In the design world, few awards are more coveted and respected than the Red Dot Award. In the 2019 contest alone, 40 international judges scrutinized 5,500 products across 34 categories. But we’re more concerned with the motorcycle category right now, where the 2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S took home top honors overall, winning the Red Dot: Best of the Best Award. The Diavel, in case you’re unfamiliar, is by far the Italian brand’s most distinctive motorcycle, if not arguably the most distinctive motorcycle on the market right now—one with few, if any, direct competitors.
To find out more about this unique bike, Gear Patrol spoke with Ducati Design Director Andrea Ferraresi to find out why he thinks the Diavel is every bit deserving of its latest accolade.
Even with a sculpted machine like the Panigale V4S superbike–a motorcycle seemingly shaped by hand to handle 200-mile-per-hour wind—in its lineup, Ferraresi is adamant the Diavel is the looker in the family.
“The Diavel relies more on design than the V4S, in the customers’ imagination,” Ferraresi says. “The V4S is more of a performance bike or a professional racing motorcycle. Of course, the design is also important, but for a design award, we thought [the Diavel] was a better choice.” (That’s not without merit, seeing as how the more cruiser-esque XDiavel S won the same “Best of the Best” award back in 2016.)
As for which segment the Diavel fits in, “you can consider it a naked bike, but it’s not a cruiser,” Ferraresi says. “There are no real competitors of the Diavel,” he adds. “The 2016 XDiavel is a cruiser—the Diavel 1260 S is a muscle bike.”
By that logic, historically speaking, bikes like the Yamaha V-Max, Harley Davidson V-Rod, Triumph Rocket III, and the more obscure Ariel Ace would the more notable comparable motorcycles. But the V-Max and V-Rod aren’t in production anymore, the Rocket III hasn’t been seriously updated since 2010, and the Ariel Ace isn’t widely available.
What constitutes a muscle bike? Think about it as a melting pot of other motorcycle styles. It’s not necessarily a cruiser—as Ferraresi is all too happy to remind you—but it does share similar ergonomics.
“We wanted to join the DNA of three different motorcycles,” he said. “If you look at the stance and performance of the bike, it’s clearly a superbike. If you look at the lines of the bike, it’s a cruiser. And if you look at the tank it’s a naked bike, like the Monster.”
Ferraresi said his team of designers have mood boards covered with pictures of classic American muscle cars with massive engines, and that inspiration comes through in the Diavel. Its 159-horsepower 1262-cc Testastretta L-twin engine seems barely constrained by the enormous fuel tank perched on top, like the motor could leap through it and into the rider’s lap at any second.
It might be the combination of the Diavel’s performance and unique style that helped the Red Dot jury decide to give it top honors. Regardless of why it won, though, it stands apart from other bikes for plenty of reasons. Ferraresi says he “wanted to create a motorcycle that didn’t exist at the moment.” Clearly, he did.