2015 Ducati Diavel | FIRST LOOK

Ducati brings its first early-release to Motorcyclist--their baddest-ever sport cruiser

Performance has never been the weak suit of Ducati's innovative and charismatic Diavel sport cruiser. But that didn't stop Bologna from giving the Diavel a revised version of the torquey Testastretta 11-degree engine featuring dual spark plugs in each four-valve cylinder head. Along with a new exhaust system and other refinements, the Testastretta DS keeps its 162-hp peak but gains a couple of pound-feet of torque, to a new peak of 96.2 at 8,000 rpm. Ducati says the "L-twin" engine is smoother than ever. One other update owners will appreciate is an extension to the valve-clearance check, which is now at 18,000 miles, up 3,000 from before.

Ducati continues to use a raft of leading-edge electronic technologies—including traction control, ABS, and ride modes made possible by ride-by-wire fueling—to manage this power all the way from the crank, through the six-speed transmission, to the 240-section rear tire. Three ride modes are available: Sport, Touring, and Urban, with different levels of throttle response and reduced output in Urban. Eight levels of user-selectable traction-control intervention are also available.

Engine changes are just the beginning. Ducati's taken the opportunity of the powerplant upgrade to refresh the Diavel's styling. A new instrument surround and headlight—now will all-LED lighting—work with other updates including fresh radiator surrounds, a revised seat, and updated handlebar risers. Ducati didn't mess with the Diavel's low/long styling themes, nor did its designers sacrifice a low seat height: the saddle is just 30.3 inches off the tarmac.

As before, two versions of the Diavel will be available. The standard version weighs 463 pounds while a carbon-fiber draped iteration called the Diavel Carbon will be available that's 11 pounds lighter.

The updated Diavel goes on sale in late April.

MSRP for the Diavel Dark is $17,995 with the Diavel Carbon (red or white) at $20,995.

Ducati Diavel

Ducati Diavel
Ducati Diavel
Ducati Diavel
Ducati Diavel