh say an air-cooled Ducati Monster 1100 Evo, which we’ve thrown in just as a reference point. Every single one of these bikes would be outclassed in power-to-weight by a supersport 600.
Having made fun of them, these bikes do tend to be fairly ok to ride. They’re not so much about lap times or canyon carving as they are that feeling you get when you twist the throttle in everyday traffic without even bothering to downshift. That emphasis on feel and experience over ration is perhaps why we rank the CB1300 as our favorite bike in this group. It may not be the fastest or the most exciting to look at, but its incredibly smooth, easy-going engine, classic looks and good wind-protection makes it sort of a luxury tourer that doesn’t look bloated. Handles surprisingly well for something so massively heavy too, something the faster B-King can’t claim. The K1300R is similarly good handling (to the Honda), but has a very low center of gravity, requiring it to lean further for a given corner speed. This feels weird, but it’s a capable bike.
There’s no official price on the Diavel yet, so we’re using numbers that Ducati News Today is reporting.