Ducati Diavel used test
What we said then
“I’m simply blown away by the Diavel. It’s so light, fast, sophisticated and so good handling it completely turns on its head everything we thought of so-called ‘cruisers’. That’s because, first, the Diavel’s a custom built by a sportsbike manufacturer so it’s light and has sportsbike handling. Second, it’s littered with high tech: such as a three-way riding mode system. Compared to this your average Harley looks like it’s from the ’30s. And third, it’s gigglingly fast but, thanks to the mode switch, only when you want it to be. And that, combined with great ergonomics and spec, make it practical too.”
MCN launch report | February 7, 2011
But what is it like now?
Seeing this Carbon example for the first time, on sale at Balderston (01733 465206) for a tempting £9995, I’m instantly reminded of the immense impression that the original made when I first tested it in early 2011.
In short, there’s nothing quite like the Diavel. There wasn’t then and there still isn’t five years on. No so-called ‘cruiser’ is as sophisticated and effective (check out its 160bhp, Brembos and more), none so high-tech (Multistrada-style riding modes, LCD displays etc) and, simply, none is so damn quick.
Not that the Diavel’s a beast – quite the opposite (well, almost). That upright riding position, low seat and impressively light weight (due to it being crafted from aluminium rather than the cruiser norm of iron girders and chrome) means it’s far less of a handful than most cruisers at walking speed. Then, when I start to open it up in Road mode as I wiggle away into the Peterborough melee, the instant response from the 160bhp twin, crisp controls and powerful brakes remind more of a sportsbike.
It’s not quite, of course. Although, despite the massive 240-section rear tyre, the Diavel handles far better than anything that looks like this should, and goes even better. It’s not a cruiser, it’s far too sophisticated for that. Nor a hot rod, it handles curves too well. But what’s most impressive is that uniqueness survives so long after its 2011 launch. There’s still nothing quite like the Diavel.
For a groundbreaking bike that’s so sophisticated, so performance-orientated, the Diavel has an equally impressive reputation for being robust. Not much goes wrong with the Italian wonder. The keyless starting, where you pocket the fob and press a button, takes a little getting used to, but works fine. And, as I fire (and fire, with the Diavel, really is the word) out of Peterborough into the Fens, all the electronics, modes and more prove to work as Bologna intended irrespective of its 15,500 logged mileage on the twin digital displays.
Apart from a tank pad, the biggest and most obvious addition to this Diavel is its Remus exhaust – and, for me, it’s both brilliant and… a little bit of a bother. Boy is it loud! So much so that gassing away from the lights, fullbore, bouncing decibels off cars and then hearing the monstrous 160bhp twin gurgle and spit on the over-run is initially simply addictive. So much so that no bike has ever made me feel more like Mad Max. After a while, though, you feel a little conspicuous, too. Then again, the Diavel never was a bike for wallflowers.
Oh yes, very much so. The Diavel’s brilliant. Like Yamaha's Vmax but actually better, and cheaper, and more useful. And this high-spec Carbon one, with the carbon panels and forged wheels at just under £10k, is more tempting still. Cosmetically this one’s not perfect. There’s very slight heel scuffing on the seat cover and the Remus system is a little discoloured, but that’s why it’s so affordable. Overall, if you like the image, there’s no reason not to. Biking beasts don’t get much better than this.
Thanks to Balderston where this Diavel is on sale for £9995. Contact: www.balderston.net
Shy and retiring motorcyclists need not apply