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Best Cruiser 2012: Ducati Diavel

Thursday, December 27, 2012
How do we justify naming the Ducati Diavel “Cruiser of the Year” two years running? Because nobody has stepped up to match the performance of Ducati’s power cruiser. In fact, the Ducati Diavel Carbon, at 452 pounds, is a claimed 11 pounds lighter than the standard Diavel thanks to forged Marchesini wheels, a Marzocchi fork, and carbon fiber fairing and trim. Not that a few pounds matters much to its 1198cc Testastretta superbike engine. The bike’s Ducati traction control can make a good rider out of average skills and variable engine maps allow the Diavel to be adjusted quickly for changing road and weather conditions. We even took it touring and found the sporty Duc to be more than capable and it’s riding position comfortable for the long haul.

We still marvel at Ducati’s engineering feat, the way it's been able to build a motorcycle with a 240mm rear tire that still handles. Ironically, the 240mm rear is one of the Diavel’s only true cruiser-ish traits. Little about the Diavel is classic, from its single-sided swingarm to its small, suspended tail section. Traction control and multiple rider modes are not typical cruiser fare but they’re standard features of the Diavel Carbon which help set it apart. After arguing about its place in the segment last year, now we view it as the performance standard to beat.

Honorable Mention – Tsunami Harley

What cruiser motorcycle drew more headlines than any other this year? The Tsunami Harley. The 2004 FXSTB Softail Night Train traveled all the way across the Pacific Ocean in the back of a cargo container. It was found on a beach in British Columbia. The guy who found it realized its significance and didn’t touch it out of respect for the some 20,000 people who perished in the Sendai earthquake and tsunami. The owner of the motorcycle, Ikuo Yokoyama, declined Harley’s offer to return it and instead asked that it be put on display exactly as it was found to serve as a memorial to those “whose lives were lost or forever changed” by the disaster. The Harley has a story unlike any other and is a monument that now resides in the Harley-Davidson Museum for all to view and pay their respects.

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Poncho167   January 8, 2013 08:11 AM
A Rebel 250 is a cruiser, though a small one.

A Diavel is something else. A hybrid naked bike?

Piglet2010   January 3, 2013 05:06 PM
The award should have gone to the Honda Rebel 250 - think of how many people have done the MSF BRC on one.
phxrider   January 3, 2013 10:53 AM
Jeezus, when are you people (as in moto-journalists) going to realize the Diavel, like the V-Max, is NOT a cruiser? A sportbike with kinda-sorta-cruiser-ish-like lines does not make a cruiser. Calling that thing a cruiser is like calling an AR15 an "assault rifle" because it looks scary.
Poncho167   January 3, 2013 09:28 AM
Why is this called a cruiser? Yes, this bike will cruise real fast but it is not a cruiser. A cruiser is something comfortable, laid back and stretch your legs.
Piglet2010   January 2, 2013 11:25 PM
@ woodco100 - Since you mention Honda, wonder if the Gold Wing F6B will get the award next year, or if it will go the the new 1400cc Moto Guzzi California?
RENDELL   January 1, 2013 12:07 PM
woodco100, I have to respectfully disagree with you on the only Honda anyone buys is the Gold Wing. There is a CBR 600RR everywhere I go. I've been seeing a lot more CBR 250s too. By Honda introducing the 500s they are catering to the new market due to economic decline and the credit crunch. I ride the '08 CBR 1000RR and I used to own a cruiser which I miss very much. You are correct, the Tsunami Harley is just a novelty story albeit a mighty interesting one. I do not think anyone thumbs their nose down at cruisers on MC USA. It appears a lot of new sport bike models come out every year thus getting all the attention. Harley still uses air cooled engines and there isn't much to say about it except they went to 103 a few years back. I don't know man... I do know you can't please everybody. I'm upset because it seems most of the bikes that won in 2012 are expensive to own and maintain European motorcycles which do not interest me.
GB   January 1, 2013 04:28 AM
seriously? have you ever rode a Diavel for a distance? Distance being being more than 20 miles. of all the great crusiers out there you pick a crotch rocket that tries to say it's a cruiser? I smell kickback. Plus it is just one fugly as hell bike. lose the fairing and call it it what it is, a crotch rocket that can't keep up with the Jap bikes.

woodco100   December 31, 2012 12:20 PM
Rendell, what influnece (sic) or significant advance did the tusnami HD have on the cruiser segment or MC industry?C Absolutely none. It is just a novelty story. Just another way for MC-USA to look down thier noses at cruiser riders. If yu read this ebsite enough you will see where thier loyalty lies. With the adventure/sport bike crowd. This is MC-USA not MC-GLOBE, how can Honda be "Industry Leader in 2012" for the USA when they are quickly becoming a niche market joke. Are they leading in any catagory? Do any of thier bikes even sell? The Goldwing is the only Honda anyone buys or cares about in real numbers.
RENDELL   December 31, 2012 08:52 AM
Notice the Gold Wing in the background, LOL!
RENDELL   December 31, 2012 08:51 AM
That Tsunami Harley is a great pick. It is very interesting to look at. That was really cool of HD to offer to send it back to him. I wonder how many other manufactures would offer to do the same.
woodco100   December 30, 2012 07:57 PM
I get the impression that the head guys at MC USA do not really like Cruisers or thier riders. They have to mention cruiser because our sales are so dominate in the market. They think we are posers on low tech machines. they look down on us as they buzz around on high tech sport bikes and and adventure machines. These idiotic choices for cruiser of the year the last few years are a way to indirectly insult us and put us down.
wildpig   December 30, 2012 12:03 PM
I CALL HARLEY THE finest bike on planet earth. and proof that you cant keep harley down, i bet if they'd put some gas in it an charged the battery the bike could have been ridden off the shoreline-- try that with yer bavarian b s.
woodco100   December 29, 2012 04:29 AM
Wow, I agree with Piglet on something! A few years ago they gave best cruiser to a chopper from a failing company long forgotten. They need to hire a cruiser editor who loves, rides and defends cruiser for what they are. The best looking, best sounding and best selling MC made! Personally I think the V Star 1300 Deluxe nailed it this year for style, value, features and overall package.
DocNick   December 28, 2012 02:26 PM
Agree! It ain't no cruiser!
blanddragon   December 28, 2012 07:48 AM
FAIL!. Give me a break you call this a cruiser? You guys have rocks in your heads, two years in a row.
Piglet2010   December 27, 2012 06:30 PM
While the Diavel would be my personal choice (Diavel Strada, please) over any cruiser, the best cruiser is not about which bike would set the fastest lap at the track (where the Diavel would certainly win). The Diavel is really a unique standard, not a cruiser.