The first product of BMW’s new youth initiative, the Husqvarna Nuda 900R is being launched to the world’s geriatric motorcycle press in Sardinia this week. But, don’t worry, you won’t need to wait for that subscription you cancelled years ago to arrive in the mail 4 months from now to see images of surburbanites riding in mom jeans. We’ve got them all right here.
The Nuda's high bars and low pegs appear to force Husqvarna's test rider into far-from-ideal body position. Note the torso twisted back across the bike (too high bars) and the butt too far off the seat (too low pegs). This will reduce outright cornering speeds and make the rider less able to make speedy inputs to counter slides or change lines
What do these new pictures tell us about the stroked F800R engine in a shortened F800GS frame? Well, the riding position looks much to tall and relaxed to achieve proper body position for athletic riding. The test rider is pictured here twisting his torso away from the corner in an effort to reach the tall bars. Early reports from Italy also suggest some front-end vagueness, but are complimentary of the motor’s low-down punch, an area in which Husqvarna really did need to improve on the donor BMW.
Adey demonstrating ideal body position on the R1 launch at Chuckwalla. Note the torso leaned forward and pointed into the corner and only one cheek off the seat. This is the most athletic possible position in which to tackle a corner, removing as much lean as possible at a given speed and facilitating speedy, smooth inputs. If you aren't able to achieve this position on a performance motorcycle, then that motorcycle's performance is compromised. Neither does it require sportsbike ergos to facilitate correct body position. It's achievable even on bikes like the Ducati Hypermotard.
Husqvarna describes the Nuda as a "crossover" between supermoto and naked. Unfortunately, this blend does appear to compromise ergonomics. A supermoto requires a very different riding style from a sportsbike. You push the former down using high, wide bars and hang off the later using your bodyweight to remove as much lean angle per given speed as possible, thereby facilitating the fastest possible cornering. By equipping the Nuda 900 with very high, very wide bars and very low pegs, Husqvarna could have compromised its ability to be ridden in a fully-athletic manner while the weight — 174kg (dry) — won't allow it to be ridden like a true motard. This compromise is a mistake made by many naked bikes, allegedly in pursuit of in-town comfort, but wasn't something we were hoping to see on a fairly light, aggressively-styled naked from a brand hoping to gain a foothold in the performance market. As it sits, this looks more like an expensive F800R with whacky styling than it does a motorcycle that's going to capture the hearts and minds of a new generation of rider.