According to a confidential letter delivered to Ducati dealers, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer's much-anticipated re-entry into the cruiser market will be called the Diavel, a variation of the Italian word for devil. The name was allegedly coined when an unnamed Ducati engineer first saw the styling model and, upon noting the massive, 240mm-wide rear tire, exclaimed, "ignurant comm al diavel!" In the Bolognese dialect local to Ducati's factory, this translates to "evil, just like a devil!"
Fat tire aside, this won't be just another overweight, underpowered knock-off chopper. Ducati is the world's premier manufacturer of high-performance sportbikes, and the Diavel's design incorporates plenty of world championship-winning DNA. The engine will be a higher-spec version of the Multistrada's liquid-cooled, 1200cc Testastretta 11-degree V-twin, anticipated to deliver almost 140 rear-wheel horsepower thanks to an improved exhaust system with equal-length headers. The Diavel will feature many of the same electronic rider aids as the Multistrada, including selectable traction control and variable drive modes to alter power delivery on command. The dealer letter also trumpets an unbelievably low claimed dry weight of just 440 pounds, which should deliver a power-to-weight ratio superior to anything else in the musclebike category-even Yamaha's mighty V-Max.
The Diavel will be one of the quickest motorcycles in the cruiser segment, and likely the best-handling, too, with a super-stiff frame composed of cast-aluminum and steel-trellis sections, a massive single-sided swingarm and an inverted fork lifted straight from the Superbike parts bin. Advanced ABS will help modulate the monster stopping power provided by the Brembo radial-mount Monobloc brakes, likewise borrowed from the Superbike line. The riding position is distinctly non-cruiser, with mid-mount foot controls and a low-rise tubular handlebar placing the rider in a neutral position that should be relaxed without compromising responsiveness during spirited riding sessions.
Ducati Performance is planning a full line of Diavel accessories developed in conjunction with Termignoni and the other usual suspects, as well as a full line of lifestyle goods-including a few pieces the letter says will "depart from what may be perceived as traditional motorcycle apparel." Let's hope this doesn't mean doo-rags and chaps-though, judging from the Diavel's initial performance specs, we can't imagine that will be the case. Cruiser or otherwise, this bike definitely isn't built for the barhopping set.