The Ducati Diavel Strada – First Ride

The Diavel is a unique motorcycle.  It is difficult to know what the hell (pun intended) Ducati wanted to accomplish with it. The Diavel project began under the leadership of Ducati’s previous design chief, Pierre Terblanche, who commissioned Glynn Kerr, freelance designer and design columnist for Motorcycle Consumer News, to produce the initial concept sketches.

Beautiful Atlantic Blue 2013 Ducati Diavel

Beautiful Atlantic Blue 2013 Ducati Diavel

The result is a an attractive, boundary expanding (or better yet, boundary blurring) motorcycle combining known Ducati elements, such as superbike performance and an aggressive design, with elements not commonly associated with a Ducati motorcycle such as a relaxed riding nature and riding ergonomics.

Read along as I will describe my first ride on this motorcycle and will explore what makes this motorcycle desirable.  As a bonus, I embedded at the end of the story a nice Cycle World video of this motorcycle in action on the bed of a dry desert lake.

Beautiful Blue with White Stripe Ducati Diavel. Photographed June 8th, 2013.

Not the Diavel Strada: Beautiful Blue with White Stripe Ducati Diavel. Photographed June 8th, 2013.

The Diavel has been around for at least two years in several versions: base, carbon, and I remember a limited run of a gorgeous AMG version.  The recent launch of the Diavel Strada allowed me an opportunity to take it out for a spin. The Diavel Strada completes Ducati’s set of 2013 model launches of touring bikes, the “strada” strand.  That includes the Multistrada GrandTurismo, the Hyperstrada, and now the Diavel Strada.

Diavel is dialect for the Italian Diavolo, Devil in English

Diavel is local dialect (Bolognese) for the Italian word Diavolo, meaning Devil in English

Let’s start with the name.  Diavel means Devil in at least one of the many Italian dialects.  I quite like the name, to me it completes the design of the motorcycle, it gives a persona to the bike, one that evokes power, mischievous power.  And it goes well with its little sister, the 20 year old Monster line, the only other name in Ducati’s current line up that is not a direct description of what the motorcycle is. Well, there is the Panigale, as in Borgo Panigale.  Other than these three, take a look at all the other names and you know what each of those bikes are all about: Multistrada, Sportbike, Hypermotard, Streetfighter and, dare I say, Scrambler.

Diavel, I like its name.

Diavel, I like its name.

Going past the name and the attitude it evokes, you swing a leg over the bike and it feels like you are… on a touring bike?  The handlebars come to you for a straight up and relaxed ride position. Then your feet find the pegs more directly below you, and you are… on a touring bike?  A bit more forward foot controls and you would be on a cruiser. Then you start the motor, engage first gear, release the clutch and you are… on a sport bike? This bike seems to check all of those boxes.  Is there an “all the above” option?

Aggressive Lines: The Diavel. Tested in June 8th, 2013

Aggressive Lines: The Diavel. Tested in June 8th, 2013

Further contributing to the possibilities this bike offers are its three riding modes. Urban with a default to 100 HP and Ducati Traction Control (DTC) at a more intrusive level (5 out of 8 levels), Touring with a 162 HP in a Low mode (less aggressive acceleration) and DTC at level 3, and Sport, with 162 HP in a High mode and DTC 1.

The EMCWOR has a Diavel Strada demo, so let’s try it out, let’s see when riding this bike, what story does it really tell. I always start riding a new bike on its most tame level.  I selected Urban and took off on my first ride.

Two separate information clusters.

Two separate information clusters.

The motor is very smooth, but it is different when compared to my 2013 Multistrada.  I believe this motor has a larger flywheel and that is how it accomplishes what we get in the 2013 Multistrada via the dual spark plugs and the other changes.  The motor has the traditional Ducati L-twin rumble, just deeper on this bike. A really nice note.

And it has this distinctive sound, when you are accelerating from a stop and going through the gears, I believe to 5-6K RPM and then you engage the clutch for the next gear, in that very short moment before you engage the next gear and release the clutch, the motor is naturally dropping its revs, and on this bike the sound it makes when lowering revs on a free of gear motor is fantastic. How can I describe it… well, take one for a ride, I can’t find a word that would make it justice. I wanted to stop and get going again just to experience that sound. Great distraction if you ever find yourself on a stop and go with this bike. It works well only on 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears, after that you will be going too fast to hear it.

The Diavel in the wine country

The Diavel in the wine country

I went towards the roads to the south of town and soon I was in wine country. I got it on Touring mode for a little while but soon I found myself on Sport mode. The power is there! But the motor feels more relaxed, but keep in mind, we are talking 162 HP here, so when I say relaxed it is only in comparison to the balls-to-the-wall Multistrada in Sport mode, although the Multistdada is rated at a lower 150HP.  It should be the flywheel, or the weight of the bike, something is keeping it a bit on the smooth and gradual side of things or without that edge you get in the Multistrada. It is a different experience, one that I believe matches well the expected nature of this bike. It does not engage you, but once you engage it, it is there!

That is, this bike has enough sport riding characteristics for you to keep up with your buddies in the sport bike bikes (unless they would be racing, of course) in the curvy roads.

The Diavel Strada in its element. In one of its elements, actually.

The Diavel Strada in its element. In one of its elements, actually.

But they will be envying you when you take it on a relaxed and very comfortable ride to the wineries. Perfect.

What about a glass of wine?

What about a glass of wine?

And of course, you could be riding this bike with your cruiser friends as well. The Diavel would be the odd one out, but only you would know your bike can do what their bikes do, but better, much better than their bikes can do. Now, I’m not so sure how well a fringed jacked would match this bike.

Super Cruiser

Super Cruiser

Despite (or because of) what it seems and feels like a long wheel base, I noticed this motorcycle does very well on the very slow curves and switch-backs. It leans well and it keeps its trajectory well. It inspires confidence.

At home on the twisting roads

At home on the twisting roads

Eventually I took the bike back to the shop. And my question is always the same: would I buy this motorcycle? Yes. But it would have to be that blue bike.  It is not a Strada version, though.

Beautiful blue with white stripes

Beautiful blue with white stripes

I can see the Diavel in my future, when I grow up some more and realize I can do better on a motorcycle when my feet reach the ground properly.  And when I would have time to spare so I could keep these beautiful white wheels white.

White wheels

White wheels

And I would know that if I still wanted to take it to an extreme riding situation, the Diavel would not be too far out of its element.

Although still not knowing what Ducati really had in mind with this bike, I really liked it. Take one for a spin and make your own mind about it.  Unfortunately, or fortunately for me, that beautiful blue bike has been sold already…

About these ads
This entry was posted in Bike Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to The Ducati Diavel Strada – First Ride

  1. Trobairitz says:

    Can I have a blue one? Pretty please?

    I’ve thought these bikes were cool when they first came out. Too much bike for me I am sure but they are so nice. Our friend Rick did the test ride when they had the truck of them up in Portland and was impressed.

    I am glad you enjoyed the ride. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

    On a side note – did you do Rod’s Steamboat Ride this year? We didn’t make it. Hubby was beat from teaching a Team Oregon class the day before.

    • cesardagord says:

      No, I did not do the Steamboat ride, I was in Washington DC for a work related meeting…
      About the Diavel, it is a nice machine, and you can ride it without knowing it has all that power. It is that good. My Multistrada, well… it kind of begs you to go fast.

  2. João says:

    furiosa…..

  3. bob skoot says:

    Cesar:

    nice review but I know nothing of Ducatis and they are too much bike for me too

    I generally do not do test rides unless i am interested in buying that particular model. I have never done a demo day nor do I ride bikes belonging to others but I have tried sitting on a few at the motorcycle show

    Actually, now that I think about it I had not ridden the last 4 bikes I have purchased. I have 107 HP with my Beemer, I can’t imagine having 162 HP

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

    • cesardagord says:

      Thanks Bob. To be honest with you, we don’t need all the power on our motorcycles, if we are only riding street. But it does feel good to have it on demand… Hope you are doing fine Bob. Are you coming down this way this year?

      • bob skoot says:

        Cesar:

        I managed to reach Corvallis on August 16th. I was heading north from Crescent City and made a right turn at Florence and took hwy 126 towards Eugene. I thought of you when I saw that 18 miles to Eugene sign. It was originally my plan to have lunch with you on the coast on the Sunday and then come home the following Monday but being 39 days on the road I decided to just ride home on Saturday

        Have to catch you “next time” or perhaps on the Cascades Highway when you decide to come north to ride it

        bob
        Riding the Wet Coast

      • cesardagord says:

        Yes, you were at the end of a very long journey! Next time for sure, Bob!
        Cesar

  4. kernelbob says:

    I have not ridden a Diavel, though I did see the new demo bike at EMCWOR today. But it always seemed to me to be a member of the power cruiser genre that started with the Yamaha V-Max in the late 1980s. Is that an unfair assessment?

    Give me the matte black Diavel Dark, though.

    • cesardagord says:

      Probably yes, in reference to the power cruise genre. But I’ve never ridden the Yamaha, so can’t quite tell how they compare.
      The dark is nice too. My favorite remains the blue/white, what a nice looking bike.

  5. Lorraine Roe says:

    So glad you mentioned the name derivation. I’ve read so many reviews sayings the name doesn’t have a meaning and I just couldn’t believe it. I bought the Devil Strada and I love it! Traded in my Duc monster. To me it’s the perfect combo between a Monster and Multistrada. And I love the video of the Diavel in the desert. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s