Ducati's 2019 XDiavel S Pushes The Style And Speed Envelope

Los Angeles and the XDiavel S go together. One requires a test motorcycle that's quick, outmaneuvers the hideous traffic, allows you to take care of business, see the sights and be off.

 Source: Forbes 

The (around) $20,795 motorcycle looks like a big lug but it’s light as hell at 485 pounds and you instantly roll like a ballerina - there isn't any ramp-up time. It's Ducati-gorgeous with its fat tank, forward-leaning stance, its frame plates and foot peg plates and its masculine, angry, exclusive curved 12-spoke wheels with visible finishings highlighting the design. It's loud and fast when you want to make a point with its Ducati Testastertta DVT 1262cc engine, but at cruising speed or at startup, it's polite. It's keyless – my first – and it likes your fob in your jean jacket and not in your backpack, where "Key Not Found" harshed my California mellow a couple of times because who wants to carry their big ball of metal in their vest pocket like a moob? I made do, though.

It's Ducati's debut cruiser and it does away with any complaint anyone ever had about sore wrists from being pitched forward by their sportsters. There is room for a passenger but this is really a one-person, one-machine experience as far as I'm concerned. If you want company, there's always a Goldwing.

It's a cruiser, yes, but go ahead and lean at will, as far over as you please; the motorcycle likes to tip and keep its balance as much as anything else the company makes.

There are three preset modes one can select: "Urban," "Touring" and "Sport." I never took it out of Sport, being the sort of rider who loves to dash, and because I never took the bike out of the city, more or less. Its Ducati Traction Control (DTC) is the best you'll find on any production bike anywhere with its eight different levels capable of handling wet or slippery conditions. You can scroll through the system via an intuitive menu to suit your needs, but best read the manual to find out how to get the maximum out of it.

The XDiavel S also brings a first to Ducati with a belt drive one usually finds on cruisers, the advantage being less noise, reduced maintenance and a more fluid response to throttle action. Suspension is adjustable according to preference and terrain, another plus. Your Brembo braking system is tight as a drum via its Bosch 9.1ME ABS Cornering as an integral part of the Ducati Safety Pack (DSP). Three ABS profiles are on deck - Expert, Sport and Safe & Stable – as presets accessible through the menu or set as standard in any of the three Riding Modes.

There is also a secret weapon for the daredevil in all of us - the Ducati Power Launch (DPL). If you've got the experience and the nerve - I did not - you can use this system to make a truly explosive, cruelly satisfying blastoff. Another fascinating and innovative aspect of the bike is its "Ride By Wire," or RbW, an electronic interface between the engine and the Diavel's fuel grip, allowing your ideal power level to be configured depending on what riding mode you select. It takes the power out of the sole discretion of the accelerator's twist and, based on signal received, passes it through one of three mappings: 152-hp in Sport Riding Mode, 152 hp in Touring Riding Mode and 100 hp in Urban Riding Mode.

The XDiavel S is not a motorcycle you get to know in one ride, or a week’s test; you’ll want to unveil its charms over time, as you get used to each new aspect of what it's truly capable of. But for my needs, it was the perfect bike and one of the best the company’s ever produced.