2012 Ducati Diavel Cromo First Look

November 9, 2011
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
Cruiser Editor |Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

Introducing the 2012 Ducati Diavel Cromo.
Ducati touched up its Diavel with a bit of chrome, blacked out the frame, restitched the seat, and added new wheels to the 2012 Diavel Cromo.

With America’s penchant for chrome on their motorcycles, the 2012 Ducati Diavel Cromo is aimed straight at the U.S. market. Ducati’s Diavel created quite an uproar last year, upsetting the Ducati purists who couldn’t believe their beloved company was manufacturing a so-called cruiser motorcycle with a 240mm rear tire. Their consternation soon vanished after the buzz it created among the motorcycle press when it debuted in Spain. The motorcycle defies categorization, so we threw it in our Performance Cruiser Smackdown, added it to our 2011 Streetfighter Shootout and featured it in a stand-alone article. Bottom line, this thing hauls, hitting 60 mph in 2.93 seconds and covering the quarter in 10.6 seconds @ 128.3 miles per hour, outgunning all of the streetfighters in the test while destroying the other power cruisers in handling.

Dynamically, the 2012 Diavel Cromo is the same as the standard Diavel. It’s still powered by the potent Testastretta 11 engine, it utilizes a Ride-by-Wire throttle system, comes with Ducati Traction Control, Ducati Riding Modes and standard ABS. But subtle differences in style will only attract even more prospective buyers. The Diavel Cromo features chromium-plated tank panels which stand out against the gloss black trellis frame. The bottom trim of the headlight housing has also been touched up in chrome, a silver pin-stripe runs down the front fender and the word “Cromo” has been laser-engraved into the air-duct panels on either side of the fuel tank. The seat looks to be contoured a bit differently with its new horizontal stitching, and it has new custom 14-spoke machined wheels to go along with classic Ducati logos.

New classic logos and chromium-plated tank panels spruce up the look of Ducatis Diavel.
New classic logos and chromium-plated tank panels spruce up the look of Ducati’s Diavel. (Below) New horizontal stitching appears to give the seat on the 2012 Diavel Cromo a slightly different contour.
New horizontal stitching appears to give the seat on the 2012 Diavel Cromo a slightly different contour.

The pulse of the Diavel Cromo is provided by a Testastretta 11 powerplant ripped straight from Ducati’s superbike. The 1198cc mill sources Ducati’s Desmodromic valve system but for 2012 they revised intake and exhaust ports and readjusted cam timing to increase bottom end torque (like it needed it!), concentrating on reducing the overlap angle, the period when both intake and exhaust valves are open. We can vouch for the Diavel’s crazy top end, too, after a third gear surge at 8000 rpm began lifting the front wheel off the ground . A Ride-by-Wire system provides instant gratification as it has the feel of a cable-actuated throttle and maintains the seamless relationship between the rider’s right wrist and the throttle bodies. Its oil bath clutch has a slipper function to reduce rear end wiggle when down-shifting aggressively but it also lends to the Diavel’s light feel at the lever. The 58mm exhaust headers of the 2-1-2 system provide a wonderful bass-filled note you can feel in your bones, this despite catalytic converters and Euro 3 compliancy. Ducati claims its power numbers for 2012 are an impressive 162 hp in a 456-pound motorcycle, but the 2011 Ducati Diavel tested out for us with 136.9 hp @ 9200 rpm at the rear wheel and tipped the scales with a curb weight of 521 pounds. Regardless, it’s still a beast.

The Diavel’s twin lateral radiators have the added benefit of a new 64mm water pump to keep the high-revving engine cool at high rpm. The radiators add to the brawn of the bike’s front end, as do the massive aluminum air intakes on each side of the 4.5-gallon tank.

Suspension duties are handled by a 50mm Marzocchi front fork which is adjustable for spring pre-load, compression and rebound damping. Set out at a 28-degree rake angle with 5.12 in. of trail, the fork is offset 0.945-inches. The rear is anchored by a Sachs unit which is adjustable for compression and rebound damping, too. Bringing a bike with this much power to a halt requires premium componentry, and the Diavel Cromo comes standard with Ducati Bosch-Brembo ABS. The big 320mm discs on the front are gripped by 4-piston, twin radial-mount calipers, the Brembo Monobloc units getting new integral alloy master cylinders.

The 2012 Ducati Diavel Cromo with a fan at its EICMA debut in Milan.
The 2012 Ducati Diavel Cromo makes fans at its 2011 EICMA debut in Milan.

Besides ABS, the Diavel Cromo has other high tech features like its Ducati Traction Control and Ducati Riding Modes. The Riding Modes are broken down into Sport, Touring and Urban settings, while the DTC constantly regulates throttle openings and rear wheel-spin in all of its eight different settings.

Even the Diavel’s displays are high-tech as it utilizes split-level instrumentation. The upper LCD, mounted just below the handlebars, displays speed, rpm, time, temp and warning lights. The Thin Film Transistor (TFT) display is incorporated into the fuel tank and is positioned in a rider’s line of sight just below the upper LCD. It is used to display the Riding Modes readout, has a gear indicator, and displays DTC setting.

For 2012, the Diavel is available in four versions, including the standard Ducati Diavel (available in Ducati red with a red frame or diamond black with black frame), Diavel Carbon (red carbon – gloss red over matte carbon weave with either a red or black carbon frame), Diavel Cromo (gloss black with contrasting silver pin stripe, chrome-finished tank panels) and the high-end Diavel AMG Special Edition (matte black carbon fiber bodywork with AMG’s ‘diamond white bright’ stripe). Though we don’t know 2012 prices yet, the 2011 Diavel had an MSRP of $16,995 while the Diavel Carbon version listed for $20,395.

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