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.
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.
2012 HD Road Glide Custom - Black denim