I’ve Shaken Hands with the Devil… and I think I liked it! Feature Test Ride written for Countyline Publications and printed in Wisconsin and Illinois Biker Information Guide third quarter 2011 Dale Lumovic, President, DRILL (Ducati Riders of Illinois) How do you begin to explain something, when all you’re able to do is smile widely and stammer adjectives about something that makes absolutely little sense. Ducati? Makes a cruiser? Do they even know how to do that? Don’t those guys only know how to make World Superbike winning championship Italian rice rockets and that’s all??? I know that many of you will read this and say to yourselves, this is blasphemy! Oh no my friends, I’m talking about me taking a step closer to loving something that I never believed could be possible, enjoying a sport cruiser more than any Superbike I’ve ever ridden before this time. Last week after speaking to our local editor/publisher, Jennifer Knourek, about what I should write about in this issue of WIBIG. She said, “What about that new Ducati Diavel? Why don’t you do a road test and write about it?” Instantly a light bulb glowed brightly above my coconut. Yeah, I thought to myself. Why didn’t I think of that? Yet another reason we have brilliant ladies in our lives, to remind us to do something we haven’t considered before. So I ask you to consider this: Ducati is making a bike to make the Fat Boy, the V-Rod and even the V-Max riders look over their shoulders at what these creative Italian decided to produce. I told you it might sound like blasphemy, but keep reading, trust me it gets better. Many of you attended the Chicago International Motorcycle Show and perhaps drifted into the Ducati display to see what these Italians are able to produce, just for curiosity sake and perhaps saw this beast resting in the corner. I did too, but for the fact that I’m a motorcycle fanatic, although Ducati’s have only really intoxicated me for the past ten years or so. This year Ducati chose to go in a completely new direction with something that they have never done before, create a sport cruiser that set a benchmark that has not been done before. Produce a motorcycle that has the riding dynamics of a Sportbike, the looks of an American muscle bike and the power that only a huge V-twin can produce. After about 150 miles of saddle time I think that they not only hit the mark, they destroyed the benchmark they wanted to eclipse. Diavel is Italian for Devil, the name that a Ducati engineer upon seeing the prototype for the first time spoke under his breath when it was presented internally to the design and engineering group at Ducati’s factory in Bologna Italy. While standing with gaping mouths if front of something that looked nothing like that the company is used to manufacturing, he said, “it looks like something Demonic, like the Devil. Ducati’s designers came up with the concept as a styling exercise and when Ducati’s CEO, Gabriele Del Torchio witnessed it he told the entire team, “It’s beautiful, make it!” What they produced was a 1198cc demon of an engine generating a choice of 100, 142 or up to 162 horsepower controlled by switch that selects electronic engine mapping selectable by a trigger on the handlebar cluster. Hugged by a trademark Ducati trellis steel tube frame surrounding the engine, bridging massive 50mm forks, and a huge single sided aluminum swing arm cupping a 240mm rear tire. 240mm is a massive tire for a bike that handles with the precision and prowess this motorcycle does and doesn’t trip over it’s 456 lbs as it might have you believe. Comparing it to many sport cruisers it’s a feather weight. This is not something you see frequently on a production bike that has the ability to turn corners with great confidence and swap lanes on the highway the way this machine does. With an upright riding position that is gentler to the spine than sport bikes are, and the ability to lug gently around town or head up to the scenic back roads in Wisconsin that have more curves than straights surprised me like I never thought I would be. I rode about 350 miles over a week’s time and never stopped grinning until my time in the saddle was over. The saddle is deeply dished and a offers a sweet spot that is a comfortable spot to watch the world go by with riser bars that are comfortable for the arms and shoulders. The wide gas tank holds 5.3 gallons that took about 125 miles of spirited (ahem…) riding before the reserve light came on warning me that it was time to fill it up once again. Riding it the way it was meant to be ridden it’s hard to imagine getting more than 175 miles from the tank until it’s time to fill up again. The version I rode is called the Diavel Carbon, with a carbon fiber tank cover airbox intake trumpets, side covers, front fender and rear seat cover. It looks like something that’s hard to imagine not coming from Milwaukee, and the rumble from it 90 deg. V-twin is something that stirs the soul, particularly when you twist your wrist harder and your behind slides hard backwards in the saddle. Thank god for that deep saddle. When it comes time to stop the Brembo Monobloc front brakes have an anti-lock circuit to control losing control of the front end in the rain or on surfaces with less than optimal grip. It has the heart of a superbike with an engine developed specially for this motorcycle. It’s a de-tuned version of the 1198 Superbike engine with a 11 deg overlap in the valve timing versus the 17deg. of the superbike engine. Making it more of a mellow power curve rather that the brutal thrust of the Superbike. Ducati calls it mellow; I call it ride-able. It was as much fun cruising gently, as ripping around on it like a dirt tracker at the Springfield mile. It did it all too well. My friends found it odd to see me on it and thoroughly enjoying the Diavel so much, being used to seeing me on nothing other than the polar opposites, a Superbike or a dirt bike. They teased that I must be showing my age, late 40’s, but I say oh no. I have no concern what you’re age, you’ll find something to adore and intoxicate you about this motorcycle. I love all bikes, but this one has truly stirred my soul. You may not think this is possible, but I want to encourage you to visit a Ducati dealer and take one for a demo ride, because you too will be floored as I am still picking myself off that very same floor. Want to shake hands with the Devil? Go visit a dealer and ask for Mr. Diavel, and prepare for an exorcism. I’d like to an offer special thanks to Pewaukee Wisconsin’s own, Ducati Milwaukee and it’s owner Joe Meinerz and his staff for contributing their Diavel for me to complete this road test and review. Ducati Milwaukee is located about 25 minutes west of downtown Milwaukee just south of I-94 at the Grandview Rd.exit. They’re located at 2204 Silvernail Rd. Pewaukee WI 54072, 262 408-5660. Visit Joe and his staff for some of the best service in the Midwest regardless what you ride, and in-depth knowledge about the Diavel and many other Ducati’s.