You just can't get away from the Ducati Diavel at the moment. The bike press are raving about this new entry in the cruiser class. We take a closer look.

RIDE WITH THE DIAVEL

At first glance it's easy to mistake this machine for any other generic cruiser. But on closer inspection the Brembo calipers and Marchesini wheels on this model tell me this is no ordinary Harley wannabe.

The performance theme continues with the V-Twin engine, which has the same configuration as traditional bikes of this type - although that's where the similarities end. At the heart of the Diavel is a 1200cc Testastretta engine producing 162bhp.

The longer wheelbase and gargantuan 240 section rear tyre enable it to outaccelerate Ducati's 1198 up to 60mph. A cruiser out-accelerating a superbike? This I have to try. While the engine warms up I have a play with the onboard computer, which is incredibly simple to navigate even with clumsy gloved fingers and a total lack of patience. I manage to engage sport mode and turn off the traction control in a few short button strokes. The interface is very simple to use and impressive to look at thanks to a full-colour display.

If you're in the mood for cruising there are two softer power modes to choose from, as well as an eight-stage traction control system. Lifting the Diavel off its sidestand I get yet another surprise. It appears bulky but in reality is a featherweight, tipping the scales at only 207kg. Far lighter than any V-Rod, V-Max or Harley Davidson. The relatively light weight of the Ducati is even easier to manoeuvre thanks to the low seat height.

As I tiptoe through busier traffic in search of more open routes, the Ducati shows it has low speed manners in abundance. There is plenty of steering lock, making filtering effortless, even on such a large bike. The clutch is one of the best I have encountered, a real pleasure to use.

With such massive power in reserve it's reassuring to know the Diavel comes with ABS as standard, delivered through the hugely powerful Brembo calipers.

Even at town pace the torque gives a clue to how much power is in store. But nothing really prepares me for the sheer savagery of the engine when the throttle is opened.

It almost catches me out. It's a mistake to assume the longer wheelbase will be forgiving when getting hard on the gas. It will wheelie if provoked. It'll do the same in second gear too. I'm sure you've gathered this is not your average cruiser. This bike is all about that engine. It feels like it's been pulled straight from the 1198. It's a real Jekyll and Hyde of a motor, and thanks to the three switchable power maps it doesn't seem to suffer from any compromises, either.

Once given a clear road the Diavel continues to pull relentlessly, only pausing momentarily to be fed more gears. A cruiser has no right to be this quick, or this much fun. It isn't just fast for a cruiser, it's fast full stop.

Standard exhausts do little to dampen the enthralling note emitted. This engine is one of my all-time favourites, it is an utter peach. The Diavel even goes around corners, an alien concept to most of its direct competition. Ground clearance wasn't an issue either. Obviously it doesn't handle like a sportsbike, but it is a million times better than anything else in the class and perfectly capable of embarrassing more race-oriented machinery in the right hands.



I had high expectations for the Diavel and it blew them away. It really does live up to the hype, and then some. The only competition that comes close is Yamaha's V-Max, and at 19,995 compared to 13,000 for the Ducati, it's no surprise it's proving popular.

WORDS SHAUN POPE PHOTOGRAPHY MOJOFFOTO
 
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