November 3, 2010 – The “power cruiser” is apparently the NBT (Next Big Thing), with more than one motorcycle manufacturer trying to jump the curve to the next level of cruiser style and performance now that Harley-Davidson seems to have lost its way.
I was vaguely aware of the new Ducati Diavel after seeing a couple of low-res photos over the last few weeks, but I didn’t think much about it one way or another.
Now I’m sure there are Ducati purists that are pulling their eyebrows out with worry and grief over their beloved sportbike company dabbling with anything that has the word “cruiser” in it.
But look what happened (or is happening) to H-D. The gravy train was rolling when the good times were too, but putting “all your eggs in one basket”, as they say, in this case with one basic motorcycle format, can hurt when customers start looking for something more.
H-D blew it with Buell, having never figured out a way to use the company to gain more and different customers. So the bottom line here is that the Diavel isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if it helps to enhance the bottom line, which will then help develop more sportbikes.
That said, once I saw the Diavel, I was intrigued. This is definitely, positively not another Harley-ish clone. It’s an interestingly different design that definitely speaks “modern” to me; kind of like looking like something out of “Blade Runner 2”. Well, maybe it’s not that far out, because we’re here and the Diavel is now.
It really does look very modern and, I think, it takes everything cool about a cruiser and packages it with a Ducati performance touche. I’ll have to secretly admit that I’d sure like to try one on for size.
The only question is, why does it look twice as wide as the new BMW K1600GT, which packs a 6-cylinder engine? I was equally surprised at how narrow the Beemer seems, although only a measurin’ stick would know for sure. But the Diavel looks as wide as a tank — by design, apparently — while the BMW is a “You’re kidding me — that thing has a six?” thin (also by design, I’m sure).
Anyway, these pics don’t do the Diavel justice either; this is one you really have to see in the raw — and not the matte black el cheapo version either — to appreciate. Oh wait — there will be one more question: who’s going to walk into a Ducati dealer and buy one of these?
In other words, where and how is Ducati going to find the customers? Bribe them away from H-D and Victory dealerships? Will current Ducati owners all of a sudden want to trade in their 1098R’s on a Diavel? I hope Ducati has this figured out, or it could just as easily spell trouble for red-blooded Ducatisti…