Ducati Diavel Dark


First thing in the Ducati Diavel brochure read “Don’t call me a cruiser” and after two minutes in the saddle I agree… this thing is a bruiser. It will stretch your arms and have your eye sockets wide open. The Diavel may look like a cruiser, but the brute, dual-spark Testastretta II engine combined with typical Ducati manoeuvrability rewrite the “Cruiser” rule book.



I expected power from the Diavel, just because it’s a Ducati, but WOW, this “Devil” is strong. Zero to a ton happens in a flash of acceleration, the 1198cc, 119 kW (162 hp), 130.5 Nm of torque, liquid-cooled, L-Twin, 4 Desmodromically actuated valves per cylinder, pulls strong from just off idle, making its maximum stump-pulling torque at 8000 rpm. I saw 235 kph before I ran outta road, but from robot to robot is where my fun-meter was peeking.


Talking of power… the Diavel comes with three Riding Modes; Sport – which allows full power of 162 hp without any electronic interventions, Touring – still allows full power, but with some traction control, and Urban – which limits power to 100 horses, but with maximum traction control, which I used once, when I was caught in a mother of a summer rain storm and I must say I was grateful to have the Urban option, I felt as safe and confident as one could in such circumstances.



The Diavel is a middle-weight bruiser punching in the heavy-weight division, with a kerb weight (ready to ride) of 239 kgs. Seat height is only 770 mm and is comfortable enough to ride the 17 liter fuel empty without any pain, but if you ride the Ducati hard, at full power, you won’t get very far before the reserve light comes on. With much restraint I managed to get the Diavel consumption down to 6.0 liters per 100 kms, but hard riding in the “fun-zone” will indicate figures above 8, with the result that instead of racing from robot to robot you end up racing from filling station to filling station.


Thankfully life is not about straight roads, or riding from “point A to point B”, how boring. Turning the big Diavel into a corner is just as much fun as bulleting down a straight, thanks to the geometry of Ducati’s trellis frame, adjustable upsidedown Marzocchi forks, single-sided swingarm fitted with adjustable Sachs rear shock and gorgeous, lightweight 17 inch wheels shod with Pirelli Diablo Rosso rubber.


And the brute can stop as good as it can go, equipped with twin 320 mm rotors, gripped by radially attached Brembo Mononbloc 4-piston callipers with ABS on the front wheel, while the back is fitted with a single 265 mm disc and 2-piston calliper with ABS.


Overall the Ducati Diavel is an exciting, fun bike to ride, not the bike for every occasion or every surface, but if I could afford the luxury of having a few bikes for different purposes, the Ducati Diavel would certainly sleep in my garage, next to my (Panigale) Superbike, Sport-Tourer, Adventure bike, Scrambler and and and.



Words and photos by Kenn Slater


Thanks to Ewald, Johnny and Ducati SA for the ride