How does the Husqvarna Nuda 900 stack up to its naked competition?

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Husqvarna just released official specs for the Nuda 900. “More than 100bhp” and “less than 175kg” is now, officially, 105bhp and 175kg (dry) for the 900, with that weight edging to some slightly lower, unspecified amount for the 900R. Those non-R/R models are differentiated not just by a smattering of carbon components and suspension adjustments, but also by ride height; the R is an inch taller. Reading BMW’s Italian-by-way-of-Sweden dirt bike brand’s marketing spiel, it seems like that’s been done in an effort to blur established class lines between supermoto and naked. Ignoring that, let’s compare this 900cc naked bike to its competitors based on price and purpose.

We’ve created this list of competitors based on similar intentions at similar price points. Husky hasn’t yet released a price for the bike, but it will probably be a point of contention for the tiny brand. Sharing parts of its frame and engine with the $11,455 BMW F800GS and competing in a similar category to the $9,950 BMW F800R, it stands to reason that the lower volume and higher spec of the Nuda will lead to a higher price. For the purposes of this comparison, we’ve estimated a similar price to that GS for the non-R model, but wouldn’t be surprised to see the R model come in closer to $13k, or even more. Small numbers and pricey pieces do not a bargain make.

The R (red) is distinguished by fully-adjustable Sachs forks and ride height adjustment on the Ohlins rear shock. The plain 900 (black) gets a two-height seat for increased pillion comfort. The R has one-inch more ride height than the non-R.

That predicted price and Husqvarna’s attempt to pitch a naked roadster on its connection to dirt creates a somewhat odd conundrum when it comes to drawing up a list of competitors. Not ones to succumb to marketing bullshit, we’ve included naked performance bikes of similar capacity and similar purpose. For example, we think the Husky is more a competitor for the Ducati Monster than it is the Hypermotard. That model also serves to illustrate the stiff competition this new bike is going to face. That bike has pedigree, capacity, a dealer network and a light weight over the bored-and-stroke engine and modified chassis of the F800GS. With near identical power-to-weight figures and an odd engine configuration, can the Husqvarna really hope to compete, or will it merely be an oddball also ran next to mainstream nakeds like the far-cheaper Yamaha FZ8?

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Included here is also the press release with all the official details on the difference between the Husqvarna Nuda 900 and Husqvarna Nuda 900R. Sorry, it’s all a bit pedantic for us to bother rehashing.

The big question hanging over the bike, of course, isn’t power-to-weight or competitiveness, it’s how successful BMW has been at translating a fairly boring parallel-twin into the kind of thing that’ll feel appropriate in a quasi-exotic naked. That change from a 0 to 315-degree firing order will make it feel more like a V, boosting low-down torque at the expense of top-end power. All we’re praying for is character, something sadly lacking from 800cc versions of this motor.

If you had $11,500 to $13,500 to spend on a naked roadster, would it be the Husqvarna or one of the other bikes listed here?

  • casey

    Id just get the FZ8.

    • Wereweazle

      I’ll just keep my F800S and steal that engine.

  • BMW11GS

    I think the current 800 parallel twin has an 180 degree firing order not a 0 as specified in the article. This is allegedly to mimic the BMW boxer motor’s 180 degree firing order, but in the parallel twin it ends up being insipid rather than inspirational.

    • http://vtbmwmov.org Eben

      No, it’s definitely a 0° arrangement on the GS version (presumably all the BMW iterations). It’s a twin-cylinder thumper with a third connecting rod for a balancer.

      • BMW11GS

        oops my bad but actually its a 360 degree crank. I don’t know if that translates to a 0 degree or if that’s another way of putting it?

  • Frosty_spl

    I like it a lot, but I would only bite if the R were less than $11k.

    For $13,5k, the monster 1100 evo is a better bike.

  • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

    Z1000, and use the difference on tires, vacations, and beer.

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

      That’s the choice that I made. It’s a remarkable package, though admittedly not the prettiest.

      • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

        Its kind of pretty. Or, at least, different. I like the new Ninja 1000 better though.

  • Roman

    KTM Duke is probably the most direct competitor. It too doesn’t stack up too well on the price vs. spec comparison, but by all accounts an absolute hoot to ride. That being said, if I was in the market, I’d go with a CB1000R or Street Triple R.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      With the weight, the two-cylinders and the price it’s much closer to the SuperDuke.

      • Roman

        Kind of splits the difference really, but to me it seems to be designed more in the spirit of the Duke than Superduke. I guess actually riding it would put all those questions to rest. Duke R specs, just for comparison’s sake:

        http://www.ktm.com/gb/naked-bike/690-duke-r-ausuk.html

  • Taco

    How soon will HFL be able to thrash one around and do a review?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Hopefully soon. We’ll likely force our way onto one soon after all the old men from irrelevant publications get invited to Europe to do so.

      • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

        Oh good, Irrelevant Publication Monthly is my favorite! Their article on combined AMA and AARP tricycle discounts was a real doosey.

  • DoctorNine

    I dunno. Anything from 600cc to 1100cc in this comparo, so there’s a bit of apples to oranges. But this is a pretty ride, if you are into the KTM supermoto idiom. Personally, I’m not that attached to the style, and the way I ride, I’d likely just get a slightly used 2008/9 FZ1, and modify it to get what I want. I don’t mind peaky response, and it has enough midrange for a lightweight guy like me. If I were heavier though, the Z1000 probably would be a better choice because of the midrange grunt. I’m having a hard time trying to figure out who is going to buy this bike. Anybody got a line on who this is being marketed to?

  • Charlie

    Looks interesting and probably the coolest package for that lump. But I just got a Hyper 796 and find it to be the perfect commuter. Tractable, entertaining power and low weight add up to fun factor.

  • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    I’d go street trip, kawi, or Honda before this. Cool looking though.

  • jonoabq

    Speed Triple. Great ergos, decent enough range, fantastic motor, with decent tires (Michelin Power Pures) what’s not to like?

  • Devin

    If the bikes in your comparo were free and I got to pick one to keep, it would likely be the Nuda actually. First, assuming the engine gets a little pizzaz thrown in, it would be Husqy all the way.

    But, I was also raised driving Citroen’s, so I am partial to funkier the better.

  • CCarey

    I like it in Black. Assuming that motors got a bit more soul to it and they keep it under 12k or so, I could see myself owning one of these.

  • Devin

    I thought I would be able to on my work computer, but I still can’t view the graph you made at the top of the article, the font is too small. Can you make it so we can click it and it enlarges?

    • Devin

      Oh, it’s available through the gallery, nevermind.

  • Myles

    I’d definitely go with Japanese, probably the Honda. It doesn’t show up in the spec sheet, but the cb1000r is a really nice bike. Sat on one in the local dealership and was pretty surprised.

  • Julian

    I would love to get one as a follow-up to my current mt-03 which is also kind of a mix between a supermoto and a roadster. But it had to be red. Does that mean that it has to be the R version? Black looks dull to me and not appropriate for such a hottie.

  • Denzel

    It’s the rare pannier that looks good on a bike. This has them… in image 13. Doesn’t look like a samsonite afterthought. Stylin’ storage would be a selling point for me.

    Does anyone know if this is oem or aftermarket?

  • Deep6Dive

    What would steve mcqueen think about it?