Swedish model’s identity crisis
The naked truth about the Husqvarna Nuda’s confused personality, by Paul Owen
There is always a danger when a motor company develops a new product that blurs existing segment boundaries. That said, reinvention-of-the-wheel will instead fall through the cracks between those segments.
Such is the fine line between success and failure, and the difference between something like the original Range Rover kick-starting a whole new genre of vehicle (SUV) and Suzuki’s starcrossed attempt at building an off-road sports car, the X-90. It is hard to predict which will be the fate of the Husqvarna Nuda 900, which is the first real road bike to emerge from the former Swedish dirt bike brand under BMW’S management. The Nuda is completely different from every other motorcycle on the market and I suspect Kiwi bikers will have to acquire a taste for it first before it begins to sell in any significant volume here.
BMW Motorrad said Husqvarna had the potential to be to the company’s bike division what Mini is to the car-making side of the business.
Sadly for BMW the Nuda appears to be a bike that has yet to decide what it is. Is this parallel-twin-powered naked street bike a tourer?
The soft tune of the suspension and the wide range of luggage-hauling accessories suggest as much but the iphone-wide planklike seat and minuscule 13-litre fuel tank say no. Is it a track bike, something to take to non-competitive track days or race in the supermoto class? It is going to take a lot of suspension alchemy to get the Nuda track-ready and although the parallel twin is a strong performer it still does not set the world on fire.
Not that Husqvarna did not give this Rotax-made engine its best shot during development. Starting with the slightly-dull-yet-highly-
You can buy the standard version only in black, and the $2500 more expensive Rmodel, right, comes in Husqvarna’s traditional red and white. efficient 786cc twin that powers various BMW F800 models, Husqvarna elongated the piston strokes by 5.4mm and added another 2mm to the cylinder bores to create a new 898cc version.
It then re-arranged the unique triple-conrod crankshaft (the third is used purely to quell vibration) of the parallel twin so that the crankpins of the two that were topped with pistons were spaced 45-degrees apart. It is the reason that the Nuda emits a V-twin-like soundtrack that every Harley owner will immediately recognise and love.
About this point in development, I suspect BMW’S marketing stormtroopers visited to ensure that their Swedish-branded division was not developing a product that would cannibalise F800 sales. That is the only explanation I can give for the blurry focus of the rest of the package.
There are two Nuda models, the $17,490 900, and the $19,990 900R.
You can buy the cheaper version only in black, and the R in Husqvarna’s traditional red-white livery.