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Ducati xDiavel S First Ride Review

29 August 2017, 10:44 AM Charles Pennefather

What is it?

Why I would buy the Ducati xDiavel S 

It is a cruiser, but one that handles like no cruiser should – and it looks amazing.

Why I would avoid the Ducati xDiavel S 

The regular Diavel is a much better all-around motorcycle, and at a similar price  

The Ducati xDiavel is a more cruiser-oriented version of the Diavel, which was, in many ways, a most confusing motorcycle. The Diavel accelerated like a drag bike, handled like a sport- tourer and looked like a cruiser. The xDiavel is an attempt to appeal to the more traditional cruiser market, with a belt drive, forward-placed foot pegs and a long, low look. The xDiavel S is a version of the xDiavel with a few upgrades. On the list are a Bluetooth connection, all-LED lighting, DLC coating for the front forks, belt covers for the engine, frame and foot peg plates, a seat with two different upholstery materials, mirrors that are machined out of a single piece of metal, and a much more fetching wheel design - one that we've come to know as a 'diamond cut' design in our market. 

How does it ride?

The xDiavel doesn't share its engine with the regular Diavel, instead opting for a worked-upon version of the motor that is in the Multistrada. That means 154bhp and 129Nm are available to you at any point of time. ‘Urban’ mode cuts power to 100bhp and makes it much more manageable in traffic. Touring mode gives you the full power figure but softens throttle response for the first half of travel. Sport mode flings you down the road in a pupil-dilating blur of roadside objects. You can also customise traction control and ABS settings if you like. Ducati’s ‘DVT’ variable valve timing is present here, but it still bucks and jerks like a thoroughbred at low revs. It is happiest in the midrange, on its way to the redline. The xDiavel doesn’t have electronic suspension even in S form, so low-speed ride is quite stiff. Sharp ridges and potholes do get transmitted to your spine, and the forward-placed foot pegs mean that you can’t take the weight off your derriere to cushion the shock. The flip side is the high-speed ride: with more speed comes better shock absorption. Oh, and the handling: we can confirm that the xDiavel merely looks like a cruiser, and doesn’t handle like one at all. At low speeds it seems reluctant to stay leaned over, even if it tips into a corner with equanimity, but up the speed and everything starts to become better and better, to the point where you’re enjoying the corner itself and not just getting to it. The fabulous Brembo setup hauls you to a stop with confidence and a feel that is rivalled only by sport tourers and supersport machines. 

Ducati XDiavel [2018-2019]

Ducati XDiavel [2018-2019]

  • Displacement1,262 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)148 bhp
  • Kerb Weight247 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 17,04,690

Anything else I should know?

The xDiavel is the first and only Ducati with a belt drive. That means no maintenance every few hundred km – you’d have to lubricate and adjust the chain on the regular Diavel. So if you’re either not interested in maintenance that is that regular, or go on really long rides, the xDiavel might be a better choice.

The S also nets you Bluetooth, so both rider and pillion (if the pillion can fit in that acreage that Ducati calls a pillion seat) can enjoy tunes while setting the cruise control just so. 

Should I buy one?

The xDiavel is a mass of contradictions, just like the original Diavel. It is ostensibly a cruiser but wants to be ridden hard and fast. It looks like a million bucks but has a reasonable price tag. It even has belt drive, to appeal to cruiser aficionados who don’t have a clue as to what a chain does on a motorcycle. The regular Diavel is a better motorcycle for any situation Indian roads might throw at it, but there’s no denying that if you want a sophisticated cruiser, then the xDiavel is the answer. 

Where does it fit in?

The xDiavel S retails at Rs 19.7 lakhs, ex-showroom, which makes it significantly more expensive than its competition – and the competition is comprised of products that cannot be shrugged off easily. There’s the Triumph Thunderbird Storm (Rs 14.7 lakhs) that will give you the flavour of a Brit cruiser. There’s the Suzuki Intruder M1800R (Rs 15.6 lakhs), a slightly dated product that lacks soul but you get all the chrome in the world, one of the motorcycle world’s widest rear production tyres, and an engine that has to be electronically stopped from lunching the gearbox every time you whack open the throttle. If you want a wild-west ride, the Indian Scout (Rs 14.5 lakhs) will offer you an American cruiser (is there any other kind, really?) with really good handling capabilities. Finally, there’s the big daddy, the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy (Rs 17.2 lakhs). Would you be able to resist buying this and pretending to be Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2?

Gear check

1. Arai Astro-IQ Pro Shade Second in the Arai street models hierarchy, the Astro-IQ is a comfortable, stable helmet at any speed. The Pro Shade visor gives you the flexibility of riding in the day or at night with a single visor. Price: ₹ 58,000 

2. Alpinestars T-GP R Air A textile jacket that is a good middle ground between the protection of a textile jacket with the cooling of a mesh jacket thanks to the well-designed airflow, the T-GP Plus is one of the better jackets for an Indian summer. Price:  16,500 (T-GP Plus Air)

3. Royal Enfield Spiti riding gloves Made for comfortable touring, these short-cuff gloves offer a lot of comfort right from the first ride. Price: ₹ 3200

4. Joe Rocket Phoenix 2.0 pants Mesh is a wonderful thing in our heat, and the Joe Rocket Phoenix mesh pants manage an ideal combination of protection via the removable armour and airflow. Price: ₹ 9600 (Phoenix Ion)

5. Royal Enfield long riding boots With a little inspiration from both off-road boots and touring boots, the RE long riding boots are comfortable and yet protective. Price: ₹ 11,000