Car details navigation
Review: Ducati XDiavel S
Driven December 2016
Like the standard XDiavel, the XDiavel S is an all-new motorcycle. It’s so new that all the pair carries forward from the Diavel is the name and the rear tyre. Apart from that, the panels, engine, chassis everything, is all-new. Saying the XDiavel S is a stand out bike is an understatement. The standard XDiavel is easily one of the best looking motorcycles in the world, and the S version takes things a notch higher.
It’s long and sits low, much like a drag bike. The XDiavel S is what Ducati is labeling as its first cruiser. Why so? Because it’s belt driven – a first for Ducati – and has wide bars and forward-set (adjustable) footrests. Other boasty bits are the glossy black paint shade of the engine with aluminium detailing, the brushed aluminium swing arm that holds the chunky, blingy rear wheel, and the slash-cut twin exhaust pipes on the side. There’s even a distinctive DRL loop around the LED head unit which distinguishes the XDiavel S from the standard motorcycle. But it’s the diamond-cut rear wheel that does it for me on this bike. It’s exceptionally hard to pry your eyes away from this motorcycle.
Ducati has given the S a healthy list of features like ABS, traction control, cornering ABS from the Multistrada (the Bosch-powered system that lets you brake hard up to the apex of a corner at full lean and miraculously stops you from crashing), keyless ignition, cruise control and much more that makes it one of the safest motorcycles out there. But the XDiavel S is nothing short of a beast when it comes to performance. The Testastretta DVT 1262cc engine is a redesigned version of the 1198cc unit on the Multistrada 1200 with increased bore and stroke. Power figures are 156bhp, which is around 6bhp down on the standard motorcycle, but with 129Nm of twist, torque having substantially increased between 3,500 and 5,000rpm. There’s a huge wave of torque to ride on this Ducati. It accelerates with superbike-like ferocity, 0-100kph is dispatched in 4.18s, the bike even feels more like a dragster than cruiser. Had the road surface been a little grippier than the concrete we tested on, the bike would have been quicker. The rate at which the motorcycle propels you to ridiculous speeds is phenomenal.
The XDiavel S comes with a launch control system that has three settings that regulate the way the electronic aids kick in on take-off. In any of these modes, the front wheel almost always needs the electronics to stay from reaching for the sky in first and second. Simply launching the bike off the line and hearing all the electronic electronic aids kick in, all while its some chip computes the best way to rocket ahead while keeping it safe, is immense fun. Ducati may not be used to making cruisers, but this one definitely feels every bit a… well, Ducati. You’ll need some serious cojones to use the launch control feature which requires you to twist to full revs and let go of the clutch. Though the motor doesn’t feel lethargic low down the powerband, it feels so much better over 3,000rpm. In fact, there’s so much grunt till around 6,500revs that you don’t have to twist the throttle more than just a little to gather serious momentum. The XDiavel changes direction exceptionally well for a 247kg cruiser, at any speed. The top-drawer Brembo M50 brake callipers (same as the 1299 Panigale S) provide more than ample braking bite.
The three riding modes – Sport, Touring and Urban – define the character of this big Italian bruiser. Sport and Touring give you access to all 156 ponies while Urban numbs throttle response and widens the electronic safety net while letting you play with 100 horses. But that still felt more than adequate in the city. The riding posture on the XDiavel is upright with your arms and legs stretched forward, so this puts all the rider’s weight into the saddle. Yes, that’s very cruiser like and not a bad thing in the city and is best for roaring down down the highway. But the stiff suspension means that your spine will bear the brunt of every sharp bump you go over at low speed. It gets better as you speed up.
The XDiavel S may be seen as a bold step for Ducati to build a proper cruiser and it’s an effort that has paid off. It’s one hell of a motorcycle. According to Ducati, the ‘X’ in the XDiavel is meant to represent the meeting of two worlds - cruiser and performance bikes. And it’s safe to say that this definition is spot on. A blinding quick supercomputer at Rs 18.47 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the price is right too.
1262cc, Testastretta DVT L-Twin, Liquid cooled; 6M; kerb weight: 247kg; wheelbase: 1215mm; fuel tank: 18litres
0-60kph:2.05s, 0-100kph:4.18s, 30-50kph in 3rd:1.48, 50-70kph in 5th: 2.12s, 100kph in 6th: 3,600rpm
A proper Italian sportsbike that’s dressed in some dragster garb