REVIEW: Ducati Diavel Cromo Edition - My Long Term, Comprehensive Impressions
I've been wanting to get my hands on a Diavel for a while, because of all the positive feedback it's been receiving. Both the press and owners have been gushing over this bike and I was really eager to find out why.
So, lucky for me, I get to ride one for a few days and share my impressions and get to take some pics along the way. I picked up the Diavel this afternoon at around 4PM and put about 70 miles on it so far. To view image larger: http://bmwsuperbikes.com/Images/Diavel/Diavel7l.jpgDIAVEL TOPICS COVERED:
> Power & Gearing
> Ride Impressions
> The Sport in the Diavel
> What Kind of Ducati is that?
> No ESA, no Problem, just Hand Crank the Damping on the Fly
> Fuel Range
> Urban Assault Weapon / Gentleman's Hooligan
> Night Shots
> The Diavel is Addictive
> Scientific Explanation of why Diavel is so HOT!
> Sport Bike vs Diavel
> Typical Cruiser vs Diavel
> Hypersport vs Diavel
> Touring Bikes vs Diavel
The Ducati Diavel was launched only last year and almost immediately started generating a positive buzz. Of course it's very light for a muscle cruiser and quite fast with 162 horses pushing a 527lbs bike (that's wet and ready to ride). However, since there is no shortage of light and fast bikes on the road, what makes the new Diavel so appealing? It's tremendously competent, comfortable, refined, powerful, agile, flickable yet with no drama, amazing brakes and almost no bad manners. It's like a hot date who has a great body but she is surprisingly smart and dare I say has a good personality to boot. An impossible mix of character traits, blended well to form a totally fun road-friendly bike. Quick & Dirty Specs Overview:
Engine type: l-c 90-deg. V-twin
Valve train: DOHC, 8v desmodromic
Bore x stroke: 106.0 x 67.9 mm
Power: 162hp (119kW) @ 9500rpm
Torque: 94lb-ft (127.5Nm) @ 8000rpm
Front suspension: Marzocchi 50mm fully adjustable usd forks
Front Tyre: 120/70 ZR 17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II
Rear suspension: Progressive linkage with fully adjustable Sachs monoshock. Aluminium single-sided swingarm
Rear tyre: 240/45 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II
Front brake: Monobloc Brembo callipers with ABS
Fuel tank capacity: 17l - (4.5 US gal)
Wet weight: 239kg (527lb)
Dry weight: 210kg (463lb) Features:
Ride by Wire
Battery Volt Meter
15,000 miles between major service
Warranty: 2 years, unlimited miles
MSRP for Cromo: Starting from US$18,995
Diavel is so competent and technologically advanced that I felt right at home after only a few feet of riding her. A lot of us on this community ride new K bikes because we love smart and fast bikes. The Diavel is certainly both. It has a long list of cool features (see above), many of them familiar to the members on this site. ABS tops the list for me. As a long-time advocate of ABS, I am truly delighted that Ducati has embraced this life-saving feature. Kudos to Duc. But besides ABS, the Keyless Start is simply a must-have. Leave the fob in your pocket, approach the bike with gloves and helmet, start and go. No more taking the gloves off, digging in your pockets for the key. Also keyless means no scuff marks on the triple clamp.
The other must-have is the slipper clutch. Of course superbikes usually get the slipper, but it's rare to see it on a "cruiser." I was playing with it while downshifting to 2nd and it worked flawlessly.
And let's not forget this: I like to see the battery volt meter being offered on all premium Euro bikes.
The Diavel has a 4.5 gallon tank and I am assuming that it has 1 gallon reserve. Although I haven't read about it to confirm. The low fuel light came on near the end of my ride and I was going to memorize the odometer to make sure to get the bike fueled up within 20 to 30 miles or so, but to my surprise when the light came on, the odometer switched to trip fuel 0.00 miles. So it actually started counting miles for me. Frankly I prefer it would count miles to empty, but I am glad this feature is available. (see "Trip Fuel" on the left)
There are however some features I like to see being offered on the future versions of the Diavel, such as heated grips, tire pressure monitor, quick shifter and electronic suspension.
Speaking of suspension, the Diavel Cromo has a very premium ride. It's plush, yet compliant and responsive without being too soft. It handles the NY roads very well. Power & Gearing
The Diavel is very quick in the first 3 gears, the high torque starts at around 2500 RPM and remains pretty unrelenting until the red line, however, the gearing has a different agenda. In 1st, 2nd and 3rd, the Diavel pulls with all its might and it's a joy to push around, but on the highway the 5th and 6th gears are strictly for sipping fuel, as the bike loses it's muscle (quite disappointing). However, 4th gear proved a good compromise for highway riding, as it offered a good mix of power with fuel economy.
(Dyno chart from the Motorcyclist magazine. source: http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/compa ... to_16.html
) Ride Impressions
One of the lovely things about being on a naked bike, without any windshield or body panels, is that riding at the speed limit becomes fun. The Diavel is exciting even at 60mph and that can be a major plus for many. However, when the road opens up and you want to play, the Diavel can handle high speeds with ease and the bike has excellent wind management. I wouldn't want to tag a shield on it at all, I think its ergos are just fine.
Although, like all twins, the L-Twin 1200 cc engine vibrates with a pulse that is favored by the Ducatisti; as an inline-four rider I didn't find the vibration intrusive. The Diavel chassis isolates the Testastretta 11° engine very well. Also the mirrors are excellent and the seat is comfortable.
Getting caught in bumper to bumper traffic for a little while at about 80 deg F (26 c), I could feel the engine heat but not enough to be bothersome.
I played with the riding modes of course, and for my taste, just leave in Sport and forgetaboutit. However, when caught in bad, heavy traffic I found it interesting that I could step down the mapping by switching to URBAN and turn the bike from a 162hp beast to a 100hp civil compliant. A very interesting feature and I could see if one is stuck in bad traffic that it could come in handy (or in a major downpour) but the Diavel is so compliant in slow speeds that IMO the Sport will serve for all riding modes. So for me the 3 best modes in order of preference would be 1) Sport, 2) Sport, 3) Sport.
More to come...