Bike India was among the lucky few to test ride the new Ducati Diavel 1260 S in Malaga, Spain before Ducati India brings the motorcycle to shores later this year. Read on to know more.
The Ducati Diavel is probably the most interesting model in the Italian bike maker’s line-up as it breaks barriers and notions and cannot be categorized into the usual motorcycle segments. There’s a chunk of a Power Cruiser, portions of Sport Naked and even a sprinkle of Superbike. The brief to the designer, it seems, was, ‘Think a Muscle car, mix some Superhero ingredients and serve with a good helping of new-age technology.’
With the improved recipe, the ‘Devil’ (that’s what the name means in local Bolognese) is sinfully more appealing than before. Especially for the riders who no longer have the urge to crouch on superbike tanks, but still, have the desire to go fast and carve corners. (Also read: Ducati Diavel 1260 Bags Prestigious Red Dot Design Award)
Practically everything on the Diavel 1260 has been redesigned, including a new trellis frame, single-sided swing-arm, sub-frame wheels, fuel-tank and the shrouds, exhaust, suspension, the tail section, and even the engine guard. Tyre partners, Pirelli, have developed a special variant of the Diablo Rosso III rear tyre which offers better traction during cornering. It also gets a new Testastretta DV 1,262-cc L-twin engine which is now a stressed member. The twin has been moved 60 mm behind to make room for the radiator to be brought to the conventional position, which in the outgoing bike was on the side of the fuel-tank. Now there is even a pointed belly-pan which points towards the front wheel as seen on some sport bikes. The aerodynamic tail section gets smart-looking integrated LED indicators and lamp, which make for a very tidy rear design.
The Diavel 1260 S gets the signature LED daytime running lights (DRL) and the super cool integrated turn indicators equipped with the “Light Blade” tech borrowed from sister-brand Audi. The “S” also gets a fully coloured 3.5-inch TFT instrument cluster, which is also sported by the Diavel and which uses the Ducati Multimedia System to connect smartphones and access the music or manage calls. Another thoughtful upgrade is the wider and comfier rear seat and pillion foot-rests are more conventionally positioned. Clever bits such as the retracting grab-rail have been retained in the new bike. Then there are three riding modes – Urban, Touring and Sport modes, with the latter two deliver full power to the rear wheel. And you also get adjustable traction control, wheelie control and ABS.
Rake has been sharpened to 27 degrees while the wheelbase has been stretched slightly to 1,600 mm. The top of the line A variant also gets new suspension: 48-mm Öhlins fork and monoshock, both completely adjustable, while the front brake calipers are high-grade Brembo M50 monoblock. And despite all these updates, the rider geometry hasn’t been altered too much, as Ducati have pulled back the handlebar and marginally raised the saddle height. I had to just lean slightly to reach the wide handlebar with my feet comfortably tucked in the mid-mounted pegs, adding up to a nice sporty riding position. The scooped-out seat offers a comfortable saddle height of 780 mm, which is decent for Indians of average build. I also like the new exhaust as compared to the old one, for this one is stubbier and gives the wide rear wheel enough room to be admired. (Also read: Smaller Displacement Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Coming)
Engine and Performance
As I cranked the engine, the water vapour from the dual exhaust started to vaporize, creating a hair-raising cacophony which only Ducati know how they got the authorities to legalize. The design and the exhaust note alone are enough to convert inquiries into sales once the Diavel reaches the dealerships in India in a few months’ time.
The twin doles out an impressive 159 PS, delivered in a smooth manner. Without being over-ambitious, I started with the Urban mode as it cuts down the maximum power and torque to manageable numbers. This works like a charm with the city traffic. Once I got more accustomed to the bike, I graduated to Touring and Sport modes, both of which offer full power. Although Sport is far too thrilling, I found the throttle response to be a bit snatchy for my liking. Interestingly, all three modes can be customized according to the rider’s preference with regard to power, traction control, wheelie control settings, and the ABS level. I didn’t have the urge to fiddle with these settings further, having found a perfect balance in Touring and did most of my riding logged on to that mode. Just keep the motor boiling over 3,000 rpm and it’s smooth sailing. If you let the revs drop, then the large twin starts to protest. As the saying goes… when in doubt, just throttle it out.
Ride Quality and Handling
With the body slightly leaned forward, I enjoyed the sinful combination of the deafening howl and gushing power the 1260 S belted out as I blazed through the scenic roads of Southern Spain. In fact, this long and 218-kg (dry weight) motorcycle probes you to ride it hard and fast. For a motorcycle that looks as chunky as it does, you really don’t expect much from the handling department. It’s neither light-footed nor nimble, but the Ducati will surprise you with its sorted dynamics and road behaviour. Due credit also goes to its stiff chassis and low centre of gravity. As long as you keep the pace and momentum going, it just sails through the endless corners of the hilly roads. It might require a little extra push on the bar-end but will impress you with the abilities. The quick-shift (up and down) makes riding the bike ever so easy.
The fat rear tyre offers a superhero-like grip that never gives up even if you manage to plough the tarmac out with the pegs. The reason why I dared to go all-out on the Diavel 1260 S is that I had the safety net of the electronics to fall back on. These include Bosch cornering ABS EVO and Ducati Traction Control and the wheelie control. The Brembo need a special mention here as they offer excellent bite, as the Bosch system gives the rider confidence to brake hard without the bike going out of control. Having said that, the bulk, long wheelbase, and the wide turning radius do make managing the bike around parking lots and during U-turns quite a handful. The ride, too, seemed to be on the firmer side on the European roads. We’ll have to ride the Diavel on our roads to see how it fares.
The Ducati Diavel 1260 S will be launched in India around the 25th July and it is expected to demand a premium over the existing model which is priced around Rs 15 lakh. With all the new tech and features, our guess is around Rs 17 lakh, making this head-turner one of the best options for those who want something fast, with a whiff of cruiser appeal and comfort. (Also read: Big Boy Toyz Offers Massive Discount on the Ducati Diavel)