Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Ride Review: 2012 Ducati Diavel


Ride Review: 2012 Ducati Diavel

It's not often that I'll jump on a bike, take off on a test ride, go "whee, whee, whee!" and want to ride it all the way home. That was the case with the 2012 Ducati Diavel, the Italian motorcycle maker's take on the cruiser genre. I had the opportunity to stop by Touring Sport in Greenville, SC, one of the sponsors for this year's Women On Wheels® International Ride-In, to test ride this exotic beast.

With the modern, avant-garde styling of the Diavel, it's pretty difficult for me to even consider it to be a "cruiser" despite its designation by Ducati. It has the huge rear tire of a custom cruiser, the upright posture of a naked bike, and the ridiculous power of a sportbike with an innovative computer system to boot. When I threw a leg over this machine, its ergonomics had me thinking that I was on a low-slung Monster rather than the stereotypical laid-back posture of a standard cruiser. The foot controls were so upright, in fact, that I thought I was in an office chair with handlebars! And I could even stand up straight on the pegs!

Getting ready to rip the pavement on one sleek Duc!

While I rolled down the street in regular traffic, the Diavel was easy to control with its smooth throttle and extremely responsive brakes. Entering the freeway was just a warm-up for this 6-speed, 1198cc Testastretta sportbike engine where I found myself screaming onto the freeway long before I had to shift into 3rd gear. What's even more disturbing is that there was no time this machine ever felt winded or underpowered. I don't know what kind of cruising Ducati had in mind, but it certainly isn't the quick trip to the coffee shop! In the tight turns, the Diavel wanted to lean and corner like a sportbike. As I usually expect scraping a peg or two on something with such a short seat height and low chassis, I was quite unsuccessful in even getting close to doing so.

For some reason, I have a slight attraction to motorcycles with driving mode switches. The Diavel has a "Sport," "Touring," and "Urban" mode, with the first two modes clocking 162HP for "spirited" riding and latter being the tamest at 100HP with aggressive traction control for regular riding and tight traffic situations. Even if you kept it in "Urban" mode (which I did for the duration of this test ride) the entire time, it still impresses and intimidates.

For a [great, ridiculous, or even more ridiculous] time, push this button!
So yes, this bike would definitely find a place in the garage of my dreams, perhaps somewhere next to that Yamaha Super Téneré I reviewed the other week. Surprisingly, the Diavel can be suited for long-distance touring too. Ducati offers options for a windshield, more plush touring seat, cargo rack, and bags. Iron Butt potential? I think so!
And as a extra bonus, here's a rare look at the AMG Diavel, one of the rarest Ducatis you'll ever see. The one photographed is #54 of an unknown manufactured amount, as Ducati cut production of this bike after its acquisition by Audi.

The AMG Diavel sports black and white racing stripes with a white powdercoated frame exclusive to this edition.
Each AMG Diavel is individually numbered. Since the final quantity made is unknown, this makes this bike even more special to the picky bike collector.
Make no mistake, that's the AMG logo on the stock exhaust.
The engine's assembler's signature is engraved on the engine case.
Special thanks to the guys at Touring Sport in Greenville, SC for letting me throw a leg over this beastly bike. It's a pretty cool dealership with a wide arrangement of BMW, Ducati, Piaggio/Vespa, and a few bikes in between. Stop on by for a visit if you're ever visiting the Greenville/Spartanburg area.