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.
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