Published on April 15th, 2021 | by Boris0
2021 DUCATI DIAVEL REVIEW – THE ONLY THING MISSING IS A BEARSKIN SEAT
IMAGES BY ME AND MY iPHONE BECAUSE NICK WAS AWAY
There’s not much I can tell you about the 2021 Diavel which I have not already told you about in my review of the 2019 Diavel – which is HERE.
Apart from maybe smoothing out some unnoticeable irks in the fuelling and engine mapping, not much has changed. The Diavel remains almost alone on its glorious, muscular hill. Since the demise of the VMAX, the only other bike capable of offering it outside and fighting it in the carpark, is Triumph’s Rocket 3.
I get the impression Bologna is marking time with its most unique motorcycle. Will it eventually replace the amazing Testastretta engine – that hairy man-vegied Hell-cannon of an engine – with its even hairier, but very different V4? It would not surprise me. It would seem the correct path to follow for those of us who worship the true, dark gods of motorcycling.
But we shall see what we shall see, shall we not? Bologna rarely disappoints in that regard. But let me put aside my evil-minded whimsy and focus upon the task at hand – to review a bike essentially unchanged from its previous iteration.
I felt this was best done with the aid of my wife, Lynette – who is wiser than the mountains, more observant than a spy satellite, and a pillion par excellence.
The Diavel, as you can understand, is an amazing paradox of a motorcycle. It has a fat rear-tyre, so it shouldn’t handle – but of course it does. It’s ability in the twisties is quite stunning. Its size, offset by its relatively quite reasonable weight (244kg wet), seems to be no impediment to its ability to shame the riders of slimmer and allegedly more agile bikes. Ricky Martin actually wrote a song about the Diavel back in 2000 entitled “She bangs”.
Likewise, if you examine the seat, you’ll also see a paradox. Where you sit is a deeply recessed cup. It’s comfortable – but it does lock you into one position. I have done long days on the Diavel and it really only starts to wear on you when the sun starts going down and you’re approaching a four-figure haul. The main aim of the seat seems to be to keep you from sliding off the back when you crack the throttle, while letting you easily slide your bum to either side when slaying corners. It’s a performance-based unit. So I’m good with that.
The pillion accommodation – part of the same seat unit – seems to be very much geared towards her (or his) comfort. It is quite broad, and its relationship to the rear footpegs is not unreasonable. But – and this is a big and gloriously Italian ‘but’ – whoever is sitting on the back has no choice but to hang on to the rider – grimly, stoically, and with the determination of a pit-bull – if and when he turns the taps on.
So this is my wife to a T.
“There’s no back thing,” she observed as we prepared to leave for a day of Italian weapons-firing.
“You get to hang onto me like in the old days,” I said to her. “Just remember the signals.”
“What signals, dickhead?” she blinked. “You just do that weird rolling thing with your shoulders and wriggle your arse when you’re about to terrify me. But you do that when you need to pee, too.”
“I need to keep you guessing. This is why we shall never, ever, ever, as long as the sun sets in the west, ever have any communications equipment in our helmets,” I said.
“Have I ever even asked for that?” she snapped. “Pfft. As if I want to talk to you when you’re riding.”
We set off, did maybe a 400km loop out from Singleton to Wollombi, then Cessnock, then back to Broke, then up Mother Putty so I could demonstrate my manhood to her. It rained for some of the way, quite heavily, and then it was dry when it needed to be.
When we got home I began the debrief…
Me: How did you find it in terms of comfort?
Lynette: “It’s very comfortable. And smooth. The suspension feels good.”
Me: Would you have been happier if I dialled the pre-load up some on the back?
Lynette: That sounds like the off-side rule bullshit you’ve been trying to explain to me for decades. I don’t know and don’t care. If I’m comfortable then the suspension and the seat are good.
Me: How did you feel it handled the corners?
Lynette: Well, you weren’t screaming or grabbing the brakes. It felt smooth, and what’s the word? Steady, like it didn’t weave or wobble in corners like they sometimes do…or like you sometimes do.
Me: Did you feel the power? Did it juice your kidneys when I jammed the throttle open?
Lynette: Was that when I punched you in the neck? Yes, it goes very fast very quickly. I had to catch my breath a few times. Don’t do that again.
Me: In terms of sex-appeal, how did you feel the Diavel went? Like, never mind that I was the rider and you’re hot for me. If it was someone else riding it, some lesser man for example,0 could you step over his inadequacies because he’s on a Diavel?
Lynette: It’s a Ducati. You know I like Ducatis. This isn’t like that red one you had, which was one of the sexiest bikes I’ve ever seen, but it’s still a Ducati, so I guess, yeah, it works. But if you think girls go after guys because of the bike they ride, you don’t understand girls very well, do you?
Me: You all remain a wondrous mystery to me. And you went after me because I rode a Shovelhead.
Lynette: Yeah, you keep thinking that.
Me: Did you like the exhaust note?
Lynette: You have ridden much louder bikes, and they’re fine for about ten minutes. Then they give me a headache and you can’t ever hear me over the noise. This one sounded pretty…um, what’s that word you use? Meaty? Yes, meaty, without being offensive.
Me: What did you like most about it?
Lynette: I liked how it looks muscular and angry.
Me: So like me?
Lynette: Oh, yes. Exactly like you. There are bits of it that look like they’re from a jet, and the wheels look cool. I guess it just looks very purposeful.
Me: It’s like you’re talking about me.
Lynette: Yes, but I’m not.
For my part, I remain a huge and very appreciative fan of the Diavel. There are a lot of things I like about it, and very few things I don’t.
It’s a big, hard-charging, bison of a bike with impeccable road-manners and cornering abilities. I have always liked the Testastretta donk – it is one of the world’s most iconic engines, after all. If Ducati ever wedges a V4 into its Diavel, it will very much change the unique bang the 1260cc L-twin delivers – and while that may not be a bad thing given what the V4 will offer, it will still be somewhat…well, unnecessary, I guess.
There’s more than enough stomp and fury in the Diavel, as it is, to satisfy even the most jaded, I-lie-to-myself-about-how-fast-I-am riders. It could certainly do with a bearskin seat. It would set it off a treat. But that aside, it tours beautifully, scratches willingly, carries a pillion with aplomb and comfort, and it makes you smile like a sinner every time you choose to spank it.
I think that’s why it’s called a Diavel.
For more info and specs go HERE.
HOW MUCH? Diavels start at $29,390 for the XDiavel S (the cruiser iteration), and go all the way to $48,600 for the limited-edition Ducati 1260 Lamborghini collaboration. The one I was riding was the Diavel 1260 which is $30,290. The S version, with sassier suspension, is $35,890.