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Ducati XDiavel S in the driving report

Making hell hot

With the Muscle Bike Diavel (in German: Teufel), Ducati broke new ground five years ago. Now the Italians are stepping up and making hell hot in the tranquil cruiser segment with the Ducati XDiavel. Devilish pleasure.

This text could have started so cheesy. He would have told of straight streets in the American Midwest that are lost in the sunset on the horizon. Perhaps the story of a lonesome cowboy who seeks distance, great freedom and himself there. And all of that finds. We the D.ucati XDiavel. And now? California, chic lifestyle and lots of curves. For the Ducati XDiavel.

Ducati XDiavel S in the driving report

Making hell hot

Ducati XDiavel is – apart from the unfortunate launch of the Indiana 650 in the 80s – the first cruiser in Ducati company history. Quite officially. One with all the typical attributes of this genre: long, low, footpegs placed far forward and fat rear tires.

A cruiser doesn’t have to drive like one

Which doesn’t stop Ducati guide Beppe Gualini from pulling the cable here on the winding roads in the hilly landscape east of San Diego. That is no coincidence either. The new Ducati XDiavel should prove from the first meter that a cruiser doesn’t necessarily have to drive like a cruiser. Especially not when the close relatives listen to Panigale, Monster or Hypermotard.

However: The key data of the Ducati XDiavel promise different things. It has taken over the mighty 240 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II from the Diavel, whose wheelbase has been increased by 25 to 1615 millimeters and the steering angle has been expanded by two to 60 degrees. Better sunset, John Denver in the earphones and endless straights?

How she does it may remain her secret. But a gentle pull on the handlebars is enough to make the long flounder fall surprisingly effortlessly in an inclined position and then let it pull its course safely. Even braking in an inclined position – with such massive rear-wheel tires usually a reason to set up in a flash – does not punish you, but stays on course. Just as unimpressed as her sister Diavel has practiced and the good behavior is therefore also due to the Pirelli skins designed for the two Ducati sisters.

Displacement increased to 1262 cm³

You quickly gain confidence, receive the clear signals from the front section, which is usually rather inarticulate in this species. Beppe encourages everyone who is hesitant: “Remember, 40 degrees of incline freedom.” Another freedom – probably the most important from a Ducatist’s point of view. And indeed, it takes a very quick stroke to let the Ducati XDiavel’s footrests paddle over the tar. Well before the touchdown, however, the ground first taps the heels of the boots.

And as if the asphalt wanted to help correct the shifted view of the world, the previously perfectly flat subsoil is undulating. You can feel the humps at the inclined position of the contact point of the rubber rollers, making the hitherto squeaky clean line wobbly, the grip on the handlebars tightened – and the belief in driving physics return. Beppe flashes. Break. True to style in a saloon. But instead of fast food, organic meat and vegetables are on the menu. Even Western ads no longer fulfill cliches – just like the Ducati XDiavel.

In the case of the Ducati, no wonder either. Because the heart of the Multistrada travel enduro beats between the wheels. Plus with a look-up. The 1.6 millimeter longer stroke increases the displacement to 1262 cm³. In the cylinder head, the variable valve control (DVT) already used in the Multistrada of model year 2015 ensures a broader spread of guts. Because the water pump trolled inconspicuously from the left side cover between the cylinders, the V2 is now visually prettied without annoying hoses. So should he. Because the coolers still mounted on the side of the Diavel had to give way to a single, centrally mounted cooler on the Ducati XDiavel, thus exposing the engine almost completely.

Ducati XDiavel S with impressive looks

The young sister is also taking a different approach on the chassis side. A short space frame is bolted to the cylinder heads, transporting the engine to the load-bearing element of the vehicle. The massive aluminum bridge, which holds the swing arm bearing and the linkage of the shock absorber, is also docked to the engine housing. The minimalist rear frame too. Ultimately, the Ducati XDiavel adopts the chassis concept used in the Monster models.

Nevertheless, the look is in the foreground. The stylistic device of the milled stiffening ribs of the valve train cover is skilfully continued in the wheels. The stubby exhaust with its two large throats shapes the overall picture as does the rudimentary rear end with the teardrop-shaped 18-liter tank that extends well over the Vau-Zwo. The question of taste does not arise. This bike just looks razor-sharp. However: Only the Ducati XDiavel S has this impressive optical finish. The basic version (see differences between the standard and S models) is much more reserved. Whether the duo’s price difference of 3000 euros in the 20,000-euro class is still an issue remains to be doubted anyway. Probably in contrast to the success of the accessories by cult designer Roland Sands, which will be offered by Ducati for the XDiavel from mid-year.

V2 is flexible and well behaved

Among other things, he will also deliver a set-back footrest system. Do you really need it? The triangle of notches, handlebars and seat feels comfortable and balanced right away, even for cruiser skeptics. Nobody misses the adjustment options offered by three different bench seats, three footrest positions and three handlebar brackets of different lengths. You only need the big biceps to hold on to the handlebars when the cock is cocked. But then sure. While it was still weak in the Multistrada at the MOTORRAD test last year, the 156 hp DVT-V2 in the Ducati XDiavel is said to have climbed to its 130 Nm torque plateau after 5000 towers. And whoever now believes that the sporty drive train in a new environment would have been transformed into an adapted, booming Harley clone, is mistaken again. As you know from Ducs, he stumbles a little out of round below 3000 rpm, only to start shortly afterwards. He starts full of pressure and alertness, actually filling the torque hole of the Multistrada drive. If you are not careful, the front wheel will quickly tear up when you accelerate after a 90-degree corner in the first two gears. And that with a cruiser!

But basically the power generously leaves the choice to the pilot. Switching on four, six or eight thousand turns? No matter. Enjoy the world in fourth, fifth or sixth gear? It doesn’t matter either. The V2 is flexible and always well behaved, can cruise and race. Only: the ex-athlete never gets involved with the resting heart rate of the chopper and cruiser vaus. Instead, keep your finger on the pulse. Three driving modes (sport and touring with full power, urban with pressure cut to 100 PS) mix three different responses, eight levels of traction control and three tuning variants of the cornering ABS built into the Ducati XDiavel thanks to a gyro sensor. Everything is amazingly easy to operate via a switch unit – also backlit – on the left end of the handlebar. And easy to read on the new, high-contrast TFT display even under the Californian sun. No wonder, the bits and bytes already knowledgeably put their invisible hand over the Multistrada or Panigale and convince even in the unfamiliar ambience. Whether the pilot chooses a sporty or tourist throttle response is a matter of taste, he can do without the castrated urban mode in the good nursery of the drive. In any case, the electronics protect him from locking wheels or the rear breaking out.

Ducati XDiavel with toothed belt drive

Especially since the timing belt – which was installed in a Ducati for the first time – underlines the well-groomed appearance. The carbon fiber reinforced rubber band skillfully smooths the transition when you apply the gas at the apex of the curve, bringing the XDiavel closer to the relaxed spirit of cruising – just from the sporty side. The hard-to-pull clutch and the Sachs shock absorber, which is quite tightly tuned compared to the DLC-coated Marzocchi fork, which works well, is reminiscent of it. But also with the sports figure. With an absolutely believable 247 kilograms, the Ducati XDiavel weighs an impressive 60 kilograms less than the Kraftmax colleagues Yamaha Vmax or the Harley V-Rod Muscle.

Keyword sport. The potential of the Ducati Power Launch (DPL), a jump starter that can be activated by means of a handlebar switch, which is supposed to make the full throttle duel at the traffic lights safe prey with a sophisticated control of traction and wheelie, remains unexplored even after the US trip. If you get caught wheeling, the strict cops booked you on foot. At least a cliche that is still being fulfilled.

Differences between Basis and S

Forged wheels instead of cast rims, forks and struts from Ohlins instead of Sachs – this is how Ducati model planners have so far upgraded the more expensive S variants. Not so with the Ducati XDiavel. There, optical retouching is mainly responsible for the price difference of 3000 euros. Only the chrome-plated instead of DLC-coated fork sliding tubes and the simpler brake calipers are functionally relevant.

Are the differences noticeable when driving? Partly. The Marzocchi forks work almost at eye level. Probably due to the impressive weight of the Ducati XDiavel, the cheaper version also responds sensitively and cushions properly. Differences can be seen in the brakes. Despite the monoblock construction, the pressure point of the Brembo M4-32 saddle of the basic edition is more indifferent than that of the more snappy M 50 counterpart. The hand strength required is also noticeably higher, but acceptable.

Conclusion: For technical reasons, the financial lookup is hardly worthwhile. Because of its sleeker appearance, the Ducati XDiavel S should still have a good chance of success.

Differences between basic and S version


  • no differences

landing gear

  • Fork sliding tubes with DLC coating (Diamond like Carbon)
  • high quality brake caliper (Brembo M 50 instead of M4-32)


  • The tank and engine are painted in glossy black instead of matt black
  • Wheels with off-center spokes instead of conventional cast wheels
  • Milled-over surface of the wheel spokes, valve train covers, swing arm mounts and rearview mirror holders
  • Swing arm brushed instead of black powder-coated
  • Seat cover sewn from two materials
  • Bluetooth interface for smartphone
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Price: basic version 19,890 euros; S version 22,890 euros (plus 345 euros for additional costs)

Data Ducati XDiavel (XDiavel S)

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