The Ducati Diavel Feature

The Ducati Diavel Feature took a lot of flak when the first pictures were released, and a lot more when it went on display at shows around the world. Ducati was betraying its brand values, the bike didn’t belong in any category, it was ugly, uncomfortable, expensive, irrelevant.

Which just goes to show what a load of nonsense people are prepared to spout when they know hardly anything. Now they’re going to look even sillier because the Diavel is the most exciting motorcycle of 2011, and one of the most original, daring and brilliantly executed of the past decade to boot.

The power cruiser label carries a lot of weight, literal and figurative. Rides like the V-MAX, M109R and Rocket III boast impressive power stats, but also sport portly curb weights. The Diavel is a different beast. While monstrously powerful, it’s not a monstrosity. Having taken the new Duc out for a spin at the international press launch in Marbella, Spain, Motorcycle USA can vouch for the Diavel’s true nature, and sooth any lingering fears for the Ducati devout.

Ducatisti were up in arms when rumors of the Diavel circulated; after all, why should the bike builder known for its race-ready motorcycles dabble in a genre notorious for its crippling performance limitations? Perhaps they saw a gap in power cruisers like Harley-Davidson's V-Rod Muscle, Suzuki's M109R, and Star's V-Max, which pack high-powered engines but also weigh in excess of 600 pounds.

Model tested: Ducati Diavel Carbon Red
Price: £15,895 (base model, from £12,995)
Available: end of February 2011
Engine: 90-degree V-twin, liquid cooled, dohc desmodromic 8v, 1198.4cc
Power: 160bhp (162PS, 119kW) @ 9,500rpm
Torque: 94lb.ft (127.5Nm) @ 8,000rpm
Economy: n/a
Tank/Range: 3.75 gallons (17 litres, 4. 5 US gallons)/ n/a miles
Transmission: Six gears, wet clutch, chain final drive
Chassis: Tubular steel trellis, cast aluminium rear subframe
Seat height: 30.3in (770mm)
Wheelbase: 62.6in (1590mm)
Rake/trail: 28°/ n/a