The Ducati X-Diavel – an Italian hot rod


I once met a guy who had 12 bikes. That is probably nowhere near a record, but I still had to ask, “Why 12 bikes?”

“Because I can’t have 13,” he replied.

Which made me wonder, if having a number of bikes was only limited by volume, what bike would I want to add? After a relatively short couple of demo rides on the Ducati X-Diavel, I came away convinced that this bike would be worth considering.

Is it practical? Probably not. Does it put a smile on your face? Hell, yeah! Could I use it as a daily rider? Yes, and the highway patrol and I would probably become great friends.

I had the pleasure of finding out for myself thanks to A&S Powersports, which offers weekly demo rides on a wide assortment of bikes every Saturday. This past weekend was a Diavel day.

It was just me and Chuck, the designated weekly leader of these 15-20 minute hops on the highway and local surface roads. Chuck has a unique ability to gage the experience level of the riders he’s leading. And since it was just the two of us, he had no problem leading me in a way that let me experience the X-Diavel’s “abilities.” I’ll leave it at that.

Let’s just say that X-Diavel is a beast and the bike’s ride by wire technology should have that as a designated mode. That’s not a disparaging comment; it’s a compliment of the highest order. Start this bike up and its stock exhaust literally growls in anticipation of hitting the road.

While this is Ducati’s version of a cruiser, it’s an unfair comparison because no stock cruiser boasting a 1262 cc liquid-cooled power plant can hit 150+ horsepower and deliver 93 lb-ft of torque. Nor do they weigh in at the svelte 485 lb.

With that much power-to-weight, you’d think whiplash would be prevalent. While cranking open the throttle does lead to a significant rush of power and personal adrenaline, the belt drive and engine tuning keep things smooth and even. But bend that right wrist hard and you’re going to feel a burst that will rocket you down the asphalt in sport bike-like fashion.

I never got the bike out of 4th gear – even on the freeway – and it’s probably just as well as this bike has the capability of going beyond posted speed limits with no problem and without much thought.

The X-Diavel redlines at 5,000 RPM; a number that’s not far off from most cruisers. However, unlike other cruisers, this one offers three different riding modes – Touring, Sport and Urban. To get the most out of the available power and personalize the riding experience, the different modes adjust the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and ABS accordingly. I rode in Sport mode to get the full effect of what the X-Diavel had to offer, but I can see where the other modes would be useful depending on where you were riding and for how long.

Ducati equipped the X-Diavel with a pretty simple way to adjust this on the fly, and a single screen that shows speed, rpm and other info is easy to read and navigate.

Riders who don’t like a feet forward riding position may have an immediate dislike for the ergonomics of this bike. But most cruiser riders are used to some variation of this position, so it won’t feel unfamiliar. I settled right in and never felt I was working hard to reach any of the hand or foot controls, and I’m hitting 5’ 9” after a good stretch.

The seat, while stiff, was relatively comfortable, but I’d have to spend more time on it to determine if an upgrade or custom approach would be better than stock.

My only beef? For the $20,000-plus price, I don’t understand why self-canceling turn signals aren’t standard. It’s one of those things I don’t want to have to think about, no matter what I’m riding.

That aside, if you’re looking to add a hot rod with some Italian design and swagger to your stable of bikes (even if that’s a stable of one), then the X-Diavel is just the ticket. If that’s not your thing, then move along. There’s nothing to see here other than the blur of an Italian devil that could have been in your garage.


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