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Ducati Diavel – The Bologna Devil…Tamed.

When you hear the name Ducati, what’s the first thing you think of? Exotic, expensive superbikes? Racing Bikes? Me too.

How about a big cruiser? It just doesn’t seem to fit, does it? However, in 2011 the Ducati Diavel was launched after the Italian company decided to significantly diversify its line-up and bring something new to the market.

Much confusion and curiosity followed across the globe.

Debuted in November 2010 at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, 20 years since the Ducati’s first and last cruiser, the Indiana, left production, the Ducati Diavel graced the motorcycle world to the response of wide eyes and slack jaws.

With intimidating looks, 162 bhp at the rear wheel and full electronics package more traditionally found on the firm’s superbikes, the

Ducati’s “performance cruiser” had landed with a resounded thud.

 The name itself, Diavel, was born during the early development stages of the bike. When the first prototype was assembled and put on display for a group of Ducati engineers to see for the first time, one of the technicians caught a view of the bikes silhouette from the rear and declared in Bolognese that it looked “Evil, just like the devil!”. The Bolognese translation for “Devil” being “Diavel” and the name stuck.

Ducati Diavel 1100 Gen 1 Review

2013 Ducati Diavel AMG Edition
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2013 Ducati Diavel AMG Edition

The Diavel project began under Pierre Terblanche who had previously designed the Ducati 998 and the infamous Ducati 999. Terblanche outsourced the initial concept designs to Glynn Kerr. 

Kerr was a British-born freelance motorcycle designer who has penned designs for many manufacturers including Yamaha’s TDM850, Supertenere and XT600 to name a few.

Once the initial concept had been agreed on, Ducati developed the Diavel from Kerr’s sketches completely in-house.

A new bike to the Ducati line-up the Diavel might have been, but many of its key parts were all taken from existing models to save on R&D costs. It’s engine, frame and electronics were actually all ported over from the Multistrada 1200.

The engine was a retuned version of the liquid-cooled, 90-degree, 1198 cc L-twin Testastretta from the Ducati 1198 superbike, now renamed the Testastretta 11 for its 11° valve overlap. 

However, where the Multistrada produces 150 bhp, the Diavel pushes out 162 bhp due to 2-into-1-into-2 stainless steel pipes with stacked right-side twin tail pipes.

With the extra power from the Testastretta engine, Ducati claim that the Diavel could do 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds, that’s superbike hunting ground.

Similar to its superbike stablemates, the Ducati Diavel stands out for its fit, finish, and design, from the belly pan that conceals the oil cooler to the vertical, clear LED indicators and brake lights; from the brushed aluminium shrouds over the side-mount radiators to the machined hydraulic fluid covers.

The wheels and single-sided swingarm are exquisite with the standard model sports front 14-spoke flow-formed cast aluminium wheels that are strong and lightweight and of course attached to THAT 240 mm rear tire.

The Ducati Diavel incorporates an under-bar mounted full-colour TFT display that allows users to view and switch riding mode, DTC setting, gear selection, trip and odometer information, as well as other computer functions and the Ducati multimedia system.

Time, speed, temperature, and a horizontal tachometer are all shown on an LCD screen in the typical place, beneath a bank of indicator lights.

The twin-level seat of the Diavel is one of the lowest in the Ducati line-up at 770 mm, and it is broad, comfy, and exquisitely sculpted to complement the machine’s flowing lines. The rider can put both feet on the ground for a sure-footed and assured posture thanks to the low sitting position and a low-slung chassis setup that weighs just 210 kg.

The Ducati Diavel’s party piece is its keyless ignition system. An electronic key that the rider keeps in their pocket activates the Diavel’s ignition when it is within around two metres.

The motorbike automatically activates the bike’s systems after recognising the unique key code. All systems are then turned “on” when the key-on button is pressed, and the engine is now ready to start.

The electronic key also functions as a mechanical flip-key on the outside, opening the seat and fuel tank top.

Similar to the Multistrada, the three riding modes—Sport, Touring, or Urban—control the overall power output and engine responsiveness, and the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) level.

When switching from Sport to Touring, the throttle response is softer and the DTC intervention is turned up a notch, but the overall power is unaltered. Power is reduced to 100 bhp in urban mode, and DTC intervention is increased.

Adjustments can be made fast and easily with the throttle closed. Sport mode felt abrupt and superfluous because Touring provides the same power more elegantly; Urban is best suited in slick or other slippery circumstances.

Depending on the riding mode chosen, the Diavel’s Ride by Wire technology configures an optimal power response through an electrical interface between the twistgrip and engine.

The throttle itself is now electrically operated by a control unit, rather than the twistgrip cable opening to the throttle body as it once did.

A very clever mechanism that serves as a filter between the rider’s right hand and the rear tyre is the Ducati Traction Control (DTC), which was developed for racing. The performance and active safety of the bike are greatly enhanced by DTC’s millisecond detection and management of rear wheel-spin.

A certain degree of rear wheel-spin tolerance is set into each of the system’s eight selectable levels. These levels correspond to the progression of riding skill levels one through eight.

While level eight employs the greatest involvement for complete confidence, level one delivers the least amount of engagement for riders who want more control and feeling in what their right hand is doing and achieve maximum riding enjoyment.

Ducati Diavel 1100 Gen 1 Specification

  •  Engine size     1198 cc
  • Engine type     8-value, liquid-cooled L-twin
  • Gearbox          6-speed manual
  • Max power      162 bhp / 120.8 Kw @ 9,250 rpm
  • Max torque      127 Nm / 94 lb ft  @ 8,800 rpm
  • Fuel capacity  17 litres / 4.5 US Gal
  • Seat height      770mm / 30.3 inches
  • Dry weight       210kg / 463 lbs
  • Top speed       169 mph / 272 kmh

How did the Ducati Diavel Perform?

When the Ducati Diavel was introduced in 2011, UK Motorcycle Magazine MCN was so delighted that they gave it the Machine of the Year award.

Having done the initial test, Marc Potter, the editor of MCN at the time, reflected the following:

“There was no hesitation here because I’ve never known a bike exceed expectations by such a huge margin. It has massive presence as a cruiser and should clearly appeal in an entirely new market for Ducati, yet the performance is epic, and the feel of the bike is fabulous.”

Ducati Diavel Variants

 Since the Ducati Diavel’s launch over a decade ago, Ducati have released several unique versions over the years:

2011 – Gen 1

The Gen 1 is the original design. As above. 

2011 – Diavel Black Diamond

 Quite simply the Ducati Diavel Black Diamond was a short run of the Gen 1 in a different colour scheme. It has a black paint scheme, and carbon grey finishes on almost all of its components. In the mechanical department, it has the same specs as the base Diavel.

2012 – Diavel Carbon

ducati diavel carbon
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Diavel Carbon

 Thanks to the forged Marchesini wheels, machined aluminium brake disc carriers, carbon fibre fairing and accessories, and the machine’s 205 kg weight, the Carbon version of the Ducati Diavel has less unsprung weight than the standard Diavel.

Additionally, it now gets a new exterior with a black paint job and a red racing stripe from front to back by Ducati.

 It features the same potent Testastretta L-twin engine and cutting-edge features as the standard model, including Ducati Traction Control, ride-by-wire, ABS, and other features designed to increase the joy of riding.

 2012 – AMG Edition

 The AMG version, based on the Gen 1 platform and debuted in 2012, was developed in cooperation with Mercedes sport brand AMG.

The pinnacle of Italian and German engineering and design, this machine is sure to draw attention at any gathering. With new radiator vents and distinctive individual wheels to match its white striped paint job and ribbed seat, this motorcycle has both aesthetic and functional improvements.

Additionally tweaked are the engine’s handset cam timing and fresh exhaust. Each of the units is distinctive in its own manner thanks to a numbered plaque that is also present on the gasoline tank. Its specifications are identical to those of the basic Diavel in all other respects.

2013 – Diavel Chromo

In an effort to compete on the current cruiser market, the Cromo version of the Ducati Diavel has only received cosmetic improvements, namely mirror-chrome finishes on its fuel tank, headlamp nacelle, and exhaust system, a retro-style single seat, and its forged-aluminium wheels.

2014 – Diavel Strada

Aimed at riders who desire to spend as much time as possible in the saddle, the Ducati Diavel Strada. It comes standard with panniers, reworked passenger foot pegs, a touring two-up seat with pillion backrest, heated grips, higher-set handlebars, and a touring windscreen.

These enhancements result in a vehicle with greater touring capabilities while maintaining its distinctive Italian look and elegance.

All other specifications are identical to those of the Gen 1 Diavel.

2015 – Gen 2

The 2015 Gen 2 Ducati Diavel’s liquid-cooled, four-stroke, 1198cc, 90-degree L-Twin Testastretta engine was the same and the Gen 1’s but tweaked to produce the same 162 horsepower but more torque, up from 127 Nm to 130 Nm.

New six-speed manual transmission with a slipper clutch has been mated to this.

Only software upgrades and the addition of 50mm Marzocchi fully adjustable upside-down forks with DLC treatment and a fully adjustable monoshock with progressive linkage were made to the original Gen 1 machine. The Gen 2 came available in “Dark” and “carbon” variations.

2015 – Diavel Titanium Edition

Limited to only 500 units, the 2015 Ducati Diavel Titanium was based on the Gen 2 Diavel. The Diavel Titanium, created by Ducati’s engineers to be as light as possible, features hand-applied artisanal embellishments, titanium and carbon body parts, and a level of material excellence that has never before been seen.

The fuel tank’s exterior, the headlamp cover, as well as an inlay on the carbon fibre rear seat cover are all made of titanium (thus the name).

The air intakes, seat cover, front and rear mudguards, radiator covers, and tiny windscreen are all made of carbon fibre to further reduce weight, resulting in an easy-to-manoeuvre, lightweight, powerful two-wheeler with that distinctly Italian thoroughbred feel.

 2016 – XDiavel

Incorporating a relaxed, comfortable riding position, the Ducati XDiavel was created as a fusion of the iconic Ducati style and performance with the world of leisure cruisers.

With new technologies like the Ducati Power Launch (DPL), which works in conjunction with the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and its three power modes provided by its ride-by-wire system to ensure maximum acceleration regardless of the road conditions.

The new 1262 cc twin spark Testastretta DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) L-Twin engine with 156 horsepower and 129 Nm of torque was used in the XDiavel that would later find itself at the heart of the Gen 3 Diavel and new Multistrada.

With its contemporary, aggressive look and blacked-out components like the trellis frame, wheels, and fork covers, this motorcycle is also guaranteed to appeal to the younger cruiser enthusiasts. It was also the first Ducati to use a belt final-drive

2017 – Diesel Edition

Based on the Gen 2 platform, the Ducati Diavel Diesel was produced in a small batch of 666 motorcycles. The tank cover, headlamp fairing, and passenger seat cover are just a few of the hand-brushed steel accents that give it its distinctive look.

The anodized black side conveyors with a red methacrylate centre cover and an inlaid Diesel emblem also have visible welds. The LCD instrument screen, the front brake callipers, and five chain links all have a red colour. The exhaust system’s pipes have a black ceramic Zircotec coating. The billet endcap-equipped silencers are likewise black.

 2019 – Ducati Diavel 1260 / 1260 S

Diavel 1260S
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Diavel 1260S

The Ducati Diavel 1260 was the biggest overhaul since the original model was launched in 2011. The Ducati Diavel 1260 shares its 1262 cc twin spark Testastretta L-Twin motor with the Multistrada 1260 and XDiavel.

With 156 bhp and 129 Nm of torque those with quick memories would note that despite the capacity increase the power seems to have dropped from the original 2011 Ducati Diavel. And you’d be technically correct.

 However, Ducati explained that the original Diavel performance numbers have changed due to the way they now measure these figures (Now 150 bhp and 124 Nm compared to the previously declared 162 bhp and 127 Nm).

With the new figures in mind, the 1260 makes 7 bhp more power than the 2011 model and 6 Nm more peak torque with the top speed remaining at 169 mph.

Much of the increase in power is due to Ducati’s Desmodromic Variable Timing System – DVT.  Desmodromic valves are a Ducati system that eliminates valve springs in favour of an arm to lift the valve, and another to push it back down.

DVT works by constantly adjusting the inlet and exhaust valve timing throughout the rev range. Before DVT, big engine Ducati bikes were generally tuned either for smooth low-down torque, or peak high-rev performance. One or the other. Not both.

With DVT, the power is stronger right through the revs, also giving the engine a consistent torque curve. But below 7,500rpm, the torque curve really is significantly higher, which on the road means that from around 2,500rpm the Diavel just pulls, and it doesn’t stop pulling until you bounce off the rev limiter just before 10,000rpm.

Fuel is delivered by a Bosch electronic injection system on elliptical throttle bodies all managed by Ducati’s updated Ride-by-Wire system to guarantee maximum acceleration.

 The engine is a stressed member of the tubular steel trellis frame and cast aluminum rear subframe, while the swing-arm is an all-new, huge aluminium cast single-sided unit.

The shock now sits along the top of the swing-arm, moving to make room for the exhaust, which now runs entirely under the bike. There is of course a race Termignoni system available as an option – with no catalytic converter it’ll be lighter and exude the sound of a Greek God guggling thunder.

Suspension on the base model includes Ducati’s own fully adjustable 50mm USD fork and adjustable rear shock, while brakes are radially mounted Brembo M4.32 monoblock 4-piston calipers squeezing two 320mm discs, and a 2-piston Brembo floating caliper with 265mm rear brake to complete the Brembo braking system.

The Ducati Diavel 1260 S model has upgraded suspension to a pair of 48mm Öhlins forks and Öhlins monoshock, both fully adjustable, and the front calipers have high-spec Brembo M50 monobloc calipers up front with both models featuring Bosch Cornering ABS Evo as standard.

The Diavel 1260 has a 27° steering head angle. Thus, ensuring extreme user friendliness by making the front-end setup agile and simple to manage. The optimum set-up gives the rider a comfortable and versatile riding position that complements the front-end setup with a higher handlebar, a lower seat, and central foot-pegs.

The rake has been reduced by one degree, and trail by 10mm, so while longer than the outgoing Ducati Diavel, it handles incredibly well – despite the massive 240 mm rear tire developed specially by Pirelli.

It doesn’t flick through the corners like a superbike but also doesn’t drag its tail like a normal cruiser, it handles more like a tourer. Again, the Ducati Diavel re-writes what is expected in the “performance cruiser” range.

A few brand-new electronics packages were also introduced into the Ducati Diavel 1260. Ducati Power Launch Evo by (DPL). Thanks to the system’s optimum use of the maximum torque when DTC is engaged, a quick and safe launch is guaranteed and Ducati Wheelie Control Evo to help keep the front wheel firmly on the ground.

You can automatically see how the systems work hand-in-hand with each other. If you invest in the Ducati Diavel 1260 S then you’ll also get the Ducati Quick Shift Evo system as well, ensuring no drop in the throttle on gear changes.

Also new on the Ducati Diavel 1260 is the automatic switch-off function of LED turn indicators based on the leaning angle of the bike. The turn signals turn off independently after finishing the turn or after having travelled a certain distance after leaning.

The Diavel 1260 has also the updated Ducati multimedia system which is compatible with the new Ducati Link app. The Ducati Link app lets users set travel mode and customize the parameters of the three riding modes, power modes, records your performance and travel itineraries and also has a Ducati Store locator, just in case.

At 215kg dry weight, the 1260 is 5kg heavier than the outgoing Gen 1 and 2 Ducati Diavel, however it’s not really felt given the extra power and all the other changes the bike has undergone.

Rather than introducing a “Strada” version of the Ducati Diavel 1260, Ducati has gone all-in at the start of the third generation. An optional set of semi-hard textile panniers are available and come with a short backrest that cleverly incorporates the usually vertical pair of LED brake lights into a single horizontal one.

2019-2022 Ducati Diavel 1260 Gen 3 Specification

  • Engine size     1262 cc
  • Engine type     Dual Spark, desmodromic 8-value, liquid-cooled L-twin
  • Gearbox          6-speed manual
  • Max power      159 bhp / 118.6 Kw @ 9,500 rpm
  • Max torque      127 Nm / 95.5 lb ft @ 7,500 rpm
  • Fuel capacity  17 litres / 3.74 US Gal
  • Seat height      780mm / 30.7 inches
  • Dry weight       215kg / 474 lbs
  • Top speed       169 mph / 272 kmh

Buying an original Ducati Diavel

The Ducati Diavel is not a budget motorcycle, no Ducati ever will be. This is not your average cruiser; rather, it is a fully loaded Ducati motorcycle with a long list of premium equipment, and the price reflects that.

The 2022 Ducati Diavel 1260 S retails for £20,999, whereas the original Ducati Diavel standard cost £12,995 when it was initially debuted.

 For a good basic model 2011 bike with fewer than 5,000 miles on it, expect to pay between £6,000 and £7,000. There are a few private sales for higher mileage motorcycles that are now advertised for less than £5,000 if you’re searching for a slightly better deal.

If you can locate one of them, and give it a good service and spruce up, you’ll have a great bike to enjoy or sell on with a small profit.

 Of course, this is just based on the original 2011 base model Ducati Diavel, with the many variants and special editions, these would come with their own price tags based on availability.

Sourcing Ducati Diavel Parts

Being just a decade old, the Ducati Diavel is not quite old enough to require any kind of restoration unless a prior owner had been exceeding unkind to their bike.

However, a few will probably need some attention in another decade to get them back to good, functional condition.

Fortunately, all the parts for the Ducati Diavel series are readily available from dealers and online resellers across the world if you do require any. Since it’s a Ducati, the parts are rather pricey. For instance, a new starting motor costs £480!

However, hundreds of used components are always available on our favourite auction site for less than half-price, so most parts may be purchased for a somewhat less destructive price to your wallet.

Is the Ducati Diavel a good investment?

It’s always challenging to project a bike’s future value since it is such a young model. Although the Ducati Diavel will probably continue to be produced for a few more generations, it will always stand out as a special model within the Ducati line-up and a motorcycle that defied expectations for a “performance cruiser” by carving out its own space in the motorcycle industry.

It’s set to become a classic in the future and isn’t currently expected to lose any further value after being bought second-hand.

 Verdict

It’s been called a cruiser, muscle bike, tourer and much more besides, but in reality, its really its own thing.

I see it as a Ducati Monster that’s taken a whole bunch of steroids and gone on a gym binge. It’s looks like a brute, like some huge, yet calm bodyguard in sunglasses and a suit stretched to the breaking point who could rip your head off but doesn’t see the need to…yet.

It’s an intimidating bike even to look at but with everything Ducati has thrown at it; the ride by wire system, Bosch cornering abs evo, DVT, cruise control, various power modes, wheelie control and more, suddenly it doesn’t seem as threatening as its visual persona.

It has everything a superbike has and packaged around a very different look and feel yet keeps a very sporty performance.

Personally, I really like that muscular, intimidating look and despite preferring my bikes without all the electrical bells and whistles, can understand why Ducati have thrown everything at the Diavel, with great power you need control.

I certainly want one, have done since the Gen 1 Diavel launched all those years back and with the cost of second-hand ones now at an affordable level I might just have to have serious words with my credit card.

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