2016 Ducati XDiavel First Test Ride
The 2016 Ducati XDiavel is the latest addition by the Italian maker to its Diavel lineup and a strong push into the somewhat closed off nature of the cruiser market.
What sets the XDiavel apart is the blending of the two worlds of cruising and performance. To some, that might seem like Ducati has pulled off the impossible. A bike with a feet-forward riding position that embodies the essence of American cruiser and Italian performance is a cause for alarm to some, but rest assured, they come together in a harmonious fashion that has been previously inaccessible to many motorcycle manufacturers over the years.
So without further adieu, here are some quick facts to the all-new, Ducati XDiavel.
1. The XDiavel, despite its name, has little in common with its cousin the Diavel, and that’s probably the most apt way to describe it. It is a Ducati, yes, and obviously influenced in many ways by the Diavel, which has been in production since 2011. However, The XDiavel has been completely redesigned from the ground up. Those changes include a larger displacement Testastretta DVT motor (now 1262cc), redesigned chassis, electronics, a belt drive that furthers its cruiser connections, and, of course, various aesthetic changes. That is all fine and great, but let’s be clear—the XDiavel is a cruiser, purpose built with a roiling attitude to match its looks.
2. The XDiavel is available in two variants: the XDiavel is the base model, and the XDiavel S, which comes with a myriad of accoutrements in the aesthetic department. In terms of performance, the two XDiavels are absolutely identical. Both models are loaded with the latest Testastretta DVT engine, and a full suite of electronic aids including: ABS, Traction Control, Dynamic Launch Control, and Wheelie Control. The XDiavel S is equipped with Brembo M50 calipers on dual semi-floating 320mm rotors, cast and machined alloy wheels, billet aluminum belt covers, a gloss black tank instead of the base model’s flat color, a premium seat, machined mirrors, and Ducati’s Daytime Running Headlight system. The base model, in comparison uses Brembo M4-32 calipers on dual semi-floating 320mm rotors. Both braking systems work incredibly well, with a progressive and consistent feel, but I find the lesser M4-32 calipers to be grabbier and that can be just a little bit surprising at lower speeds.
3. In the cruiser world, the engine takes center stage. Think of it—every twin engine platform is conceived with that in mind, and that isn’t unintentional. It is the heart and soul of the American cruiser lifestyle. In that vein, the 1262cc Testastretta DVT engine, which produces a hearty 156 horsepower @ 9500 rpm and 95 ft/lbs of torque @ 5000 rpm is the XDiavel’s focus.
All lines converge to that point, especially when we consider the premium XDiavel S. With numbers like that, achieved by a larger stroke and higher compression ratio, it begins to become clear why “low speed excitement” was used as the tagline for the bike. Torque is down in an rpm range that a sport bike would begin to stumble at. Driving out of the apex leaves you with nothing less than a whole body experience, feeling every ounce of the 1262cc engine trembling through your body while engine braking is something that must be experienced first hand. Low-rpm and mid-range power is where the Testastretta engine was designed to excel, and so it has the kind of off-idle and roll-on performance that is so valued in the cruiser class.
4. With a wet weight of 545 pounds and a wheelbase of 63.6 inches, the XDiavel tips into any corner with absolutely no resistance. Just a light amount of pressure on the inside foot-peg and you’re well on your way to leaning a machine that yearns for long mountain roads. That’s quite an achievement. According to Ducati representatives, the bike has a maximum lean angle of 40 degrees, which is well into the realm of what many canyon riders are able to achieve on any Sunday afternoon. Supported by adjustable inverted 50mm forks up front, and a preload- and rebound damping-adjustable remote reservoir single shock in the rear, the XDiavel is planted when carving a corner. The suspension soaks up some of the extremely rough sections of mountain roads that I performed our initial road test on.
5. The XDiavel’s riding position is something that the Italian maker hasn’t explored since the lesser known Indiana model that made an appearance in the mid-1980s. With a relaxed riding position, someone of my height (5′ 10″) can be extremely comfortable, and that is one of the most important aspects to riding. A contoured seat keeps the rider snugly in place, while the large teardrop 4.75-gallon tank makes for a perfect anchor while in the twisties. It has all of the hallmark signs of the cruiser.
6. While the Ducati XDiavel certainly qualifies as an authentic cruiser, don’t mistake that for bland—far from it. Ducati has worked tirelessly to retain the design elements that have come to define the brand over the years—a tight, tasteful tail hovering above a single sided swing arm, the trellis frame, and the L-Twin configuration.
Regardless, the key factor here is the conjoining of cruiser and performance. It may seem a bit odd to bring up cooling, but look closely at the motorcycle. The water pump has been expertly hidden away, and most cooling lines are tucked under the sparse paneling. Which leads me to my next point…
7. Customization has been trending with Ducati. The Scrambler was launched with a line of components to allow owners the opportunity to make their bike theirs—a reflection of their personalities. The XDiavel has received the same treatment. When designing the bike, Ducati representatives stated that they endeavored to allow each component to work independently, be beautiful independently while still complementing the whole. The bike boasts a reported 60 ergonomic configurations, between what can be adjusted on the stock platform and the various optional components such as various height or firmness seats, foot controls, and three different handlebar configurations to fit a wide variety of riders.
8. America gave rise to the cruiser lifestyle. The first step in the building process was to research the environment that allowed it to take place. So, the Ducati XDiavel designers came to the US and spent a great deal of time actually riding and absorbing what the country had to offer motorcyclists. That means riding wide open roads with long stretches of all-encompassing desolation, but also mountain roads with turns of all shapes and speeds. The result is the X-Diavel.
9. The Testastretta motor has three riding modes, each of which can be fine-tuned on the fly. In its most tamed ‘Urban’ state, the XDiavel is reduced down to a mere 100 horsepower, and the demure engine is a joy to maneuver through heavy traffic. Touring mode opens the engine up to all of its 156 horses, however, it is moderated with a very linear and extremely predictable power delivery.
If one were to go wide open throttle, the bike tends to second guess that for a moment and slowly ramp up to that pace. For most riders, this would be a great way to become familiar with the bike or, on a longer journey it is easier and less fatiguing to ride. In Sport mode, which is the way the XDiavel needs to be ridden from my perspective as an owner of a Ducati 949. Once you taste the full power and throttle response of the thunderous L-twin, there is no going back. A healthy turn of the throttle brings the front end up with shocking ease and adds a level of life to the bike that was previously unavailable. Consequently, safety features such as TC and ABS are reduced, as well, so be warned.
10. It comes in any color you want, as long it’s black. Without stating the obvious, this was a definitive choice by Ducati. To the brand, the color and cosmetic choices that went into the design of the bike represent a brutal sophistication previously nonexistent in the cruiser market. The Ducati XDiavel, in both of its variants, is a sleek, bold, uncompromising machine in nearly every imaginable way. It despises being pigeon-holed as the typical.
The motorcycle industry needs brash, innovative designs and not uncharacteristically, Ducati has delivered just that – a cruiser which raises the bar of refinement and performance to realms that were previously unexplored. The standard Ducati XDiavel pricing starts at $19,995 and the XDiavel S at $22,995.
2016 Ducati XDiavel S Specifications
- Type: Liquid-cooled Testastretta DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing), L-Twin, w/ four Desmodromically actuated valves per cylinder, dual sparkd
- Displacement: 1262cc (77 cubic inches)
- Bore x stroke: 106 x 71.5mm
- Compression ratio: 13:1
- Maximum power: 156 hp @ 9500 rpm
- Maximum torque: 95 ft/lbs @ 5000 rpm
- Fuel injection: Bosch fuel injection system w/ full ride-by-wire system; 56mm oval throttle bodies
- Exhaust: Stainless steel exhaust and muffler with dual oval exits, catalytic converter, and two lambda probes
- Transmission: 6 speed
- Gearbox: 6 speed
- Clutch: Slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch with hydraulic control
- Final drive: Belt
- Instrumentation: 3.5″ TFT color display and dedicated warning light display
- Frame: Tubular steel trellis frame
- Front suspension: Adjustable inverted 50mm forks with DLC treatment w/ 4.7 inches of travel
- Rear suspension: Single remote-reservoir shock absorber w/ adjustable spring-preload and rebound damping and 4.3 inches of travel
- Front wheels: Light alloy, cast and machined; 3.5″ x 17″
- Rear wheels: Light alloy, cast and machined, 8.00″ x 17″
- Front tire: Pirelli Diablo Rosso II, 120/70 ZR17
- Rear tire: Pirelli Diablo Rosso II 240/45 ZR17
- Front brake: Twin 320mm semi-floating discs w/ radial Brembo Monoblock 4-piston M4-32 calipers and radial master cylinder
- Rear brake: 265mm disc w/ 2-piston floating caliper
- ABS: Standard, with Bosch cornering ABS
- Curb weight: 545 pounds (total bike weight with all operating consumable liquids and a fuel tank filled to 90% of capacity)
- Wheelbase: 63.5 inches
- Rake: 30°
- Trail: 5.1 inches
- Fuel capacity: 4.75 gallons
- Seat height: 29.7 inches
2016 Ducati XDiavel S Price:
- $22,995 (standard Diavel: $19,995)