The Snake, the Diavel and the Squid

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If you live in LA, you’ve probably been to The Snake. If not, you’ve doubtlessly seen the videos on YouTube. Each weekend, riders flock to this road to hone their skills and find temporary internet fame by crashing in front of the cameras. Officially, it’s not a race, but there are still fast guys and slow guys, crashing, passing and bragging. You can’t win, but you can buy a picture of yourself in tight one-piece leathers on your late model sportsbike, knee firmly planted on the ground and elbow not far behind. It’s the next best thing to a street racing trophy. With this in mind, I set out on a Ducati Diavel to do some posing and earn myself a trophy.

Photo: RockStorePhotos

Limited cornering clearance on the Diavel prevents sportsbike lean angles and knee dragging shenanigans, but it makes up for it with lower-than-a-sportsbike center of gravity and 62.5″ wheelbase (over 6″ longer than an 1198). That means you can accelerate harder and stop faster. In situations where a sportsbike will wheelie, the Diavel rockets forward like a dragster with the rear tire spinning. Braking is the same story. You can grab a handful with confidence and let the ABS sort things out while you bleed off speed at a rate faster than you ever thought possible.

If you want a good trophy shot, you have to put on a good show. Keep the revs up and stay wide open as much as possible. Sound like you’re fast, and the photographers will be waiting for you at the top. When you get to Paul’s corner, do your best impression of a MotoGP racer. Drop your elbow, get as low as possible and, above all else, make sure everyone hears you dragging the inside peg.

Do it right and when you email Paul for the photos, he’ll say, “The Diavel became one of my favourite bikes to shoot the weekend Ducati ran their dealer introduction Diavel parades up and down The Snake. Kudos to you, ‘cause you are the first rider to flog one of those beasts hard enough to grind peg. Looks like you are going to need some pucks pretty soon too!”

Now, if only Icon would make a two-piece with knee sliders.

Gallery Photos: Grant Ray

  • ike6116

    Should have done it in the Aerostich, just sayin.

    • Sean Smith

      Nah, I picked my gear carefully. Aerostich has pucks ;)

      • Sean (the other one)

        I needed to stay warm whilst trying to keep up.

  • Noah

    You’re looking pretty rad getting the bike over in that turn. The photo also perfectly illustrates why you want to remove mirrors for track days, so you can look ahead instead of directly into a mirror.

    • the_doctor

      I am sure Sean was checking himself out in the mirror intentionally.

  • killerkw

    Nice fit and finish on the bike

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

    That opening shot is the best Diavel photo I’ve ever seen. I still think the Diavel normally looks like a cross between the Alien creature and vintage Porky Pig, but here, it actually looks sporting. Good show! And kudos to Paul for snapping it.

  • Gene

    Man, that dash-&-tank thing is so hideous. I could not look at that thing for hundreds of miles.

    I guess dragging a Diavel is like dragging a Road King… it’s possible, but wouldn’t you want to spend the effort on a real bike?

    • austin_2ride

      I’m not sure if you’ve ever ridden a Road King but you’ve obviously never ridden a Diavel. Every person with a low expectation for the Diavel that have ridden it are all very surprised by the performance. I don’t know what you consider a “real bike” but the Diavel is an experiance that should be had.

      • Paul Balcombe

        Nice 1 austin

  • zato1414

    Next, you’ll be using the handlebar grips as knee pucks! Absolutely, a photo worth bragging to the chicks about. Ride on Sean!!

  • austin_2ride

    The Diavel definitely has a look all its own. I can’t wait to see the new AMG when it comes out.

  • Mike

    Too bad the camera guys werent there back when I rocked the mountain in my mom’s Caprice. Dragging knee vs. dragging frame rail, whatever, watching this at a young age means you’ve got to drive/ride Mulholland at least once

  • oldblue

    No matter how far you lean it, the Diavel is still just a rocket-powered washing machine. Good grief it’s ugly.

  • BigRooster

    Diavels seem to be selling very well around me. The two area Ducati dealers have sold every one they get – even the $26K Carbon spec. Recession? What recession?

    Great pic, love the helmet.

  • Sean (the other one)

    Finally, some bike shots that don’t look like shit.

  • Beale

    I love the cognitive dissonance of cruiser+Ducati+Mulholland+dual sport helmet. The Roadcrafter would have booted it out of the park.

    • Steve

      I like your your thinking. Totally.

  • Duarte Vieira

    Love that portuguese NEXX helmet…

    • Slothrop

      Nexx XR1R Carbon has my vote for best helmet in the world.

      • Sean Smith

        Mine too.

  • damien

    wow, I really want to try this bike out.

    Stellar pics by Grant.

  • combat77

    Since when did ” squid” become anything other than a rookie rider with his head in his ass? I keep seeing references to “squidding out” having to do with fashion or showing off. I thought I was going to see pics of a 30k bike skipping down the road with a guy in shorts at the helm. That would be a total squid move.

    • Wes Siler

      Sean’s official job title is “squid.”

    • Sean Smith

      It’s what you might call an ironic job title.

      • Wes Siler

        Would you please just stop wearing denim shorts?

      • ike6116

        Your love for mentioning GSXRs and wearing Icon suggest that it’s not THAT ironic.

        • Sean Smith

          My Jorts and I have a keen sense of irony ;)

          • Mark D

            …which likely goes unnoticed by everybody around you, and unironically appreciated by guys who work their social calendar around NASCAR events.

    • mugget

      Haha, I was wondering about that as well. Ironic name makes sense.

    • Sean (the other one)

      The key term in your definition is “showing off.”

  • Tommy

    obviously fake.;)

    • super20

      I’ve seen a lot of ‘shops, and based on that . . .

  • Peter88

    That is a cool picture! I like the double yellow reflected in the visor. The mysterious black rider stalking the hills of LA, pouncing on his unsuspecting prey.

  • Scott-jay

    OT: (send HFL news tip didn’t)
    BMW warm & fuzzy ambient video.
    Airhead I am: love it.

    • Jon B.


    • oldnick

      Thanks for the link. Fantastic video.

    • filly-fuzz


      That was good

  • ozgeek

    And with a backpack no less

  • Core

    Very Sharp.