Review: 2016 Ducati XDiavel
Australian 2016 Ducati XDiavel launch review. Test by Jeff Ware Photography by iKapture, Ducati
Are you an experienced rider? Are you looking for new thrills but ready to move on from sportsbikes? After something with style and Euro flair? Ducati have come up with the answer. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the cruiser of all cruisers. This is the bike that defies feet forward riding. This thing is a real bastard… Here is our XDiavel review.
Huh? A bastard? You read that right – Ducati have labelled their Jekyll and Hyde creation the XDiavel. The X represents the meeting of two opposite worlds, the cruiser world and the performance world. This bike, they say, is The Gentleman and The Bastard…
To prove the concept works, some of the most experienced journalists and editors from the Australian Motorcycle Press were taken to a black tie dinner at the award winning two hat Aria Sydney, hosted by Matt Moran and Ducati Australia and New Zealand CEO Warren Lee and team.
There, we dined on the finest of foods, enjoyed the best wines Australia has to offer and enjoyed an in-depth technical presentation on the XDiavel, all while drooling over Matt Moran’s personal XDiavel S sitting alongside our table.
It was a sophisticated night and a fitting way to get into the XDiavel groove. A night in a swish hotel further set the mood. This is a sophisticated motorcycle that costs a lot of money and is draped in the highest quality components. Like a good watch, it deserves to be used and shown in fitting circumstances… Five stars is the only way for this 1262cc Gentleman.
The next day we wake to sunshine and meet out the front of our hotel in Sydney, Sheraton On The Park, Elizabeth St. The bikes look fantastic lined up along the driveway, luxury cars and limo’s dropping curious guests off as we all admire the XDiavels. Not your usual bunch of bike scum, then… Until the helmets go on…
The controls fall to hand and I fit right on the bike perfectly as we ride off. The adjustable ‘pegs are in the standard position. All feels nice…
Via easy navigation with the left switchblock I select Urban mode, which comes with an Urban dash display showing the basics needed for commuting, including a clock. 100hp and a soft throttle are uninspiring but just right for the peak hour traffic. It is 9:00am and we make our way out towards the ‘Cross then head South to Brighton Le Sands and cruise along the coast to the Shire.
In traffic, the XDiavel is a big pussycat. Smooth, easy handling with none of the heavy, clumsy, lock-to lock instability a feet forward cruiser usually gives at ultra low speeds. The clutch is heavy to the hand yet take up is smooth and fuelling is glitch free. There is no uncomfortable heat from the engine and the bike is well balanced.
In fact although it is not at all what I would consider heavy, it hides its weight extremely well. Commuting is a breeze; only the mirrors are not big enough to see a wide enough area at a glance… Lane splitting is easy.
As speeds increase to 40 – 60km/h some vibes in the ‘bars and ‘pegs appear. Switching to Touring mode smooths these out but they reappear at higher speeds. The small trade off of a big L-twin.
Touring mode is fantastic for the outer suburbs and as I find out, on the freeway. With a softer throttle than Sport yet the full 156hp on tap Touring is an easy option and that is where I would leave the XDiavel most of the time.
After 45-minutes of Urban riding the only niggle I’m having is a sore backside from the seat. Small complaint and there is a comfort seat available so problem solved for an owner…
There are some low frequency vibrations in the ‘bars and ‘pegs bang on 4000 – 4100rpm but these are easy to ride around using more rpm and a lower gear, or a taller gear and less rpm. Gearbox ratios are super wide to take advantage of that whopping torque curve and I spent most town time in first and second, while in the outer suburbs third and fourth. Freeway riding fifth was best at 110km/h.
I was not prepared for just how amazingly fast this bastard is! I tell you, this thing is the most hard-core accelerating Ducati yet. From 4000rpm to 6000rpm you need to hold on and be ready to have your arms stretched. The top end is whopping and power doesn’t flatten out until around the 8500rpm mark.
The XDiavel is seriously, seriously fast and you better be an experienced rider if you want to try and tame this animal. What happens at the throttle tube is instantly replicated at the rear wheel in Sport mode. Fast. Responsive. Crazy. Addictive.
The torque is endless and the electronics are so good that I found I could snap the throttle open on corner exit and let the DTC take over, with a rear wiggle and then the bike would fire me to the next corner like a bloody big cannon. It was hilarious fun and I could ride like that all day long! The steering is very stable under full acceleration and at high speed, even over bumps.
Of course, us journalists are a competitive bunch, so it wasn’t long before the race was on and in the most responsible way possible we all turned from complete gentlemen to total bastards as we terrorised the hills racing each other to the next photo stop. At one point I was braking so hard into turns I started to get a sore neck and could not breath while braking – but the front-end just kept asking for more and more, deeper and deeper into turns. Initial turn-in is light and quick and the bike progresses to lean angle with no steps in lean progression and no surprises.
Once on its side the XDiavel remains stable and tracks through a turn with sportsbike skill. With 130mm of trail no wonder there is endless front mechanical grip and no sign of a front-end lose on the horizon front from the brilliant Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyre, just confident feedback. Letting the brakes off, the bike settled quickly at the apex of a turn and could be stood up and fired off the turn at full throttle like a ballistic missile. The molded seat giving a G-Force feedback on the way out of the turn and the roar of the engine just so addictive.
The limiting factor I found was the performance of the Sachs shock, which struggled to provide control for the huge 8:00in rear wheel and 240-section tyre on stock settings, packing down and losing rebound control. More time to dial it out may have helped but personally I would upgrade the shock before anything else as an owner.
The 50mm Marzocchi forks were faultless, giving a controlled dive under heavy braking while soaking up road irregularities outside of braking area. A great set-up up front. We made no changes at all.
Braking is taken care of by top spec M50 Brembo’s on the S and M32 on the standard bike. Both provide exceptional performance. I spent my day on an S and only sampled the standard model in Urban and freeway situations. The S brake package is certainly fantastic with strong initial bite and great feel throughout pressure modulation at the lever. The S version comes with extras such as the M50 calipers, DLC on forks, DRL headlight, Bluetooth, special seat material, machine finished frame plates, anodised swingarm, gloss black engine, 12-spoke wheels with machined highlights and billet mirrors. It also has gloss paint.
The ABS, which I pushed into numerous times for testing purposes, is fantastic and reliable.
Yes, you can ride the XDiavel like a sportsbike and ground clearance is fantastic for a cruiser – however, you must find the limit of clearance and keep it in mind at all times. In saying that, you will not find another cruiser on the planet that even comes close to the cornering capabilities of the XDiavel.
Gear changes are a long throw and cannot be rushed and you do need to slow your actions downwhile shifting but once you get in the groove, as far as riding experiences go, it doesn’t get much more fun on the street for this type of bike. Finish is exceptional on both versions. Typical Ducati quality.
The dash is fantastic; looks are out of this world and overall a sensational bike that could be made perfect with a few very minimal tweaks. I would also run the rear bum stop at all times as without it a pillion could easily slip onto the rear tyre… Ouch!
The coolest bit? Once out of the last set of corners and into the next town, it’s a matter of sitting up, switching to Urban, kicking back in style and ‘cruising’ back to the city through the traffic again, as if nothing illegal ever happened…
The twin-cylinder Ducati Testastretta DVT 1262 is a completely new, Euro 4 type-approved engine featuring the DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) system. The DVT system independently varies the timing of both the intake camshaft and the exhaust camshaft thanks to the adoption of a valve timing adjuster applied on the ends of each of the two overhead cams.
The XDiavel has a displacement of 1262cc with bore-stroke measurements of 106 x 71.5mm (as opposed to the 106 x 67.9mm on the Ducati Testastretta DVT 1200). Compared to the Multistrada 1200 engine, it has a higher compression ratio, now 13:1 (as opposed to 12.5:1) however, it shares the same Bosch electronic injection system, featuring elliptical throttle-bodies with a 56 mm-equivalent diameter and a Ride-by-Wire system that has been recalibrated.
The top end of the Ducati Testastretta DVT 1262 has been given a thorough overhaul. Both cylinder-heads have frame attachments and the horizontal one has been redesigned so it can also support the further-forwards rider footpegs. The crankshaft features a new balancing system that, instead of the classic pads, uses ground steel plates.
The DVT also features the Dual Spark (DS) system (i.e. two plugs per cylinder) and employs a secondary air system; the latter introduces fresh air into the exhaust duct to complete oxidation of unburned hydrocarbons and reduce the levels of pollutants such as HC and CO. Of course, the Ducati Testastretta DVT 1262 uses the Desmodromic engine valve closure system that has made Ducati famous all over the world. Thanks to this system the intake and exhaust valves are closed positively with the same precision and similar technique as to be found during valve opening.
The water pump has been positioned in the L between the two cylinders. Engineers and designers have strived to produce an engine as aesthetically clean as possible, leaving it in clear view at the centre of the bike. An auxiliary belt drives the new water pump that is, in turn, powered by the one of the timing belt pulleys. Flow has been optimised to ensure perfectly balanced coolant flow between the horizontal and vertical cylinders. Connection pipes and hoses have been hidden while the cylinders, which host the pump couplings, have a new internal circuit, the result of complex research into fluid dynamics.
For the very first time on a Ducati, transmission is of the belt type. To mount the front pulley the engine cover has been specially redesigned. The final 28/80 ratio corresponds to a drive ratio of 15/43. The XDiavel exhaust is a 2-in-1 system with a chamber-type body and two tail pipes. Exhaust pipe routing leaves the engine in view; likewise, the central body has been positioned in front of the rear wheel, making it practically invisible.
Long service intervals have allowed Ducati to provide highly competitive maintenance scheduling; routine maintenance intervals have been extended to 15000km and valve adjustment to 30000km.
The XDiavel features a steel tubular Trellis frame that employs the Ducati Testastretta DVT 1262 as a stressed member. The frame is attached to the engine at the two cylinder-heads, as is the shell-cast aluminium sub-frame. Also attached to the engine are two forged aluminium plates (these are machine-finished on the S version) that hold the swingarm.
The lower part of the swingarm is cast, while the upper Trellis section with a forged, removable part allows removal of the drive belt. Although the XDiavel has a 1615mm wheelbase, its agile chassis geometry and the possibility of reaching lean angles as high as 40° on mixed-road routes ensure pure Ducati performance.
Suspension at the front the XDiavel consists of 50mm Marzocchi forks with black anodised sleeves, with fully adjustable rebound and compression damping and spring pre-load (the S version also has fork tubes with DLC coating).
The XDiavel has cast aluminium slanted fork yokes with risers that support aluminium handlebars with a diameter of 32mm with external rubber-mounted tubes having a diameter of 22mm. The bike has a headstock rake of 30° and an offset of 130mm.
At the rear is a Sachs monoshock – with adjustable spring-preload and damping rebound only. Brembo brakes stop the bike with M432 radial monobloc calipers (M50 on the S version); actuated by a PR18/19 radial brake pump featuring an integrated aluminium reservoir; the calipers grip dual 320mm floating rotors. At the rear a two-piston PF 30/32 caliper, again made by Brembo, squeezes a 265mm rotor.
At the front end the bike sports a 14-spoke a 3.5 x 17’in wheel, at the rear an 8:00 x 17’in. On the XDiavel S, exclusive machine-finished 12-spoke wheels are included. The front tyre is a 120/70 ZR17 while the rear is a 240/45 ZR17. The bike comes with Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres.
2016 Ducati XDiavel Electronics
The Ducati XDiavel makes use of Bosch IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) inertial platform technology. This dynamically measures roll and pitch angles and the speed of relative changes in attitude, thus raising performance and safety standards even further. The IMU allows the Riding Modes (Sport, Touring and Urban) to give the bike three distinct personalities.
Each Riding Mode has different engine delivery, maximum power, Ducati Traction Control and Cornering ABS settings. All electronic control systems can be adjusted to intervene as desired and, thanks to the Default function, all values (or just some of them) can be returned to their standard settings. Furthermore, on the XDiavel engine power delivery is controlled via a Ride By Wire system.
Torque is no longer adjusted directly by a throttle cable but electronically: a signal is read and processed by the engine control unit which then modulates throttle body aperture. The Ride by Wire system allows three different engine power delivery maps to be used.
Sport: Selecting Sport Riding Mode transforms the XDiavel into a high-adrenaline 156hp machine. This mode gives the rider full control over the throttle response to maximise acceleration. This is combined with reduced DTC intervention (Level 2).
Touring: For the Touring Riding Mode, Ducati has provided enjoyable power delivery, again at 156hp, but this time in a travelling configuration that offers softer, easier-to-handle torque. Rear traction is controlled by the DTC, set at a level designed to ensure stable, relaxed riding (Level 4).
Urban: Urban mode instantaneously transforms the personality of the XDiavel. Urban Riding Mode limits power to 100hp and sets a high level of traction control (Level 6).
DTC (Ducati Traction Control) Ducati Traction Control is a competition-derived system that acts as a filter between the rider’s right hand and the rear tyre. Within the space of just a few milliseconds the DTC can detect and, subsequently, control any wheelspin, improving bike performance and active safety considerably. This system has 8 different intervention levels.
DPL (Ducati Power Launch). DPL has three different modes, Level 1 being the one that provides maximum performance. Pressing the dedicated button on the right switchgear activates the DPL. Once it has been activated the rider then sets the intervention level via a menu on the dashboard. Once the level has been selected, the rider has to squeeze the clutch lever, engage first gear and twist the throttle wide open. At this point, simply by releasing the clutch gradually, it’s possible to experience the most awesome starts. To protect the clutch, a specially developed algorithm allows only a limited number of consecutive starts.
The XDiavel features a Brembo braking system with the ABS 9.1MP Cornering device, an integral part of the Ducati Safety Pack (DSP). Cornering ABS makes use of the Bosch IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) platform to optimise front and rear braking power even in critical situations and with the bike at considerable lean angles. Through interaction with the Riding Modes, the system provides solutions suitable for any situation or riding condition.
Nevertheless, the ABS can also be fully disabled from the instrument panel in any Riding Mode, and settings can be saved and recalled at the next Key-On. Level 1 offers maximum sports riding performance by eliminating rear wheel lift detection and allows rear wheel drifting by applying the ABS at the front only. Level 2 ensures equilibrium between front and rear without rear wheel lift detection but with the Cornering function on and calibrated for sports-style riding. Level 3 allows, in Touring and Urban modes, optimisation of the combined braking action with rear wheel lift detection on and the Cornering function on and calibrated for maximum safety.
The XDiavel dashboard consists of a TFT screen with a separate warning light module positioned above the handlebars. The dashboard has four different display modes. New to Ducati, the Default mode provides a minimal must-have level of information, presented in an attentively styled manner. The other three, instead, are the classic Track, Full and City display modes associated with the Riding Modes. The XDiavel has dedicated switchgears with red-backlit keys.
The XDiavel light assemblies are the result of intense, meticulous design work. Both the front and rear are full-LED units and have been designed to give the bike instantly recognisable appeal. Lights automatically shift from their daytime configuration to their nighttime one thanks to a sensor on the dashboard. This function can, where desired, be deactivated to allow manual operation. Moreover, the headlight on the XDiavel S features the DRL (Daytime Running Light). The DRL is a special sidelight that ensures perfect vehicle visibility during the day while providing the XDiavel with yet another uniquely distinguishing feature.
The XDiavel can be started without inserting a mechanical key. Just come within 2 metres of the bike and the system automatically reads the electronic key code; this allows ignition without even having to remove the key from your pocket.
SPORT PACK: Forward handlebars, fuel filler cap and forged rim set.
TOURING PACK: Comfort passenger seat and backrest, tank bag, screen.
URBAN PACK: Rear brake reservoir cover, billet alloy footrests, billet alloy frame plugs, bar end weights, brake and clutch fluid reservoir covers, billet alloy clutch cover, nose fairing.
Price: $27,490 ($32,490) + ORC
Warranty: Two years/unlimited kilometre
Colours: Thrilling Black (S), Dark Stealth
Claimed power: 114.7kW [156hp]@9500rpm
Claimed torque: 128.9Nm [95ft-lbs]@5000rpm
Dry weight: 220kg Wet weight: 247kg
Fuel capacity: 18L
Engine: Liquid-cooled Desmodromic Variable Valve Timing Testastretta L-twin, 1262cc, 13:1 compression ratio, Bosch EFI with RbW and 56mm oval throttle-bodies, stainless steel exhaust system with oval mufflers and dual Lambda probes.
Gearbox: Six speed, constant mesh
Clutch: Wet multi-plate self servo slipper with hydraulic actuation
Final drive: Belt 28/80
Chassis: Tubular steel Trellis frame Rake: 30°, Trail: 130mm
Suspension: 50mm fully adjustable inverted Marzocchi forks, 120mm travel (DLC coating on S version), Sachs semi-adjustable shock with remote reservoir, alloy swingarm (anodised on S), 110mm travel
Brakes: Dual 320mm semi floating Brembo rotors with Brembo M4-32 calipers (M50 S) and Bosch cornering ABS, Brembo radial pull master-cylinder (f), single 265mm Brembo rotor and two piston Brembo caliper at the rear.
Wheels & Tyres: Light alloy cast (and machined on S), 3.5 x 17 (f) and 8.00 x 17 (r), Pirelli Diablo Rosso II 120/70 -17, 240/45 -17.
Seat height: 755mm
Instruments: 3.5in TFT colour display unit
2016 Ducati XDiavel Accessories: