Ducati Diavel: bad to the bone

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Making 162bhp, 94lb/ft of torque and weighing just 210kg/463lbs (dry), the Ducati Diavel is set to redefine what a cruiser can be. Seen here in rear 3/4 and side profile for the first time, these shots reveal a bike that’s more muscular Monster than it is a raked-out, chromed-out American cruiser. Ducati appears serious about riding the Diavel fast too, not only is it equipped with a three-mode ride-by-wire throttle, but also a slipper clutch. And yeah, that is a 240-section rear.

Update: a full gallery of high-res press shots, a video and all the official info and specs.

In addition to the plain-old Diavel, there’s also the Ducati Diavel Carbon, which adds carbon fiber bodywork and forged Marchesini wheels to drop the weight to 207kg/456lbs.

Speaking of that controversially huge and presumably handling-destroying back tire, Ducati says, “A massive 240 section rear tyre was a perfect example of how Diavel designers used a no-compromise attitude when applying their wish list of features. The sheer width of rubber communicates so much power and style that the R&D team vowed to find a way to make it handle – even if they knew the image would send a seismic shock through the industry.”

The name itself supposedly came from the expletive uttered by a Bolognese engineer when he first saw that tire, “Ignurànt comm’ al diavel!” The name is the local dialect for “devil.”

In keeping with cruiser tradition, the Diavel has an exceptionally low seat height: just 30.3 inches.  Passenger pegs fold where they bolt to the chassis to hide themselves when not deployed and the bike will come with a seat cover for the pillion mount to continue the single-seat illusion.

Under that tail are two large vertical strips of LED taillights, mirrored at the front by vertical LED turn signals mounted on the radiator shrouds. The headlight is similar in looks to the Monster’s, but here is more rakish, in keeping with the rest of the Diavel’s looks.

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The license plate mount is another neat design touch. Bolted to the rear hub, a trellis frame wraps around the rear tire from the left to hold the numberplate in the traditional location.

Up front, the Diavel is equipped with massive 50mm Marzocchi USD forks that are fully adjustable and feature conservative, if not cruiser-like rake and trail numbers: 28° and 130mm respectively. There’s an impressive 70° of steering lock available, meaning the Diavel should be maneuverable at low speeds. The fully-adjustable Sachs rear shock is mounted horizontally underneath the engine. Brakes are Brembo Monoblocks clamping superbike-sized 320mm front discs.

That suspension holds a normal 3.7×17” front wheel equipped with a 120/70-17 Pirelli, but Ducati worked with the tire maker to create a sport-profile rear especially for the massive 8×17” rear wheel and 240×45-17 tire. That dual compound tire uses a hard center area for maximum upright mileage and sticky sides for good cornering grip. Ducati claims it’s this tire’s profile and compound that makes the huge rear feasible without utterly destroying the handling, but doesn’t go into much detail.

While it should handle like a real motorcycle, Ducati has employed one distinctly cruiser-like touch: tank-mounted instrumentation. There’s actually two instrument clusters: the one on the bars displays speed, RPMs and warning lights, the tank-mount is a full-color TFT and shows secondary functions like gear position, riding mode and traction control settings.

Like the Ducati Multistrada 1200, which shares a similar version of the Testastretta 11° v-twin, the Diavel is equipped with a hands-free ignition. Keep the key in your pocket and the bike will be armed when you approach within 6.5 feet.

The ride-by-wire throttle is equipped with three riding modes: full power and aggressive delivery for sports riding; full power with progressive delivery for touring; and 100bhp and easy delivery for city riding.

Like other Ducatis, now including the 2011 Ducati 1198, the Diavel is equipped with eight-position, rider-switchable traction control.

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Need more proof that the Diavel is Ducati’s way of targeting Boomer’s who’re aging out of sportsbikes? This video was taken by Motorbiker.org’s Mike Werner and shows the model’s hair metal-tastic press unveil, all set to Billy Idol’s “Shock to the system” which is what countless dozens of pacemakers are doing right now to the hearts of grey hairs suddenly envisioning riding one of these into the sunset.

Want to see other EICMA bikes before anyone else? Check out our EICMA tag page for exclusive photos of motorcycles like the 2011 KTM RC8 R and MV Agusta F3.

Press shots via Autopia, live shots via Italia Bike Center

  • Ken D

    Performance be damned, I had no idea the actual bike could look this awful. Judge Dredd’s Lay-Z-Boy, without coherence or resolution. It’s not even colour-specced decently. Will anyone defend this hideous chimera outside Bologna?

  • Chuluun

    If we all stop looking at it, maybe it will just go away.

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    It sure looks hulkish and beefy.

    Seeing those photos now I can’t help but think of this as an Italian answer to the B-King. I like the B-King, I like the Diavel!

    Interesting how the R&D team vowed to find a way to make it handle… eagerly awaiting reviews.

  • weatherman

    It looks (and probably handles) like a pig on roller-skates. Absolutely hideous. The design could be improved by putting a normal sized tire on the back and replacing those trumpet pipes with some straight ones, but even then it wouldn’t appeal to Ducati lovers or cruiser lovers. I think the only market for the bike is riders who think the current VMAX isn’t ugly enough.

  • Scott

    D-rod trumps V-rod.

    • MikeD

      LOL.Hope so, and HOPE it’ll bring an all out arms race on this segment.
      Atention VMAX and V-ROD, LAY OF THE EGGS AND BACON and Milk Shake and try some Special K and call Jenny Craig…just don’t loose your BALLS(HP and CC’s) on the process.

  • CafeRacer8509001200

    Nothing on this bike particularly flows well. It looks like somebody drug a 500lb electric magnet through the Italian version of a J.C. Whitney catalog.

  • Sven

    If it’s anything like the V-Max, it will be a sensation to ride.

  • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

    Gotta give credit to Ducati for outdoing their prior estimated power output by a fair amount. I appreciate the “under promise and over deliver” method in a sea of sensational claims. Of course, time will tell if the rear tire defies expectation and kinda sorta works.

    It’s also interesting to see Pirelli create a multi-compound tire for this. They avoided it with their Angel ST line amongst a sea of competitors – Pilot Road 2, BT-023, Roadsmart – and have received heavy praise (outside of terrible marketing). I wonder why they went the multi-compound route rather than making a special version of the Angel. I’d guess marketing. That or they wanted a hell of a lot more mileage.

    There are some angles where I don’t hate the bike. The license plate holder is kind of cool, though inefficient. At the same time, the horned headlight fairing reminds me of some kind of kid’s cartoon creature. Interesting choices, if nothing else. It may not be made for me, but I’m okay with that.

    • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

      Looks like the tire is listed as the Pirelli Diablo Rosso II. I imagine it splits the difference between the single compound Rosso and the multi compound Rosso Corsa – so perhaps comparable to a Pilot Power 2CT.

  • Ray

    And the Griso is comparable, less cartoonish, and more practical.

    • seanslides

      Sure, if you don’t mind giving up 52 hp and at least 26 pounds.

    • MikeD

      Riding experience aside, comparing the Griso with the Diavel is like comparing a Lawn Mower to a Corvette.
      I like MG’s but they can’t hold a candle to this…aside from “character” and /or ride feeling.

  • Patrick from Astoria


    Who would have ever thought a Ducati would be in contention for Ugliest Bike of the Century?

  • Les

    Ducati v-rods, honda v4 GSs, BMW 1000 i4s, MV daytona 675…wtf is going on.

    motorcycle makers original though. The two fail to meet.

    • MikeD

      Oh c’mon , is good to see them get a little wild and crazy thinking they now what we want.lol.

  • Bald Shaun

    This is the first new Ducati I can remember that does absolutely nothing for me. Regardless, I hope they sell well anyway, and that the profits go into the racing effort and streetbikes I might actually care about.

  • Penectomy

    Who is going to buy this? I can only imagine that the potential owner has an appreciation for Ed Hardy and enjoys tanning.

    A bike only “The Situation” could love.

    • Bald Shaun

      From reading Diavel threads on Ducati forums, it seems to appeal to a lot aging sport bike riders who want something more comfortable and practical for commuting, touring, or just posing but wouldn’t be caught dead on a cruiser.

  • shawn.bassplayer

    Looks pretty damn good. And that 240 is AWESOME. :)

    • shawn.bassplayer

      …. And as for all of the performance comments. Really? It looks like it was made for the real world. You know… where the speed limit ranges from 25mph to 75mph. I don’t think Ducati planned on it being your next track bike.

  • MichaelMM

    This is nice and all, but what the fuck did Ducati do to the Testrastretta 11 degree in order for it to make 12 more bhp and 6.5 more lb-ft of torque? Hey Ducuati, I know you’re reading. Fess-up.

    • seanslides

      Cams, tuning, and pipe go a long way. HP isn’t a hard thing to make; you pretty much just dial in the numbers you looking for. The OEM’s have it down to a science.

      • MichaelMM

        After reading the press release, I have to agree.

  • The Lawyer

    Finally, a Duc that OCC can sell with a straight face. Do they still sell Ducs?

  • The Lawyer

    Also, what happens if your key falls our of your pocket when you are riding?

  • seanslides

    You know, if the tank was fixed (and didn’t hang all over everything like the fat gut it is), and they used the headlight from the streetfighter, or even just a round 7″, this thing might not be so bad.

  • Deltablues

    I know I am in the minority, but I like it and really want a ride on one. Having said that, do any of you remember the Bimota Mantra…because I get a Bimota Mantra vibe when looking at this Diavel.

  • t1201971

    To quote Beyonce: “I’m not feelin’ it, I’m not feelin’ it”.

  • NickK

    I am going to add the quick failure of this bike to the list of things I pray for every night. And, like most of my prayers, I’m sure this one won’t be answered either.

    • richard gozinya

      I can understand not liking the bike, but what difference does it make to you whether it succeeds or fails? If anything, you should want it to be a success. Ducati has for a long time funded its superbike development with sales of the Monster, Hypermotard, and Multistrada, so why not one more thing (A very expensive thing at that) To help pay the bills, and make faster, more nimble bikes?

      • MikeD


      • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

        I asked myself this same question and here’s the answer I came up with: I don’t want it to bomb miserably, but I don’t want it to succeed, either. This isn’t the direction I would like to see the industry go. Kind of like the current faux adventure bike blitz.

  • Trav

    Is that video really how they ‘unveil’ most bikes? That’s the gayest shit, reguardless of how the bike looks. Seriously.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yeah, the really do unveil most bikes that way. Now do you see where a small part of our cynicism and general disregard for the industry comes from?

      • MikeD


      • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

        If the video were the only reason for the cynicism, you’d have an unassailable case. I laughed out loud watching it.

  • Trav

    Nevermind… just read the blurb under the clip. NOW I SEE! XD

  • richard gozinya

    Kind of an odd appearance from the front. The way the mirrors are, it looks like they’re a continuation of the handlebars. Like horns. Might look better with the handlebars and mirror mounts in black. And those LEDs look really good, just seems to fit.

    All in all, I think Ducati nailed the muscle bike look just right.

  • AGP

    I like it. It’s not a bike for me, but for what it is I think it is bad ass and definitely smokes its competition. That motor is going to rule – pop some Termis or Zard cans on, rev that sucker and unleash your inner straight line animal. :)

    Or something like that… I think the carbon looks awesome.

    • MikeD

      Im all in for it to win, because it will make the others take notice and improve the breed (I HOPE)…not cut its balls.

  • Cajun58

    While you do possess a near encyclopedic knowledge of all the faults, mistakes and so forth of the grey haired generation you absolutely do not have your finger on the pulse of what we like in terms of motorcycle styling. But don’t be bitter ’cause Ducati didn’t make a new bike for you I’m sure someday the industry will take an interest in what you kids want to buy.

  • MikeD

    I like what i saw, specially on that (silver or is it white?)color, yes, im color blind.
    I wouldn’t choose it yet over a VMAX tho.

    A video of a bike moving under it’s own power while being ridden sure is worth a thousand pictures.

    Like others said, hope they sell a Ton so other “things” can get funded.

  • Liquidogged

    It’s hard to believe that a company responsible for some of the most beautiful motorcycles ever created could produce this. This bike is grotesque. The proportions, the shapes, the complete lack of any sense of restraint or real purpose… it’s really just kind of sad and disgusting to look at.

    I think in art sometimes you reach too far and you fail. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, sometimes it has to happen for things to move forward. I hope that’s the case here. For those of you who say it’s not art, it’s a motorcycle, I say go look at a 916 or 999, or original Monster, then look at this. Ducati has been making rolling, highly functional art for years and years. This bike doesn’t fit for so many reasons. Not even worth going into. It’s too gross to look at. I’m outta here.

  • http://twowheelsplus.blogspot.com/ andehans

    The Zampanò of Motorcycles.