September 18, 2019 By Enrico Ylanan Photos by Jerel Fajardo

Ducati XDiavel Review

I pull up to my usual coffee shop in the south of Metro Manila and park in my usual spot in front of the store. The said shop has become a haven for bikers in the area, and you’ll never fail to spot the occasional high displacement motorcycle parked in front. Nice and quiet, I thought to myself. After placing my order, a crowd of at least twenty people was admiring the XDiavel, to the point of asking me permission to take pictures of the bike. Yes, that’s the way it goes with this belt-driven power cruiser from the Bologna-based manufacturer. And this was on the first day.

People love hybrids, but for manufacturers willing to make that jump, most hybrid vehicles fade into an awkward niche market. That was not the case when Ducati decided to tackle the cruiser concept with a completely Italian interpretation. What they ended up with was a powerful sportbike in cruiser styling.

Italian Muscle

At 1262cc, the engine of the XDiavel is a longer stroke variation of Ducati’s tried-and-true Testastretta DVT-enabled Twin found in the Multistrada, but with a 67cc bump. Pulling cleanly from 3,000rpm up to the 10,000rpm redline, the mill’s final drive is toothed by a rubber belt, reducing maintenance and staying true to authentic cruiser DNA. And like the Multistrada, the Desmodromic Valve Timing (DVT) solution gives the best of both worlds: a flat and linear power curve without sacrificing performance. At just under 4000rpm, the XDiavel is always ready to pounce with incredible acceleration, making passing traffic a breeze in any situation, and in any gear. Downshift through the buttery-smooth six-speed transmission, yank the throttle, and hold on. With 156 ponies at 9500 revs at the crank, and with the frantic boost of acceleration as the digital tachometer nears redline, it certainly feels incredibly fast. The whole engine block’s appearance was improved by removing those unsightly cooling system hoses, necessitating a redesign of the water pump. More aluminum and much less plastic for rest of the engine parts makes the XDiavel feel and look much more premium. Underneath, we get twin pipes; slash cut, and sounding wonderful.

Technological Cruiser

The XDiavel benefits from ride-by-wire throttle control allowing for individual engine power maps (Urban, Touring, and Sport). This lets the rider alter the powerband (and associated DTC and ABS settings) via a few pushes of the switchgear. It also utilizes Ducati’s eight-way adjustable traction control, and newly introduced cornering ABS function, courtesy the fitment of a 1299 Panigale-type IMU. Launch control is also standard (Ducati calls it ‘Power Launch Control’), as is cruise control. Each setting, as well as the XDiavel’s running stats, can be viewed via a color dash located ahead of the 18-liter metal fuel tank. The display looks pretty, but ideally, it should be repositioned above the handlebar, so it’s easier to peek at. Stunning to look at in the dark, the Tron-like LED headlamp is eye-catching even in daylight. Nice rear horseshoe LED taillights are a sight to behold, and round off the look extremely well.

Sport Genes

The XDiavel is a leaner and meaner version of the Ducati power cruiser line, featuring forward foot controls, a front end raked-out to 30 degrees, and a fat 240/45-17 Pirelli Diablo II rear radial. While the XDiavel certainly isn’t as adept at knee down jaunts as its Panigale cousins, it’s remarkably capable for a fat-tired bike designed specifically for what Ducati calls, “low speed excitement.” Both the frame and swingarm are new, with the rake kicked out two degrees compared to the standard Diavel. Fork offset was modified slightly to retain the Diavel’s trail measurement. The short steel-trellis frame bolts to the cylinder heads (similar to the Monster family) thereby reducing weight and allowing the engine to be an active part of the chassis. The single-sided swingarm is fabricated from both forged and cast aluminum pieces joining the chassis at the rear of the engine case, with a wheelbase measuring 63.5 inches.

The XDiavel features a deep 29-in seat that swallows you into the cockpit. Reach to the handlebars is relaxed with a distinct rearward sweep. The rider’s footpegs are mounted in a forward position, which is an odd sensation for a Ducati, but a welcome trait for those seeking comfort, or with limited knee motion. Another plus is how lithe the XDiavel feels between the legs, with it weighing around 545 pounds ready to ride.  As expected, the XDiavel delivers a firmer ride than a typical cruiser. This reduces straight-line comfort to a certain degree. On all but the most neglected street surfaces, the XDiavel’s suspension is sublime. While firm, the ride quality is never punishing – an absolute must for any bike targeted at cruiser buyers. The relaxed riding position and ergonomic seat complete the supple experience.

A ride on the XDiavel on our roads and traffic conditions can seem daunting at first, but once you get going, it’s a bike that inspires confidence despite the tight spaces. Just watch those mirrors. Add some turns into the route, and the taut chassis springs to life, delivering astonishing road-holding for a wide-tired cruiser. It handles responsively on a parking lot, EDSA (sometimes the same thing) and expressway speeds, and has a lean angle of 40 degrees. But on rough pavement, the suspension did feel bouncy. Thankfully, the fork and shock include independent mechanical damping adjustment. Most cruiser riders rely on a strong back brake, and the Ducati doesn’t disappoint. The front brake hardware is also up to the extra power the XDiavel can deliver, with Brembo M3-32 four piston calipers. We also appreciate that the ABS setting can be modified, with the brake and clutch levers also adjustable.

Final Thoughts

Ducati took the cruiser idea, threw it around the room, punched it a few times in the face, and took it to a plastic surgeon to make it something truly beautiful. Ducati’s take on a mostly western idea is the definitive answer in the power cruiser category.

Specifications:

Engine: L-twin, Desmodromic, DOHC, Dual spark, 8 valve, 4 stroke, liquid cooled

Displacement: 1292 cc

Max power: 156 hp @ 9500 rpm

Max Torque: 95 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm

Transmission: 6 speed

Seat Height: 75 mm

Fuel Capacity: 18 liters

Tire, Front: 120/70 17R

Tire, Rear: 240/45 17R

Brakes, Front/ Rear: Dual discs/Disc, ABS

Curb weight: 220 kg

Price: PhP 1,420,000

+ Amazing engine, comfortable ride, beautiful to look at

– Jerky at lower revs, expensive

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