Article from : http://cbt.com.my/110219/perfect-ducati-devil
WHEN Ducati launched the Multistrada, the Italian company’s designers interpreted this as what a dual-purpose bike should be – practical and rugged, yet agile and quick.
Perhaps they did it so well that the management threw them another challenge – build a muscle bike that can be parked proudly in front of the Hard Rock Cafe but at the same time, make real bikers dizzy with its performance.
And they ushered in the devil, or what Diavel actually means in the Bolognese dialect.
This is a bike that combines a superbike, a custom motorcycle and a cruiser into one nicely spiced up spaghetti – sexy, yummy and ultimately brawny.
We were sent to Malaga in Spain to test out the devil ourselves and the first thing we noticed was that Mr Devil actually looked better than his pictures.
When we put up pictures of the Diavel on the website and Facebook, comments were either positive or negative.
The negative ones focussed more on the upswept tail and the no-brainer LED strips underneath pretending to be the tail light cluster.
Of course, Suzuki had a bit of this experience when it launched the duck-tailed Hayabusa but now, almost everybody talks about the bike’s performance and not the tail. Suzuki even had the same tail on its Gixxer and TL models.
We suspect the same will happen to the Diavel too because in real life, the whole bike robs your breath away and pulls your jaws down by just showing off its single-sided mounted fat 240-section rear tyre.
Logic states that any custom bike with a fat rear tyre can be equated with a bike that handles like a three-tonne lori sayur (vegetable carrying lorry). Beefy American bikers may adore them but for the rest of the world with twisting roads and corners, we rather walk.
Only a few bikes with fat rear tyres could interest us into riding them (like the Harley-Davidson Rocker-C), and that is only if we don’t exceed 110km/h.
Ducati is smart though. They know the fat-rear-tyre-look will entice the Americans and open up a whole new market but at the same time, they are Italians and they want to keep the bike as agile as any other Ducati.
And so they did what many other great companies do – passed the headache to their vendor and expect the mystery to be solved in the shortest span of time.
Amazingly, the vendor, which is Pirelli, managed to solve the problem with its Enhanced Patch Technology (using dual compound construction) and that was how the Diablo Rosso II became the grippiest 240-section fat tyre we have ever tried.
Just imagine a truck trailer tyre that has the same amount of grip of the tyre for a Ferrari and you will understand how ground breaking this achievement is.
Couple the good tyres with a ZF Sachs rear suspension (installed nearly horizontal with a remote reservoir) and the front Marzocchi 50mm upside-down (USD) forks, you get a muscle bike that can lean up to 41 degrees before the hero knob starts dragging the tarmac.
Then there is the engine, the Testastretta 11-degree L-twin cylinder 4-valve per cylinder Desmodromic liquid-cooled 1,198.4cc, all together producing a fine tune of 162hp at 9,500rpm and 127.5Nm at 8,000rpm.
This engine is managed by computers smart enough to offer you three riding modes – Sport (sharper power curve, Ducati Traction Control or DTC set at Level 3), Touring (flatter power graph, more focus on smoother acceleration, DTC at Level 4) and Urban (horsepower limited to 100hp, DTC set at Level 5).
You can even fine tune the settings, like Level 2 DTC in Sport mode for the brave ones or Level 8 (highest) in Urban mode for ultra slippery riding conditions.
In fact, like a true sportsbike, you can even switch off the DTC and get the tail sliding out.
Personally, the standard Sport mode was good enough for us as we could still pull nice wheelies in first gear and then allowing the system to cut it off – sort off like a fail-safe wheelie function.
And yes, this stretched and lowered muscle bike could wheelie as revealed by one of our journalist friend from Austria. He tried it, and later almost everybody was doing it, although the Ducati press officers pretended not to see it.
Though Ducati wants a bit of a cruiser infused in the Diavel, the foot pegs remained under the rider and not slanted forward like the usual cruisers.
The tiered display screens are controlled via the side-repeater buttons. We loved the TFT coloured screen as it allowed easy viewing even under the harsh Spanish sun.
For two-up riding, you can pull out the seat and pop out the grab handle. Then just slide down the rear foot pegs to complete the change. It is no Hilton and we advise not to let the wife/girlfriend sit there for long if you have any long term planning with them.
The Diavel comes in two disguises, the standard Diavel and the Diavel Carbon, with the latter not really the devil cloaked in carbon-fibre clothing.
The carbon is 3kg lighter though, thanks to the Marchesini forged and machined wheels (saving you up to 2.5kg) and other lighter body panels that save up the rest of 0.5kg. Three kilograms might not sound much, but do that for the wheels and what you get is a responsive suspension, thanks to the lighter off-sprung weight.
Other wow factors for both the Diavels include the side-mounted radiators, keyless system, Ride-by-Wire (RbW) technology, LED lights and the use of techno-polymer material for the rear sub-frame. All to make the Diavel a true Ducati.
On the twisty road to Rhonda (it’s like the Cameron Highlands road via Simpang Pulai, but three times the distance, elevation and fun factor), everybody was impressed with the Diavel’s handling.
The front end did feel a bit light at first, but were soon forgotten as there was still some feedback to make us trust the front tyre.
The rear tyre offered good progressive grip and its construction allowed us to flick the bike from side to side like it’s a superbike. If the rider is smooth with his body shifts, it is possible to even overtake sportier bikes on this route with the Diavel.
We were also equally surprised to learn just how quick the Pirelli tyres warmed up. It could get squirmy still when we fed in too much throttle, especially when the bike was still leaning down but the DTC kicked in swiftly to cut the drama.
Where the road sliced through a canyon walled with stones, we revved up the engine simply because we wanted to listen to its L-twin burble bouncing off like an angry echo.
Unlike other Ducati engines which shriek and wail, this one sounded like the whoop-whoop of the two-blade Huey helicopter during idle.
Get it up to speed and the sound suits its devilish image. Tight turns usually create havoc to bikes with such long wheelbase (1,590mm) but Ducati uses many exotic materials (like aluminium silencers and rear single-sided swingarm) for the bike in the name of weight saving (210kg dry weight), hence allowing you to go lower to the ground to gain smaller turning in.
Even around the busy Marbella town, the generous steering lock (70-degree) helped us park or squeeze between the traffic.
The monoblock Brembos with ABS also performed well for us to shave off speed quickly upon entering a corner, or when the bus in front of us had an emergency stop. On the highway, the Diavel felt like an automatic bike because even in sixth gear, the engine pulled strongly from any speed.
If we still wanted rocket like acceleration, we dropped to third and hung on tight – the Ducati’s roll-on acceleration was simply unbelievable.
The gearbox too behaved well during our ride. Not even once did it fall into a false neutral. In fact, it swapped the clogs quickly and assuringly.
The Ducati Diavel might offer something new for Ducatistis, especially in terms of image and looks but for us, Ducati has proven that one need not throw away his identity to woo a new crowd.
Think of this as a Ducati cloaked in a studded leather jacket and half-shelled helmet, with a few tattoos to boot.
Ducati Diavel/Diavel Carbon
Engine: Testastretta 11-degree L-twin cylinder 1,198.4cc 4-valve per cylinder Desmodromic liquid-cooled with lateral mounted radiators, Ride-by-Wire with Mikuni throttle bodies and Mitsubishi EFI system
Max power: 162hp @ 9,500rpm
Max torque: 127.5Nm @ 8,000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed unit with wet clutch and slipper action
Dry weight: 210kg (207 kg for Diavel Carbon)
Suspension: Marzocchi 50mm fully adjustable USD forks, Diamond-Like-Carbon (DLC) coated for Diavel Carbon (front), progressive linkage with fully adjustable Sachs monoshock on aluminium single-sided swingarm (rear)
Brakes: 2 x 320mm semi-floating discs with Brembo Monoblock 4-piston and Bosch ABS (front), 265mm disc 2-piston floating calliper with Bosch ABS (rear)
Tyres: 120/70 ZR 17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II (front), 240/45 ZR 17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II (rear)
Safety features: DTC, RbW, ABS with three riding modes
Major service interval: 24,000km
Price: Approximately RM138,888 (Diavel) and RM159,888 (Diavel Carbon)
Warranty: Ducati two-year unlimited mileage
Note: Naza Next Bike will be launching the Diavel in the first quarter of this year 2011
By Hezeri Samsuri