DEVIL ON WHEELS
The new Ducati XDiavel S scorches the imagination
No one can accuse the Ducati XDiavel S of being genial. Even at standstill, this ‘cruiser’ motorcycle from the Italian stable has the mien of the Hound of the Baskervilles on a leash. Press the ignition, and it snarls menacingly, making the crowd part like the sea for Moses. Fear, trepidation, and awe sum up the standard reaction to the XDiavel S, which, given that ‘Diavel’ roughly translates into ‘evil, like the devil,’ is rather appropriate.
It’s the only concession the XDiavel S makes, but it’s a big one: the mountain of torque—that lovely visceral grunt which imparts ride-ability much more than sheer power—bears down on the rider at as low as 5500 rpm, with a chunk of it coming at just 2000 rpm. What that means, basically, is not only that the XDiavel S can cruise, but also that it’s the first Ducati that allows you to enjoy the feel of a big motorcycle at reasonable velocity. Heck you could even listen to music (there’s Bluetooth connectivity for smartphones). You even get extended footpegs that create a laidback cruiser stance, a long wheelbase, and a low saddle. For all its dragster-like styling, the XDiavel S loves carving corners with almost as much venom as a sport-bike. True to its extra-terrestrial looks, the XDiavel S gets the full treatment of electronics one has come to expect from Ducati. Three riding modes—Urban, Cruiser and Sport—allow the rider to manipulate ride quality, power output, and more importantly how gently (for lack of a better word) or brutally that power is delivered. A practical Ducati is very much an oxymoron, and one of the biggest surprises the XDiavel S springs is its ability to keep its cool. Even in Delhi summer it never gets too hot under its skin, certainly not the singe-the hair-off-the-thighs hot that most big motorcycles tend to in the summer. Truly liberating.