The new Du­cati XDi­avel S scorches the imag­i­na­tion

India Today - - CONTENTS - By MERAJ SHAH

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.

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