Du­cati XDi­avel

Get ready for launch Hit­ting Har­ley heart­land Af­ter 4500 miles with the Ital­ian su­per-cruiser, Emma’s dis­cov­ered that yet an­other Du­cati star has been born Best foot for­ward

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Front Page -

The votes have been counted and ver­i­fied, and af­ter six months of ap­praisal I can hon­estly say that the Du­cati Xdi­avel S has that lit­tle bit ex­tra. In 11 years of road test­ing, I’ve never rid­den any­thing that grabs at­ten­tion quite like this Bologna brute. It stopped traf­fic – lit­er­ally – wher­ever it went, and pulled crowds whether it was parked up on a rain-soaked petrol sta­tion fore­court or at a sun-drenched sum­mer bike meet.

But the big V-twin’s beauty was more than skin deep; de­spite what its spec sheet sug­gested, the big X rode more like a su­per-naked than a cruiser. Coun­try lanes could be at­tacked for plea­sure, and even longer dis­tances passed with­out too much pain.

With show-stop­ping looks and 156bhp of su­per­bike-like per­for­mance, ev­ery ride on the 1262cc V-twin was a mem­o­rable one, but as I wave good­bye to the Ital­ian stal­lion I’m re­minded of some stand-out mo­ments… With over 100ftlb torque at just 5000rpm, ac­cel­er­at­ing on the Xdi­avel is an eye-wa­ter­ingly in­tense ex­pe­ri­ence. And with a peak power fig­ure of 156bhp, the big X has the abil­ity to reach speeds of around 150mph (neck, arm and thigh mus­cles be­ing the only lim­it­ing fac­tor). For­tu­nately, the fac­tory gifted the S model with their Du­cati Power Launch (DPL) sys­tem, which has been de­signed to take the stress out of launch­ing such a pow­er­ful bike. I tested it at Brunt­ingth­orpe Prov­ing Ground, and when it was ac­ti­vated all I had to do was pin the throt­tle wide open then swiftly re­lease the clutch, and the bike would do the rest – mod­u­lat­ing wheel­ies and wheel­spin. Us­ing the sys­tem made launches feel re­ally slick, and the front wheel just hov­ered inches above the ground, but in­ter­est­ingly my 0-60mph times were quicker with­out the sys­tem ac­ti­vated. The Xdi­avel was de­signed to take the fight di­rectly to Har­ley-david­son, es­pe­cially in Amer­ica. While the MCN bud­get couldn’t stretch to a tour­ing trip to the States I was able to do the next best thing and ride to a lo­cal Har­leyDavid­son dealer day to see how diehard Mil­wau­kee fans re­acted to the Ital­ian pre­tender. Although it was a lit­tle nerve-rack­ing pulling up amid patch­wear­ing Har­ley faith­ful, their re­ac­tion to the Xdi­avel was en­tirely pos­i­tive. In gen­eral, Har­ley rid­ers loved the looks, were not put off by the near-£19,000 pric­etag, and ap­pre­ci­ated the pil­lion ac­com­mo­da­tion – but many found the big X’s 156bhp and associated per­for­mance a bit of a worry. “Do you think I’d get on with the foot for­ward rid­ing po­si­tion?” and “is it com­fort­able?” were the most fre­quently asked ques­tions I re­ceived from MCN read­ers who were con­sid­er­ing buy­ing their own Xdi­avel. The rid­ing po­si­tion was com­fort­able for me, es­pe­cially due to the clever ad­justable pegs and op­tional swept­back bars. But af­ter a full sum­mer and au­tumn of use, I found that I did miss the con­nected feel­ing you get from a stan­dard rid­ing po­si­tion, and when I spent a few days rid­ing Du­cati’s 959 Pani­gale I re­alised just what I’d been miss­ing. The Xdi­avel def­i­nitely han­dles bet­ter than any other cruiser on the mar­ket, but you may miss the feel­ing of one­ness you get from rid­ing a proper sports­bike or su­per-naked – in which case you should slow down, kick back, and en­joy all the ad­mir­ing looks. Cheers Xdi­avel S, it’s been a blast.

Launch con­trol en­gaged and cleared for take off Even Har­ley own­ers were im­pressed ‘With show-stop­ping looks and 156bhp, ev­ery ride was mem­o­rable’

emma.franklin@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

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