Motorcycle Review: 2018 Ducati XDiavel S
Ducati has a new techno-cruiser, a motorcycle designed for cruising and more easier riding than the company's race-inspired bikes are known for.
August 15, 2018
The XDiavel has a low seat height, forward controls and torque that’s available without having to rev the engine up to 10,000 rpm (although you can). The 2018 Ducati XDIavel S represents the Italian motorcycle builder’s newest entry into the crowded cruiser world. Although they’re competing with bikes from Harley-Davidson, Indian and Triumph, they’ve created something that really has no competition.
Ducati is now owned by Audi and run through their Italian subsidiary Lamborghini, and they’re all part of the Volkswagen Group. Ducati retains its Italian heritage and roots, everything is still made and assembled in Italy, it’s all just a lot more reliable and well-made. Just like they’ve transformed Lamborghini from a quirky, Italian exotic car brand with questionable reliability to a true Italian supercar with world-class reliability and build quality, Audi is doing the same for Ducati. The XDiavel represents this need to set trends (not follow them) and produce innovative, functional, beautiful and fast motorcycles.
Ducati is promoting a three-number mantra for the XDiavel: 5000, 60 and 40. 5,000 represents the rpm where the engine delivers maximum torque. 60 refers to the number of ergonomic riding positions possible due to multiple handlebar and seat options, along with movable foot-pegs. 40 is the bike’s maximum lean angle, 40 degrees, on a cruiser!.
I rode the XDiavel back and forth between LA and Palm Springs a few times, which is 100 freeway miles each way. The bike was very comfortable although I would have gone with different handlebars. The press bike had them a bit more forward than I would like. The power is instant and endless, that’s a huge engine for a lightweight bike. Handling is precise, the bike feels good going into corners. My only complaint is there was a bit of vibration in the side mirrors that made it hard to see at night, at speed, on the freeway. No vibration on the bike or handlebars, just the mirrors. The sound is also wonderfully Italian and again separates the XDiavel from other cruiser options. In addition to the freeway cruise, I took the XDiavel through the canyons on the CA 74 between Palm Desert and Idyllwild.
The bike is frighteningly powerful with a 150 horsepower, twin-cylinder Testastretta DVT 1262 cc engine. As a reference, the 2018 Hyundai Accent car has 130 horsepower and weights 2,000 pounds more than the Ducati. The power is manageable and well controlled with technology like Ducati Traction Control and Bosch Cornering ABS with Brembo brakes. The power is also managed via the bike’s riding modes, Sport, Touring and Urban. The Urban mode cuts the horsepower to 100 and applies the most intervention from the traction control and ABS. The influence of Audi can be seen as that engine now has long intervals for service (yearly or every 9,000 miles) and valve timing adjustment (every 18,000 miles).
The XDiavel S also shines here with truly state-of-the-art motorcycle performance and safety technology. This is a ride-by-wire bike, the throttle is controlled electronically, not via an old-school cable. It has a Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit which uses sensors to determine the bike’s speed, altitude, lean angle and other factors to help the ABS and traction control assist. These features can be individually and manually controlled via the bike’s electronic display and control system. On that system, I also like how the information displayed can be controlled, as I like a barebones look with just my speed. The bike also comes with Ducati Launch Control, which also uses all that technology to help you get the best starts from that powerful engine. It also comes with cruise control, which I really liked using. The speed is indicated in numbers on the display and it’s easy to move it up and down with your left thumb by a mph to get the desired speed. Other cool tech includes hands-free ignition and full LED lighting
This one’s easy as there really is nothing else like the XDiavel on the road. If you want the sheer power and performance of a Ducati, but also want a cruiser feel and the ability to ride for hours without serious pain, the XDiavel is the bike for you. It’s also very customizable for different riding styles and levels, allowing you to have a lot of help from the system or none at all, if you’re an experienced rider. The XDiavel also looks like nothing else out there, with a beautiful, unique style that really looks like it came from the future. Key style (and design) elements like the trellis frame instantly make it recognizable to those who know the storied Italian brand.
I rode the upgraded XDiavel S model, there is also a non-S version XDiavel ($20,495). The S ($23,995) gives you Bluetooth, a different seat, different finishes on a lot of the metal and different wheels. You also get a glass-black engine and a lot of billet aluminum covers and mirrors. Same engine, same technology. The XDiavel S comes in either Thrilling Black or Iceberg White.
Photos by Freddy Sherman
By Freddy Sherman
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