2011 Ducati Diavel

So much for the good old days when it comes to muscle cars — and cycles. We’re about to see power and performance ­levels that make even the baddest of brawlers from the late 1960s seem a little tame. By the looks — and stats — of these high rollers, happy days are here again. We think you’ll agree that it’s been well worth the wait.

Two Wheels
2011 Triumph Rocket III Roadster (Base price: $14,999)
2011 Triumph Rocket III Roadster
If they ever throw a Mr. Olympia contest for bikes, the new Rocket Roadster will be the new Arnold. Like the seven-time Mr. Olympia in his prime, the Rocket III is hulking and toned, big and bulging, but as tight as a snare drum.

Triumph calls the Rocket III a “muscle street fighter,” and that seems about right, given its nearly 2,300 ccs of engine and 163 pound-feet of torque on tap at just 2,750 rpm bolted onto a bike that weighs in at 807 pounds. If you’ve ever been catapult-shot off an aircraft carrier, you may have some idea of what that works out to. The Triumph’s Big Three — the only such engine of its type on the market — also produces 146 hp at 5,750 rpm, more peak horsepower (at about half the engine speed) than all but the most aggressive hyper-sport bikes deliver.

You can order any color you like, too, so long as it’s Phantom Black or Matte Black. The bike’s forks, rear springs, and steering head/yoke are black, too, and black works on this bike.

Black is right. Black is good. Others won’t want to mess with it. But you’ll want to ride it.

2011 Ducati Diavel (Base price: $16,995)
The Italian superbike company is known for, well, superbikes. So the new Diavel is a power-sliding hard right turn into an entirely new (for Ducati) market: muscle bikes.

Oh, sure, it’s being promoted as a “power cruiser” because it has cruiser-style handlebars instead of clip-ons, a more relaxed riding posture, and at least the possibility of carrying a passenger. But calling the Diavel a cruiser is like calling the WWII-era Admiral Graf Spee a pocket battleship.

The Duc’s big guns come in the form of a 1,200 cc Testastretta 11-degree DOHC twin featuring 11.5:1 compression and a Desmodromic valve system. It generates 162 hp and close to 100 pound-feet of torque. All this in a short-wheelbase, 450-pound package — significantly lighter than similarly powerful muscle bikes from Harley-Davidson and also the bike that’s most obviously similar to the Diavel, Yamaha’s VMAX, which comes in at almost 700 pounds. Other features include a trellis-style frame (which is powder coated red for contrast), fully adjustable suspension (including Marzocchi 50 mm forks up front with Sachs monshock out back), a single-sided aluminum swingarm, and bodywork that hugs the bike’s haunches tightly.

An even lighter-weight (and thus, even more brutal) “carbon” version with Marchesini forged and machined wheels and other upgrades is available for three grand more at $19,995.

Slip the clutch and hold on as that massive, eight-inch-wide 240/45ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tire puts the power to the pavement!