Ducati's original Diavel was a successful oddity – a future-cruiser body with the heart of a superbike. It handled well and went fast, even if it made my butt go to sleep. But it didn't quite nail that relaxed cruiser feel, because it always, always wanted to go faster. This year, Ducati is kicking back a gear with the XDiavel, unveiled today at EICMA Milan, which uses a stroked-out engine to put the torque lower in the rev range, and gives a true feet-forward cruiser riding position, while pulling all the silly plastic off the sides for a much cleaner, sweeter look.
To everyone else, the Diavel was Ducati's cruiser. Not to Ducati, evidently. The Italian company unveiled the XDiavel today at EICMA, calling it the brand's first cruiser and shifting the Diavel to "sport cruiser" status. Righty-o then.
The XDiavel borrows a lot from the base Diavel, but it's by no means the same bike. The engine has been stroked out to 1262cc from the Diavel's 1198cc, in search of a broader torque spread. So while the regular Diavel hits peak torque at 8,000 rpm, the XDiavel hits its stride at 5,000 rpm, putting out 95 ft-lb (129 Nm). Peak horsepower is down from 162 (121 kW) to 156 (116 kW).
That should tell us all we need to know about the engine. Where the previous Diavel's superbike heritage gave it a rev-hungry feel that didn't quite jive with the riding position, the XDiavel aims for a more relaxed ride that'll still open up for a ton of top-end horsepower when you want it to.
The styling looks fantastic, pulling all those naff chunky futuristic elements from the front and sides of the Diavel to reveal its Monster-iffic trellis frame and super-flat headlight. The neat tail and twin split dash are similar to the Diavel, but the twin fat shorty pipes do a much better job of getting out of the way of that awesome 240-section rear wheel on its single-sided swingarm – even if you lose the traditional pretty bent pipes of the Diavel's exhaust.
Ducati felt it wouldn't be a cruiser without a belt drive, so it fitted one of those instead of the chain. Fair enough. It's also got a much more cruisy ride position – well, 60 ride positions to be precise, because there's four different footrest positions, five different seats and three different handlebars to choose from to suit the looks and ergonomics of each rider. Either way, it's a much more foot-forward, danglies-to-the-wind position than the Diavel, which does start looking much more like a musclebike dragster in comparison.
Cruisy though it may be, Ducati is keen to point out it'll still hit a 40-degree lean before its footpegs start decking out. And passengers get looked after as well, with a choice of two passenger seats and the option to fit a sissy bar with a backrest on it.
The XDiavel gets a full electronics suite to manage its considerable performance capabilities, with an Inertial Measurement Unit feeding information to the traction control and Cornering ABS systems. There's riding modes and cruise control, and even a launch control system if you need your pants scared off anytime.
An S version is also on the way, distinguished by glossy black paint instead of matte, as well as a daytime running light, DLC-coated forks, bigger Brembo M50 brake calipers and machine-finished highlighting on some of the metal bits. No Ohlins, then? Fair enough, it's a cruiser I suppose.
It may not have the baked-in appeal of a Harley or Victory cruiser, but the XDiavel sure is one fine-lookin' bike, and it's got the performance credentials to wipe the floor with even the most Screamin' Eagled-up Fat Boy. Of course, the key performance indicator is going to be how it sells in the American market, and that'll be very interesting to see!
As always, loads of photos in the gallery – enjoy!
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