’s European correspondent Tor Sagen was fortunate enough to be on hand for Ducati’s pre-EICMA press conference and the official unveiling of the new Diavel power cruiser. Below are his impressions from the event.

Carcano Theatre, Milan, November 1.

Fransesco Rapisarda, Gabriele del Torchio and Diego Sgerbati introduced us into Ducati’s financial and marketing status before Claudio Domenicali entered the stage and introduced all the news starting with the Superbike family we already know from Intermot that I have already tested at Imola. Then Domenicali continued with the EICMA news starting of with the Monster family where the Monster 1100 EVO is new. The 1100 EVO gets the Hypermotard 100hp engine, new exhaust with new tubing at the front similar to what’s on the Diavel. It also gets traction control.

Then it was time for the big one everybody had been waiting for – the Diavel. After showing several new videos showing the Diavel in action the stage exploded in light and smoke as a female rider rode the Diavel on to the stage. After some banter about the rider having to move off the bike so that we could appreciate the Diavel without any eye candy two more Diavels entered the stage. One white/aluminum colored and one in all black. The Red/black version is called Diavel Carbon and as the name implies it gets lots of carbon fiber bits.

Ducati revealed that the 1200cc engine is a devil indeed with figures claiming 162hp @ and 128Nm @ 8,000rpm. The Diavel gets DTC and ABS slightly modified from the items on the Multistrada 1200. New is also an extra display on the fuel tank dealing with the rider aids. The LCD panel is made from pretty much the same goodies as modern smart phones.

Interestingly Ducati has developed the bike to feature an all new rear tire size with Pirelli. The new Pirelli Diablo Rosso II in 240/45-ZR17 has an extremely low profile that makes the bike look menacing from the back coupled with an equally wide tail section. The front end is dominated by a huge round headlight flanked by what look like air intakes. The seat height is very low at 30.3 in. and the seat is well padded and looks comfy. ABS on Brembo monoblock brakes will be interesting to test. The bike is very long and it looks like the front would be pushed a bit with those powerful brakes and long wheelbase. The fuel tank carries 4.5 gal. of fuel.

One thing is for certain and that is if you want to run with the devil, or Diavel, you are going to need some hair on your chest. It’s a very macho and un-Italian bike. I asked Domenicali whether the development team had any US input, but he categorically denied this stating it was a 100% Italian effort. There’s also an issue with categorizing this bike as Ducati stands hard on claiming they have created a new segment. Whatever Ducati says, this bike will be compared with uneven competition such as the Harley-Davidson Muscle/V-Rod, Yamaha V-Max, Suzuki B-King, Moto Guzzi Griso 8V and perhaps even Triumph Rocket III Roadster. The way I see it they all belong together in a type of muscle cruiser bruiser streetfighting soup of delightful torque and power. Harley-Davidson could have built a bike such as the Diavel when it developed the V-Rod with Porsche. However, Erik Buell once told me that that’s what he wanted to do, but the corporate Milwaukee muscle opted for something nearer to a traditional H-D product and bulked up as they always do.

The Diavel weighs in at what for this type of bike is an ultralight claimed 463 pounds. The whole Diavel project is a bit of a gamble for Ducati which it admits to when asked who its customer for this bike is. But we guess Ducati has applied the philosophy of “let’s build it and they’ll come.”

I personally need the design to grow a little bit on me. Let’s put it this way, I’m not completely convinced Wolverine would suit the Diavel. It remains to be seen whether the Diavel can achieve the same iconic profile as the V-Rod. A bike like this is bought with the heart through the eyes, not necessarily with what’s best through your right hand on the twisties. Let’s hope it can do well, I love the name!

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