Ducati’s Diavel has been with us for over 10 years now.
In those 10 years I'venever ridden one, it's a bike that hasn't particularly caught my eye much, but I recently had the chance to have the new 1260 S on test so I thought I’d give it a go and see what all the fuss was about. All of the reviews I read have praised the Diavel so I must be missing out, let's see what it's all about.
I remember looking at the Diavel and thinking it looked a little awkward. It looked long and low with a big fat rear tyre and wide tank and it looked heavy because it was wide and long. With a 240-section rear tyre and long stretch to the bars I thought "this isn't going to handle".
From the moment I swung a leg over I realised I'd been missing out.
In typical Ducati style, the build quality and attention to detail is superb. The seat is upholstered in Alcantara and is very comfortable. Seat height is only 780mm so both feet flat on the ground is easy, despite the width.
Pegs are not sportsbike high, but certainly not cruiser low, they’re somewhere in the middle, which is kind of the issue for me. What is the bike? Is it a naked street bike? Is it a fast cruiser? I don’t think it’s either, it’s something else. Ducati refers to it as a power cruiser in some of their PR. That reminds me of the old Yamaha V-Max. It doesn’t really matter, what it is, because it’s a whole lot of fun.
Mine was the 1260 S so came with full Ohlins suspension with 48 mm fully adjustable forks up front and a fully adjustable Ohlins rear shock, Ducati up and down quick shifter, different cast and machined wheels, and is a couple of kgs lighter than the standard bike.
The suspension is excellent, a little hard at the rear on standard settings, but easily adjustable. This is quality suspension. The brakes are equally impressive with 2 x 320 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo monobloc 4-piston M50 callipers and PR16/19 radial master cylinder at the front and 265 mm disc, 2-piston Brembo floating calliper at the rear, with cornering ABS Evo. I was glad the brakes were good because this thing flies. Even with a pillion, the 1260 S packs a serious punch.
The new Diavel 1260 is equipped with a twin cylinder, 1262 cm³, desmodromic Ducati Testastretta DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing), producing 162bhp / 129Nm torque. Acceleration is brutal, there is so much mid-range torque it’s amazing. Peak torque is at 7,500 rpm but from 5.000 rpm on, you have very nearly the same amount of torque, tailing off around 9,500 rpm. The engine is a masterpiece.
You can open the throttle in any gear and be rewarded with brutal and relentless acceleration, it’s addictive and certainly gets the adrenaline pumping.
As is the norm on modern bikes, there is a suite of electronics to assist you. You have Riding Modes, Power Modes, Cornering ABS, Ducati Traction Control, Ducati Wheelie Control, Ducati Power Launch Evo (DPL), full-LED lighting system, Cruise Control and Hands-Free, and through the Ducati Link App, you can perform all sorts of magic such as set the travel mode (combination of Load Mode and Riding Mode) and customise the parameters of each single Riding Mode (ABS, Ducati Traction Control, etc.) using your smartphone to create personalised setting scenarios easily and intuitively. Clever stuff.
The chassis on the Diavel is excellent. Ducati uses the engine as a stressed member. Trellis frame sections bolt to the cylinder heads to support the front end and some cast sections bolt to the rear of the engine which supports the swing arm, rear subframe and rear suspension.
The 1260S is fitted with full Ohlins suspension which is excellent and despite the odd tyre sizes, the Diavel really handles. I really expected a chassis with a 120 section front tyre and a 240 section rear tyre and long 27° rake on the front (an Aprillia V4 Tuono has a rake of 24.7°), would handle is an awkward and unpredictable way, like a badly set up, form over function style custom bike. At low speeds, in slow traffic it does feel a little different, but that’s partly due to the riding position with a reach to the bars and mid set pegs.
I was really surprised to find that the Diavel really handles. You can push this bike hard in the twisties. It holds a corner very well, has bucket loads of grip and gives great feedback. The more miles I got under my belt the more confident i felt in the Diavel. Before you know it you’re scraping pegs and laughing in your helmet.
When I finally took the bike back to Ducati it took me a while to process. It’s very different; really fast with a great chassis but I’m not sure what it is. I think in the end, it doesn’t really matter, because what it does is what’s important and it does it so well.
Maximum power - 162 hp (119 kW) @ 9,500 rpm
Maximum torque - 13.2 kgm (129 Nm, 95 lb ft) @ 7,500 rpm
Engine - 1,262 cc Ducati Testastretta DVT 1262, L-Twin cylinder, 4 valves per cylinder, Dual Spark, Liquid cooled, Desmodromic Variable Timing
Front Suspension - 48 mm Öhlins fully adjustable usd fork, TiN treatment
Rear Suspension - Preload and rebound adjustable Öhlins fully adjustable monoshock,
Front Brake - Radially mounted Brembo monobloc 4-piston M50 callipers, PR16/19 radial master cylinder
Kerb weight - 247 kg (544 lb)
1260S Price from - £22,695