By Dave Abrahams
Johannesburg - Ducati's latest cruiser-style motorcycle, the long, low XDiavel leads a quartet of new models released in South Africa this week - and whatever the purists may say, the first shipment is already sold out. You'll have to order yours from the next batch, due here in mid-April.
Scroll down for thumbnail sketches of the other three new Ducatis.
Bringing together the cruiser world of effortless low to mid-range power, relaxed, feet-forward ergonomics and Ducati's barking mad short-stroke L-twin engineering was always going to be a big ask but, judging by the numbers it seems the Bologna petrolheads have pulled it off.
At the heart of the XDiavel is a completely new 1262cc version of the Testastretta DVT (desmodromic variable timing) engine first seen on the Multistrada 1200, with a longer stroke and higher compression ratio, tuned for 114.7kW at 9500 revs and, far more significantly, a stonking 128.9Nm at 5000rpm - of which more than 100Nm is on tap all the way from 2100rpm to the rev limiter.
While most Ducatis hide their engineering behind stylish body panels the engine of a cruiser is the focus of the design - so the XDiavel has its water-pump tucked away between the cylinders instead of on the alternator cover. This has allowed the creatives to tuck the radiator hoses neatly away along the frame rather than running them across the outside of the engine bay, making for a far neater installation.
At the same time they widened and revised the output shaft casing on the gearbox, so that the XDiavel could be the first Ducati ever with toothed-belt final drive.
As with all the latest-generation Ducatis, the XDiavel is fitted as standard with a Bosch inertial measurement unit that measures not only pitch and roll angles but also their rate of change, providing the parameters for traction control, cornering cruise control - as well as power launch for full tilt boogie take-offs.
The Bosch fuel-injection system with 56mm throttle bodies and fly-by-wire throttle control provides three engine modes: Sport liberates the full 114.7kW via a short throttle movement for maximum acceleration, with traction control and ABS both on Level 2, letting you get quite naughty before they spoil your fun.
Touring still gives you full power, but with a longer throttle action and softer, easier-to-handle torque. Traction control is set to Level 4 for relaxed cruising, with the ABS system on 3.
Urban mode limits the power to 75kW for smooth riding around town and in heavy traffic, when a hair-trigger throttle response is a liability, with traction control set to 6 - its highest level - and ABS to control mode 3.
The XDiavel's footpegs can be adjusted 22.5mm forward or back from the standard position, while the cables and wiring of the standard handlebars allow for replacement with accessory 'bar with 25mm more or 25mm less reach.
The standard seat height of 755mm allows for 20mm higher or 10mm lower aftermarket seats, as well a wider, more comfortable 'long range' seat or a premium version with special trim and materials. There's also an optional 'comfort' pillion seat with a backrest.
You can have your XDiavel in any colour you like as long as it's black - but in two levels of trim.
The base model is finished in matte black with dark grey frame and wheels, while the XDiavel S has gloss black paint with red trim and grey frame and special 12-spoked gloss black wheels with machine-finished highlights.
The S comes with diamond-like coating on the forks, an LED daytime running light, billet-aluminium mirror housings, Brembo M50 Grand Prix brake callipers, Bluetooth connectivity, a brushed-effect anodised swing-ram and gloss black cambelt covers with machine-finished highlights.
Ducati XDiavel (S in brackets)
Engine:1262cc liquid-cooled L-twin.
Bore x stroke:106 x 71.5mm.
Valvegear: DOHC with variable timing and four desmodromic valves per cylinder.
Power:114.7kW at 9500rpm.
Torque:128.9Nm at 5000rpm.
Induction: Bosch digital electronic fuel-injection with two 56mm throttle bodies.
Ignition: Electronic with digital advance and traction control.
Clutch: Hydraulically-actuated servo-action multiplate wet slipper clutch.
Transmission: Six-speed constant-mesh cassette gearbox with final drive by toothed belt.
Front Suspension:50mm inverted cartridge forks (S: adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping).
Rear Suspension: Remote-reservoir gas-charged monoshock adjustable for preload and rebound damping.
Front brakes: Dual 320mm semi-floating discs with four-piston radial-mount monobloc callipers and ABS (S: Brembo M50 callipers).
Rear brake:265mm disc with dual-piston floating calliper and ABS.
Front tyre:120/70 - 17 tubeless.
Rear tyre:240/45 - 17 tubeless.
Fuel tank:18 litres.
Price: R243 900 (S: R279 900).
MORE NEW DUCATIS
Entry-level Ducati Scrambler has short-stroke 399cc two-valve L-twin with a single 50mm throttle body, rated for 30.2kW at 8750 revs and 34.3Nm at 7750rpm, six-speed 'box and cable clutch, 14-litrte tank, tight 1460mm wheelbase, 18 inch front and 17 inch rear wheel.
Scrambler Sixty2 - R98 900
The base motard has been bored out from 88mm to 94mm, increasing capacity from 821cc to 937cc. Compression is up to 13.1:1, power is up to 83.1kW at 9000rom and torque to 97.9Nm at 7500.
Hypermotard 939 (Red) - R143 900
Hypermotard 939 (White) - R145 900
Hyperstrada 939: R155 900
Hypermotard 939 SP - R172 900
Monster 1200 R
New naked sports bike has 1200cc Testastretta DS 'R' engine tweaked to 117.7kW at 9250 revs and 131.4Nm at 7750, with new suspension, forged wheels, 200/55 ZR17 rear rubber, restyled tailpiece and carbon-fibre componentry to bring the weight down to 180kg dry.
Monster 1200 R (Red) - R230 000
Monster 1200 R (Black) - R231 000