Ducati Diavel V4 review: Don’t call it a poser

Ducati Diavel price, performance, comfort, design: India review.

The Diavel has only been around since 2011 and it is one of the youngest models in Ducati’s line-up. But the bike has grown into a Ducati staple worldwide over the last decade and it has consistently been one of the company’s strongest sellers in India as well. The recent transition over to V4 power marks the biggest change the Diavel has seen so far because this bike has lost more than just its iconic L-twin motor. 

Ducati Diavel V4 new engine, changes for 2024

Also out the window has gone the trademark steel trellis frame, being replaced by an aluminium monocoque unit. That has contributed towards the bike being lighter by a substantial 13 kilos - which is despite the fact that the 20 litre fuel tank now holds 3 litres more than the old Diavel 1260. The result is a motorcycle that feels more agile and easier to manage, but the star of the show is undoubtedly the new motor.

It may have gained two more cylinders, but this 1,158cc V4 motor is actually smaller than the old 1,262cc L-twin. Despite that, power has gone up from 162hp to 168hp and the bike revs higher too. Torque has dropped marginally, but you still get a ginormous 126Nm at the same 7,500rpm as on the old twin.

More importantly, the bike still feels like a Ducati. The motor thunders and shakes at low speeds just as you’d expect and it's a feeling that percolates through the entire motorcycle. Love them or hate them, no other bikes feel like Ducatis do - and the Diavel V4 most definitely captures that family vibe. 

Ducati Diavel V4 real-world usability

But Ducati has crucially managed to keep much of that raw, visceral identity while making the bike easier to live with. A new cylinder deactivation system not only cuts off the rear bank at idle, but also under light engine load. This definitely helps manage engine heat and after getting stuck in a nasty morning commute traffic jam, I can confirm that the bike still produces significant heat, but it's not nasty and way better than the old days.

Low speed fueling is also very soft and gentle, to the point of being excessively dull when you’re in the lower power modes like Urban or Wet. I also found that you can feel a slight surge when the rear bank of cylinders comes back into action when riding in slow, bumper to bumper traffic. It’s not terrible, but you will notice it in those riding conditions and it’ll be nice if Ducati can further smooth it out. Then again, the fueling is very smooth above about 3,000rpm and since Diavel really isn’t about being ridden in jammed traffic, this is forgivable. 

On that topic, this engine does protest when run on regular fuel in the form of poor low speed fuelling accompanied by random stalls. It ran much sweeter on the recommended 95 octane, which is now thankfully widely available and only for a small premium over regular petrol. 

Ducati Diavel V4 comfort, ride quality

While the Diavel certainly wasn't conceived with the chaos of an Indian metropolis in mind, it turns out to be the nicest big capacity Ducati I’ve ridden in Mumbai. Some of that is down to the seating position that is upright with less of a stretch forward to the handlebar than before. Overall, it still has that connected, muscular, Diavel-style riding position, but it's now slightly more comfortable. What you’ll really appreciate though, is the suspension.

The V4 no longer has the Ohlins fanciness from the 1260 S, but that’s just fine because the new Marzocchi/Sachs set-up is noticeably nicer on our roads. It's still fully adjustable and still has 120mm of travel in the fat 50mm USD fork, but the rear wheel now has 15mm more travel for a total of 145mm. The result is a set up that’s still firm, but now more absorptive than you’d expect and that’s a very nice feeling on Mumbai’s lumpy, bumpy roads. 

In fact, the bike’s overall comfort and usability means it won't be a bad partner to go touring on either. The only downside is the ground clearance - particularly the low oil cooler- but it is quite close to the front wheel so you’ll be okay with some caution. 

Ducati Diavel V4 handling

On the plus side, there’s the fact that the bike is now lighter feeling and a bit easier to ride.  There’s no escaping the heft and sluggishness of a 240 section rear tyre and steering the bike from side to side still takes effort, but the Diavel’s dynamics have always been a surprise and the bike is now even more agile. 

The weight savings definitely help, but the chassis also has a sharper set of dimensions - the wheelbase and trail have both reduced and the steering rake angle is a little steeper as well. It's still no sportbike, but a well ridden Diavel could always keep up with most motorcycles on a fast and flowing road and that still very much holds true. Top of the line Brembo Stylema brakes will also ensure that you slow down as viciously as this bike can charge up to speed. 

It goes without saying, but my god, the performance… Wow. The engine smooths out beautifully once it picks up some revs and the charge towards the redline is so intense that you’ll be constantly grateful for the heavy scooped seat holding you in place. This motor is a thing of both beauty and violence and it bestows the Diavel with a very endearing character; if you like your bikes with a bit of a wild side. 

In fact, this 170hp zone is the sweet spot for big bike performance in my opinion and far nicer on the road than the 200+ horsepower supernaked nutters. This engine in a Monster could be a special thing… 

Ducati Diavel V4 electronics, design, quality

As always, you’ve got the typical raft of Ducati electronics to give you a helping hand, as well as a sweet up and down quickshifter that only intensifies the experience. Its also nice that the bike finally has a decently sized 5-inch TFT display. The only thing I’m not fully sold on is the design. 

It’s still instantly recognizable and there are some delicious details like the multi-LED tail lamp and those quad exhaust tips, but it also feels a bit fussy and over-styled in other areas to my eyes. There’s also a bit too much plastic all over and while it looks great from a few feet away, some of the plastic edges are a bit sharp and roughly finished - definitely not what you’d expect on a bike at this price.

Ducati Diavel V4 verdict

Inflation is driving prices up across the board, but Ducatis in particular seem to get further and further out of reach for the average motorcyclist every year - and this one follows that trend. It costs about Rs 4.5 lakh more than the outgoing base Diavel 1260 and Rs 1 lakh more than the 1260S.  

Expect to pay close to 30 lakhs on-road, depending on where you live - and you’ll have a similarly unpleasant reaction when you look at the prices of Ducati’s official accessories. A particularly bitter pill is that despite the asking price, turn-by-turn navigation is a Rs 8,113 extra - for a software install. 

On the plus side, like in the Multistrada V4 where this engine was first used, valve clearance services are now at 60,000km. That takes care of a very expensive aspect that used to be associated with Ducati ownership. 

Ultimately, the Diavel has always been a statement motorcycle that has also been incredibly capable - a bit of a poser, but one that will punch you in the face for calling it that. The new V4 manages to elevate that character, while also bringing in a more user friendly yet enjoyable set of capabilities. And that makes it a very likeable motorcycle for sure.  

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