The shape of freedom

Traditionally, a cruiser is a motorcycle that is low, stretched and muscular—the sort of bike made for endless trips down dead straight highways. With the XDiavel S, Ducati has designed a cruiser that oozes Italian temperament and flair. So now those straights can happily turn into bends.

Ralf Schütze (copy) & Simone Manzo (photo)

Sometimes all you need is a little time, a special route and a very special motorbike to help you redefine freedom.

In the northern Italian Bolognese dialect, the devil is called “diavel”. Which is why Ducati have christened their diabolically road-hungry power bike crossed with a cruiser XDiavel. The S suffix signals lavish extras and exclusive detailing. What at first glance appear to be irreconcilable features—sheer power and breathtaking performance with surprisingly relaxed cruiser ergonomics—are brought into perfect harmony in myriad ways across the model series. What’s more, these machines aren’t just stretched, low and big on grunt but undeniably alluring.

The dream figures 5,000-60-40 are further proof of this suc­cessful balancing act. To translate: At 5,000 revs per minute, maximum torque is transmitted to the belt final drive. Configurable in 60 different ways, the handlebars, foot pegs and seat ensure everyone rides in custoized comfort. Despite the typically relaxed forward positioning of the foot controls and long wheelbase, the XDiavel S still achieves a 40-degree lean angle.

43°43’17.2’’ N 12°07’53.4’’ E, Apennines. Italy’s Apennine Mountains are famous for their beautiful winding roads. With its northern reaches wedged between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, the rugged range is crisscrossed by a branching road network that constantly tempts you to turn off from your planned route.

The Italian designers spent many months in California, immersing themselves in cruiser culture. There, they not only received support from the Audi Design Center in Santa Monica but also picked the brains of custom motorcycle builders such as Roland Sands. The fearless ex-racer was very excited about the crossover concept behind the X in the XDiavel S, which envisages a bike that’s equally suited to laid-back tours of Death Valley and gunning it through the corners on a racetrack. A 1,615-millimeter-long wheelbase—three centimeters longer than the already stretched Diavel—together with an extremely low seat height of 755 millimeters define the bike’s silhouette. Product manager Stefano Tarabusi emphasizes that there are two cruiser hallmarks that feature on the XDiavel S: foot-forward pegs and the final belt drive. Ex-factory, the pegs can be adjusted 22.5 millimeters further forward or back to suit. Low on maintenance, Ducati’s first-ever belt final drive is a testimony to the soft power transmission so typical of the cruiser experience. The newly developed 90-degree, L-Twin Testastretta powerhouse impresses with Ducati’s trademark desmodromically actuated valves. Compared with the standard Ducati Diavel, 62 cubic centimeters of additional displacement generate even more jaw-dropping low-end torque. And at the touch of a button, the Italian cruiser is transformed into a rubber-burning dragster: Three Power Launch settings produce astonishing acceleration, catapulting the bike—which has a dry weight of 220 kilograms—from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in just three seconds.

Teaming up with world-renowned custom motorcycle designer Roland Sands, Ducati has put together a special range of accessories. As a result, you can customize the seat, fit a titanium exhaust system and add other personal touches.

42°28’51.0’’ N 1°27’22.5’’ E, Pyrenees. Located between France and Spain, the tiny country of Andorra is home to 60 giants—peaks that stand more than 2,000 meters tall. The road that links them with the lowest point in the town of Sant Julià de Lòria on the Spanish border meanders through pine forests along pastures and meadows.

Ducati XDiavel S

EngineL-shaped, two-cylinder four-stroke
Displacement1,262 cm3
Power output 112 kW (152 hp)
Max. torque 146 Nm (at 5,000 rpm)
Gearbox/transmission six-speed gearbox/belt final drive
Acceleration 0–100 kph 3.0 s

46°29’05.7’’ N 11°49’40.8’’ E, Dolomites. One of the four passes on the Dolomite road, Passo Pordoi thrills with hairpin bends and sheer drops. It connects Bozen with Cortina d’Ampezzo and reaches an elevation of 2,239 meters. The sections that traverse uninhabited valleys are just as breathtaking as the views of the Dolomites’ highest point.