Husqvarna Nuda 900 and 900R – Cycle Torque Magazine

26 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Husqvarna Nuda 900 and 900R – Cycle Torque Magazine
Suzuki Nuda

Naked, and loving it

Test by Chris Pickett. Pics by iKapture

HUSQVARNA’S first real foray into the road bike scene would have to be considered a successful one, considering the quality of the bike. How well it sells remains to be seen but riders looking for the big supermoto style, and the ability to back it up on the road for a couple of hundred kilometres rather than just to the shops should check out the Nuda 900 and slightly racier 900R.

Concept

It’s no secret this type of bike is gaining momentum in bike sales share race. They look cool, look simple and are usually fun gone rampart when you’re riding them. I see the real competitors to this bike being Ducati’s Hyprmotard, Aprilia’s Dorsoduro range, KTM’s Duke and Super Duke.

All the others basically use jumped up MX or trail bike engines – so does the 690 Duke for that matter but its engine is still happy enough on the road – so I don’t see them in the same ball park as the ones mentioned.

You might notice all these bikes are European too. Husqvarna, being owned by BMW, would have been mad not to consider using the 800cc BMW parallel twin engine as a basis for its own street rod, because the engine is a pearler. Husqvarna wasn’t content with that though, it has played around with the power output, and more, to make it more suited to the task at hand, but more on that later… I think there could well be more to this engine/chassis combination.

Just consider a Husqvarna adventure machine for a moment. Husqvarna expects the Nuda range will add credibility to the brand, and adventure bike would add even more. But, would BMW allow it? It makes sense for Husqvarna to build a road bike, especially like this, with its tie up with BMW. I expect the designers were told to make it look minimalist, make it handle and make it go fast.

Mission accomplished.

The BMW based engine was changed extensively before it was placed in the Nuda chassis, which is straight from the BMW 800GS and shortened by 50mm. For a start, it now has chain and not belt drive, it received an increase in capacity to 898cc and an increase in power from around 80ps to 105ps, and 100Nm of torque. Compression is up to 13:1, and its redline is 8000rpm.

Two power modes are available – Full Power and Rain Mode.

Giving the Nuda a different character is the revised crank timing, which makes it uncannily like a Norton Commando when on song. I know because I own a Commando, and it’s not a negative for the Nuda. Aftermarket exhaust suppliers beware, the standard pipes on both bike sound awesome. I should mention that the Nuda 900 is more road oriented than the 900R.

Besides the colour differences – 900 is black/white only, the 900R is red/white only, the bikes share the same bodywork, muffler, wheels, and engine. 48mm Sachs forks are fitted to both bikes too, but the ones on the 900R are fully adjustable and have heavier springs. At the rear the 900R gets a fully adjustable – including ride height – Ohlins shock, while the 900 gets a Sachs unit with preload adjustment only.

Brembo brakes are fitted to both models, but the 900R gets monoblock calipers. Let’s just say neither bike is underbraked.

Seat shape is different on both bikes, with the ‘R’,s seat flatter than the slightly scalloped 900 seat. Seat height is adjustable by 20mm too. Because of the seat shape there’s 5mm difference in the base seat height between the two models, 900 – 870mm, 900R – 875mm.

On the ‘R’ you’ll get numerous carbon fibre pieces, and it has a one tooth smaller front sprocket which does make a difference in acceleration, as the expense of top speed. All these extras add up to a $2000 price difference between the Nuda 900 at $13,995, and the Nuda 900R at $15,995.

While Husqvarna reckon the Nuda is not a hypermotard or a supermotard bike it does feel very much like one. With a high riding position and a flat seat you under no illusions this bike is made to go around corners fast, not go on tour. First up I was on the 900R which with its lower gearing is a little touchy on the throttle, but you quickly get used to it.

With the stiffer suspension it was also a little nervous in corners.

At our first stop after a 100 or so kilometres the team from Husqvarna softened my suspension settings which made it better. It would have been nice to soften the seat a bit too… The softer settings were much better, although the bike is still competition based and on the firm side. Next up it was the standard 900, and I preferred the taller gearing, better seat and softer suspension.

Suzuki Nuda

Both bikes have you perched up high in the saddle and there’s plenty of room for taller riders.

Out on the open road the bikes like to stretch their legs, and top speed is near to 200km/h, with the 900R a bit less due to the shorter gearing. It’s very flickable too, if there’s a pothole or lump of tar in the road which grabs you unexpectedly, you can simply change direction as it suits you. At just under 200 kilos full of fuel it’s one light machine. And the brakes, wow, they are seriously potent, especially on the monoblock equipped ‘R’.

You could argue the ‘R’ is overbraked but there’s one thing that’s certain, you’ll never run out of them. The rear brake works well too.

Accessories

Husqvarna has put a fair bit of thought into accessories for both Nuda 900 models. You can buy things separately of course but there’s five specific ‘kits’ you can buy, from the full touring kit which consists of a windshield, tankbag, hard panniers, seat bag, heated grips and an anti-theft kit to the Corsa Tech kit which gives you a Titanium/carbon muffler, adjustable footrests and adjustable brake and clutch levers.

There’s a city commuting type kit as well which has some bling and a tankbag among other items. Among the five kits you will surely find what you are looking for.

As I said earlier you can buy every part on its own but if you bought each part of one kit it would cost more than buying the kit as a whole. You might even want to fit the 900R’s Ohlins shock into your standard 900, it bolts straight in. All of these kits fit both bikes too.

To give you an idea on price, the kits start at $1,015 for the Urban Kit, and $2,031 for the Full Touring Kit.

Gee it’s hard not to like either of the Nuda 900. On one particular stretch of road I really let loose and the bike in tight twisty terrain is as fast as anything I’ve ever ridden. The engine is an absolute gem, loves to rev and sounds fantastic with the standard muffler, with a real rasp to it. I see the ‘R’ being the favoured model for riders wanting to explore the limits but the base 900 is almost as capable.

In fact it’s the bike I would own of the two, and this isn’t because of the $2000 price difference. For me the 900R’s seat was too hard and the stiffer suspension unnecessary for the road, and I’d like to get more use out of my Nuda than just doing the Sunday morning scratch. Ride one, you won’t be disappointed.


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