Ducati Belts up with the 2016 XDiavel

Ducati has entered the cruiser market in style with the XDiavel, a belt driven version of the Diavel but with a load more swagger. Ducati claims it’s the best of both worlds – the relaxed feet forward riding position of a cruiser combined with Italian style, refinement and performance.

And based on looks alone, we like wha we see. The original Ducati Diavel was a striking machine, albeit a bit awkward and every so slightly unsure of what type of motorcycle it was. And while no one is going to confuse the XDiavel with a Harley-Davidson, it certainly does look like it has some of the same presence that HD offers – and for many in the market to buy a cruiser, that’s a big factor.

Here’s some stats that illustrate this isn’t your run of the mill Ducati. Firstly, maximum torque is reached at a very low 5,000 rpm. Secondly, the XDiavel offers 60 different combinations of ergonomic positions, with four different front footrest positions, five different seat options and three different handlebars available. And thirdly, the maximum lean angle for the XDiavel is 40 degrees – around half of what is theoretically achievable on a Panigale.

The XDiavel is the first Ducati to use a belt drive. To many cruiser riders, this is a necessity and replaces the chain drive from the standard Diavel. Like all latest-generation Ducati bikes the XDiavel features the Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which dynamically measures pitch and roll angles plus the speed of relative variations in attitude. This system, together with Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Riding Modes, Bosch Cornering ABS , Cruise Control and the Ducati Power Launch (DPL) probably making the XDiavel  the most technologically advanced cruiser available today.

Available also as an S version, the XDiavel features a black-only colour scheme (on the S version the matt black becomes gloss). The bike also has the DRL (Daytime Running Light) at the front, forks with DLC coating, Brembo M50 front brake callipers, a special seat and parts with machine-finished highlights.

So far we’ve only been able to get pricing for the Australian market, which is $27,490.00 for the XDiavel and $32,490.00 for the XDiavel S. And yes, those prices are before on road costs. Availability is February 2016.

2016 Ducati XDiavel Specifications

EngineDucati Testastretta DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing), LTwin,
4 Desmodromically actuated valves per cylinder, Dual
spark, Liquid cooled
Capacity1.262 cc
Power156 hp (114,7 kW) @ 9500 rpm
Torque95,0 lb-ft (128,9 Nm) @ 5000 rpm
Gear Box6 gears
Front Brakes2 x 320 mm (12,60 in) semifloating discs, Radial Brembo
monobloc 4-piston M4-32 callipers and radial master cylinder,
Bosch cornering ABS as standard equipment
Rear Brakes265 mm (10,43 in) disc, 2-piston floating calliper, Bosch
cornering ABS as standard equipment
Front SuspensionAdjustable Ø 50 mm (Ø 1,97 in) usd fork
Rear SuspensionSingle shock absorber, Adjustable preload and rebound,
Remote reservoir, Single sided cast/trellis frame swingarm
Front TireLight alloy, Cast, 3,5"x17"
Rear TireLight alloy, Cast, 8,00" x 17"
Wet Weight247 kg (545 lb)
Tank Capacity18 litres

2016 Ducati Mulistrada Enduro Can go Off-Road

One of the more interesting releases from Ducati today is the 2016 Ducati Multistrada Enduro – a modified version of the standard Multistrada that is much more off-road focused. This isn’t just a new name and a bash plate though, Ducati have made some extra modifications that actually mean this is a machine that many a KTM and BMW rider may look at seriously.

Spoked wheels are now present, and the front wheel has been increased to 19 inches in diameter. The fuel tank is now a massive 30 litres in size which Ducati says is good for a range of over 450 kilometres (about 280 miles). A double-sided swingarm replaces the single sided unit which is a fairly big departure for Ducati but obviously improves the strengh of the bike for off-road  adventures.

Engine output remains an impressive 160 hp and includes all the bells and whistles of the standard model. Ducati have also included and ‘Enduro’ riding mode where engine power is reduced to 100 hp and traction control and other rider aids have been tailored to looser grip surfacs. The ABS system is also modified so that rear wheel lift detection is deactivated, as are the cornering and ABS functions on the rear wheel so that it can be locked.

The biggest and most important change however is that suspension travel is increased to 200 mm both front and back. This, coupled with the fact that Ducati’s incredibly impressive semi-electronic suspension system is standard on the Multistrada Enduro means that this will be a truly wonderful machine to operate off-road. Standard tires are the new Pirelli Scorpion Trail II or, Scorpion Rally’s which are show in the images below.

 

2016 Ducati Multistrada Enduro Specifications

EngineDucati Testastretta DVT with Desmodromic Variable Timing, L-Twin
cylinder, 4 valve per cylinder, Dual Spark, liquid cooled
Capacity1,198.4 cc
Power117,7 kW (160 hp) @ 9,500 rpm
Torque136 Nm (100,3 lb-ft) @ 7,500 rpm
Gear Box6 gears
Front Brakes2 x 320 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted monoblocco Brembo
callipers, 4-piston, 2-pad, with cornering ABS as standard equipment
Rear Brakes265 mm disc, 2-piston floating calliper, with cornering ABS as standard
equipment
Front SuspensionSachs 48 mm fully adjustable usd forks. Electronic compression and
rebound damping adjustment with Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS), 200mm travel
Rear SuspensionFully adjustable Sachs unit. Electronic compression & rebound damping
adjustment. Electronic spring pre-load adjustment with Ducati Skyhook
Suspension (DSS). Aluminium double-sided swingarm, 200mm travel
Front TireTubeless spoked wheel in light alloy 3" x 19"
Rear TireTubeless spoked wheel in light alloy 4.50" x 17"
WetWeight254 kg
Tank Capacity30 litres

EICMA Coverage 2015

We’re now just a few days away from the biggest event of the year for the motorcycle industry to show off their new toys. While every year it seems like the manufacturers like to ‘leak’ news and images of their new bikes before the event, there will still be a number of new surprises in store, most notably from BMW, Ducati, Bimota and Yamaha.

Below is a small summary of what new models we’re expecting from various manufacturers. It’s by no means a complete list but we’ll be updating this post when EICMA takes off on November 19.

Aprilia

Sister company to Moto Guzzi, the smallest of the Italian brands isn’t likely to have much new on offer, save for the rumored 230+ horsepower RSV4RF. Which suits us just fine.

Benelli

The Chinese owned Italian manufacturer has at least one new model ready to be shown off – we’re thinking an off-road focused machine around the 600cc mark.

BMW

BMW will have a number of new models on show, including their new scrambler based on the R nine T retro bike. Rumors are now that there may be two versions of this new scrambler as well.

Ducati

The bit Italian is expected to unveil up to eight brand new bikes at EICMA. We’re expecting that some of these eight are variations on existing machines, such as a bigger capacity 899 Panigale, but there should be a few surprises, too.

Expect a new smaller capacity Scrambler and a belt driven Diavel.

Honda

There’s not much to expect from Honda at EICMA this year, save perhaps for the production version of the CRF Rally. We’d love a new Fireblade but unfortunately that’s not going to happen.

Moto Guzzi

Four new models will be ‘officially’ unveiled at EICMA, but we already know what they are. They’ll be a pair of V9 machines – a Bobber and a Roamer, plus a scrambler and a production version of the MGX-21 bagger concept.

Suzuki

A new GSX-R1000? Pretty please?

Yamaha

Yamaha will actually be unveiling it’s next big secret tomorrow which will be another new bike in the MT/FZ lineup. And if that bike shown tomorrow isn’t the new XSR900, then expect that to be unveiled in Milan also.

 

 

Ducati Premiere – Live Streaming

In just a few hours, Ducati will be showcasing their new range for 2016 which will likely include among other motorcycles, a new version of the Ducati Scrambler, a belt driven version if the Diavel Cruiser and also a larger capacity 899 Panigale. For those wanting to watch as it happens, check back here at 15:00 GMT on  16 November (17 November for Australian and New Zealand residents) for the stream which will be shown below as soon as the event commences.

Ducati is also offering the opportunity to ask the men and women responsible for the 2016 range questions. This can be done by posting your questions during and after the premiere on Twitter by using the hashtag #Ducati2016, and on Facebook commenting the dedicated post. Ducati will then select the most interesting ones and provide detailed answers on Tuesday 17th, directly from Ducati’s Stand at the EICMA Exhibition where all new Ducatis will be publicly exposed from November 19th to the 22nd.

Suggested questions include, do you like the colour red? Do you rate V4’s? Did Rossi kick Marquez at Malaysia?

Does X Mark a New Ducati Diavel Belt Driven Cruiser?

Ducati’s ‘This is X’ promotion has been more annoying than most, showing absolutely nothing of substance until now. The latest video gives us glimpses of what looks like a Ducati Diavel – and given that we’re assuming ‘X’ is all about new models, it’s likely that this is the belt driven version that has been captured undergoing testing earlier this year.

We’ve taken some images from the video and done our best to brighten them to catch any hidden details. The headlight, rear lights and wheel all look similar to the existing Diavel. There was some conjecture that we might not see the belt driven version until next year given that Ducati released an updated Diavel Carbon just a month ago, but it would seem now that both models will exist side by side – and perhaps the new belt driven version will go under a completely different name.

The official unveiling will be next week when EICMA kicks off on 16 November.

Does X Mark a New Ducati Diavel Belt Driven Cruiser? Does X Mark a New Ducati Diavel Belt Driven Cruiser? Does X Mark a New Ducati Diavel Belt Driven Cruiser? Does X Mark a New Ducati Diavel Belt Driven Cruiser? Does X Mark a New Ducati Diavel Belt Driven Cruiser?

Why MotoGP Has Become the Best Motosport Series in the World

For decades, Formula 1 has been the number one form of motorsport in the world, and from a purely monetary point of view remains so. But like anything, the quality of a series waxes and wanes over time and Formula 1 is currently undergoing one of its worst periods in history. And while it continues to decline, MotoGP has come from behind to become the best form of motorsport on the planet.

This hasn’t happened overnight, but it is amazing how quickly MotoGP transformed to a very sick series into the number one form of motorsport. The global financial crisis hit the motorcycle industry hard, and MotoGP wasn’t immune with even the big name teams of Honda and Yamaha struggling to get major sponsors. But fast forward to the present and MotoGP is the healthiest it’s been for decades.

Why MotoGP Has Become the Best Motosport Series in the World

Marquez is young and unlike some Formula 1 champions, seems to actually have a personality.

All of this was highlighted on the weekend at the latest round of MotoGP at Phillip Island. It was a combination of one of the best racetracks in the world along with a championship that is going down to the wire that produced a race with more excitement than all of this years’ Formula 1 championship combined. In Formula 1’s current state, it’s a battle between Mercedes powered cars with the odd Ferrari thrown in the mix if Mercedes trip over themselves. But at Phillip Island we saw three different manufacturers battling for the podium, with a fourth in Suzuki only a few positions behind.

Formula 1’s claim to fame has always been its speeds and the technological prowess. There’s no doubt F1 cars still remain the fastest way to get around a circuit and their technology is second to none but rules and regulations have seen this competitive advantage shrink ever more.

Amazingly, modern MotoGP come close to the performance of present day Formula 1 cars in many ways. The fastest a bike has ever been clocked came this year at Indianapolis where Jorge Lorenzo hit 216.858 mph – that’s 349 kph. This year, Kimi Räikkönen in his Ferrari managed 358.3kph (222.637 mph) – less than 10 kph more. Considering Formula 1 drivers sit inside one of the most advanced safety cells ever built, compared to riders who have only a thin layer of leather protecting them it shows how utterly incredible the speeds currently achieved in MotoGP are.

Why MotoGP Has Become the Best Motosport Series in the World

A Ducati, Honda, Yamaha and a Suzuki all battling.

This is one key area where Formula 1 has faltered over the past decade. While no one wants to see racers die or be injured, Formula 1 has become so risk averse that modern day tracks offer almost no repercussions for going off track. Run off areas that were once either grass or gravel traps are now bitumen – drivers can make mistakes and carry on – sometimes even gaining an advantage in the process.

Yet watching MotoGP, there’s a risk every time that a rider might go down. Two wheels instead of four with much narrower tires means far less grip and we’ve seen multiple instances of Marc Marquez coming off this year just pushing too hard and paying the price. In Formula 1, there’s almost never any price to pay.

And where passing in Formula 1 is a rarity (and a contrived one at that with DRS and the use of electrical energy to provide a power boost), MotoGP actually sees real race-craft in action, with riders not only plotting where to make their move but defending too – multiple times per lap.

For the most part, Dorna, the owner of the MotoGP championship has resisted the urge to sell out to developing world venues in order to make a quick dollar too. While Formula 1 is happy to take cash from questionable locales such as Bahrain, Russia and soon to be Azerbaijan at the expense of wonderful and historic tracks – races in Germany, Italy and even Silverstone in England are all under threat.

Why MotoGP Has Become the Best Motosport Series in the World

Lewis Hamilton wins again, daylight second.

And while Dorna isn’t saintly, the difference between how it goes about business and CVC Capital Partners (the private equity firm who owns F1) couldn’t be more stark. While some Formula 1 teams have begun court action in the European Union against F1 and other teams struggle to stay afloat, Dorna actually funds most of the MotoGP field to some degree (from 2017, Dorna will pay teams approximately €2 million a year for each rider they field, about half of what is required to complete a season in MotoGP) and provides transport and tires free of charge.

Couple that with how Dorna has adapted to the internet by allowing people to buy access online instead of putting their series into the hands of pay television like Formula 1 has and you couldn’t get two starker contrasts of how to run a motorsport series. And this ultimately is where MotoGP has gone ahead in leaps and bounds compared to Formula 1 – entertainment. At the end of the day, motorsport is about entertaining fans and as last weekends race at Phillip Island showed, MotoGP is doing that better than anyone else.

 

2015 Ducati Multistrada Review

How can it be that this year’s Ducati Multistrada is described as a major overhaul when on first glance it looks relatively similar to the previous model? It’s a case of looks can be very deceptive because the new 2015 Ducati Multistrada is virtually a completely new motorcycle. The frame, geometry, electronics and even the display have been completely revamped but it’s the Testastretta DVT engine which steals the show and thankfully it’s a technology that isn’t a mere gimmick but a huge improvement on the bike.

The previous model Multistrada was quite a departure for the Italian manufacturer and definitely saw them step outside of their comfort zone to what previously amounted to superbikes and roadsters. While the engine was smoother than what it was in its donor bike, the 1198, it was still rough at low rpm and felt less polished than competitor offerings that have continually been released ever since.

That is but a distant memory now, with the Testastretta DVT feeling smooth as silk. This is all thanks to the employment of variable valve timing with independent control of both the intake and exhaust camshafts – a first for a motorcycle engine. Yes, Honda has used its V-TEC on on their VFR and Kawasaki have employed it on the intake camshaft for the 1400GTR, but Ducati’s system is the most comprehensive.

Ducati has mainly publicsed the performance improvements of DVT which it most certainly does provide. At low to medium engine speeds power delivery is smoother and torque is higher while at the upper end of the rev range it allows for greater power – in fact an additional 10hp over the previous iteration. But perhaps just importantly is that fuel economy and emissions are both reduced. Technologies such as this will no doubt become more and more common as emission regulations get tighter. In fact we’ll no doubt see Ducati’s DVT system employed on all their large capacity machines in the near future.

Those wondering if the implementation of DVT has blunted the character of the engine need not worry – in our opinion every change made on it is for the better. It still sounds beautiful, especially on downshifts and the only real negative for some is the loss of roughness which a few might deem a part of the previous engine’s character and charm. Personally, if such character and charm is what you’re after we’d recommend buying a 20 year old bike instead.

Under about 5,000 rpm the bike feels fairly sedate. Interestingly from very low RPM it feels stronger but when hitting between 3,000 and 5,000 it almost feels like the engine is having a rest before it again explodes towards redline. Looking at the torque curve supplied by Ducati there doesn’t seem to be a reason for this, so either it was an oddity unique to our bike or just in our imagination.

Suffice to say it doesn’t feel like an engine you can cruise along on the highway in 6th gear and expect to blast past traffic, it does necessitate downshifts – at least when sitting in that 3,000 to 5,000 rpm range. That’s okay with us and we’ve got no doubt it’s okay with Ducati too – this is a bike that firmly sits on the sporty side of sports adventure bike.

That’s partly explained by the ergonomics of the bike. Looking at the Multistrada you can clearly see its far more compact than its rivals. While it doesn’t look small compared to a sportsbike, sitting next to a V-Strom or a Super Adventure you’d think that perhaps only the vertically challenged may be accommodated. And while it is a more compact cockpit than those two and many other adventure bikes, it’s still comfortable for those over 6 foot in height. Peg position is also more sporty than you may expect from a bike in this class and you’re also pushed a fair way forward too.

What that means is that the ride and handling is a mixture of sportsbike and tourer. For some that will be their ideal machine while for others it will take the Multistrada off their list in place of something more sedate. The bars on the Multistrada feel narrower too, meaning more effort is required when cornering the bike but again, that’s not a negative too us. It almost creates a perfect blend of superbike and adventure machine – a fast bike that still heavily involves the rider but provides for a comfortable journey.

Where things get very un-superbike like are the inclusion of cruise control (which is very easy to engage), height adjustable seat, an adjustable windshield that offers some of the best wind protection we’ve experienced, as well as optional extras such as a centre stand, heated grips and panniers.

While the star of the show is no doubt the engine, there’s a slew of other notable features on the Multistrada. Like many new top end bikes released this year, the Multistrada is implanted with Bosch’s Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). It looks after traction control, wheelie control, the four riding modes (Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro) and cornering ABS.

All that is integrated extremely well with the brand new LCD screen. While Italian cars and bikes might have a reputation for quirkiness and interfaces designed to frustrate rather than facilitate what you want to do, there’s no issues with how Ducati has designed things here. Quite the opposite actually – it’s ridiculously easy to not only understand what the dash is displaying but to change modes or modify the information displayed on the screen. Given how great of a ride the Multistrada is we would almost forgive Ducati if they treated all this as an afterthought but they’ve done a wonderful job – other manufactures please take note.

Suspension overall is great, though perhaps slightly too hard as standard. That’s fairly easy to rectify given the full adjustability of both the forks upfront and the shock at the back. As you’d expect from an adventure bike, rear preload has a remote adjuster. Our test ride took us over some truly awful roads full of potholes, differing compounds and even worse, corners that seemed to contain random cambers as you went through it. The Multistrada handled them all effortlessly and far more comfortably than we would have expected.

No doubt that is helped by the weight of the bike which at 209kg dry or 229kg with all fluids is definitely on the svelte side in comparison to many other bikes in this range. The weight is also distributed well across the bike and a lot of thought has gone into how this machine handles. Flicking the bike from side to side is an effortless breeze, though again those after a casual riding experience may find the handling quicker than wanted. Pirelli’s excellent Scorpion Trail II tires are fitted to the wheels and from our previous testing of these tires, will provide excellent grip with long wear.

I did feel some fatigue on the bike after long stints or riding which no doubt is to be expected given this is such a hybrid of sportsbike and adventure tourer. On the plus side, the bike feels vibration free and the seat is adequate without being brilliant. The easy to use cruise control helps but I have no doubt that after a few days in the saddle you’ll really begin to feel your age catching up with you.

Looks wise, little has changed since the previous model which obviously depending on your tastes is either a good or bad thing. While it features typical Ducati styling cues, like any adventure bike there’s not going to be too many out there that call it an attractive machine. But given we’ve yet to really see a truly pretty adventure bike, it’s not something that’s really going to affect anyone’s purchasing decisions.

We haven’t even begun to scratch the huge range of electronics on the bike, such as the various riding modes, wheelie control and cornering ABS. Nor have we touched on the various ‘add-on’ packs you can buy at purchase such as the touring pack (heated grips, panniers, centre stand), sports pack as well as urban and enduro packages, We also haven’t talked about the wonderful hydraulic slipper clutch or the brakes that provide great feedback. That’s because they’re all excellent but work much the same as they do on similar bikes we’ve tested recently that come with much of Bosch’s new goodies.

Suffice to say Ducati has produced another excellent machine here. Priced from $17,695, this is probably the Multistrada’s only weakness – value for money. While it’s much cheaper than the everything but the kitchen sink wielding KTM 1290 Super Adventure ($20,499), it us undercut by the newly released BMW S 1000 XR ($16,350) and way above the Aprilia Caponord Touring which at $15,499 comes with active electronic suspension as found in the Multistrada S. That’s a huge chunk of change left over for holidays and it’s hard to argue that the Aprilia doesn’t have plenty of Italian charm as well.

But, for that extra money you get a Ducati badge and given what we’re hearing from dealerships, they aren’t struggling to sell them. And if price isn’t a determining factor, it’s a bike that will reward you for years to come.

 

2016 959 Panigale and 2016 937 Hypermotard Discovered

New filings made with the California Air Resources Board indicates that two of the new motorcycles to be unveiled by Ducati later this year will consist of displacement bumps for the 899 Panigale (increasing to 959cc), while the Hypermotard gets a fairly large increase in capacity from 821cc to 937cc.

No other information other than the fact that these two bikes will increase their displacement is known, but we’d sure hope that there would be some other upgrades or modifications to both bikes other than what some might see as a cynical way to boost sales.

It’s also a little sad to see Ducati’s supposed middleweight bike now only 41cc away from hitting the literbike mark. We’d dearly love to see a true middleweight from Ducati, even if it was around the 800cc mark. But alas, the market wants displacement and so that’s what the market gets.

The other possibility is that these increases in displacement are in fact due to the upcoming Euro IV regulations. In order to maintain the horsepower of their respective machines, Ducati may have needed to increase displacement while turning down the wick in order to meet the new, stringent tests. This would be a cheap way to keep the bikes on sale before their engines are completely redesigned in a few years time.

In other Ducati related news, they have launched a new teaser campaign called “What is Black?” We’ll give credit to Ducati – the campaign looks like it could be potentially even more annoying than their promotional efforts for the Ducati Scrambler last year. The video (below) and accompanying website probably raises more questions than it answers, but then again one would have to care what the answers are in the first place. We’re hoping the end result will be a bike reveal and not some new clothing/lifestyle line that has been rumored.