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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Default For those curious about the: My long winded review of the Diavel Carbon

Feel free to skip the intro (italicized), it just talks about my search and other bikes I had considered.


I have gotten a lot of questions about the bike, so I thought I'd share my thoughts and feelings on it in case anyone might be interested in owning one at some point. It's a rather unconventional bike, and get stares and comments wherever I go. Going down the road some people look at me like I'm riding some sort of alien craft because it does look so "different".

Coming from my Gixxer 600 and Victory Hammer S, I was in search of a bike that would give me performance and handling similar to a sportbike, but without the discomfort I was experiencing as my body ages a bit. I'm not even 40 yet, but my body is less tolerant of the sportbike riding position than it once was. I knew I would not be content with having "only" a cruiser, so the search was on to try to find ONE bike that would give me the combined joy of both.

It proved to be a daunting task.

The V-Rod was just too heavy and lumbering, and felt like trying to walk in lead shoes made 2 sizes too large for my feet. Also, the power is not as impressive as some would lead you to believe. Nicely made bike with terrific fit & finish, just not for me.

I looked at a few standards/nakeds, but nothing seemed right. The Kawasaki Z1000 had a nice riding position, but something didn't fit right. The Ducati Monsters and Streetfighters were still too aggressive in their riding positions, and locations of the rearsets.

Then I thought I had found perfection. I finally got to test ride a 2009 Yamaha Vmax. Dear God the power this thing has is almost unlawful. As most know, it'll take most any bike in a straight line 0-100 (even a BMW S1000rr), but throw a curve at it, and it's all over. And that's fine, it was designed to be a muscle cruiser destined for the dragstrip, and it's important to bear that in mind when you see silly comparisons like that. While I was completely amazed by the power, and wasn't too disappointed in the handling, it had a few quirks that had to be worked out upon purchase (read as: $$$$ immediately out of pocket). I'm 6' with a 34" inseam, yet I couldn't flat-foot it at a stop. The footpegs are exactly where your legs are when you drop your feet to the ground, so you must spread your legs very wide to hold the bike up. So a shaved seat (Yamaha makes a lowered seat as well) and maybe lowering the bike an extra inch would be needed. There were other small things, but I won't bore you with them, they're just nitpicks from an individual, not something everyone might want to change anyway. But I assumed about $3k in mods had to be done on day one.

I searched and searched to find one, and in a 100 mile radius only ONE dealer had one in stock. And they had it in a crate. A quick call to them and I was told that unless you pay for it in full, they won't even uncrate it. Seriously?? I'm coming in to buy a $20,000 bike and this is how you treat me?

Discouraged, I hit Cycletrader.com to look for another one. A pop-up ad comes on my screen and I see a white Ducati 1198s at a stupid-low price, and figure WTH and clicked it. While I had no interest in a sportbike, it attracted me. I drove by the dealership the next day to go look at it. Long story short, it was already sold (FU Cycletrader for never updating anything!!), and they had a floor full of goodies to ogle at. My eyes wandered over to the Diavel (which I had always drooled over since before they were released), but didn't think it would work for me. The owner of the dealership was the person helping me, and took a LOT of time answering questions, and damn near taking half the bike apart on the showroom to completely demo the bike. Then he told me to come back and ride their demo (in South Florida you cannot test ride sportbikes, or anything other than a cruiser), so I was impressed and decided to come back the next day.

One ride was all it took. It fit me like a glove. Nearly perfect upright position, super comfy seat, good peg position, and gobs of power (though I didn't flog their demo bike). I wanted the Carbon, but was afraid it might be a bit too expensive, but luckily we were able to work out a great deal, and he was the first dealer not to insult my trades... we did the deal and I rode home on my new bike the next day. Almost 2 weeks later now and I can say that I am even more happy than when I bought it.





On to the rider review..........


For the first 620 miles, you can't exceed 5500rpm, and it takes damn near 2500rpm just to get it off the line without lugging it. While I typically ignore break-in procedures and 'ride it like I stole it', I was told about certain instances where the rider would come in for their 600 mile checkup and oil change, and end up having to replace valves due to improper break-in. I didn't need another $200+ expense added to my initial service, so I did things the right way. It drove me NUTS, but it gave me time to get to know the bike and its mannerisms before unleashing Hell's Fury by cracking the throttle. Now I have broken it in, so I'll give you my feedback on the bike in general plus the feeling of the power now that it is available to me.


Aesthetics: 10/10

This is a very personal rating. Many people find the Diavel to be ugly as sin, and I'm ok with that. It IS an acquired taste. It's not a sportbike, yet it has a sportbike type of look to it. It isn't a real cruiser, yet its stance and position push it heavily into that category. So, as we often do with things we don't understand... we tend to look at it with a very critical eye.

The bike is an optical illusion. It looks short, squatty and heavy. In reality it has a quite long wheelbase, but the short tail section and truncated front end with it's leaned back headlamp keeps you from seeing that right away. It is thick, wide and bulky looking, making it look heavy, but it weighs in around 450lbs. Most of the bulk you see is either plastic or Carbon Fiber, so there is little to no weight in those bulky areas. I chose the red because I like the look of the Trellis frame, and in red, you see that highlighted very well. It becomes a standout feature on the bike, instead of blending in with everything else on the black versions.

The integration of the GIANT LED turn signals (front and rear) also appealed to me. For one reason... I HATE turn signal stalks protruding from the lines of a bike. This was another thing that would have had to be changed on the Vmax right away. I also prefer the added visibility of the bright LED lights for safety concerns. Another nice feature is the swingarm mounted license plate holder Doesn't sound like a big feature till you think of EVERY bike you've ever bought... the first thing you do is get a fender eliminator kit, right? It comes stock with a clean looking rear section, and I dug that.

The signature Ducati single sided swingarm is an aesthetic plus. It shows off the gorgeous, deep-dish (and very lightweight) 240 Marchesini wheel. Even the exhaust doesn't look half bad for a big heavy stocker.




Continued in next post due to forum limitations.............

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Features/gizmos: 10/10

This is a feature-rich bike, no doubt. Ducati's racing heritage is on full display in this area, and reminds you that while it may look and feel like a muscle cruiser, it is a superbike at its core.

An 8 level, user customizable traction control system, 3 rider modes (programmable) and ABS give you a feeling of security. Already known for being sure-footed and confidence inspiring, Ducati has built a reputation for building bikes that SEEM easier to ride hard than some others. Adding the DTC (Ducati Traction Control) and ABS help you feel as secure as one could possibly feel on a 2 wheeled rocket. While it won't make up for rider ignorance and totally unfavorable road surfaces, it will help correct minor issues that might have otherwise challenged you beyond your readiness level. During break-in I kept my rider mode in "Touring" until I got a better feel for the bike. Touring gives you all 162hp, but a SLIGHTLY gentler reaction on the throttle, and I customized my DTC level to 6 for this mode. Now that I have a better feel for how the bike reacts in different situations, I now ride in "Sport" mode with the full 162hp and full snappy reaction on the throttle with a DTC custom set to 4 (ya know... just in case!!) and my ABS is always set to "ON". I don't expect to use "Urban" mode often unless I get caught in an unavoidable downpour. That limits you to 100hp, and very much softens the throttle reaction, so it should prove to be a safer alternative on very slippery wet roads.

For now I've left the suspension setup as standard for my weight, though I do foresee adjusting the rear to a tad bit stiffer. It has caused no issues thus far, and the bike feels planted in corners, but as I continue to push the power, I believe I would benefit from a tad stiffer setting. Luckily the settings are easily changed with easily accessible adjuster knobs and no tools required.

One part that helps you realize that this bike was built by a racing company is the location of the sight glass on the reservoirs. While some cruisers don't even HAVE them at all, most that do favor you sitting on the bike, propped up to read the fluid levels on the brake. On the Duc they are facing forward, reminding you that a Ducati should most likely be up on a paddock stand with you standing in front of it checking these things.

The Brembo brakes are top-notch with superior stopping power and not too grabby. One finger lever pull is all that's required in most all situations except perhaps a real panic stop. Even then, I'm sure one finger could still do it just fine.

FINALLY someone put a headlight on a bike that is BRIGHT, clear and very useful!!! I'm very happy with the light beam pattern and distance of throw.



Ride comfort: 9/10

This is where I am most pleasantly surprised. After a recent 150+ mile jaunt I can say that even my big cruiser wasn't as comfortable in the saddle as the Duc is. I got off without my butt feeling numb, or my tailbone hurting, which was refreshing for a change!! I thought the standard riding position with the pegs directly below (knees bent, but feet NOT rearward like on a Monster or Streetfighter) would make my legs feel cramped, in need of stretching out forward on a long ride. Luckily this hasn't been the case yet, but my longest ride has been 3 hours with a 30 minute break in the middle.. so this remains to be seen. The factory seat is the best OEM seat I've been on, I see no need to buy a better one. Like I said, no butt or tailbone pain, so I'm very happy.

Bar reach is perfect for me, with only a hint of leaning a bit forward, though I can easily sit completely upright by scooting up a little on the seat when I want to.

There is zero wind management to speak of, but there are a couple of screens available. The look of the bike once installed seems to be hotly debated, but I like the look of the roadster screen myself, I think it compliments the lines of the bike.




Continued in next post.......... :twitch

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Performance: 9/10

Why not 10/10? Well, it redlines at 11k, and you do have a big 240mm rear tire. But neither really take away from the fun on the road in all honesty, but those coming from a superbike might look at this as a slight flaw in what they're used to riding. Anyone coming from a cruiser will be astounded by the performance and should have no complaints.

In its class, nothing except the Vmax can touch it. Yes, the Vmax will outright slaughter the Diavel, as proven more times than I'd care to recite... but the Diavel is a more well-rounded machine capable of handling corners in a way that the Vmax simply cannot do. It is also tremendously lighter on its feet around town, and in slow, tight maneuvers such as you'd encounter at a gas station, or mall parking lot. Let's face it... we will all spend more time there than we will on a dragstrip. Ducati claims that the Diavel will out accelerate an 1198s in a straight line up to 100mph where the aerodynamics and much higher redline of the 1198s will come into play. Now that is seriously mind blowing power for a bike that rides and is configured like this. If you're out on a group ride with a bunch of powerful sportbikes, you won't feel left behind, and you'll surely surprise them with your ability to keep up, and even overtake them in the right situation.

Is the 240 rear tire really a hindrance? I came from a cruiser with a 250 rear tire, so I got used to it over time. I have only felt one trace of that rear tire, and that's where it makes the front end feel a little light in some corners, where one tire is clearly leading the other. You make minor adjustments to how you ride and it's just fine... but be aware. I have been able to lean it over every bit as easily as my Gixxer, and I would think that's partially due to the custom profile of this rear tire. It was designed specifically for Ducati for use on the Diavel, and you don't have to wrestle it at all to get the bike over. Once again, the famous Ducati faith-inspiring performance shines through in turns, where I feel more confident rolling on the throttle more than I had on my Hammer in the same turns I hit daily. Would a 190 give you better performance? Without a doubt, but I think the difference would be negligible to an ordinary street rider, probably only a difference in the hands of a track pro.

I learned through my break in that this motor despises anything under 4000rpm. It gives you a vibration through the pegs and seat letting you know that you need to quit pussyfooting around and open her up. No lurching or bucking if you're around town and are forced to lug the engine a bit, even down to 2500rpm... it will go just fine, but that vibe is still there.

At 5000rpm the engine sees to start to become happy. 7000+ is where it really wants to be. Running it up and down between 6k and 9k you feel what seems to be the hand of God smacking you on the back, propelling you forward with a great amount of thrust. Playing a bit on the freeway and testing the power gives you a thrilling sensation, and you find yourself doing something you didn't do on your other bikes which you've ridden so long that you know all their nuances.... you have a bit of a death grip on the bars. Not out of fear, but from the sensation that if you don't, your hands will be torn loose from the grips. Snapping the throttle open releases a violent, but controlled and smooth amount of power to that stout 240 out back, and at that point you're just along for the ride. You don't ever feel out of control, but your senses are kept in check when you look down at the speedo and realize how fast you're actually going. The throttle response is crisp and immediate, but not darty and unpredictable.


As most other cruiser riders will tell you, it SUCKS not having a slipper clutch. I have had more than one butt-puckering incident where I've downshifted too sharply and broke the rear wheel loose, causing you to wonder if you only heard that girlish yelp INSIDE your head, or if others around you heard it come out. A quick check to be sure your shorts are still clean, and you're on your way, vowing to never repeat this stupid mistake. Luckily the Duc has a good slipper clutch, and I have tested mine just to know what my limits were. I am plenty satisfied.

I don't think I will outgrow this bike or its potential. I can see myself modding it a little bit possibly, but nothing major as far as power is concerned. I will never be able to ride it to it's full potential on the street. Most will never truly ride a 600 to its full potential, though there are arrogant folks out there that feel they can push a literbike to its maximum limits... but we all know the truth. I am not a track rider, so for the street I realize I don't even need this level of performance, but I do love having it at my disposal. I can say with absolute certainty that this bike WILL get me into trouble. I see a few tickets in my immediate future. Unlike my feelings when I ride a sportbike however... I don't feel that overwhelming urge to go all hooligan on it. I think it's a mental thing... you get on a sportbike, get into that aggressive riding position, and you feel compelled to ride it harder, and possibly do things you would not normally do on a more relaxed type of bike like a cruiser perhaps.



Lifestyle:

Here is where I heavily debated getting this bike. I am not a lifestyle rider. Harley owners buy Harleys as much for the lifestyle as for the ride, in some cases more for the lifestyle. Ducati has the same kind of thing going.

As I looked around at the customers looking/buying at this, and other Ducati stores, I saw a few distinct types of people:

Track stars who are shopping for a new track weapon (that's certainly not me) who could out-ride me with one arm tied behind their back.

Middle aged guys searching to regain their youth, and plan to ride the bike hard and fast to prove something to themselves, or to others (also not me, I ride for me and only me, and I'm not that old yet)

The rich folk who buy a Ducati as a symbol of status and wealth. No lie, as I was initially looking a guy walks in and tells the salesperson that he needs a somewhat smaller bike to run on the deck of his yacht, and the occasional off-ship island commuter. (Again, not who I am by any stretch)

I began to wonder why I don't ever see any Diavels on the road. I mean, I have NEVER once seen another Diavel on the road, and I live in a bike heavy area. Ducati says that Diavel sales last year accounted for a healthy part of their growth, so there surely are a LOT out there. Then I was informed at the dealerships I have visited that many buyers grab one due to the uniqueness, ride it for maybe 200 miles at most, then prop it up in their garage as a conversational piece to show off to their friends.

I buy my bikes to ride and thoroughly enjoy. The brand is irrelevant to me as long as it is a brand that displays quality and integrity, and the price is right for me. I realize I am out of my element when I look around and see slicked up Duc owners wearing dress pants and a Ducati polo shirt as they stroll around the stores picking out their new acquisition.... and when you look in the parking lot, there's no bike to be seen. I am dismayed that you can't find a single Ducati mechanic's style shirt anywhere, and only a limited selection of T-shirts that don't look pretty & preppy. If you want to wear company merch (as most do when they are proud owners of whatever type of bike) you have to bu a seamless silky t-shirt or a polo shirt.... something that looks like you're a part of the privileged life instead of looking like a motorcycle rider.

But I loved the bike, and regardless of whatever stigma may be attached to the brand, I will enjoy it. True that not every Gixxer owner is a squid, not every Harley owner is a 1%er, and not every Can-Am owner is geriatric (ok, that may still be true), so hopefully people will realize that I'm not a pretentious douchebag just because I ride a Ducati. Hopefully if they see me at a gas station fueling up, they'll approach me and talk to me to find this out, instead of just making the assumption. In the end, I don't much care... I ride for my own enjoyment, and since I'm not 20 anymore, I don't care much about impressing others.


In a nutshell:

I weighed my decision very carefully. I have ridden most every bike that I have considered worthy of being in my garage, and the Diavel simply hit every point that I needed it to in order to be a keeper. It is insanely powerful to anyone less than a track hero... and even some of them have commented positively on the Diavel's power/performance. It is super comfortable for me, even on longer rides, though I don't expect it to be a multi-state cruiser, because I realize it wasn't designed to be one. It looks sexy as hell, rides amazingly well, and does exactly what I wanted it to. So if you've considered moving on from either a sportbike or a cruiser, but don't want to give up what you love most about either... try a demo ride on a Diavel and I'm willing to bet you'll be impressed. I don't think it's the best bike on the planet, but it it certainly IS the best bike on the planet... for me.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 07:54 PM
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In depth and worthy of a magazine review. Happy trails!!

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 08:16 PM
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Hell of a review Bandit. And I like your writing style. As a publisher, I know good copy when I read it. Enjoy the Duc(k).

"The motorcycle goes where you point your nose."
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both very much

Publish me...

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BanditSRT8 View Post
Thank you both very much

Publish me...
would love to, but since what I publish has to do with circuits boards...
On second thought maybe there is an angle here - I could get rides on all kinda bikes and review the electronics portion. Oh well it's a thought. Didn't work out for guitars and amps either.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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D'oh! We were both so close....

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 10:45 PM
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You can add me to your list of Ducati lovers, but I bought mine as a loose collection of parts scattered around an old shed. Paid a hundred bucks for a single cylinder 350cc Ducati Sebring that I rebuilt in the converted dining room of my third story apartment in Rota, Spain. She had an overhead cam with the "Desmo Drive" and an Amal carburetor! Classic little ride that gave me more bang for the buck than any bike I've ever owned. If I could have any of my old bikes again, she would be at the top of the list!

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 12:29 AM
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Excellent write up. I have rode a couple of Ducs in my time. Very good handling bikes. The last one I rode I happened to catch the fact that I was going much faster through the turns than I would usually be going on my bike that I had at the time. What's funny about that is I did not feel like I was pushing it at all. The last one I rode was a GT1000,very nice bike.
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