Common Tread

EICMA 2015: Ducati XDiavel

Nov 16, 2015

Ducati elected to overhaul the Diavel for 2016, and we’re finally able to confirm some of the rumors that the Italians have been teasing us with.

On the eve of the EICMA show, Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali unveiled the new Diavel sibling, the XDiavel. Ducati says the “X” represents the intersection of feet-forward cruiser styling and lower-speed fun with the performance the company is known for.

The XDiavel was unveiled in Milan, prior to the EICMA show. RevZilla photo.
Ducati has kept the format of the XDiavel excruciatingly close to form: enormous, powerful motor shoved into a chassis that really can’t handle it, with musclebound style that guarantees folks will pester riders about it at every fuel stop.

Ducati XDiavel
By combining feet-forward styling with Ducati performance, the new XDiavel cruiser is intended to create "low-speed excitement," said CEO Claudio Domenicali. Ducati photo.

However, in spite of retaining the winning muscle-cruiser recipe, things have changed slightly. Ducati outfitted the new XDiavel with forward controls, giving riders a more typical-for-a-cruiser “feet-first” position. Mechanically, though the 1198 cc Testastretta engine is a carryover, it’s been reworked. It cranks out its maximum torque at just 5,000 rpm, and the dyno chart displayed during the XDiavel’s launch showed a torque curve that was nearly flat from 5,000 to 8,000 rpm.

The belt drive is a departure for Ducati. RevZilla photo.
The other big change to the Diavel’s powertrain was a newly designed belt final drive, no doubt to ease maintenance and help keep the halo bike spotless for discerning owners.

Ducati Diavel headlight
Running lights surround the headlight on the XDiavel. Ducati photo.
Visually, there have been some minor changes made. The headlight was reworked and it now sports a sinister-looking lit headlight surround. (Ironic. The slang name for this effect is “angel eyes.” “Diavel” is Italian for “devil.”) The XDiavel retains its stubby tail and rangy, exposed appearance. The bike’s been freshened up, but it’s still unmistakably a Diavel.

Other changes include DPL, for Ducati Power Launch. This software is designed to help get the bike up to speed without incident, and is engaged with a small button on the right control pod. The XDiavel shown in today’s Milan premiere was the S version, with black alloy wheels with machined areas showing off raw aluminum. The bike also sports a host of billet parts.

Ducati XDiavel passenger seat
Given the XDiavel's stubby tail, the small backrest included with one of the two passenger seats that come stock with the bike will no doubt alleviate passengers' fears of being left behind. Ducati photo.
Bikes will come with two (!) passenger seats, one with a small backrest, as standard equipment. Ducati is also following the trend of flexible ergonomics. The adjustable footpegs, along with a choice of five different seats, three handlebar options and other accessories, creates 60 different ergonomic combinations, Domenicali said.

Domenicali Ducati presentation
Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali poses for photographers with the two most important new models introduced on the eve of the EICMA show: the XDiavel cruiser, foreground, and the Multistrada Enduro adventure-touring bike. RevZilla photo.

The XDiavel is not a whole new version, and really, I don't blame Ducati. The Diavel is polarizing, and the XDiavel will be no different. Regardless of whether it’s loved or hated, it’s hard to find a rider who’s not at least passingly familiar with the brute. Ducati entered the cruiser market on their own terms, with a bike that calls to the cruiser rider without pandering or aping a different bike, and that's a difficult thing to do in the longest-standing category of motorcycles. Although I personally wouldn’t care for forward controls on such a capable bike, there are surely customers who have been clamoring for them.

Ducati XDiavel
2016 Ducati XDiavel S. Ducati photo.

Is it a raging sales success waiting to happen? Probably not. Minor redesigns never are. But sometimes the best part of a small styling update is that it’s not a clean-sheet overhaul. I’m betting current Diavel fans will like the refresh, and the XDiavel certainly will create a few new owners.