Walk towards the Ducati Diavel 1260 S and you’ll find your heart beating hard against your chest as you try and comprehend the sheer size of the monster in front of you. It’s hard not to feel a sense of trepidation even before you swing a leg over the Diavel. So let’s first settle down by soaking in the view of this wondrous machine.
What does it look like?
The Diavel is probably one among a few motorcycles that evoke a sense of power and command, even when at a standstill. The muscular lines and unusually long fuel tank, with air intakes on either side acting as haunches, lend the Diavel an athletic stance. This is complemented by a short subframe that’s the base for a deeply scooped seat which appears to emerge from the bike with no visible support. The clever bit about such a perch is that it puts the ultra-wide 240-section rear tyre in full view. Thanks to the single-sided swingarm, the rear three-quarter angle of the Diavel is simply captivating. So much so that I caught people gawking at it at every traffic light.
And not just that, the whole motorcycle screams for attention, despite this Stealth Black colour scheme that’s specific to the Diavel S. Park it in a corner and a crowd would gather out of thin air, staring at the Diavel with rapt amazement. You’d probably get arrested for gathering a mob and frankly, that’s not the only reason why you’d get yourself into trouble! We’ll get to that soon, but I have to admit that the Diavel’s sinister look – whether it’s in the raw presence, the red trellis frame or the blade-like LED DRLs – is quite alluring.
What’s it like to ride?
There’s a sense of occasion when bringing the Diavel to life. Flip the red switch to expose the starter button, and when you push it, all hell breaks loose. The motor wakes up to an angry growl, bringing with it a sense of anticipation and excitement of what else may be in store. The loud rumble soon settles into a relaxed beat as the motor warms up. Don’t let that deceive you, though, because a little throttle blip reminds you of the firepower that’s waiting to be unleashed. The 159hp and 129Nm of torque give you an idea of what’s about to unfold and also tells you that it would be foolish to underestimate the Diavel even for the slightest bit. As is the case with every modern Ducati, the Diavel 1260 S too is loaded with a number of electronic rider aids, helping you and the bike remain in one piece. Three power modes, multiple traction control intervention levels, cornering ABS, wheelie control, don’t-wet-your-pants control – it’s got it all!
1,262cc, L-twin motor is the star of the show.
Stick to Urban mode and the power output drops to 100 horses, which is still a lot but it can be easily controlled by the relaxed throttle response as well as the anti-wheelie, traction control and ABS systems that are on full alert. This made it easy to pootle around town, with the DVT system ensuring that the engine didn’t protest as much at low revs as was the case with old L-Twin; the bike still doesn’t like dropping below 2,000rpm though.
Switch to Touring mode using the simple menu on the TFT display and you’ve got full power, albeit with a slightly more aggressive throttle response. At this point, you may begin to think that you are getting the hang of the Diavel’s ferocity – big mistake! It’s only once you find yourself an empty stretch of road and select Sport mode that you understand that riding the Diavel is no child’s play. The way this bike shoots ahead as you accelerate hard belies its cruiser stance. The turn of speed is so intense, all you can do is hold on and thank the designers for that seat design which keeps you in place. It takes some courage to keep the throttle open as the rev bar rushes past 5,000rpm, and at this point, you are exultant; get past 7,000rpm and you end up screaming, “Mommy!” The up/down quickshifter ensures there are no interruptions in your quest for more speed, and frankly, it’s a rush unlike any other.
Small TFT display results in a cluttered layout.
After a few sessions of blasting down the road (and scaring myself silly) I pull up by the roadside, laughing in utter disbelief at the experience – then go for another run. It’s quite addictive, and I lost count of the number of times I went up and down Gurgaon’s empty streets. It’s not just ludicrous power that makes the Diavel so good – it’s also its ability to tackle our road conditions.
How does it handle?
I was apprehensive about scraping the underside when I looked at the low ground clearance and 1,600mm wheelbase, but, surprisingly, it didn’t bottom out over any speed breaker. Despite the firmness, the fully adjustable Öhlins suspension at the front and rear did a good job of soaking up bumps and potholes.
Fully adjustable Öhlins are exclusive to the Diavel 1260 S.
However, one has to be mindful of the short profile of the tyres while going over sharp potholes. After all, a bent rim or cracked sidewall isn’t cheap to replace. That said, there’s a fine balance between ride and handling. In fact, when it comes to the latter, the Diavel can leave you gobsmacked. The 1260 S’ sharp steering geometry and lightweight trellis frame make it a cinch to manoeuvre, and I was pleasantly surprised with the cornering ability, especially for what is essentially an ultra-fast cruiser.
Should I buy one?
The Diavel 1260 S is truly a special motorcycle – one that makes each ride an occasion in itself. It can handle Indian roads and traffic, but the engine does heat up a fair bit, and it is best enjoyed on open roads. And while such opportunities may be few and far between, this is a bike that’ll leave you mesmerised every single time.
At Rs 19.25 lakh (ex-showroom), the Diavel 1260 S costs over a lakh and a half more than the standard Diavel 1260 (Rs 17.70 lakh), but for the kind of kit on offer, it’s the one you should go for.