The idea of Ducati creating a cruiser-style motorcycle seems odd, but the Diavel, introduced in 2011, was an attempt to expand the appeal of the Italian brand to riders who value style and low seat heights over ultimate sporting potential. Diavel sales were initially decent but seem to have tailed off in recent years.

2011 Ducati Diavel Review

The spy shots seen here indicate Ducati is attempting to reinvigorate the Diavel platform with a complete redesign, including a new frame, swingarm and LED headlight, plus the unexpected introduction of a belt final drive replacing a chain. We also expect improved performance from the engine by using the DVT variable timing system as seen in the latest Multistrada. The exhaust system is also fresh, exiting through two large outlets in front of the rear wheel.


These photos reveal quite a few changes compared to the current Diavel. Starting at the front of the bike, there’s a new smaller headlight with an increased rearward slope. We’re confident the lighting will be of the LED variety. From there we see the giant air intakes on the current model are gone, revealing more of the trellis frame, which itself looks new. Another tip-off to the new frame theory is the exposed rear cylinder seen in these spy photos. The current Diavel frame hides it. The frame definitely shows off the engine more, especially with those shiny highlights accentuating the cylinders’ 90-degree vee.

Skidmarks – The Mouse And The Diavel

The footpegs are mounted forward for a more cruiser-ish posture. Ducati marketing has long told people not to call the Diavel a cruiser, but it looks like that might be on the way out. While the new peg location may lessen ground clearance, we can’t say for certain, especially with a rider seated.


Its fuel tank is new, eschewing the current model’s “hump” for a lower profile that more accurately traces typical cruiser lines. The Diavel’s large air intakes are also gone, but at this stage, it’s unclear whether that is a permanent change or if they were simply removed for testing purposes.

2012 Ducati Diavel Cromo vs Star VMAX + Video

Thanks to the smaller frame and the removal of the Diavel’s previous bodywork, we can see more of the engine, which definitely looks different than the current Diavel mill. We believe it’s a version of Ducati’s new DVT engine – which would deliver the fat torque curve that cruisers crave. We checked CARB certification for the 2016 Diavel for clues, but it’s currently listed with the same emission results as last year’s models. However, CARB certification isn’t definitive and can be replaced at any time with updated test results.


On the left side is the current Diavel engine. The Multistrada’s DVT engine is on right.

Ducati takes a step away from the cruiser mainstream with the new, smaller exhaust that ends in front of the rear wheel. Although last year’s megaphone-ish mufflers fell somewhere between scrambler and cruiser styling, the exhaust shown in these photos appears to contain almost all of its capacity in a large muffler behind the engine, reducing the impression of size.

The swingarm appears to be a new design, with its bracing now above the main spar instead of below as with the current model. As mentioned earlier, the shock still sits horizontally, but is now mounted above the swingarm rather than below it. Maybe the most surprising difference between old and new is belt drive replacing the current chain – perhaps becoming the first Ducati ever to not use a chain for its final drive. While Ducati’s sporting heritage would make a chain final drive an obvious choice, if the team from Bologna is really going after a larger share of the cruiser market, the nearly maintenance-free nature of a belt should be more appealing, and more familiar, to those customers.

Full details on the new Diavel should be revealed at this fall’s EICMA show in Milan. Stay tuned.


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Ducati Communities

  • Old MOron

    The by line says MOronic Staff, but this has to be Dennis. Nice find, Dennis. I’m disappointed that the redesign seems to be going more cruiser rather than more sporting. But I’m not buying one of these, anyway.

    • 12er

      I must admit I was grinning like a fool on a demo of one, but my broken back couldnt take the riding pos for more than maybe an hour.

    • Kenneth

      I’m impressed that Ducati is spending the money to thoroughly revamp what will probably always sell in small numbers. To me, this new Diavel no longer looks weird; now, it’s attractive and racy and says “stretched-Ducati,” rather than simply oddball-custom. I do wonder, though, about the longevity of a belt-drive transferring that much power.

      • Old MOron

        I agree the new Diavel looks much better. But it looks like the seat is further away from the steering head. Too bad.

        • Jason

          Ducati had to do that to get the cruiser look and seating position without stretching the wheelbase.

    • denchung

      This was a team effort. My role was mainly creating the animated gif comparison and identifying some of the visible differences and checking the CARB data.

    • Yeah, Dennis is our not-quite secret weapon from the land of Poutine and Hockey.

  • Buzz

    I’ve ridden a couple of them and really enjoyed it but the oddball looks have kept me away.

  • Fred Meier

    yup like i said and…..wait for it ……Rocket 3

  • SRMark

    could use a wee splash of color.

  • Michael Mccormick

    Yeah, I’d buy one when I win lottery! Big improvement style wise. More forward controls make sense with the low seat height. Belt drive could be a plus too

  • halfkidding

    How much HP can drive belts handle? I always thought it was 100 max.

    • Tom Pava

      No. Ducati doesn’t have much experience with motorcycles. I’m sure they messed this one up.

      • halfkidding

        Trolls here? I simply asked what is the state of development or what belts are available to allow their use in high HP applications. I’m sure a belt big enough could handle 500hp. There comes a point where their size presents all sorts of visual and mechanical issues. Is the belt here a larger size, ie width than others now used? If not why are belts not being used on more bikes? Their advantages are great why not use them?

        • Tom Pava

          Please excuse me if I mistook the tone of your initial post. (perhaps you were halfkidding, perhaps not)
          Your addendum certainly contributed more info. In most cases where belts are used, smooth, quiet, low maintenance performance is the focus. As one might expect from a cruiser style bike. It is my understanding that, for most high HP applications, a chain is opted for in the interest of ultimate strength and convenience of tune-ability.

    • El Apestoso

      Belts have a carbon fiber weave through them, making them stronger than any chain. The reason you don’t see them on sportbikes has more to do with convention, and to a lesser extent versatility, than anything else.

    • Alby Mangled

      VROD 120 odd hp…belt drive.

      Gilmer tooth belts regularly used in many automotive applications…

      the Diavel’s cam drive and (larger ones, yes) top fuel dragster’s blower drive.

  • Daniel Benjamin

    Meh, I like the old one.

  • Gabriel Owens

    only recently saw one in person. it is stunning in a Batmobile sort of way. definitely looks mean.

  • TonyCarlos

    Seeing the GIF had me believing Duc had opened the Vee up to greater-that-90°. Sure looked to be around 110. Engine close ups showed me the error of my ways.

  • DickRuble

    Very stylish in a corn harvester sort of way…


    I am late to the party as usual. I freely admit I did not get the Diavel when it first came out. I like the old version but not enough to buy one. If I had unlimited resources I would have one. It is in my top ten but barely. The Multistrada is the ultimate Ducati from my perspective. Followed up by the Monster and the Hypermotard. The Diavel is fourth on my list. I think it is a beautiful bike.

  • Archie Dux

    It looks better to me.

  • TheMarvelous1310 .

    I definitely don’t want or respect the elongated rake/wheelbase, or really think it looks better… I might like a real Ducati cruiser, but not at the expense of performance! The short rake and lively handling are my favorite parts of the Scout and the Street 750, and probably the main great thing about the bikes, it just feels like a massive step back. All the Diavel ever needed to back up its cruiser claims was mid controls, tall forks and optional bags, they could have saved a year of research!

    That said, I could definitely forgive them and embrace the new design-if the original design stuck around under a new name… Monster 1198, maybe?

    • El Apestoso

      It’s a pretty safe assumption that this bike will still outperform both the Scout and Street.

  • Alexander Guzman

    I for one am looking forward to those changes if they make it in the next model. For anyone who is dissapointed it isn’t getting more sporty they just need to shut their mouth. the Diavel was always meant to appeal to cruiser rider to come to Ducati. they make plenty of sport bikes already, if that’s what you want Ducati has no shortage of those, but they don’t yet have a cruiser that truly appealed to riders who where looking for a cruiser to buy.

  • Jeremy Zerby

    Based on what I can see from the photos, it looks like they are borrowing the frame design and headlight from the Monster 1200. If this holds true, it would definitely help to draw the Diavel more in line with other bikes in their lineup instead of being such an outsider.