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Ducati Diavel V4: First ride review

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Ducati Diavel V4: First ride review
GalleryIntroductionThe visualsThe package The ride Should you buy it?


The Ducati Diavel V4 is the type of motorcycle that will not make sense to all. It is a big, powerful cruiser that costs a lot of money. So much money that there are some incredible motorcycles that you can buy for around the same price as a Diavel V4. From fast, feature-packed street naked motorcycles to superbikes and some of the best adventure tourers that money can buy. But, after spending close to a week with the Diavel V4, I could not help but gravitate towards it. There’s something truly special about this motorcycle that ensured it was barely parked in my garage. And, as it turned out, the Diavel V4 managed Indian road conditions and how!

The visuals

Before we get down to discovering what it is like to ride, let’s just soak in the visuals, shall we? If the Ducati Diavel V4’s looks could kill, it’ll leave a trail of dead bodies in its wake. I find it hard to find words to describe how special the Diavel looks because from whichever angle you look at it, the bike looks extra special.

Everything – from the headlight with C-shaped DRLs to the muscular fuel tank, or the fat, 240-section tyre to the floating effect of the tail section – proclaims to the world that the Diavel isn’t someone to mess with. It looks sinister and has a personality that I find increasingly hard to find in motorcycles these days.

The attention to detail, too, is on simply another level. You can see it in the machined finish on the alloys, with the single-sided swingarm putting the big rear wheel on full display. The handlebar-mounted turn indicators are positioned as the devil’s horns and I like the honeycomb effect of the taillight that’ll look intimidating to those following the Diavel.

But as good as the Diavel V4 looks, the quality of plastics in certain areas could’ve been better. I also don’t understand why Ducati didn’t give the Diavel the same switchgear that you get with the Multistrada V4. Those are far more intuitive and easier to use while sifting through a multitude of menus to access the desired settings you want on the bike.

These minor niggles, however, can be easily overlooked because once you are on the road with the Diavel V4, the kind of attention that this bike garners because of the way it looks is unparalleled. It makes the rider feel like a superstar and perhaps that’s the one big bike requisite that the Diavel checks quite easily.

The package

The star of the Diavel show is undoubtedly the Granturismo V4 engine. It makes 165bhp and 123Nm of torque. It is paired with a six-speed gearbox and as expected it comes with a bi-directional quick-shifter. There’s a plethora of electronics as is the norm with any big Ducati these days. There are ride modes, multiple traction control settings, wheelie control and even a launch control system. The latter allows you to safely deploy all of the horses that the engine makes without you frying the clutch, smoking the tyres, or worse, losing control and wrapping yourself around a tree.

All of the settings can be accessed via menus on the colour TFT display. The only gripe, as I’d mentioned is with the non-intuitive switches that make it a task to jog through the menus and adjust the settings as per preference. Nevertheless, I made my peace with this because the ride experience is simply astonishing for anything else to be of bother.

The ride

It’s the feeling of trepidation that sweeps over you as you begin to ride the bike. The V4 engine and the firepower that it holds are not to be taken lightly. At a standstill, all you have to do is blip the throttle a few times and be in awe of how quickly the four pistons move up and down their respective cylinders. This engine revs quickly to suit its sporty demeanor and once you begin rolling, you’d better say your prayers.

In Sport mode, the ferocity of the acceleration will scare you silly, no matter how experienced a rider you are. The spike in your heart rate, however, is also directly proportional to the width of the smile on your face. I can’t think of the last time a motorcycle made it enjoyable to be frightful.

Don’t get me wrong though. The electronic nannies are more than adept at keeping all your tomfoolery in check. It’s just that the rate of acceleration and the unmentionable speeds that the Diavel V4 hits without breaking a sweat can get dangerously addictive. And once you are hooked, the rate at which the Diavel drains its fuel tank and consequently your wallet can be alarming! Then again, why bother about such “trivial” issues when the Diavel reminds you what it is like to have a beating heart and feel alive, every time you go bonkers with the throttle?

And when you decide to dial down, amble around town, and ride the wave of this engine’s punchy midrange, you’ll discover that it isn’t as lumpy and grumpy as the Diavel 1260’s V-twin at city speeds. Even the engine’s heat management is exceedingly good, with the rear cylinder bank deactivation at low speeds and standstill preventing you from feeling uncomfortably hot, even in a 38-degree Mumbai summer.

If there’s one issue I found while riding in the city, it had to do with riding in Urban mode. In this mode, as well as in Wet mode, the power output drops to 115bhp and the power delivery becomes more linear. However, I found the throttle response was too dull and conservative for my liking. That said, those graduating from lower-capacity bikes to the Diavel will appreciate the calm demeanour of the engine in this mode as they come to grips with the bike.

What they shall also appreciate is the predictable nature of the bike as it goes around corners. To be honest, the size of the bike, and the length of the wheelbase never felt like a hindrance while riding through city traffic or around fast, sweeping corners. Its ease of steering and composure through bends and at high speeds is simply fantastic. And, when the time comes to drop anchor, the Brembo Stylemas are quite dependable.

Even the ride quality was unbelievably good. Mumbai, at this point, has one of the worst roads in the country. It’s full of undulations, potholes and what have you. Through all of it, the Diavel’s fully adjustable suspension did a good job. One, however, has to be considerate of the low ground clearance and the low tyre profile at all times.

Should you buy it?

The Ducati Diavel V4 turned out to be a lot, lot better than I’d expected and in every way imaginable. I liked it for the way it looks, the ballistic performance of the engine and the way it rides. Over and above this, it’s that special feeling that the Diavel stoked within me that has remained even as I type this review. Come to think of it, isn’t that how a motorcycle should make you feel?

I guess, it is ok then that the asking price is Rs 32 lakh and that the Diavel is nowhere near as practical as an equally priced superbike or ADV. Because the Diavel V4 manages to tug at your heartstrings and I think sometimes it is better to listen to your heart rather than your head.

Photography by Kapil Angane


Ducati Diavel V4
299 Kmph|312 Km|236 kg|166.28 bhp @ 10750 rpm
₹ 25,91,047Onwards
Avg. Ex-Showroom price
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