There’s something to be said for breaking the rules. Yes, it may be frowned upon and yes, there are often consequences, but the thrill of not knowing if you’re going to get off scot free is almost always associated with an intoxicating rush of adrenaline. Perhaps it’s this rush of adrenaline that urged Ducati’s design team to push further into the new Diavel’s designto break all the rules that said you couldn’t have a performance bike with a 240-section rear tire, long wheelbase and low-slung seat. Perhaps it was that excitement of not knowing if they would get away with it that urged them to push the envelope that little bit further.
With the Diavel, Ducati engineers started with a clean sheet of paper and a performance-based enginethe already proven Testastretta engine. This is the same engine that powers the 1198, Street Fighter and Multisrada 1200. And while much of the Ducati Testastretta engine has gone untouched (internal components are the same, as are the bore and stroke numbers which remain at 106 x 67.9mm) in its transplant from 1198 Superbike to Diavel, a number of small modifications have lent to slightly revised engine characteristics and more overall horsepower.
As with the Multistrada 1200, valve overlap has been reduced from 41 to just 11, with Ducati now labeling the engine the Testastretta 11. The new cam timing for the Testastretta engine results in more user-friendly power characteristics, better fuel economy and still plenty of brute power on tap.
Compared to the Multistrada 1200, which was the first bike to run the Testastretta 11 engine, the Diavel makes roughly 12 more horsepower. Much of the gain is accredited to the longer head pipe of the Diavel which is significantly longer from the cylinder head to the two-into-one tube. Other changes to the Ducati powerplant include a new water pump for increased flow, twin side-mounted radiators, a new slipper-action wet clutch and aesthetic changes to the crankcase covers.
As you would expect from the Italian manufacturer, the chassis of the all-new Diavel is comprised of a trellis frame and die-cast aluminum sub-frame. But unlike any other Ducati you have seen, the Diavel features a massive eight-inch rear wheel, long 62.6-inch wheelbase, extensive 25-inch aluminum swingarm and 28 of rake. Most likely the biggest surprise of all though, is the 240/45ZR-17 Pirelli rear tire that was built with both style and performance in mind.
The Pirelli 240/45ZR-17 rear...
The Pirelli 240/45ZR-17 rear tire is something many never thought they would see on a Ducati. Even with such a large tire out back, the Diavel is nimble and changes direction effortlessly.
Since the bike’s unveiling, the wide-section rear tire has been continually scrutinized by ducatisti, who accused Ducati of forgoing performance in order to make itself available to a different market. But to be fair, Pirelli has developed the Diablo Rosso II to provide excellent grip and overall performance. The 17 wheel/tire combo is more akin to a sportbike setup and the profile of the large rear tire is intended to provide a large contact patch. In addition, the Rosso II offers a high sidewall that is intended to better absorb bumps. All said, it’s clear the rear of the bike isn’t just meant to resemble a custom/cruiser look.
In terms of ergonomics, the Diavel is similar to Ducati’s Monster 696 and offers a relaxed and more upright position. In contrast to its naked 696 kin however, the Diavel’s handlebars have been raised some 140mm and pulled an additional 100mm closer to the rider. Moreover, Ducati engineers designed a new seat and gave the Diavel an uncharacteristically low 30.3-inch seat height. In an attempt to make certain that the result wasn’t a cramped and uncomfortable riding position, the footrests were dropped some 23mm.
The Diavel features a handlebar-mounted...
The Diavel features a handlebar-mounted LCD display that shows speed, RPM and all other important information as well as a tank-mounted TFT display that doubles as the control panel to personalize the DTC and RbW settings.
Similar to the Multistrada 1200, the Diavel features eight levels of traction control and three separate riding modesSport, Touring and Urban. For each mode, a predetermined traction control setting has been programmed in by the factory.
In both the Sport mode and Touring mode, the Diavel makes full use of all 162 horsepower, but the Touring mode has been revised to deliver the power in a smoother manner. In Urban mode, the Diavel is cut to only 100 horsepower.