It would be impossible for this updated Diavel to match the impact of the original, launched only three years ago. Few bikes have been as controversial. Internet forums and magazine letters pages blazed with complaints that the Diavel was ugly, and that Ducati was betraying its sporting heritage by building a cruiser. Despite that, Ducati’s boldness in creating the dramatically styled and cleverly engineered Diavel was rewarded when almost everybody who rode it came back smiling; marvelling at the unique way that it combined a relaxed riding position and fat back tyre with thrilling acceleration and improbably agile handling. It looked like a cruiser, performed like a superbike and has since sold respectably well, despite being far from cheap. The updates are aimed at improving comfort and low-speed performance. That brutalist styling is retained. In fact it is exaggerated slightly, by larger air scoops on either side of the fuel tank. Other changes include an LED headlight and indicators, reshaped seat and a new exhaust system with “slash-cut” silencers. The engine is still a 1,198cc, liquid-cooled, eight-valve V-twin, but is updated with twin spark plugs per cylinder, new camshafts and a higher compression ratio. The maximum output remains 160bhp, roughly 20bhp up on the similar unit in the new Monster 1200, but low-rev torque is improved. Ducati claims a revised injection system gives a more refined feel. That may well be true, although I’d need a back-to-back test with the old version to confirm it. What is certain is that the revamped Diavel is not just one of the quickest bikes around but also one of the most exciting. For such an aggressively styled bike it is rider-friendly, especially in the softest of the three riding modes, Urban, which limits power output to 100bhp. But if you press the indicator button to select Touring or Sport mode, then crack open the throttle, you’ll need to hold on tight as the Ducati thunders forward at a rate that even the firm’s super-sports 1199 Panigale would struggle to match. It also has outstanding braking power, due to its stability- enhancing length allied to the ferocious bite of Brembo Monobloc calipers, allied to an excellent ABS system. Detailing is mostly good, especially on the more expensive Carbon model tested here. This gains a carbon-fibre front mudguard and tank and seat covers, along with forged aluminium wheels and different silencers. Neat components shared by Carbon and standard Diavels include the pillion footrests and grab-rail, which retract out of sight when not required. Those parts and the generously padded dual- seat help make the Ducati respectably practical. Its fuel capacity is a modest 17 litres but most owners will improve on the sub- 100-mile range dictated by the mountainous launch route, which dragged consumption below 30mpg. Audi purchased Ducati in April 2012. Ducati Diavel Carbon 1,198cc four- stroke V-twin, six-speed 160bhp @ 9,250rpm 96lb ft @ 8,000rpm 155mph (estimated) 130 miles @ 40mpg (estimated) Charismatic V-twin that blends cruiser styling with power and agile handling to create a supremely entertaining bike that’s in a class of its own. Ducat i 1199 Super leggera The 2014 1199 Superleggera starts at $90,000, which is a bit more expensive than the industry average for a member of the 1200cc class of supersport bikes (the average price is $30,995). Its components, incredible as they may be on their own, become something even greater under the Superleggera’s cohesive vision – to exceed every limit of light weight and performance. The 1199 Superleggera’s form expresses this goal perfectly. Sleek and aggressive, it is based on the award-winning design of other Ducati Superbikes but features a modified front cowl shape for increased aerodynamic performance at high speeds. Fashioned entirely in carbon fibre, the bodywork wraps tautly around the 1199 Superleggera’s muscular interior and is finished in unmistakable Corse Red to announce the performance within. The end result is simply the most impressive Ducati ever offered. Fully street-legal, it features ABS, mirrors, lights, and long standard maintenance intervals; while being as light as a full World Superbike and making comparable power. An engineering dream made real, the 1199 Superleggera sets new standards of motorcycle construction, paving the way for the entire Superbike lineup in Ducati’s never-ending quest to advance performance. Type: Sport Bike Engine: 1198cc V-twin Price (MSRP): $90,000 End ITALIAN MUSCLE