The Ducati Diavel was the company’s first motorcycle that didn’t put pure performance first. Now, the next iteration seems to have been spied, and it’s looking even more like something you’d ride with no shirt under your leather vest.

MotorcycleNews has an image of what they’re ID’ing as a next-gen Diavel mule with a new frame, engine, powertrain, and flying-hug foot pegs hanging the rider’s feet way out ahead of their body. Speculation is that the bike will be powered by an updated version of the current model’s 1198 engine “borrowing technology from the Multistrada 1200.”

And just when you didn’t think a Ducati could get any more Harley-Davidson, that appears to be a belt drive wrapped around the rear axle.

So it looks like Ducati’s committing to the cruiser crowd. Purists will be pissed, Ducati will probably sell a ton of these, and old rich guys will finally be able to solve that mid-life crisis dilemma of choosing between a sexy import performance brand and, well, a Harley.

Full changes to what MCN calls the “Ducati Diavel Custom,” appear to be a new exhaust system, revised frame, more rake, smaller fuel tank, belt drive and forward-mount pegs. All of that will add weight, worsen already compromised handling and blunt straight-line performance. The last thing being the only thing the Diavel was good at in the first place. How is this different from the V-Rod?

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Early critics are already grumpy about it. Somebody asked; “If Ducati wants to be more like Harley, then what does Ducati mean anymore?” It’s true, they’re officially abandoning their “dedicated” brand with this, but I’m finding a hard time making myself care.

Harley-Davidson doesn’t make the fastest or most efficient bikes, but they sure do sell a lot of them (in America, at least). If Ducati wants to take a crack at that market it doesn’t bother me any more than Honda selling the Gold Wing alongside the CB300F. And realistically, I tend to think more money coming into the company from a mass-market thing like this would translate to more extreme machines on the other end of the spectrum.

But what do I know, I’m not allowed to run an international vehicle company! Do you think there’s a market for an aggressively styled high-powered cruiser from a high-performance brand or what?

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Image of the current-gen Diavel via Ducati


Contact the author at andrew@jalopnik.com.