2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S first ride review
Motorcycles that intimidate are always interesting. There's something about the fear they invoke usually with their performance. But when the Ducati Diavel first broke cover back in 2011, its manic performance wasn't the only reason for that feeling. Of course, the Diavel was disruptive, considering Ducati has always only been known to offer motorcycles that look achingly gorgeous and can go like the stink. The Diavel begged to differ though. It looked big, muscular and intimidating. And then there was the performance, as the Diavel could put many a sportsbike to shame when it came to straightline acceleration. The bonus of course was that it handled the way a Ducati ought to. And now in 2019 we have an all-new Diavel, the Diavel 1260. Brawnier looking, more powerful and one that Ducati claims handles even better. A day behind its 'bars in the hills of Southern Spain allowed me to acquaint myself with Ducati's latest beast.
The 2019 Ducati is the second generation version of Ducati's maxi-naked that was launched originally in 2011. This being a generation change, the Diavel 1260 is completely new and gets a full design change along with a brand-new chassis, revised suspension and the more powerful 1,262cc Testasretta DVT engine
Ducati's product presentation slides confirmed that the 1260 is an all-new motorcycle as everything, including the chassis is brand-new. It might look similar to the older bike but the new 1260 looks a lot more modern and sleeker. The all-LED headlamps look sharper, while turn indicators are taller and are a visual highlight. Ducati has retained trademark elements like the LED strips that function as stop lights and the retractable pillion grab handle, but my favourite is the rear section with the single-sided swingarm, short tail and side-mounted rear number plate hanger. Not to forget, the massive, 240-section rear tyre! Overall, the new Diavel looks tauter and with inspiration from muscle cars, superhero comics and the like, it is easily one of the most distinctive looking motorcycles on the planet. In fact, you can never mistake a Diavel for anything else!
That rear though! Ducati has retained characteristic styling elements like the short tail, fat 240-section tyre, single-sided swingarm and side-mounted number plate hanger at the rear for 2019
The Diavel 1260 showcases Ducati's prowess in offering some of the most advanced rider aids yet again. Heck, Ducati has even added a six-axis IMU to it this time! You still have Sport, Touring and Urban for riding modes but with more customisation. The 1260 also benefits from the addition of the Ducati Safety Pack integrating Bosch Cornering Evo and Ducati Traction Control Evo. And while it is equipped with cruise control expectedly, Ducati has also endowed the bike with Ducati Wheelie Control and Ducati Power Launch Evo now! The 1260 S also gets a bi-directional quickshifter as standard, as also the Ducati Multimedia System and the Ducati Link App, which allows riders to connect their smartphones to the bike via Bluetooth and save ride data. Neat!
The 3-inch TFT display boasts a crisp resolution and uses bright colours, thus making for excellent visibilty even in harsh sunlight
The Diavel 1260 is powered by Ducati's well-acclaimed 1,262cc, Testastretta DVT engine that offers 161PS and 129Nm. Its staggering outputs aside, the fact that V-twins produce peak power at relatively low revs is another highlight here. Of course, then there's the fact that this engine is no less than an engineering marvel given the amount of technology it packs in. And for the record, the Diavel 1260's torque output of 129Nm is higher than most inline-four cylinder engined litre-class superbikes!
If the Diavel was considered wet-your-pants-quick, the 1260 is only better at the job, despite its 244kg kerb weight! The electronics make putting the power down easy but despite that I found Sport mode a little too hairy, even on the open motorways in Spain as even small openings of the throttle resulted in a sharp thrust. I can easily imagine the 1260 posting some envious 0-100kmph acceleration times in Sport mode, especially with help from the launch control. I-gear acceleration is mind-numbing to and there were times when I accelerated to overtake other vehicles on the road, only to that I was doing about 140-150kmph.
With more power on tap, a bi-directional quickshifter as standard on the S version and a more furious power delivery, the new generation Diavel can be scarily quick in terms of straightline acceleration
Power delivery in Sport is thus sinfully delicious, but isn't something you can use on your average motorway can startle experienced riders too. It's almost like that secret weapon you'll want to unleash at select venues and select times. So Touring mode thus works best as it lets the engine offers its full wealth, in a softer manner. Touring mode lets you put the huge reserves of power down in a friendlier manner without scaring yourself. Ducati has been working on improving the engine over the years and apart from its seamless power delivery the 1262cc also motor feels significantly smoother now.
As is the case with V-twins, the Diavel 1260 loathes anything below 3,000rpm but everything above it has the bike turn into a butter-smooth projectile. The transmission allows slick shifts throughout, though the quickshifter works best only when you're banging through the gears hot, so clutchless shifts have a slightly clunky feel at part throttle. All the while the 90-degree V-Twin engine goes hammer and tongs, sounding (insert choicest expletives here!) awesome. Many don't appreciate the V-twin sound but at full chat the Diavel 1260 sounds really good, in my opinion.
The 2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 is equipped with an advanced electronics suite that makes harnessing the engine's power easy. The S version you see here uses Ohlins suspension at both ends which makes for sportsbike-like handling around corners
The star of the show though are the rider aids as the electronics micro-manage the performance and let you make the most of the 160 horses. This was apparent all the more once we reached the hills, where it wasn't just the scenery that was stunning. Southern Spain has some really beautiful vistas to offer, but the Diavel 1260 stunned me more than the visuals with its intuitiveness, agility and light feel. What's more, the feel and feedback from the front end, as also the ease with which the bike changed direction despite its size and weight is remarkable. The Diavel 1260 eggs you into leaning harder into corners and dispatches chicanes in a way, that except for its seating position, everything else feels like a proper sportsbike.
Of course, the new chassis deserves credit for the bike's affable handling, along with the repositioned rear monoshock that offers more travel. More importantly, the 48mm Ohlins upside down forks mean business, as do the Brembo M50 calipers biting into the twin 320mm discs upfront. It's a combination not many would picture on anything apart from sportsbikes, but Ducati has disrupted that thought. There weren't too many imperfections on Spain's roads to gauge the bike's ride quality, but I feel the Ohlins will not have much trouble ironing out inconsistencies on our roads. Then there's the purpose built Pirellis, especially the super-fat rear tyre that grips tarmac as well as it surprises you with the agility it makes for despite its width, adding to rider confidence in a massive way.
The 2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 is a quantum leap over its predecessor and is sure set enthusiasts' tongues wagging once it gets launched in the country
The Diavel 1260 comes across as a huge step-up from its predecessor and is hard to fault with. Irrespective of whether you are a laidback rider looking for serious thrills or an accomplished sportsbike rider, the Diavel 1260 will enthrall and impress and has the distinct ability to have you grin stupidly inside your helmet almost all the time with its performance and handling. The bike will be launched in India next month and if you plan to buy it, I have no qualms in recommending the fully-loaded S version given its equipment levels. The base version of the last generation Diavel retailed at about Rs 16 lakh ex-showroom and I expect the 1260 to command a premium over it. That certainly shouldn't come in the way of its success though, given how popular the Diavel has been in India, as also the fact that the 1260 really ups the ante as a maxi-naked.
Here is the 2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S First Ride Video Review
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