Best Naked Motorcycle of 2023

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

Best Naked Motorcycle of 2023: Ducati Diavel V4

Yeah, we’re putting the Diavel V4 in the naked bike category. Deal with it. This category-bending motorcycle can’t be cornered into your traditional definitions of motorcycling, and with that big, booming V4 engine, I think we can all agree that it certainly isn’t a cruiser. Nonetheless, it impressed Evans enough that he gave it a 91.5% rating on his scorecard, which is plenty good enough to name the Ducati Diavel V4 our Naked bike of the year.

Now, imagine for a minute you’re sitting in the classic naked-bike style with your feet slightly in front of you, bars upright, and chest proud and in the wind. Now imagine you have 168 horsepower and 93 lb-ft of torque at your disposal. Oh, and don’t forget your 11,000 rpm redline. Pretty crazy, right? We haven’t even mentioned the full electronics suite, rear cylinder deactivation, Brembo Stylema calipers, 330mm rotors, and fully adjustable suspension. The fat 240-section rear tire admittedly looks out of place, but this has been a staple of the Diavel since its introduction, and surprisingly (or maybe not), Ducati and Pirelli have found a way to make it work.

As Evans found out during the bike’s press intro in Abu Dhabi, on a road spanning over six miles built specifically for the rich, privileged, royal… or invited press… to come enjoy their play things. Granted, this is a highly-specialized locale for riding a bike, but let’s just take a second to appreciate the glorious absurdity that is the Diavel V4. It’s a powerhouse of a motorcycle that made quick work of a curvy hillside road. No, it doesn’t make any sense – and yet Evans and all the other journos we spoke with who attended the launch – couldn’t help but laugh and shake their heads in happy amazement when asked how the bike worked and how much fun it was.

Isn’t that the point sometimes?

Best Naked Motorcycle of 2023 Runner-Up: Triumph Street Triple

Let’s clarify things here: we’re specifically talking about the Street Triple 765 RS. The single R is a good bike, too, but the RS takes the performance up a rather significant notch. Evans came back from the press ride of the bike thoroughly impressed, and now that we’ve had a chance to ride the RS back home, we completely agree with his sentiment. We’re a big fan of Triples around here, and the increased bump in power from the 765cc three-cylinder is a nice upgrade. It’s nice to see the lessons learned from the Moto2 paddock being applied to bikes the everyday person can buy. But the continual refinement of the Street Triple platform is the underrated aspect also deserving of praise.

One mark of a good motorcycle is how easy it is to ride quickly. With the Street Triple RS, all of the testers who rode it came to grips with it right away with little to no learning curve at all. Power is as smooth and linear as you could hope for, with fueling precisely metered to the rider’s right hand. Riding quickly starts at the engine of course, but without a balanced chassis the engine’s power goes to waste. Thankfully, the Street Triple chassis is as unflappable as they come, making for a perfect combination with the engine. If you still manage to get yourself out of shape, Triumph has your back with an assortment of electronic rider aids that are easy-ish to find in the bike’s menu screens and toggles.

But it’s not just about going fast. Comfort while riding at a normal pace also gets overlooked sometimes – but not with the Street Triple. With a well-padded seat and neutral ergos bordering slightly towards the aggressive side, the 765 RS has all the right ingredients to make it a great bike if you could only have one. Its do-it-all nature gives it great flexibility to satisfy a wide variety of riders, whatever their flavor is.

It’s for all these reasons that the Triumph Street Triple 765 RS gets our award for Runner-Up in the Naked bike category. Ultimately though, the V4 was too compelling not to give the top spot.

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Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

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2 of 10 comments
  • Imtoomuch Imtoomuch on Dec 13, 2023

    I'm glad the Ducati won. Make motorcycling fun again. The Diavel V4 definitely does that. Thankfully you didn't give the Triumph yet another defacto win.

  • Bill Langton Bill Langton on Dec 25, 2023

    Troy & All,

    Help, I know you have tried them all and loved a few of them. I am days away from pulling the plug and putting my money towards the Diavel V4 & the 1290 SDr Evo. Yes they are very different yet with some similarities. I guess my question is will the Diavel do tight technical backroads at a "fun" if not illegal speed or will it get itself tied up in knots. I currently own the 890 Duke r and find it too tiring on longer rides. But she is so amazing on these roads.