Ducati XDiavel's Red Dot

8th April 2016


Award | Design | Product design | Cruiser


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In case you've never heard of the Red Dot award for design excellence, we can tell you that it's a German initiative founded in the 1950s. Basically, firms annually submit their products for scrutiny by a select board of "experts", whatever that meant to you, and the entrants are grouped into one of three categories, and then the finalists are selected, etc. For 2016, Ducati's XDiavel S shmooser-cruiser has won the “Red Dot Award: Best of the Best” in the “Product Design” category.


Naturally, Ducati is perfectly pleased with this gong. But the firm will have to wait until July 2016 to collect its plaque, trophy or whatever.


At the risk of sounding mean, which we are at times, these awards have to be put into perspective.


Much, if not most, of the award-winning Red Dot products have a distinct and cheesy overlay of design for design sake—as opposed to "honest" form-follows-function creativity.


We're putting it clumsily here. But there's a point where design leaves the real world way behind and enters a self-obsessed, navel-gazing, implausible alternate universe, hence the world's superabundance of unlikely looking chairs, bath taps, vacuum cleaners, coffee machines, park benches, and bicycles.


That said, the general consensus among the motorcycle community (as opposed to the design community) is that the XDiavel is a pretty cool looking bike. But despite its success, it's a long way from the top of our shopping list. Why? Because like a lot of Italian design, it risks getting old way before its time, stylistically speaking, and it's a bulky, overblown brute with one or two very questionable looking features which includes the truncated saddle, the improbable headlight and that confused looking exhaust. In other words, all the bits that just about everyone else likes.


Still, an award is an award, so put your hands together for Ducati, ladies and gentlemen. And keep in mind that the real reward is earned on the street every time a biker sticks his or her hand in their pocket and stumps up the asking price.





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