The 2023 Ducati Diavel V4 is a stretched hypernaked with cruiser-like stance and a superbike heritage.
After well over a decade, the Ducati Diavel has always been considered an unorthodox cruiser, a cruiser that does so many things exceptionally well that many riders were unable to pinpoint the type of motorcycle it was. It turns and stops exceptionally well, it is very fast, but most importantly, it looks like nothing else. In a class of its own, the new Diavel has gotten its most significant update to make it a better “power” cruiser in every way.
The Looks & Details
The updated Diavel looks very similar to the outgoing generation, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel as it already looks gorgeous from all angles. Just like the previous generation, you get the air ducts in the front, and it still comes with a single LED headlight along with inverted forks. The most significant difference is the LED indicators, as they are located on the handlebar, which is a lot more visible from a rear view mirror and ultimately a safer choice.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but just like the previous generation, the new one is just as aesthetically pleasing to look at. The differences become more noticeable as you get closer to the bike. The biggest change is the updated tail light. It is integrated into rear fairing that you can only see if you look down, or if you are driving behind it. Despite being technically a cruiser, the single rear swingarm along with a huge rear tire, quad exhaust tips, as well as rear seat cover are some of the indicators that the Diavel still carries Ducati’s sport bike heritage.
Just as expected from a European exotic power cruiser, you get top-notch components and the latest tech. It comes with an updated TFT screen that does not allow customized layouts, but the standard layout is easy to read and interact with. You need to use the physical buttons located on the left side of the handlebar, you just need to get used to the button layout to use without looking at it. The attention to detail is very impressive, as all plastic parts and physical buttons feel very solid, and they are all illuminated.
As it is technically a stretched naked bike with a relatively long wheelbase, the riding ergonomics are exceptionally comfortable. The foot pegs are located relatively higher, but the upper body has a more relaxed position. The handlebar is located far from the rider, meaning that you have to reach which gives the bike a sporty cruiser riding ergonomics to a point.
The seat is exceptionally comfortable and wide for larger adults. At 6’1″, I had absolutely zero issues even on longer trips. 31.1-inch seat height is ideal for short adults, but it also doesn’t make it uncomfortable for taller people. It also comes with a surprisingly large rear seat, which is hidden behind the red painted cover that you can remove with a screwdriver, and the rear passenger footpegs are hidden under the rear fairings to give it a cleaner look.
Since 2018, Ducati has been slowly phasing out the traditional V-twin engines from their superbikes and some models, replacing it with the latest 90-degree V4 engine. Although the new Diavel gets the Granturismo iteration of the V4 engine lineup it still comes with a very similar character and goodies. It no longer has a Desmotronic valve closure and a much longer valve adjustment interval of 37,000 miles or 60,000 kilometers. The Granturismo engine has been updated from Multistrada V4 S, Ducati decided to change the cam timing and the exhaust system to keep up with the EU5 norms.
Compared to the outgoing Testastretta 1262 V2 engine, the new GranTurismo engine offers slightly less displacement at 1158cc, but it offers 11 more horsepower, claiming peak power delivery of 168 horsepower and almost the same amount of peak torque of 93 lb-ft. It comes with a cylinder deactivation system which shuts off the rear cylinders at idle, and low throttle applications below 4000 RPM, unlike the previous generation GranTurismo engine which can only shut down the rear cylinders at idle.
That means the bike has two different characters. When you ride normally, it sounds and feels like a traditional V-twin engine until you hustle the bike and go above 4000 RPM, mainly due to the Twin Pulse firing order which makes it feel like a V-twin rather than a parallel twin engine. The engine switches back to 4 cylinders in milliseconds at higher RPM & load, and the transition is not noticeable other than the exhaust note.
Another improvement is the heat management, The exhaust manifolds are no longer located right beside your right leg, they are hidden under the engine block, offering a much comfortable riding experience at low speeds, and stop-and-go traffic. Although Ducati claims cylinder deactivation offers a little over 5% fuel efficiency, the main focus is to generate less heat.
Although the engine is the most noticeable change, there are lots of upgrades to make the bike more capable, including the chassis. Ducati decided to switch to an aluminum structure to save 10 pounds and add extra rigidity. The most surprising part about the drivetrain change is that the Diavel lost a little over 10 lbs despite having 2 more cylinders. The end result is a 30-pound lighter bike than the Diavel 1260 it replaces. That said, the bike should still be considered as heavyweight, at 236 kg it is heavier than some big-bore adventure bikes.
Riding the new Diavel V4 is an eye-opening experience in a unique way. It gives you the convenience of riding a cruiser, such as low seat and ride height, without the deficiencies of a cruiser. The mid-mounted foot controls allow the bike to lean up to 41 degrees on both sides, that’s something you wouldn’t be able to find in any other cruiser.
Compared to the traditional naked or sport bike layout, the biggest difference is the corner entry due to the very wide 240mm rear tire, exclusively made for the Diavel. The front end is very agile and dives in right away, but the rear end is calm and takes its time to start leaning, therefore the feedback from the bike does not feel like anything else, especially at the limit.
On the other hand, the mid-corner stability is exceptionally good and confidence-inspiring. Of course, the manually adjustable Marzocchi and Sachs suspension combo helps a lot with overall stability, but they are tuned in a firm fashion even at softer settings. For a bike that costs over $30,000 CAD, the only gripe that I had was the lack of electronically adjustable suspension, it is not even available as an option.
Thanks to the firm suspension tune, the Brembo Stylema brakes can do their job without having extreme front diving at high-speed braking. As you get a very wide 240 tire in the back, you have tons of rubber to use, meaning that you can have more confidence corner-exit to twist the throttle without losing traction, but you can fine-tune the traction control settings based on your riding style.
For less experienced riders, you can simply tune the engine down to 115 hp by choosing Urban or Rain driving mode, with maximum traction control. It also allows more experienced riders to choose different wheelie control, and launch control settings to prove the Diavel can handle most of the tasks a typical naked or sport bike can do.
With the updated Diavel V4, Ducati made cruiser bikes more appealing for riders who are not into cruisers. Just like the way it looks, the Diavel feels unique when you ride it, regardless of the way you ride. With the starting price of $30,995 CAD, it is obviously not for everyone, but for the right audience with no budget concern, there is just no other alternative that can look just as good, perform well, and easy to live with every day.
|Engine||1158cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled 90-degree V4|
|Max Power||168 hp @ 10,750 rpm|
|Max Torque||93 lb-ft @ 7,500 rpm|
|Front Brakes||Brembo Stylema Monoblock 4-piston calipers with twin 330mm discs|
|Rear Brakes||Brembo 2-piston caliper, 265mm single disc|
|Weight||520 lb – 236 kg|
|Fuel Capacity||5.3 gallons – 20 lt.|
|Seat Height||31.1 in – 79 cm|
|Base Price (starting at)||$30,995 (CAD)|