CRUISE MIS­SILE

Du­cati Di­avel used test

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage - By Phil West MCN CON­TRIB­U­TOR

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.

Any prob­lems?

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.

Ju­di­cious ad­di­tions

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.

Tempted?

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

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