So it is getting to that time of year where it’s colder and wetter and the nights are drawing in. Should we let any of that dampen the biking spirit?…no!! And Thursday brought with it a rare gem for this time of year, a sunny day and a perfect opportunity to take the Diavel out on my test route which I took the 848 on a few weeks ago. So there I am, roads drying, forecast looking good and a tank full of petrol, perfect! I headed out towards Ripon (Map and directions included below).
Obviously the Diavel is a different proposition to the 848 and the route is a really good way to see how it compares as it takes in all kinds of different road types. The Diavel could almost be the perfect Sunday ride, it is Superbike fast but is much more relaxing to ride, you have to approach it in a different way to the 848. As I have mentioned before, once you get yourself dialled into how to get the best from the Diavel it rewards you with dimension defying composure and handling, I have covered around 1000 miles on the Big D now and it still surprises me just what you can make it do.
Aside from the obvious difference in geometry and dimensions the other big difference between the Diavel and the 848 is the character of the engine. The Big D has a deep lushes torque curve, no tap dancing on the gears is required and if you are not going totally crazy and stay smooth you won’t need the brakes either. Set her up right off the throttle and you can glide into the arcing curves provided mile after mile on the snaking A and B-roads of this route, with both big speed and big lean. The balp and bang of the Termiginonis simply perfects the experience.
Firing the Diavel out of the bends is really what it is all about though, there are some really tight bends that cut back on themselves on this route and then head immediately up hill, that’s 20 and 25% incline uphill. Not that you would know it on the Diavel, just pick her up from some crazily effortless lean angle with the throttle and she will blast up the hill like she is preparing to launch off the summit straight into orbit.
Regardless of the gear or the gradient the Diavel accelerates with a ferocious composure that really boggles the mind. Opening the throttle on some of the long straights has you clicking through the short geared box in seconds, the 10,000rpm or so rev limit comes up in an instant and with that long wheel base you can get your weight forward and really get the best from the grip provided by the huge rear Pirelli. This all combines to make it much easy to convert all that power and torque into forward motion. Only when things get a bit squirrelly over the bumps and the Big D’s weight starts to show will you start to think about rolling off.
Once Big D starts to get out of shape you can feel the extra weight and that it could very quickly get away from you. In fact the only time I have felt the traction control on the Diavel is when the back has got unloaded over fast undulations and throttle was pinned. The extra weight and the lack of aerodynamics are the only limiting factors on the Diavel but, you have to be really clocking on for them to start to matter.
I have heard a lot about the Diavel being a substitute for a sportsbike, don’t be fooled, it isn’t although it comes close, very close. Due to its weigh, dimensions and riding position, it lacks that focus you get with a sorted sports bike and hard on the brakes into a bend is where a sportsbike would really show the Diavel the way but, that is not the how to get the most from the Big D and the relative lack of focus brings its own benefits. There was a stretch of the B6160 leading up to the A684 where I didn’t come across a single car, it was one of the best 10 miles I have ever spent on a bike and was effortless for the Diavel, perfect throttle response, perfectly composed and so so smooth into, through and out of the bends. It felt really strange to be going so fast and still be so relaxed. The Diavel is a cruiser in the sense that it makes sportsbike speed feel like cruising, it was unreal!!
The thing is, with the Diavel it doesn’t have to all be about throttle wide open, rev limit hitting riding instead you can simply pick a gear and ride a seemingly endless tsunami of torque. I found myself in a different mindset when riding the Diavel on the route, as opposed to when riding the 848, I was less busy on the bike as the Diavel will do all the work for you and I was stringing corners together so effortlessly that I kept having to check I hadn’t dropped down to 35 mph as it was just so easy. On the Diavel everything is effortless and if the mood takes you or you want to get past that truck four cars in front, a slight flick of the wrist and your past in what must seem to onlookers like a raging typhoon but, to you it will seem like nothing more than a mild spring breeze. No fuss or hassle just effortless.
The Diavel was so much fun and so relaxing to ride that I could have road it all day, so I did. I even stopped off at a few places for a coffee to take it all in, which really isn’t something I normally do, I just prefer to ride, ride, ride and only stop for petrol. This was a different kind of riding experience for me. I watched the sun go down at the top of Butter tubs pass and made my way home under the gaze of a full moon. Now how is that for autumn riding and after 8 hours in the saddle I was fresh as the cold autumn air and felt so good that the cold didn’t bother me one bit either. I am beginning to think the Diavel could just be the perfect tourer although, it just needs some luggage. Wait!! Haven’t Ducati already thought of that and brought one out with some panniers? Hmmmm! Food for thought!
The Test Route in detail:
Head west out of Ripon on the B6265 towards Pateley Bridge.
Continue on B6265 out of Pately Bridge to Grassington.
Head North up the B6160 out of Grassington towards Kettlewell.
Go all the way along the B6160 and turn left Westbound at the A684 towards Hawes
Turn right in the centre of Hawes heading north along Brunt Acres Road follow this to the end.
Turn left onto Bellow Hill taking the next right (200yards) onto Cliff Gate Road.
Follow this to the end and turn right (eastbound) on the B6270 towards Muker.
Follow this Road all the way to Reeth.
From Reeth follow signs for Leyburn, heading South down Whipperdale Bank.
From Leyburn take the A6108 back to Ripon.