We were lucky enough to be invited to an ultra-exclusive Ducati event hosted at the iconic Gherkin building in central London to have a first look at the Italian brand’s new Diavel V4 model.
The new Diavel adopts the 1,258cc engine V4 unit that we loved in its Multistrada guise, with the new model pumping out 168bhp and 126Nm torque. It comes packed with all the latest tech as you’d expect, with the twin-pulse firing order and the rear cylinder deactivation too, which Ducati say will improve the efficiency if you’re (ever) riding it at slow speeds.
But to find out a bit more about the 2023 Diavel, we had the opportunity to chat to the brains behind the project – Stefano Tarabusi, Diavel V4 Product Manager and Lead Designer, Andrea Amato.
Q: What was the biggest challenge to make the new V4 fit the chassis?
AA: In this case, the motor is the V4 Granturismo engine with the chassis coming from the Multistrada V4, so both platforms already existed. Of course, we had to change some dimensions for the new Diavel V4, but this engine was designed to fit the monocoque chassis, so there was no problem in making it fit and work well with the bike.
It would have been much harder to fit this engine with the trellis frame, as it’s much bigger and much heavier. The new monocoque chassis is incredible, we love it!
Q: The V4 motor is of course the headline for this bike, but what else has changed on the new Diavel?
ST: The bike is completely new, from the ground up. One of the key elements is that it’s 13kg lighter than the outgoing model – 5kg of that is from the new V4 engine, another 5kg taken from the chassis and drivetrain, and the rest is from smaller things like the rims, brakes and so on.
The result of that is a lighter, more nimble Diavel that will excite the Diavelisti [passionate Diavel fans and owners], and attract new fans of the Diavel model for sure.
Q: Horsepower is up over the outgoing model, but torque is slightly down, which is something associated with big cruisers. What’s the reasoning behind that?
ST: The V4 architecture has this kind of different torque curve that is a little bit more extended to allow for a higher RPM. Torque is very much dependent on the configuration of the engine, and in the end, we have landed on the correct final ratio for this bike, which still delivers an incredible torque figure.
Q: The new Diavel V4 has better handling and is much sportier compared to the previous model. Is that on purpose, and is that one of the key things you’ve tried to achieve with this bike?
AA: This bike, in essence, is closer to the Monster, and closer to a sportsbike or a naked bike than a cruiser. Certainly, compared to the previous generation in my opinion, the engine is amazing and the weight reduction we were able to achieve is fantastic.
The result is a change in the centre of gravity which has made the bike more nimble, easier and faster to change direction. So yes, it’s much sportier than the previous generation and that’s what we wanted to achieve.
Q: Which bikes would you see as the main competitors for the Diavel V4?
ST: It’s not easy to directly compare the Diavel to many other bikes as it’s in a unique sector. It pretty much is in a sector of its own, there isn’t really a direct comparison from another manufacturer, but the closest I would say is the Triumph Rocket III, but the Diavel V4 is still very different to the Rocket in terms of its dynamics.
Q: If you had been given unlimited budget, what’s the one thing you would have done differently during the design and build of the new Diavel V4?
ST: This is a very difficult question, because unlimited budget is impossible! But, every Ducati project is designed and built using the very best materials, technology and processes that is possible, including the Diavel V4 project. The outcome we are very proud of!
Q: Who do you see riding the new Diavel V4?
AA: There are 45,000 Diavelisti out there who will love the V4 model and have been waiting for this, so certainly owners of previous generation of Diavels will buy this bike.
But in terms of target customers, this is a strange bike. But I expect sports bike and naked bike riders who are maybe getting a little bit older and want a little more comfort, but still want that excitement, speed and handling will also want to buy the Diavel V4.
Q: Finally, can you ever see the Diavel going electric?
A: This is a topic that’s not so easy! We are of course supplying the full grid of fully electric MotoE bikes [the electric race series supporting MotoGP] for the 2023 season, which is going to be useful to gather data. Unlike the car industry, motorcycling doesn’t have such a clear roadmap for this kind of thing, and we do not know what will be the evolution.
In this moment, it is not possible to make a fully electric road motorcycle to the Ducati standard.