Biker Boy checks out Ducati's new rides in San Diego
Whether it is tackling city traffic or sweeping over slopes, Ducati's latest cruiser shines for its power and speed
It carries the name of its predecessor, the Ducati Diavel.
But that is all you'll find in common between Ducati's two new releases and its older model.
The Italian bike company's new releases in the cruiser market - the 2016 XDiavel and the pricier XDiavel S - are worlds apart from their predecessor, as this Biker Boy found out during a World Press Test last month in San Diego, California.
For one, they don't mimic the Diavel's riding attributes, which resembles the sportier Ducati Monster.
The new XDiavel line is uniquely designed to ride like a cruiser... well, allegedly.
LOOK & DESIGN
Ducati's XDiavel is devoid of chrome but is adorned with brushed metal surfaces. The six-speed, fuel-injected "technocruiser" maintains a low and long stance.
Its strategically polished 1,262cc engine is visually pleasing, and the twin-cylinder motor is now a structural part as it is attached to a trellis frame.
The choice of blackups the bikes' sex appeal.
But be warned. The miniscule pillion seat - exposing the beautiful rear wheel bolted to a single-sided swingarm - will not gain you points with your pillion rider. Clearly, the XDiavel is meant to be a one-man bike.
You'll appreciate the wide handlebars. Unlike the visually "top-heavy" Diavel, your field of view on Ducati's latest cruiser is wide and uncluttered by the bike's instrumentation.
The riding posture is upright and the swept-back handlebars on both belt-driven XDiavels naturally suited my long arms.
The four-way adjustable forward foot controls also enhanced the stretched-out feel.
POWER & HANDLING
The XDiavel makes 156hp and around 129Nm of torque.
In urban mode, San Diego's start-stop city traffic became manageable as power was now electronically limited to 100hp.
No manhandling was needed because in full trim, the XDiavel weighs only 247kg - that is around 80kg to 100kg lighter than rival cruisers, Ducati officials reveal.
The XDiavel especially excelled when heading up mountain roads near Descanso, roughly 30km north of the Mexican border.
If you chug along in fifth gear in touring mode, the bike's healthy dose of torque will propel you out of turns without working up a sweat.
Engage sport mode, and you'll see the revs climb frenetically to the roar of bass-filled dual, upswept pipes.
Here is when it unleashes the full torque and horsepower.
It is also deceptively fast for a cruiser.
Bends are taken effortlessly by tipping the handlebars in their direction.
There is plenty of grip from the wide 240mm rear tyre as you lean close to the XDiavel's 40-degree bank limit.
Between the two XDiavels I tested, I would opt for the XDiavel S as its mono-bloc Brembo M50 radially-mounted front brakes bite harder and quicker.
I thought my test bike was slow exiting turns, until I realised the "80" on the digital speedometer was actually in miles per hour and corresponded to a speed of 128kmh.
Without a windscreen, the wind blast can be unforgiving at higher speeds.
The bike's hydraulic clutch lever also made my fingers a little numb after an hour into the 260km journey that was peppered with a handful of false neutrals.
What impresses is the XDiavel's range on its 18-litre fuel tank.
It achieves roughly 15km on a litre of fuel in sport mode and about 22km in touring mode.
The ride-by-wire XDiavel S receives the full Ducati package, rivalling its equally smart superbike siblings.
Among other electronic trickery, it has three riding modes, customisable traction control and cornering anti-lock brakes, along with launch control for lightning-fast starts.
Don't be fooled by its looks. The XDiavel smacks of laid-back cruiser charm but boasts loads of performance and power.
We use the X as the main symbol of this bike and the name of this bike because we wanted to cross the two worlds (Ducati racing and cruiser riding) in order to get the best of both worlds.
- Mr Stefano Tarabusi, XDiavel's product manager, on naming the XDiavel
The belt has an internal carbon chord exceptionally capable of keeping the tension over the belt life, (and has the) extraordinary capacity to carry power and resist fatigue.
- Mr Eugenio Gherardi, XDiavel's project manager, on Ducati's first-time use of a belt-drive on a motorcycle
MAKE & MODEL 2016 Ducati XDiavel and XDiavel S
ENGINE Liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder
HORSEPOWER & TORQUE 156hp at 9,500rpm and 128.9Nm at 5,000rpm
PRICE Currently unavailable
For more information, call Ducati Singapore at 6631-8166.