Sunday, January 16, 2011

Così Non Va

Something is just not right with this promo photo of Valentino Rossi sat across a Ducati Diavel. It just seems something of a mismatch, kind of like watching health food guru, Nancy Kalish, appear in a McDonald's TV add or something.

Now this is a bit more like it...

...not the snow mobiles part, just the photo op at the end with the new GP11 desmoseidici.

I think that Ducati has made a mistake with the Diavel. I thought it was an April Fools prank when I first heard Ducati was developing a big lazy cruiser. Something tells me that the market for this kind of bike just won't buy into the Ducati brand. The Diavel is big and ugly, but Ducati seems to think that this will appeal to the cruiser buying public. Offering more performance than a Harley is not difficult, but if peak horsepower was important to these riders then Harley would have provided some.

I think what the cruiser and custom bike buying public want is to make a connection with 'real' motorcycles. That means a machine where the engine is the center of attention and where all the parts are sculpted from metal in an aesthetically pleasing and balanced way.

When I look at the Diavel, I only see bulky plastic covers, tubing, ducts and frankly whacky styling. It looks more like an overweight Bimota Mantra (one of the most horrible bikes I ever saw) than something that you might park in your garage next to a 1966 Ford Thunderbird.

Bimota Mantra vs Ducati Diavel. Whacky 1990's styling makes a comeback.

Ducati staff might comment privately that they did try to copy the new CR&S DUU, but they needn't bother, it is obvious. Although the two bikes compete in a similar market (muscle bikes), aesthetically they are completely different...

I think CR&S made a wise choice to use a traditional, U.S. built, narrow angle, V-twin engine. This gives the bike a lot of credibility in the worldwide muscle-bike market. The S&S X-wedge engine is a real grunt machine. Beautiful design and exquisite detailing do not detract from the fact that this bike also handles really well.

Something like the DUU could probably never be made at Borgo Panigale. It would be unacceptable to use anything but a 90º desmodronic v-twin to start with. Perhaps this is simply a market that Ducati should never have tried to enter. If it is ever a success, it will certainly dilute their brand as a top of the range sports-bike (no matter how many times they make Valentino Rossi sit across it).

1 comment:

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