Video: Ducati XDiavel vs KTM 1290 Super Duke GT – Both are expensive bikes, but are they worth the money?
Before building Ducati’s most successful cruiser ever, engineers and designers from the Italian bike builder spend many months living in the United States. They mingled with bikers, hung out with custom bike builders, lived the American motorcycle dream to understand what it is that gave cruisers their soul.
But when the Diavel was first introduced back in 2011, it was still very much a sports bike with a laid back riding position, rather than a cruiser. Ducati called it the ‘powercruiser’, they weren’t wrong but the Diavel could have been better. A better cruiser that it.
Fast forward five years, and Ducati tried again with the XDiavel by giving it a longer wheelbase, moving the foot pegs up front to give it the cruiser feel and some aesthetic touches. They also called it the ‘technocruiser’ in honor of the futuristic touches and the modern retro people who are likely to buy such a bike.
But though it has all the cruiserly touches like the wide rear tyre, belt drive, forward controls, low seat height, a long 30-degree rake, and the long wheelbase, the XDiavel still feels like a proper sports bike. You can ride this thing in complete anger and it will behave the way a proper super bike does with light predictable handling and loads of power on the upper end of the rev band, yes the engine is a complete screamer, just as you would expect from a Ducati.
The XDiavel may have the grand looks and a sophisticated design, but it is the engine that is the real jewel in Ducati’s crown. The 1262cc Testastretta DVT engine has the proper character of a sports bike, with 156hp and 129Nm of torque between 5,000 – 9,500rpm which means you really need to rev this engine to the heavens to truly enjoy all of its power.
The test bike we rode came with the optional Termignoni exhausts that protrude out from the bottom of the bike. This exhaust brings out the raw character of the bike – loud, powerful and brutal. In fact if you are going to buy the XDiavel, make sure to opt for the Termignoni’s. The only problem with them is that they can be a bit loud when riding on the highway.
However, I noticed something about the exhaust and the electronic riding modes. The XDiavel offers three different riding models – Sports, Urban and Touring – and each mode offers different throttle control, power delivery and such. But on our test ride to Mersing, we noticed that even the exhaust note changes with the mode. Riding it in Sports mode on the highway can be tiring as the exhaust is too loud and it tends to drone after a while even with a high-spec Shark Race-R Pro helmet. But in Touring and Urban mode, the sound mellows down dramatically and, dare I say it, is a lot more pleasant.
So though the XDiavel is more of a sports bike than a cruiser, taking it on a long distance ride to Johor and back was surprisingly fulfilling. The forward controls meant that my long legs could stretch for comfort, the big fuel tank gave over 300 kilometers on a full tank of petrol which is impressive, and the steel/aluminium fuel tank allowed me to clip on my magnetic tank bag which made the XDiavel perfect for distance touring.
However, the XDiavel is all about style, and on that note, this futuristic Ducati is the rockstar of the power cruiser segment. it is not always that you come across a bike with huge presence and gargantuan power and yet is still able to be gentle and docile when ridden. If you are not convinced about its sporting pedigree then know this, the XDiavel even has a feature called the Ducati Power Launch which gives it the most amount of grip and manages wheelie when you want to get off a line quickly – during traffic light drag battle perhaps?
There are two variants of the XDiavel available, one is the standard XDiavel and another is the XDiavel S, which we tested. The latter has even more exclusive touches like dedicated rims, polished black paint on the tank, Daytime Running Light, unique front forks, and Brembo M50 mono block calipers for the front brakes. Other features that are unique to the XDiavel S are billeted rear view mirrors, frame plates and forged, machine-finished foot pegs. The seats too are made of bi-material upholstery, and there is a Bluetooth module that lets you connect your phone to it and shows all your incoming text messages, and also shows you who’s calling.
The XDiavel is of course more suited to urban environments than long distance cruising or tackling corners. But fact of the matter is, the XDiavel can do almost anything you ask of it, and that is what we call talent. So has Ducati finally managed to make a proper power cruiser? Yes they have, and they have managed to add in a lot of style to it as well. But at little under RM150,000, the XDiavel is certainly not cheap, but who cares about that when you have this much style and power.