When one thinks of a cruiser class motorcycle, very specific visuals tend to pop into the mind’s eye, and I doubt very highly that many of those mental pictures resemble what we all would consider a Ducati. After all, a Ducati is a racing bike, right? A sport bike…a SUPER-bike, for crying out loud. A Ducati is built for speed while pressing your chest against its tank and stroking its handles as it slices through our atmosphere like a knife on wheels. Sure, some take to the streets on them, but they weren’t built for that laid-back, putting-around-the-neighborhood just for the joy of a casual ride type of biking. No, they were designed to make the heart pound and the blood pressure shoot through the roof; they were built for thrills and excitement…they were built SPEED and MANEUVERABILITY. Leave the highway trips to the tour bikes, and the ‘I ride to relax and show off to my neighbors’ to the……the CRUISERS. Now, if that doesn’t break it down for you, nothing will.
The 2011 Ducati Diavel: Not Your Grandpa’s Cruiser
With a history of designing and manufacturing some of the fastest, most effective, and most expensive super bikes on the planet, Ducati approached the end of the 2000-2010 decade with new ideas. Not that offering a cruiser was all that new for the Italian company; they had released the Indiana in 1986, but it lasted only two years, with a mere 1000 of them ever going on the market. They called it a ‘cruiser’, but the fact was that the Indiana was nothing more than a tour bike that they tweaked to make it appropriate to the class they had placed it in. To be honest, one look at it and you just know that Ducati was way out of their comfort zone when they made it. The Indiana looks like something Harley-Davidson might have made with a bad hangover. Not that it was a bad bike, mind you. It just appeared that they had stepped out of their league…just a tad.
But as we mentioned a bit ago, as 2010 approached, it seemed they got the itch to try it again. After all, trial and error paves the road to perfection, right? It just wouldn’t have been like the die-hard Ducati company that so many knew and loved if they didn’t take another stab at offering a cruiser motorcycle to their adoring fans. So, after going back to their super bike roots, aesthetically at least, and after a bit more tweaking and upgrading to make sure to capture the attention of the consumer, Ducati announced the 2011 Diavel at Milan’s EICMA motorcycle show in November of 2010, but that was just the beginning of the story; it was also named Best Cruiser of 2011 by Cycle World.
Their cruiser ended up being enough of a hit that Ducati was able to announce a second-generation Diavel in March of 2014 for the following year while at Geneva’s Volkswagen Group Night…not too shabby.
With those facts on the table, let’s get a look at those specs.
The 2011Ducati Diavel Cruiser: Specs & Features
So, here’s the lowdown on this Italian-made cruiser motorcycle:
- MSRP new: $17,928.25; Used price ranges from $9,092.41 to $24,786.15
- Cruiser-class motorcycle
- Fuel capacity at 4.5 US gallons (3.7 Imp. gallons; 17 liters)
- 90° L-twin engine; Desmodromic liquid-cooled 4-valve; 1198.4 cc
- Weight at 515 lbs. wet (234 kg)
- Bore & Stroke at 4.17 inches x 2.67 inches (106 mm x 67.9 mm)
- 30 inch seat height (770 mm)
- 11.5 :1 compression ratio
- 63 inch wheel base (1590 mm)
- Top speed of 169 mph (272 km/h)
- Rake/trail at 28°
- 152 hp @ 9,250 rpm (121 kW…claimed)
- Rear tire is 240/45 ZR 17; Front tire is 120/17 ZR 17
- Torque at 96.3 lb. ft. (130.5 n-M) at a claimed 8,800 rpm
- Two 320 mm semi-floating disc brakes at the front with radial mounted 4-piston Brembro calipers and radial master cylinder
- 265 mm disc brake on rear with ABS standard Bosch Brembro; 2-piston caliper
- Electronic ignition
- Single-sided swingarm aluminum suspension
- Wet hydraulic multi-plate slipper clutch with six-speed constant-mesh transmission
- Steel trellis frame with cast-aluminum sub-frame at the rear
Summing it Up…
Well, from what we have here we can clearly see that Ducati, as a company, liked to take risks. After decades of basically sticking with what they knew (racing and sport motorcycles that stayed true to form), they went out on a limb and tried to join the forces of those who rode more casual bikes, or ‘cruisers’. Unfortunately, the Indiana was their first effort, and it just didn’t go over too well. But they weren’t going to go softly into that ‘cruiser’ good-night…not without a fight. In 2010 Ducati proudly announce the 2011 Diavel, a cruiser-class motorcycle that stuck with the company’s roots in more ways than one. The result was a successful bike that not only gave the fans the look they wanted, but it also allowed them to enjoy riding on a level that wasn’t so intense and demanding, and that was just what the people seemed to want. The success of the Diavel enabled Ducati to produce a second generation cruiser that also proved to be a great cruise bike.
We have learned a lot about this iconic company, but the greatest lesson is that of their stamina and determination in the face of adversity. They were made of the right stuff to endure…they definitely had, and still have, just what is needed to see things through to the bitter end. As a result, Ducati still shines today, and their machines are coveted and dream of by people all around the globe.
So go ahead and dream a little for yourself. If you prefer a cruise bike but have always longed for a Ducati machine, this is the answer to your prayers. Now, all that’s left is for you to go out and get one for yourself.
Putt those neighborhood streets with pride, and keep on being safe.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith