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The spinning steel drum does not lie: Ducati claims 156 horsepower at 9500 rpm for the XDiavel’s new 1262cc DVT (Desmo Variable Timing) L-Twin, and the MotoGP Werks Dynojet bears that out. The old rule of thumb is that rear-wheel hp (what the dyno measures) is generally about 10% less than crankshaft hp (what the manufacturers claim) on a chain-driven bike, and if that still applies then the Ducati is actually a few horses ahead of the game. Compared to the old Diavel, which never felt anything like slow, you’re looking at 10% more horsepower and 9% more torque.

In attempting to out-Harley Harley, though (the XDiavel is the first Duc with forward-foot controls and belt drive), the low-rpm torque’s the thing. The previous Diavel was no slouch, but outfitting the new engine with 63cc more displacement (via 3.6mm longer stroke) and DVT has the intended effect of shifting a big wallop of torque down into the 5000 rpm range.

A healthy increase in power across the board. Extra displacement surely plays a role, especially in torque, but the variable valve timing must get kudos for delivering more power everywhere, even at the top end.

Our bike’s torque peak occurred at 7800 rpm, but it’s already humping over 80 lb-ft at just 4000 rpm, with an initial torque peak of 83.7 at 4500 rpm. Though the gray torque plot looks a tad concave on screen, from the saddle there is no let-up in acceleration from 4000 onward, and if you’ve got the stones to keep the throttle pinned in the lower gears, you’ll be glad there’s wheelie control and Ducati Power Launch and whatever else you can get.

Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson’s latest Twin Cam 110, as delivered in bikes like the new Low Rider S we’re scheduled to ride next week, is supposed to produce 115 lb-ft of torque at 3500 rpm – though it can’t come close to matching the XDiavel’s peak hp number.

Does anybody care? More importantly, does anyone with $20k disposable motorcycle income care? Stay tuned as we stand back and enjoy watching whether the X can get a bite of H-D’s huge slice of the American power-cruiser pie. The fun’s just getting started.

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