Husqvarna has been manufacturing motorcycles since 1903 and is of Swedish origin. However, between 1987 and 2007 they were owned by Cagiva MV Agusta group after which they were bought over by the BMW Group. Since 2008, Husqvarna has been developing its motorcycles in Varese, Italy. Husqvarna has made a name for itself thanks to their excellent off-road motorcycles, and has also gathered a rather large collection of motorsport titles thanks to this.
What exactly is the Nuda 900R?
The Nuda 900R is Husqvarna's first proper high-displacement street-fighter. The name, Nuda, means 'naked' – which refers to the bike's naked styling. It employs what is essentially a BMW F800 motor, the displacement of which has been upped to 898cc. It produces 103.5 bhp and 10.1 kgm of torque, all of which is accessible via a 6-speed gearbox. The stylish is not unlike that of a concept bike – minimalistic and extremely sharp. Given Husqvarna's dedicated off-road and recent supermoto involvement, it's not surprising to find similar design elements on the Nuda. The footpegs, for example, are the alligator-teeth type (often found on off-road bikes) with a removable rubber top – so you can go soft-roading if you like. One of the most striking elements is the front mudguard which also has a functional air duct – a shining example of Husqvarna's inclination to merge aesthetics with function. Overall, it's not the most beautiful bikes out there, but scores a ten on ten for being so striking!
Is it fast?
Very, in a word. Given that the motor has its roots in the BMW F800, the gearing is understandably tall. First gear is good for 86 kph and 0-100 kph comes up in near-superbike timing. There's no traction control, so the Nuda will show you around corners slightly sideways if you're enthusiastic with the throttle. While the wind blast got a bit much past 160 kph (I saw a maximum of 170 kph), I was in third gear at that time and by the looks of it, it will easily clock in excess of 210 kph. However, it's not all hooligan either. In sixth gear, the Nuda will putter around at 60 kph with ease and by doing so, you can expect around 20 kpl of the 97-octane stuff. The R version is different from the 'standard' Nuda in that it has a larger rear sprocket (boosts acceleration, shaves off top speed by a bit), and redlines at 9000 rpm instead of 8000 rpm as on the 'regular' Nuda.
How does it handle?
If you can handle a Yamaha FZ or a KTM Duke, you won't find the Nuda much different. Of course, it's more stable than the two Indian motorcycles but that's a given. The handlebar is wide and thus offers good leverage, especially so in urban traffic. The Nuda is extremely flickable and being light (at 175 kg, dry), makes all that power extremely thrilling to put down on tarmac.
How's the braking?
Strong and communicative. Feel from the brake pedal/lever is good and the only problem I encountered was braking on Mumbai's urban roads. While it brakes stupendously on tarmac, braking on concrete and paver blocks would often result in tail-slides apart from the occasional front-wheel lock threat. If you're going to ride it hard in the city, make sure you've broken the ice with the brake setup.
Is it comfortable?
The riding position certainly is - no wrist-kill issues here, thanks to the flat, wide handlebar. The pegs aren't all that rear set although those accustomed to a heel plate will miss one on the Nuda since the pillion footpeg subframe comes in the way. Despite this minor shortfall, the Nuda is comfy and I can imagine doing that tempting dash to Goa on it in absolute comfort – and it great speed, of course.
Front fork dive is rather pronounced and it soaks up anything Mumbai's roads will throw at it. The rear is slightly on the stiffer side, however, but that is perhaps essential considering the Nuda has so much power to lay down – you don't want a 100+ bhp motorcycle that's all over the place, right? Pillions are a strict no-no! The seat, being a semi-motocross number, is narrow, thinly padded (especially at the rear) and very firm. This is good news for the rider, who will thank the firm seat for rides longer than an hour and the narrowness for providing the ability to slide around on the seat, but pillions won't enjoy the space (the lack of it, obviously) on offer.
The Ducati Monster 1100S and also, perhaps, the Hypermotard 1100s. Though the Nuda is more powerful, even if slightly so, than either.
The Nuda feels like a slimmed-down BMW motorcycle. It's punchy, fun, doesn't bake your legs, and looks smashing. BMW Motorrad hasn't announced the pricing yet, but the word is, it'll be pegged at anything between Rs 13 to 15 lakh, ex-showroom, Mumbai. Should you buy it? Yes, if you're absolutely serious about motorcycling and can handle the volatile ways of the Nuda 900R. This one's not for posers!