More from Motoring

Mankind’s innate desire to challenge its mortality has always fascinated me. The number of people participating in combat sports, adventure sports and of course, auto sports is a testament to that. Unfortunately, most people give in to that appetitive aggression by virtually ‘partaking’ in such sports through video games. And perhaps that’s the reason human beings are going soft, and that’s something one can fix with the Ducati Diavel V4.

I mean look at it; the Diavel looks nothing short of a butch gladiator ready to maul everything that stands in its way. The muscular 20-litre fuel tank with those buffed-up air intakes and the flat-ish headlight gives an impression of a well-built powerlifter, who of course, hasn’t skipped leg day because there’s simply no ignoring the massive 240-section rear tyre. Also, with that single-sided swingarm giving a full view of the blade-like alloy wheels, it’s hard not to stare. Then there are the details like the honeycomb-pattern tail light and the machine-gun-style exhaust; now how can one not think of ripping through the streets and terrorising the neighbourhood with a bike like this, right?

No stock exhaust is as good looking as this

The civilised gentleman that I am, or that I try to be, I started off in the urban mode to get acquainted with the 223 kg motorcycle and the 1158cc engine. Honestly, neither scared me because the Diavel V4 is 13 kg lighter than its predecessor and the 166.2 bhp and 12.8 kgm that the V4 Granturismo engine produces is far from its 200-bhp-spewing siblings — the Streetfighter V4 and the Panigale V4. But the Diavel was quick to point out how wrong I was.

The sculpted seat keeps the rider in place

A few minutes into the ride, I found the electronics working tirelessly to keep the bike (and me) leashed, and despite its best attempts, I am sure the Ducati marked its way with a trail of Diablo Rosso III rubber. And yes, this was in the civil (read urban) mode with the power down to 115 bhp and a rather gentler throttle response. The electronics work flawlessly, but the engine, through its quad exhaust, kept murmuring to be generous with the throttle, and needless to say, I gave in.

It has no business looking this butch, does it?

But I had to find a mid-way, right? Even though the ‘bloodlust’ for going all berserk was taking over, I fought it… with the touring mode. All the performance on the platter with a softer delivery and the wheelie and traction control on high alert. Like a fool, I thought this was the solution. But nope, with all that performance at my disposal and the electronics working harder, I was now tempted to test the limits of the chassis.

And I didn’t know when to stop. Okay, I didn’t want to. A 223 kg motorcycle isn’t supposed to handle like that, at least that’s what my experience had taught me. The immense confidence that the Diavel gave me to embrace my barbarian side had me riding it as I had it with me for years. Shooting out of corners, the traction control would remind me of the territory I was venturing into but with Brembo Stylema brakes backing me up, I had little to worry about. And now, I think you know where that led to.

The sports mode. If it wasn’t for the loud growl from the GranTurismo engine, the streets would have echoed with my maniacal laughter and the occasional swear. Can you imagine a bike like this lifting its front wheel at every chance it gets? And that ‘chance’ happens to be just above 6,000 rpm. And while pondering over how and why a ‘power cruiser’ could wheelie like this, I happened to go a little hard on the front brake only to realise that the rear end was getting a wee lighter. Though I didn’t brake that hard later, Ducati’s brief of the Diavel’s sport mode mentions that it ‘allows controlled lifting of the rear wheel’ was reason enough to not try that. Ever… on public roads.

Since then, every time someone has asked me how the bike is, my answer has always been one word — violent. For some, that has been an answer enough to not ask anything further, but for others, that’s when I sensed the hunger. The mere mention of wheelies, skids and the ludicrous speeds on a bike like the Diavel had them smiling wickedly and I am certain they pictured themselves doing all of that, despite knowing this is perhaps not the best one to do such tomfoolery. And that’s the charm of the Diavel. For ₹ 25 lakh, it is not the best tourer, cruiser or whichever genre of motorcycles you might want to fit it in, but it can do what most bikes can, and tempt you to do stuff you wouldn’t want to do otherwise. Oh wait, isn’t that the supposed work of the devil?