The last time I rode a Diavel (it was the older iteration), it was in the Himalayas along with – how do I say this – lesser machinery, if you will. No wonder the Diavel stood out. And even today when it comes to this Ducati (and the Multistrada), I mostly have good things to say.
So imagine my surprise when I got on the newer bike and within minutes I didn’t like it all that much. The riding position is still great. It’s neither laid back (read cruiser), nor demanding (street naked), and it’s easy to grip that large tank. Overall, it’s a nice balance between control and comfort. The new Diavel also has a light and progressive clutch action; weight distribution that masks its 239kg kerb weight when on the move and a throttle action that’s light and linear but not sharp enough to cause jerkiness.
My problem then is with the Diavel’s ride quality. If you are based out of Delhi or Hyderabad where roads are smooth and nicely tarmac-ed, you needn’t worry. But, if you have concrete roads to deal with, especially those with low-amplitude-high-frequency undulations (like in Mumbai), you are in for some difficult times. The Diavel bounces about constantly, especially its rear, leaving you uncomfortable and a tad disappointed.
Disappointed because apart from the harsh ride (and the engine heat), the Diavel would make for such a lovely everyday commute bike. I also would have preferred a little less on-throttle shudder from the drivetrain at lower revs and a smoother operating gearbox. The current 6-speed unit is just too clunky to fit the bike’s price or positioning.
This apart, the new Diavel is a fun motorcycle. In the city, one needs to ride it to believe it as to how easy it is to filter through traffic with. Part throttle will take you past traffic in a jiffy as the bike rides its potent torque curve. Hit the open road and unless you check yourself, you will be sitting on the quicker side of 200kmph in no time…without trying! It’s crazy.
And if you open it up from a standstill, its sheer acceleration is bound to make you giggle like (pardon the cliché) a schoolgirl. Every time. Needless to say touring in the low hundreds on the Diavel is like munching chocolates; you can do it all day long, untiringly.
But, you’d expect that given the image the Diavel cuts, that of a ‘power cruiser’. However, the way it corners and brakes can shame many a street nakeds. It doesn’t like low speed corners like hairpin bends for instance given its heavy steering. But around long sweeping bends or even when tackling quick direction changes, the Diavel feels planted, eager and talkative.
The chassis, the front end and the tyres give you enough feedback and more to keep going at corners harder and faster with every run. And the brakes – Brembo twin discs with monobloc 4-piston calipers – have the bite, progression and feel and stopping ability that one would rarely associate with a motorcycle with a raked out front; this is proper supersports stuff.