Ducati Diavel Avtobon Review – Bolognese Brutality
Priced at around INR 22 lakh on road, Mumbai, the Ducati Diavel Avtobon has a special place in the world of motorcycles. Here is what we have to say about this gentle Italian brute.
Image credits: Darshan Jadhav, Vaibhav Gokhale
Italians are renowned to reinvent the way design works- they have their own ways of blending form and function with simplicity yet complex at the same time. From fashion, furniture to automobiles- it’s hard escaping the allure that an Italian design brings to am onlooker’s eye. And when one fine day our editor-in-chief spoke about reviewing an Italian motorcycle- going nuts was the only overwhelming emotion.
Enter the Ducati Diavel– a machine which breaks the very barrier of contemporary motorcycle design. It invokes reactions of many a kind but never fails to grab an emotion from its spectator. Being in our custody for over three days and piloting it around for over 700 kms– the Bolognese Brute left a diverse but long lasting notion on our minds. So here we go with our review of the sinister yet suave Ducati Diavel Avtobon edition.
Ducati Corse derived Testastretta 11° Dual Spark (DS) engine as seen on the Monster 1200 and the Multistrada 1200 cranking out max power of 162 bhp @ 9250 and peak torque of 130.5 nm @ 8000 rpm. A Ride-by-Wire (RbW) system offer’s an incredible crisp throttle response and a slipper clutch system that ensures effortless use of the cluth and more aggressive downshifts during spirited riding.
Stainless steel slash cut stacked exhausts are both a visual and aural treat.
The Diavel uses full LED technology both in the head and tail and they do look marvellous.
The differentiating factor between the regular and carbon variant is the generous use of carbon fibre in the tank panels, passenger seat cover and front fender.
Split-level instrumentation: The upper LCD display is mounted on the handlebar riser and provides key information such as speed and rpm, in addition to showing warning lights, time and temperature. The lower, full colour Thin Film Transistor (TFT) unit is integrated into the fuel tank and provides an incredibly clear display of the currently selected Riding Mode, gear, and DTC level as well as total and trip mileage.
Diavel’s passenger accomodations include slender footpegs which ingeniously fold down from the rear sub-frame, as well as an innovative T-bar shaped grab-rail assembly which slides out from the rear of the seat.
A scooped seat provides ample comfort for the rider. The pillion seat is comfortable for short rides with Ducati providing a removable carbon fibre seat cover.
Radially attached Brembo Monobloc 4-piston callipers with ABS as standard equipment mounted over 2 x 320 mm semi-floating discs at the front and 265mm single disc with 2-piston floating calliper.
Fully adjustable front suspension using 50 mm usd fork with DLC-treatment. Rear suspension is fully adjustable rear shock with progressive linkage and remote spring preload adjustment. The Single-sided aluminium swingarm looks yum.
Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres: 120/70×17 front and a massive 240/45×17 section at the rear mounted over Marchesini ten-spoke forged machine-finished lightweight wheels
The Diavel is a handsome devil- at the front it does exude the hidden devilishness, though subtly. The LED headlight unit housed in a brushed aluminium assembly, the muscular fuel tank flanked by two exaggerated vertically stacked air scoops and lateral radiators…… all so tightly packed- and now with carbon fibre accents, it’s akin to a Dracula nattily clad in a tuxedo prowling around at a nocturnal vanity bash.
Start sweeping your eyes around and that is where the brashness of the beast shows up. The Testastretta L-Twin is neatly tucked and clutched by the gorgeous red trellis frame with the exhaust routing resembling the curvature of a devil’s tail. The scooped seat, a chopped rear which concludes well before the massive 240 section rear tyre mounted over a gorgeous set of Marchesini ten spoke wheels and the slash cut stacked silencers- the Diavel is indeed a devil- a very muscular one armed with enough weaponry ready to slice everything that comes in its way. It’s but obvious not to be bemused by the Diavel’s design and it might seem controversial at first to some- but a guaranteed second look and there is enough affirmation to the fact that the designers have pulled off a stunner.
The powerplant of the Diavel is as potent as its styling. It shares the same liquid-cooled 1200cc Testastretta 11° DS L-Twin engine that does duty on the Monster 1200 and the Multistrada 1200- and with 162 bhp on tap, it’s an absolute cracker. From the moment you fire up the engine to high speed rush- the brute power keeps you thrilled and focussed at the same time. The throttle response is crisp- thanks to a ride by wire system and even a minor input on the throttle is met with an instant change in engine acoustics and the bikes momentum. So much so that modulating the throttle became an addiction for us on the review- the engine retort and the exhaust note kept us delightfully grinning every time we took the Diavel out for a spin.
Pottering around at low speeds is never an issue on the Diavel, there is enough torque available right from the word go. But above 3000 rpm is where it starts to show its brutish grunt. The inherent nature of an L-Twin is evident as it shoves every nm of torque down your bottom ramming it deeper into the seat. If not for the scooped seat, the Diavel would actually throw you off during hard acceleration. To tame this madcap Italian, Ducati has inducted a series of electronic aids including riding modes. To start with there is the URBAN MODE where the power is toned down to 100 bhp intervened by Ducati Traction Control (DTC) on Level 5. TOURING MODE enables the rider to exploit the full 162 bhp albeit in a user friendly power delivery curve with DTC at Level 4 . The SPORT MODE is when one needs to go berserk with the Diavel- the engine spins in apocalypse urgency. Your hands clench to the handlebars in cliff hanging style, the knees tuck in at its hardest, your eyebrows squint, pupils dilate and the Diavel takes you into another dimension. The gearbox isn’t the most slickest of units but isn’t notchy- finding neutral used to occasionally translate into a treasure hunt. With a slipper clutch in place- the pulling effort was thankfully light while facilitating frequent antics of aggressive downshifts.
Breaching the 200 kph mark didn’t take much sweat and even the wind blast didn’t smack as hard as we’ve felt on naked streetbikes. It is unlike any motorcycle we have ridden till date and every pre-conceived notion about the motorcycle was smashed to bits by the Diavel in the most delightful manner one would expect. Technically we could talk in detail about the hardware and electronics working in the background hustling you ahead to nirvana- but we’d keep all that for the spec chart at the end of the article.
Handling and braking
At 234 kgs (ride ready), the Diavel isn’t a very light motorcycle- add to it the cruiser like steering geometry and that fat rear tyre. Its easy to presume it to be a heavy handling machine, but the Diavel here shatters every assumption in a similar way it did for its engine performance. The low seat height ensures you comfortably sit into the motorcycle than on it placing you closer to the ground which adds confidence when weaving it around bends. It won’t go around tight corners like a supersport, but feels neutral extending an unruffled feedback to the rider when cutting down on lean angles. If not for the cruiser-ish ergonomics, the Diavel feels more like riding a street bike around corners. It feels lighter than it actually is and the precise throttle response is simply staggering. Going into every corner with inhibitions and coming out in slapdash style- the Diavel had us floored. Gosh..what a motorcycle!
Coming to brakes, the Brembo monobloc callipers offers progressive stopping power to the Diavel. It didn’t feel as sharp if we have to recollect our riding encounters with other Brembo shod motorcycles. Your right hand feels well connected to the brakes and it’s easy to predict the response even with minor inputs on the brake lever. The ABS isn’t as intrusive and kicks in only when the grippy Pirellis struggle for traction- in fact the non-intrusiveness of the ABS demonstrates how good the brakes are. The rear brake offers enough bite to complement the front brakes while hurrying the motorcycle to standstill from high speeds.
We could actually go writing lengths of how mindboggling of a motorcycle the Ducati Diavel is. The styling might leave people scratching their heads and simply opine the Diavel as a burlesque cruiser with an exotic badge. But all assumptions could be put to rest once you get rolling.
It can be well compared to a Toruk- the predator bird from the movie Avatar. It’s ferocious but rewards its rider with unparalleled thrill and grin in truckloads once you get the hang of it. A cruiser with a soul of a superbike- that’s what gives the Diavel its distinct character. It carves a niche for itself and it’s hard to think about a motorcycle that could come close to even trying being one.