More than just an engine swap, the Ducati Diavel is new front to back. We put all the updates to the test on the road. Check out our Diavel V4 review... Photos: Heather Ware HMC
Now in its 12th year of production, the amazing Ducati Diavel has adopted the V4 Granturismo engine after a decade of sub-three-second 0 – 100km/h madness from the Testastretta 11º engine, originally 1198, moving to twin spark, then 1260cc. Check it out.
Ducati don’t muck around when it comes to power. The V4 Granturismo engine is based on the Stradale motor (Panigale) but revised and re-tuned for more flexibility and useability in the Multistrada models, and for flexibility and acceleration in the Diavel. It has huge 60,000km valve clearance intervals and that even while pumping out an insane 168hp@10,750rpm and 126Nm@7,500rpm.
First unveiled in late 2020, the Granturismo engine is something to behold. I just love the look of it. I remember visiting Ducati in Sydney and seeing one in their conference room that was there for Dealer Training. I was allowed to have a look over it and as a motorcycle mechanic by trade, even though I have been a full time journo for decades, I still get excited about mechanical stuff big time. I was in awe of the engine, and because the Panigale V4s I’d tested all hide most of their engine, this was the first time I had seen the V4 fully naked. So to see it in the Diavel, all on display now, is brilliant!
Check out our full tech feature and videos on the Ducati Granturismo engine here…
Engine aside, there are also plenty of chassis updates for 2023. The ergonomics are revised, with the handlebars now 20mm closer to the rider, the footpegs centralised, the seat height 10mm up at 790mm and more rear suspension travel (thank God), a whopping 20L fuel tank, slightly shorter wheelbase, bigger front rotors, and geometry refinements.
The TFT dash is 5in, colour and BT connectivity to you smartphone will got access to calls, texts, music and TBT Nav as an option, all via the Ducati Link app…
The TFT dash is 5in, colour and BT connectivity to you smartphone will got access to calls, texts, music and TBT Nav as an option, all via the Ducati Link app. Styling and electronics are all revised, too, and you can read more in the Tech Talk section below.
Personally, I love the look of the new Diavel from certain angles. I like the slim waistline and classic hourglass figure of the new V4 beast. The headlight looks rad, the intakes and massive radiator, too. I love the rear wheel, but I am undecided on the exhaust system, and the huge amount of exposed rear tyre is cool looking but a worry.
If a passenger slipped off the back onto that tyre can you imagine? Ouch…. But we are seeing more of these exposed rear tyres on nakedbikes these days. Personally, I’d be trying to get something made… A nice bit of carbon-fibre to completely cover the 240/45 – 17 Pirelli DIABLO Rosso III.
After my week on the Diavel V4, I can honestly say it is the best one yet, but more on that later… I’ve had the good fortune of testing every generation of the Diavel, including the XDiavel (feet forward, review here) and some of the variants and special models over the years.
I’ve always been a fan and found the Diavel to be an insane cruiser that just handles so much better than you could imagine a cruiser could handle. I’ve even managed to pull pretty good wheelies on them, too, which is nuts. I’ve even ridden a wild turbocharged Diavel, check out the video here…
I’m 187cm tall and the new ergo’s suit me. I fit the Diavel, I like the new reach to the handlebars, a bit more bend in my arms, and the seat, although tight, is a good height and overall the position is comfy. The TFT dash is low but I ca glance at it and the mirrors, levers and footpegs are in a natural spot.
Overall, it’s not a bad place to be, the switchgear is all regular Ducati stuff, which I do find a bit confusing at times and on my press bike, the Mode selection is hit and miss, there’s something wrong with the left switchgear unfortunately, so at times I am stuck in whichever Mode I’ve selected.
Firing the beast up, that mega Granturismo motor growls into life. It has a menacing eagerness to it, a raspy note from the muffler and idles at a fair rate until it warms up. When it get hot and settled, it’ll drop the rear cylinder bank to save heat, emissions and fuel. No more roasted nuts in traffic… When this happens, there’s an audible drop and unbalance to the sound but from a running point of view it is a seamless transition and it’s a great idea that Ducati have implemented across the V4 range.
The clutch action is quite heavy, but take-up is linear and relatively smooth, gear selection smooth, and heading off in Urban mode, I settle in for a 30-minute tollway journey, mostly in tunnels, where the TFT dash lights up nicely. The Diavel motors along smoothly and effortlessly, almost vibration free, and so far no signs of excessive heat on my legs, and that’s despite the tall fuel tank and low seat giving a ‘sitting in it more than on it’ riding position, which restricts some airflow.
It’s 30-minutes in complete comfort, and the up and quickshifter is fantastic, even in the short traffic sections between tollways. I’m impressed and hop off for a stretch at the beginning of my local twisties, walking around the bike and checking out some of the finer details. The more I look, the more I see and the more I appreciate the engineering that has gone into this ‘Hyper Cruiser’… It’s a work of art.
Attack time, I select Sport mode and go for it. Determined to get every bit of performance available out of the Pirelli rubber and big Brembo brakes, I have a real crack at it through the hills, even turning around and doing the road twice, totalling about 60km of corners ranging from smooth hotmix to bumpy blue metal tarmac. The engine is a monster. Smooth, refined on the throttle but rev happy and extremely strong. As the revs ride, so does my heart rate. This is a very fast motorcycle!
It’s not intimidating off the bottom or mid-range but up top, well, it’s pretty hectic up there at around the 7000 – 9000rpm range. Phew… The gearbox is spot-on, the QS is accurate and well weighted to the shift and the electronics package keeps the Diavel inline and on track in the background. Third and fourth gear, it pulls from as low as 4000rpm and just launches from there. It’s an addictive motor.
Front feel is exceptional, a strong point, and the brakes are stunning. Superb feel at the lever, intimate modulation and incredible power from the front anchors.
Thankfully, the chassis is a match for the power and torque. The only thing that immediately stands out to me as different to the previous V2 in terms of handling is mid-corner, the new Diavel does have a tendency to want to stand up, so needs some inside bar pressure all the way through the apex (well quite a forceful bit of pressure for the quicker bumpier turns), whereas the previous models would sit on their side and carry that lean through a turn. It’s no big deal. I check rear tyre pressure to make sure that’s not it… I may be the V4 engine position or something. But it still corners like a weapon!
The Diavel can be flicked from one side to the other quickly, effectively and I am not at all wrestling the bike through the tight and twisty, often tightening radius, turns like I would expect with a fat rear tyre. The ground clearance, though not sportsbike or nakedbike level, is huge for a cruiser and whether hard braking into corners, or carrying rolling speed, the Diavel remains composed, sure-footed and agile beyond it’s size and weight. Steering is stable yet still quick enough with the big ‘bar leverage.
Front feel is exceptional, a strong point, and the brakes are stunning. Superb feel at the lever, intimate modulation and incredible power from the front anchors. Out the back, the rear disc does the job of balancing and speed setting. For heavy rear brake users like me (every corner, every time), you will appreciate the soft feel of the back brake. While the ABS, although purposely tested with success, is so good as usual these days that it just does it’s job in the background.
The suspension action at both ends is firm, sporty yet compliant if that makes sense. Firm for a cruiser. This is the icing on the cake for the Diavel, and along with the chassis, electronics and engine, completes the full performance cruiser package. Up front, the massive forks ride bumps with a plushness and control, yet can handle hard braking and rapid cornering without becoming overwhelmed and they look fantastic, too.
Out the back, the extra travel is a godsend, as the spine jolting days are pretty much over. I hit some serious bumps through the hills and although the rear took a hard hit, it was no worse than would be the case on a nakedbike. The control at the back, like the front, is really good and the spring rate, damping control and balance of support versus comfort is spot on. I weight 95kg and don’t touch one clicker or the preload at either end during my testing. There is no need.
Out onto the big sweeping country roads now, taking in the scenery, doing a photoshoot joined by our Ducati crazy contributor Kaori Asakami, we swap bikes so she can try a Diavel for the first time. I hop on her SuperSport S and we head off up Peats Ridge Rd, a big old ex freeway link from the mid 1980s. Proving the friendly nature of the Diavel (well, don’t poke the bear), Kaori easily comes to terms with it and has a fun ride to town and back again. A low seat, smooth engine and selectable maps help…
Later in the afternoon, cruising home, it dawns on me that this actually is a cruiser. I’d spent all day forgetting that and riding it like a nakedbike, a really sporty nakedbike at that, and the Diavel never once complained or kicked back, because it is just so capable. For a rider with a sports background, you will appreciate this bike, yet when you feel relaxed, just cruise along and take in the scenery.
For a rider with a sports background, you will appreciate this bike, yet when you feel relaxed, just cruise along and take in the scenery.
It’s a bike that will do it all. It’d be great fun at the drag strip, too, but I’d draw the line at track days as the ground clearance just isn’t there for that type of riding. It may be called the devil, but the devil must be in the detail, as I can only see the Diavel’s good side…
The new Diavel adopts the 1158cc V4 Granturismo engine with a counter-rotating crankshaft, which reduces the gyroscopic effect while increasing the bike’s agility, according to Ducati. The power spec’s are set at 168hp@10,750rpm and 126Nm@7,500rpm.
Ducati have put emphasis on the low running costs with major maintenance at 60,000km intervals and claimed efficient fuel consumption thanks to the extended deactivation system. This feature shuts off the rear bank not only when the Diavel is stationary, but also while riding at low engine speeds under reduced engine loads.
The Diavel V4 has a kerb weight without fuel of 223kg, saving more than 13kg (-5kg on the engine, -8kg on the chassis) compared to the Diavel 1260 S. All this with component refinement is matched with an inverted 50mm fork and a cantilever-pattern shock, both fully adjustable.
The braking system with 330mm discs and Brembo Stylema calipers ensures plenty of performance, with peak deceleration values of as much as 11.5m/s : obtainable thanks to a very refined calibration of the ABS system.
The rider triangle has been made with comfort in mind, a 790mm seat height, central footpegs and high handlebars set 20mm closer than on the Diavel 1260. Comfort has also been kept in mind with an increase in rear travel by 15mm. The passenger also receives a spacious and comfortable seat, footrests that retract under the tail and a telescopic rear grab bar. Footpegs and grab bar are effectively invisible in the closed position, and together with the passenger seat cover, supplied as standard and easily installed.
The Diavel V4 receives an extensive electronic package. Included are three Power Modes and four Riding Modes: Sport, Touring, Urban and the new Wet, designed for low-grip surfaces. The Riding Modes allow you to adapt the engine delivery and the intervention of the riding aid systems (Ducati Traction Control in Cornering version, ABS Cornering and Ducati Wheelie Control) to suit conditons.
The signature front and rear light clusters and turn signals are full-LED. The front DRL changes shape, with a double-C profile while the rear light cluster consists of a matrix of punctiform LEDs positioned under the tail. Dynamic turn signals are integrated into the handlebars, in front of the brake and the clutch control reservoirs.
Another distinctive element of the Diavel V4 is the massive 240/45 rear tyre. The wheels are a five-spoke alloy with a profile with machined surfaces.
Cruise Control makes highway transfers more relaxed, while Launch Control provides scorching starts and Ducati Quick Shift up/down makes shifting in general less fatiguing. The rider can manage all the electronic systems through backlit controls on the handlebars and the new 5-inch colour TFT dash, which also offers Bluetooth connectivity to pair the smartphone and use it for calls, text messages and music, or use the Turn-by-turn navigation system (available as an accessory) via the Ducati Link App.
The Ducati Diavel V4 is available in Australia and New Zealand now. Prices for the Diavel V4 start from $41,100 Ride Away in Australia. Further colour and model pricing is available here.
2023 Ducati Diavel V4 Specifications
Price: $41,100 Ride Away
Warranty: Two years/unlimited kilometre
Colours: Ducati Red/Thrilling Black
Claimed power: 168hp@10750rpm
Claimed torque: 126Nm@7500rpm
Wet weight: 236kg
Fuel Capacity: 20L
Claimed consumption: 6.4L/100km
Engine: Liquid-cooled 1158cc 16-valve DOHC Granturismo V4, 83 x 53.5mm bore x stroke, 14.01:1 compression, 46mm Ride by Wire elliptical throttle-bodies, four exit exhaust.
Gearbox: Six speed, DQS quickshifter; Ratio 1=40/13, 2=36/16, 3=34/19, 4=31/21, 5=29/23, 6=27/25
Clutch: Wet multi-plate slipper, hydraulic actuation with self-servo pump.
Final drive: Chain
Chassis: Aluminium Monocoque Frame
Rake: 26 degrees Trail: 112mm
Suspension: 50mm fully adjustable usd fork, 120mm travel (F), Fully adjustable monoshock, aluminium single-sided swingarm 145mm travel (R)
Brakes: Dual 330mm Brembo rotors with Brembo Stylema four-piston calipers (f), single 265mm rotor, two-piston Brembo caliper, Cornering ABS.
Wheels & Tyres: Cast Alloy 3.5 x17in 120/70 (f) 8.0 x17in 240/45 (r) Pirelli Diablo Rosso III
Seat Height: 790mm
Ground Clearance: N/A
Overall Length: N/A
Overall Width: N/A
Overall Height: N/A
Instruments & Electronics: 5in TFT Colour Display unit. Riding Modes, Power Modes, Cornering ABS, Ducati Traction Control, Ducati Wheelie Control, Daytime Running Light, Ducati Brake Light. Ducati Quick Shift, Ducati Power Launch, Cruise control, Hands-Free, Ducati Multimedia System, Backlit handlebar switches, Full-LED lighting system, Dynamic turn indicators
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The Verdict | Review: 2023 Ducati Diavel V4