When Blake Saville realized he was never going to get comfortable on his YZF-R1, he decided it was time to buy a cruiser. But he didn’t want a run-of-the-mill Harley or even a Rocket III; he wanted something with sportbike performance. The Ducati Diavel was the perfect choice, with the addition, of course, of a massive turbocharger!

“I have only been into bikes for about five years,” Saville admits. “Before that I was into cars but I lost interest. I started on a Monster 659, which is a Learner special here in the Australian market, and then I stepped up to a 2008 YZF-R1, the last of the screamer engines. I loved the R1 but just could not fit on it, so I had to find something else that would give me the same buzz while taking my weight.

“Out of all of the muscle cruisers, the Diavel was the best from a performance point of view,” Saville says, adding that it fits his large physical stature much better than a typical supersport. “It stops really well like a Panigale, turns pretty well for a cruiser, has decent ground clearance, is very comfortable and has all of the electronics that a sportbike has. It also looks great and I love the Ducati quality.”

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Saville bought a new Diavel in 2015, and as soon as it was run in, he dropped it to S&R Pro to be boosted. Jamie Bezzina, who had previously become the first person in the world to turbocharge a Diavel, did the job. Bezzina has been at the forefront of motorcycle turbocharging for decades and is an Australian dragracing champion who is famous for his 600-hp turbo Hayabusa ‘no bar’ outlaw drag bike.

“It was a massive job, let me tell you,” Bezzina says. “The electronics are the hard thing on these bikes, they are complex and we had to make our own electronic system basically.”

The engine itself is amazingly stock internally, as this was a low-boost job and Blake did not want to change the pistons, camshafts or alter the compression ratio. So the crankcases, crankshaft, pistons, valves and head are all standard, as is the 12.5:1 compression ratio. Even the gearbox and, amazingly, the clutch are stock standard. But that is where the stock stuff ends.

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The turbocharger itself is a GT3582r custom-made dual ceramic ball-bearing item. It has a .57 A/R exhaust housing, T3 flange. The turbo is mounted to custom S&R Pro turbo headers, while gasses exit via a polished S&R Pro 3-inch dump pipe, and man, is it loud! Check out the video…

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On the intake side, the big snail sucks air through a custom made K&N pod filter and pressurizes a custom S&R Pro CNC-machined aluminum plenum chamber. A Tial blow-off valve provides the cool PSsshhh noise, and a Tial wastegate regulates boost. S&R Pro made all of the stunning turbo plumbing and piping and associated brackets.

071017-turbocharged-ducati-diavel-img_1747Fueling the beast is taken care of by a custom-made injection system that Bezzina designed. It runs modified OEM injectors plus four additional shower type injectors in the plenum chamber that are activated on boost. There is one injector above each throttle-body. Fueling and ignition is controlled by a custom Microtech MF-1 and a Bazzaz Z-Fi TC. Bezzina works closely with Ammar Bazzaz on many turbo and tuning projects. Oil supply was a big issue, so oil supply for the turbo was taken off the original oil cooler utilizing a VDO oil scavenge pump with a return feed to the clutch cover.

The set-up is, like many of Bezzina’s jobs, factory-neat. Once final tuning was done, the bike was running like it came from the factory this way. In fact, I think it runs better. A quickshifter was added and gearing was left standard.

“The end result was not about outright horsepower, but good reliability and lots of torque,” smiles Saville, “which we have achieved. The bike is 225 horsepower and 206 lb-ft. at the wheel.”

Once the engine was done, work began on the chassis. The fork was revalved and resprung to suit by TeKnic Suspension, as was the Ohlins DU110 shock.

“I have to say a special thanks to Nick Dole from TeKnic, who set the bike up just right for me,” Saville raves.

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Ducati Performance billet wheels are fitted, wearing sticky Pirelli tires. The factory paint is clear vinyl wrapped for protection, and Saville has fitted a bunch of Ducati Performance carbon-fiber along with frame plugs, mirrors, clutch cover and hugger. Up front there is an Autometer boost gauge in PSI and a Koso wideband air-fuel-ratio meter joining the factory tank-mounted dash.

So, what is the bike like to ride? In short, it is off the planet – a Diavel with double the power and double the torque, so it is insane!

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I did some straight-line runs at first, with the traction control on, until I got a feel for the bike and the power delivery. I was soon comfortable enough to switch off TC, and that’s when the fun started. It spins up and lays rubber from first gear through to top gear no problem!

And yet it is surprisingly subtle in delivery and feels factory-like in the smoothness of the throttle and the way the low-boost big snail comes on. The quickshifter is needed, as the motor gets to the limiter almost instantly after starting to build rpm.

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I also rode the bike through my favorite twisty mountain pass, and aside from almost highsiding (I’d forgotten to turn the TC back on and got a little eager on the gas off a slippery corner), I was impressed by the rideability of the bike. Off boost it behaves like any Diavel, but between corners it is crazy fast! Definitely one of the best turbo bikes I have ridden.

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So, what did it cost and was it worth the effort? Saville’s smile probably says it all…

“The build was over 200 hours work as so much was one-off custom. It has cost me $45,000 USD including the bike purchase. But it has been worth it. I would do it again and I would not change a thing. I love it.

“It puts the biggest smile on my face when I ride it and it turns so many heads,” Saville continues. “I love the power and how the torque builds up and as it’s wheelspinning it is trying to throw me off the back!

What a bike. What a day. What good use of rear tire!

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  • 12er

    Thought it had enough grunt stock, but thats just me…

    • Kevin Duke

      Enough, sure, we can’t argue with that. But I don’t think you can tell me you wouldn’t want to take this turbo version for a spin!

      • Ken Floyd Jr.

        I wouldn’t Just like I don’t jump off bridges or let people shoot apples off my head. There are some thrills I am happy to read about but Not experience.

        • 12er

          Pipe placement looks like it would melt my size 15…

  • Ken Floyd Jr.

    A stock Diavel is too much, turbo’d, way too much. But the turbo Grom seems like a lot of fun.

    • Rampg Diavel

      Never too much , as jamie from S&R PRO says ” everything needs a turbo”

  • DickRuble

    Meh.. Sure, if you have $45K screaming to leave your pocket, why not?

  • Starmag

    Not to pick nits or anything, but a stock Diavel has about 160hp, double that would be 320hp, not 220hp. Still silly from my view, especially at $45k, but to each their own. 2015 Ducati Diavel Carbon was $20,995 which means he payed at least $24,000 for 60hp.

    I’d love to see a feature on the turbo Grom when it’s finished.

    • DickRuble

      Yeah.. a turbo Grom makes total sense.. that and a watermelon cannon.

      • Starmag

        True, there’s better things to shoot out of a cannon that are also green on the outside and red on the inside.

    • Kevin Duke

      A stock Diavel makes about 135 hp at the wheel. So, you’re correct and you’re not. 🙂 I’ll edit our subhead to suit.

      And in case anyone missed it, here’s our shootout between the Diavel and a VMax, including dragstrip testing: http://www.motorcycle.com/shoot-outs/2012-ducati-diavel-cromo-vs-star-vmax-video-91427.html

      • Starmag

        I didn’t look further than Ducati’s claimed power off their site. 119 kW (162 hp) @ 9,250 rpm. 27hp less is a fairly large loss to the rear wheel which I didn’t expect. That’s why I stated “about 160”. No biggie.

        • DickRuble

          10% is typical loss between crank and wheel.

          • Starmag

            Too true. Which would be 16.2hp. Someone should check to see if Ducati’s pants are on fire.

      • Ken Floyd Jr.

        Another blank page. Why can’t I read old MO?

        • Kevin Duke

          The link works fine for me. Please try again and confirm!

          • Ken Floyd Jr.

            So I did. Same result. All the ads, headers, navigation buttons all work, but the article is blank. This is not the only one. Many old MO articles are the same. Even your own John Burns posted a ” page two” article. Maybe it is my problem, if it is I hope someone can show me how to fix it. I am looking to buy a used bike and am combing through reviews to help me on the way. Top of my list seems to be a Triumph Tiger 800 xrx but maybe because it is the last I have test ridden. It is a fine bike though.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Yup, none of the articles from Mid 2013 and older show up. The header, footer and right column show but the actual article space in the middle is blank. Tried it on Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers. Your computer may show it because the article is still saved in the cache. Try it on someone else’s computer outside the office.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8c4c6cc4be78e8cb1ec4ddf2d89d64c9a697aa5d382b729416ac0e11ac4594f0.jpg

          • The link works, the page doesn’t. RedClot is still biting you guys eh? BTW, very little old-MO content works. I figured it was retaliation to me. 🙂

    • Sunshine1011

      I always LOVE when people tell others how they should spend THEIR money.

      For some of us, $24k is two days pay and we gotta spend it somehow.

      • Starmag

        You’ll notice upon re-reading it I said “my view”and “to each their own”. I told no one what to do with THEIR money. I’m entitled to my opinion, as are you, that’s what comment sections are for. My comment was not the only one that was skeptical.

  • Rampg Diavel

    Hi guys the bike was making 225hp@ the
    wheel (250 at crank) in this video on a very low 3.6psi.
    Since the the bike has been retuned to 5.5 psi on pump 98 fuel making over 250hp@ the wheel (275 at crank).standard diavel make anywhere from 135 to 140 ish hp at the wheel.
    Sure yes it is a lot of money to spend however that was including the ohlins rear shock/forks re springing/valving and numerous bits and pieces. Everything is one off custom in the turbo build with many many hours invested, the quality of the work is second to none .
    The bike is absolutely amazing to ride and words can’t explain the feeling that it gives with its tremendous torque and the fact it can be ridden gently or aggressively. The power delivery comes on smooth and just builds and builds throughout the rev range.
    I understand many people will say it’s a waste of money or it looks crap or he should of done it like this ,that or whatever . It’s the first gen 2 Diavel to be turboed in the world and Its my pride and joy.I built this bike for myself to enjoy which I do tremendously.
    Hope you guys enjoy:)

    • Kevin Duke

      Your bike is amazing, Blake, and the fact that you enjoy it tremendously is all that needs to be said! Haters gonna hate… Now that it’s making 250 hp at the wheel, you should bring it over here to California so I can get some seat time. I’m getting tired of Ware riding cool bikes that I can’t! Cheers!

      • Rampg Diavel

        Thanks Kevin, if you ever come to oz your more than welcome to test it out.
        Ware does have a great job doesn’t he!!

  • Mahatma

    Somebody should turbo-up the V65 magna!

  • SRMark

    Bikes are usually about fun. And the owner looks to be having fun. And he had the cash. I tip my hat to him. Now how did he vote in the loud-pipe survey?

  • Bmwclay

    Why not the Harley ‘Wheelie’ guy try it out?

  • gjw1992

    I just love the way it looks – heavy duty plumbing but very cleanly done. You don’t need a diagram or explanation to see how that turbo thing works!

  • Paul Verstraete

    i could never use that much power i have an fz1 mostly stock……its fun for me…..that looks like a fun project i bet he had a ball and felt great making it work so well…..