The Diavel, although positioned as a cruiser was not a true cruiser and was way too brash, aggressive, sinister-looking and faster than a conventional cruiser. In short, it was another mad Italian motorcycle that was hard to explain but was impossible to not get enchanted by. That said, cruiser enthusiasts weren't too happy and the Xdiavel S is Ducati's attempt to address their concerns.
While only God and Ducati still know what this motorcycle actually is, it usually is considered to be a power cruiser or a sports cruiser, which in itself are quite loose classifications. So what is the XDiavel S really and how is it to ride? We found out the same over a span of few days and came back surprisingly confused, yet impressed!
Is it Really a Cruiser Now?
The Xdiavel S belongs to the Diavel family and hence it's not surprising that it borrows some of the 'demonic' looks from the standard Diavel, which is named after the 'Devil'. However, this is not just a jacked up version of the Diavel with some cosmetic bits but a serious attempt to add some bit of cruiser characteristics to the bike. Ducati says it's a new bike altogether with only the tyres and brakes being the common parts.
First and foremost, the XDiavel S has the footpegs set towards the front, a few inches behind the radiator. The Diavel has it further back, right under the point where the front seats start from.
While the Diavel looks almost out of a Star Wars movie or an alien planet's garage, the XDiavel S with its slimmer proportions and more of exposed/ visible mechanical bits looks more attention-grabbing. The motorcycle also comes with sleek LED Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs), a split instrument cluster, which unlike the Diavel's handle and fuel tank layout makes use of the handlebar only. Overall, the motorcycle looks sharper and meaner than the Diavel and those gorgeous alloy wheels offer a sight that seems to come straight from the Heaven. If those wheels don't make you want to go out and buy the bike, nothing else of a circular shape will, within the world of motorcycles, I meant.
Much to the delight of cruiser enthusiasts, the XDiavel S comes with a belt drive, which is in line with the tradition of cruisers and is considered to be quieter than a chain or shaft-drive. So in a nutshell, the motorcycle now looks the part and drives the part as a cruiser. If you love making a grand impression at a red light and leave that impression and the impressed lot of people in the dust, the XDiavel S hardly has a match!
Ducati XDiavel S Performance
The XDiavel S is powered by a monstrous 1,262 cc Testastretta Desmodromic Variable Timing (DVT) L-Twin engine. While the engine looks to be pure mechanical art within the trellis frame, it possesses the character of Satan.
The engine develops 156 hp @ 9,500 rpm, which by any standards is not what full-sized cruisers develop. It's simply way more and almost twice of what your favourite cruiser coming from the US offers! The torque figures though sound a bit normal at about 130 Nm but compared to the slightly higher torque in the Diavel engine that peaks at 8,000 rpm, this one peaks at 5,500 rpm. That makes a world of difference as it allows for good driveability across the power band and even while chugging along at under 4,000 rpm, the motor doesn't feel strangled for air. Riding the XDiavelS is easy in the city except for the fact that it's heavy so the weight does take a toll on the rider in long traffic jams. In addition, if you get stuck in slow-moving traffic, your legs are going to be on fire unless you're wearing proper riding pants.
Once out of the traffic and on to the open roads, one realises the purpose of this motorcycle. All that power and the feeling of being left with more even when you're pushing it hard is impossible to explain. Open the throttle hard and you instantly feel like you're the coyote in the Road Runner series with a rocket underneath you. The XDiavel S surges ahead with a ferociousness that regular cruisers can not even dream of. Shifting close to 9,000 rpm, the 6-speed gearbox does feel a bit notchy but not to the extent of being a displeasure. The exhaust sound is different from that of the Diavel and disappointingly so! While the Diavel doesn't sound like music, it's loud and authoritative. The XDiavel S meanwhile, is loud enough to let people around take notice but doesn't sound like all hell is going to break loose, something the Diavel does.
Switching between the three riding modes (Urban, Touring and Sport) makes a big difference to the way the engine responds. Urban limits the power to 100 hp, which is still way more than the cruiser coming from Uncle Sam's land. The throttle response is gentler (I felt I'm writing a joke at this moment) and the traction control and ABS interference is at its highest setting. Touring gives you access to the full 156 hp but throttle response is still restrained and ABS and traction control are at a medium setting. Switch to Sport and the 156 Italian stallions get unleashed and the reigns of traction control and ABS too loosen up to their lowest setting. This is when you realise that not conforming to the rules of a segment is a great thing but the XDiavelS smashes them into protons and neutrons! That ladies & gentlemen, is when you realise that nirvana on a cruiser can also be experienced going fast and without vibrations.
If you're the types who prefers going slow and enjoying the scenery, the XDiavel S doesn't disappoint either. On a long trip, you can engage cruise control and treat your senses to the environment around you. You can also pair your mobile phone through Bluetooth and attend to your calls on the go. So far, so good then.
Ducati XDiavel S Handling
It's a Ducati so how the hell can it handle like a cruiser! The XDiavel S has a long wheelbase, short seat height and a 30 degrees rake along with forward-set footpegs, all of which falls in the cruiser category. It also has a massive 240 mm rear tyre, which is a bit scary. Yes, scary but not to look at but because the motorists following the motorcycle tend to get mesmerised with the tyre's size and that always made me nervous about being rear-ended.
The company claims a lean angle of 40 degrees, which is good for a cruiser. Getting to the limit of the lean angle isn't hard but starting the lean takes some effort as the huge tyre makes directional changes a bit slow. Pulling out of a corner and trying to lean into another one in one go takes even more effort and precision but it's still handled way better than the traditional cruisers. Straight line stability is fantastic and the stopping power from the Brembo M50 monobloc calipers is phenomenal. Unlike other Ducatis, braking on this one happens in a linear fashion, which is what one expects from a cruiser.
We managed to achieve a top speed of little over 160 km/h on the speedo and while the motorcycle can do way more, the wind blast became too harsh for me to sustain for long.
The Ducati XDiavel S is a more serious attempt by Ducati to convince people that the Diavel range finally has a cruiser. However, Ducati designers and engineers have to be lauded for the outrageous machine they've ended up making! I say 'ended up' because it's hard to imagine someone having planned this motorcycle in a boardroom. This surely seems to have comes out of some Italian guys sitting over a few rounds of beer and discussing how crazy can a cruiser get. Ducati being Ducati went ahead and produced it! Italians.
Everything you know about cruisers becomes irrelevant, once astride the XDiavel S, yet you can't claim that it's not exactly a cruiser. For what it is, the XDiavel S might not really convert a Harley-Davidson or Indian rider. It's simply too much to handle for those inclined towards the relaxed spectrum of motorcycling. For those like me and the ones that prefer the quicker end of motorcycling spectrum, the XDiavel S makes great sense. Simply because, it delivers so much performance, looks really really amazing and yet it's comfortable to ride.
You can buy this engineering marvel at Rs 18.5 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi and that is quite a lot for a motorcycle. However, the Ducati XDiavel S is an outrageous machine that delivers more in every department than you actually need. It's outlandish, loud, aggressive and can turn other cruisers into tiny specks in the rear view mirror before they even realise what just blew past them! One cannot resist falling in love with such a machine because this is the very reason why one loves superbikes, supercars and Italians!