Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Here's a motorcycle piece that WILL, after all, be published....

I wrote the piece that used to be linked here in reaction to the almost unprecedented motorcycle media blitz about the new Ducati Diavel muscle cruiser. Maybe it's a muscle cruiser; maybe it's a new and terrific kind of motorcycle. Whatever it turns out to be, its allure was lost on me, and I grew tired of the predictably drooling, gushing coverage.

I didn't and don't want a Diavel but maybe thousands do. Maybe Ducati is merely making sure that their new baby gets the buzz that it needs to perform in a subdued motorcycle market. Maybe I'm simply wrong, or wrong-headed about this bike. If you're curious about the Diavel, Google will lead you to...overload.

THE NEWS: My editor at Motorcycle Sport and Leisure has agreed to run the piece! This will mean nothing to you if you had not already read it, but believe me, it could bring him problems with Ducati sellers and marketers. Because he's going to publish it, I removed the above link. I'll replace the link after the magazine hits the stands (in the UK; it's nearly impossible to buy here in the States).


Khal said...

Not sure I like the lines, esp. the bulky look and back tire, which looks pregnant. Ducati to me had cleaner, more nimble lines.

Have you ridden the beast?

Its gotta be faster than snot, though. My old Hondas weighed 450-480 lbs with 50 HP. Jeeze, Louise....

Larry and Heather said...

Ciao Maynard! Your piece is dead-on, pretty much what Larry said about this contraption when he first heard about it. His guess is the old "answer to the question nobody asked" routine. Everyone who can actually RIDE a motorcycle well enough to own and operate the other Ducati models over the years already has one (or 2, or more)and in the economic situation may not have the dough to buy a new 1198R or whatever. So, just as the Japanese have done over the years, the idea is to create something for those who currently have no interest in a Ducati but have the dough for one of these "cruiser" things. The same morons who bought the V-Max or these other ugly things may be persuaded to buy a Diavel. Ducati needs to stay in business and they don't give a rat's ass if you ride it or just park it in your living room, just as long as you BUY one. My guess is this thing will be a huge mistake and soon enough the poor dealers won't be able to give 'em away. I just hope the losses involved don't sink Ducati- but I think the R & D money put into this ghastly thing was pretty low so they'll just quietly stop making them just as they've done with other slow-selling models. I personally thought the retro-models they brought out a few years ago were gorgeous and said then if I was to buy another moto it would be one of those -- but they'll go bankrupt waiting for yours truly to buy one. They're going to need to go the way of Ferrari and keep quanities limited and the price up...but how do they do that without a FIAT company to sell everyday cars to the masses?

Khal said...

Yeah, you probably won't get that published in a regular bike mag, Maynard. Kinda reminds me of a foaming rant, though.

Agree with Larry. Sounds like a solution in search of a problem. On the other hand, Porsche sells a lot of Cayennes.

Maynard said...

I love my commenters! Funny about companies who'd always made pure-blood sporting equipment turning to stuff like Cayennes and that huge Audi SUV...and Ducati Diavels. The market rules, huh? We're impractical purists, aren't we, guys?

Larry and Heather said...

The Porsche thing is a good example. Everybody who could fit into a traditional Porsche sports car had one -- so they built a "Porsche" shopping-utility-vehicle and the ghastly things are everywhere! You'd figure they made a pile of dough with that idea and perhaps Ducati will do the same? Sadly it may go that way - and as someone once asked me, "what's the difference between an overpriced German sports car and a cactus?" The answer of course is with the car the pricks are on the INSIDE! But then none of us have purchased ANY super-exotic Italian motorcycles lately, have we? We're far from the "target market" of 18-30 year-olds with money to burn - maybe they'll sell a bunch of 'em.

Khal said...

The Cayenne is a machine for fat Americans who want the Porsche crest in their driveway or while sitting in front of Starbucks. The Cayman, on the other hand, still seems to be a real driver's car. But I don't know if Porsche is a serious car racing company any more or whether it is a company that sells overweight sports cars and SUVs to overweight people who want to be seen in them.

I really enjoyed my 944s while I had them (a 1983 944NA and a 1989 944 Turbo). Fairly pure driving cars. No cup holders. My '89 had a stereo and cruise control. Not much else in the way of modern amenities. Not sure I will ever want to put that kind of money and attention into a car again. I still like a small, agile, high performance car, but it doesn't have to be able to push the limits, because I don't push them any more.

After a while, one wonders why one is doing certain things. Like winding towards redline at 135 mph in 4th Gear, waiting to shift to 5th, on public roads. That gets you seriously into Darwin Award territory. (its also old history for me, not current events).

The WRX wagon suits me just fine.

Geoff said...

But Maynard,
It has an:
"Innovative number plate mount
The unique design uses mounts on the rear hub of the single-sided swingarm to extend an elegant and Ducati signature Trellis framework around the 240 section rear tyre, enabling a central mounting of the plate.
This design solution represents the first of its kind and an example of the incredible attention to the Diavel's detail."

How can you not Lust over that?

Khal said...

I have not followed the Ducati propaganda much. Bottom line: is it the kind of bike I could ride hard through the Adirondack Mountains or Northern New Mexico on twisty mountain roads, leaving a few sparks flying from my footpegs now and then?

Khal said...

Will be interesting to see Ducati's reaction.

Speaking of lumbering, overpowered beasts, as sure as Shinola, I saw a Porsche Cayenne Twin Turbo today coming out of Whole Paycheck in Santa Fe. Just as you wonder why someone would want the Diavel, why does one want a 500 HP, turbocharged SUV that is not designed to haul a quad of stallions or a large R/V? Beats me. Stalled in traffic in Santa Fe, those 500 ponies didn't look very useful.

Larry and Heather said...

One thing's for sure - Ducati has seen the potential market for pretty much anything with their name on it, same as Ferrari. You name it and you can probably buy one with their logo on it, including wine! They're even trying to franchise/license a Ducati Caffe concept. So far the only one's in Rome. Check here for our blog posts on it http://cycleitalia.blogspot.com/2010/04/in-laws-in-roma.html
Could one of these work in say, Denver or California?

David Cunliffe said...

Hi,I'm a regular reader of M.S.L. and wrote to your "editor" about his "bike of the century"bollox.He got really angry and defensive with me,emailed me back straight away.I did ask him what colour Diavel (Drivel surely?)they had given him in exchange for his article tho! M.S.Ls Sister pulication,M/cycle Monthly,gave my letter "letter of the month" this month and a lovely prize so someone in the Mafia there arees with me eh?
Regards, David

Doug said...

The Diavel rocks and they've sold over 6000.
A huge success.
Great prediction Larry and Heather.

Doug said...

Great reply by Landspeed record holder, Mr. Andy Sills.
Someone who actually rode the bike, unlike a certain pompous blogger, bwaahaaaaahaaaa.
See below.