Secondhand – HUSQVARNA NUDA 900 2012-2013 | Bike Tests | Used Bikes
After shining brightly in the firmament for a moment, it suddenly disappeared – but hey, you can still get a nice used Nuda
Husqvarna has had a chequered corporate history since its bikes starred in the classic 1971 movie On Any Sunday (with a little help from Steve McQueen and off-road ace Malcolm Smith). Its most recent ownership change, when KTM’s boss Stefan Pierer took the reins from BMW in early-2013, saw the untimely demise of the Husqvarna Nuda 900 after an indecently short model run.
The Nuda looks like a cross between a supermoto and a long-legged nakedbike. Its high stance and lean, minimalist styling pay respect to Husqvarna’s long history of successful involvement in off-road racing; its attention to detail and finish quality are typical BMW. Chassis and powertrain design underline BMW’s contribution, and the tubular-steel truss frame is a shortened and beefed up version of the BMW F800 original. The liquid-cooled, fuel-injected parallel-twin engine, while resembling the F800 motor, is actually quite a different creature. Revised bore and stroke boost its displacement from 798cc to 898cc. Then there’s the crankshaft phasing. While the F800 motor fires at 360º intervals, the Nuda 900 has ‘big-bang’ phasing with only 45º separation. A bit like a Harley. But not much…
The sturdy 48mm inverted Sachs fork sports radial-mount Brembo calipers with dual 320mm discs, complemented by a Sachs monoshock, cast-aluminium swingarm and single disc at the rear.
Aboard the Nuda the 870mm-high perch tapers to the front, allowing many shorter riders to get boots on the ground. It’s not an all-day comfortable seat – and less so for a pillion passenger – but it’s great for the commute or scratching with your mates on backroads at weekends.
Husqvarna’s enduro DNA shows as you take control, sitting upright behind wide bars in what I like to call ‘action man’ posture.
Clutch action is smooth and throttle response is drama-free as you ease away. The gearshift action of the six-speeder is firm but smooth and accurate. The bike is super manoeuvrable, feeling lighter than its trim 175kg dry weight. Brakes are powerful and progressive. The engine’s faux V-twin cadence adds a touch of character to its remarkably vibration-free nature (as does its appealingly strong exhaust note). While it has a reassuringly linear throttle response, its urgent feel as you power on makes an F800 motor feel soft by comparison. The 78kW engine pulls smoothly from just above idle, all the way to its 9000rpm redline, however, fuelling can be a little ropey in traffic at around 3000rpm due to small throttle openings
With most of its torque available from around 4000rpm, you get the best from the Nuda by working in its sweet zone (4000-7500rpm), short-shifting it to ride the meaty torque curve, rather than chasing the last few horsepower waiting at peak revs.
The Nuda is an intuitive bike to ride fast. No overthinking required, you just ride it and it performs its schtick impressively with no nasty surprises. It’s extremely agile, changing direction easily while accepting late braking into corners without standing up. A well-ridden Nuda is close to unbeatable in the twisties if the tarmac is reasonably smooth – the relatively hard suspension can bounce the light bike off line in tight bends with rough surfaces.
Its overall rider-friendly nature comes from tempering its responsiveness with a reassuring dose of stability. But rider friendly doesn’t mean soft. An enthusiastically ridden Nuda is a true kick-arse, extrovert bike that oozes fun factor. And yes, it does pull lovely second-gear monos.
The fuel-efficient Nuda can extract a safe touring range of around 240km from its small 13-litre tank.
The more expensive but identically powered ‘R’ version features fully adjustable suspension, fierce Monobloc front calipers, carbon-fibre bits and more. It offers handling gains that come at some cost to rider comfort, while making greater demands on rider skills.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The Nuda’s robust chassis and powertrain design and excellent manufacturing quality are behind its bulletproof, trouble-free reputation. No particular problems are reported. The engine should be mechanically quiet at idle, although primary-drive gear noise is normal.
So look for signs of damage or neglect and consider replacement costs for tyres, steering-head bearings, brake pads and discs nearing their use-by date. The ideal prospect is a nice low-kays example with a full service record, and perhaps featuring ABS, which became available some months after the model’s launch.
Good access to major components of the Nuda after removal of ‘tank’ cover and two side covers makes oil and filter changes, at 10,000km intervals, easy work for DIY owners. Valve clearance checks (and sparkplug replacement) every 20,000km raise the difficulty bar a few notches, involving BMW’s interesting tiny hemispherical valve shims.
Any engine management or fuel-injection issues are best dealt with by experienced technicians with specialist equipment.
Despite the Nuda’s demise, spare parts are readily available.
WORDS ROB BLACKBOURN
PHOTOGRAPHY AMCN ARCHIVES