Ducati has significantly upgraded its devilishly photogenic Diavel supercruiser, adding the new 1198cc Testastretta Dual Spark engine, a new exhaust system, a full-LED headlight, longer service life (now a major service every 18,000 miles), reduced emissions, better fuel consumption, and more mid-range grunt, as if it needed it.
The Diavel heavily impacted the worldwide cruiser bike market when it launched three years ago by offering a level of performance, handling and braking power that had simply been unavailable until then amongst overweight, under performing bikes of similar style.
At 205 kg (452lb), the Diavel showed that you can be comfortable without an excessively heavy bike, and with 162 hp, it showed you can have a meaty mid-range and a ballistic top end as well. The Diavel's stoppers are the same Ducati's Panigale superbike wears, offering power and sensitivity beyond the brakes of most other bikes in that category.
With the addition of LED illumination to its full hand of techno-trickery (desmodromic valve actuation, ABS, traction control, riding modes plus plenty more), Ducati is further strengthening its technological-leadership brand values.
Now under the wing of the uber-powerful Volkswagen Group, the whole Ducati franchise is having its profile massively raised and the Diavel is just one the latest new bikes in a host of ambitious plans.
An example of this was the Diavel's surprise unveiling during Volkswagen Group Night on the eve of the 84th International Geneva Motor Show. Honda and BMW also manufacture both cars and motorcycles and significantly leverage the profile of their motorcycles at automotive shows around the world, because only specialist press go to motorcycle shows. Now Volkswagen is doing the same with Ducati. Newspaper automotive writers have a massive audience and this heightened awareness by key influencers is not to be underestimated.
Ducati's CEO Claudio Domenicali rides the Ducati Diavel Carbon onto the stage in Geneva, putting the marque on display to the world's automotive press
In being adopted by Volkswagen, Ducati has been elevated to the big stage and will benefit not just from greater exposure to battalions of automotive journalists and their astonishing reach (every major newspaper in the world had a dedicated journalist covering Geneva), but it now has a presence at auto shows all over the world as an adjunct to the omni-present Volkswagen contingent of brands.
Volkswagen's stable now includes cars from Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda and its own Volkswagen brands, commercial vehicles from MAN, Scania and its own Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand, and one motorcycle manufacturer ... Ducati.
Ducati's presence adds "cred" to the group with a target market it didn't formerly reach and in many ways is just as much an aspirational feeder brand for future Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche customers as BMW 3 series is in introducing customers to the BMW lifestyle. In many motor shows I have attended over the last year, the Ducati stand has been on one side of the Volkswagen stand, indicating the parent company is both nurturing and subsidizing the Ducati brand's public recognition.
Having introduced its new range at the EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan last November (2013), Ducati’s new Diavel has now delivered the final piece of the company’s development plan, which had promised one completely new model (the Monster 1200 pictured above) and three "family-extension" models: the 899 Panigale, the exclusive 1199 Superleggera and the new Diavel.
Seemingly contradictory to its name, the Diavel Carbon can be purchased in a variety of color schemes other than its Dark Stealth livery of black trellis frame and black wheels: traditional Ducati Red over Matte Carbon with red frame; or the new Star White over Matte Carbon with white frame. All color schemes use the same black forged Marchesini wheels which are then turned and milled to expose the natural aluminum.
All the Bologna-built Diavel Carbon models will begin arriving in Ducati stores around the world next month (April 2014).
In the meantime, check out Gizmag's video road test of the original Diavel.