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Husqvarna Nuda 900R first ride

Husqvarna Nuda 900R first ride

It is indicated that the final prices are under discussion but are likely to fall in the Rs 12-14 lakh bracket.

BMW Motorrad is the Munich-based automotive giant's motorcycle division. They picked up Husqvarna's motorcycle division in 2007, and today operate it as its own brand and operation.

Rewind a bit and the Husqvarna name is Swedish, an ammunition maker that began making motorcycles in 1903, became famous for its off-road motorcycles in the 50s and 60s and then dominated the world motocross scene until the 70s.

And in the still more recent past, they've stolen the march in the Supermoto world on competing brands as well. The motorcycle division was purchased by BMW from MV Agusta, in fact, who owned the brand (and in turn acquired it from Cagiva) and as a result, the Husqvarna motorcycles are actually based out of Varese in Italy now.

As rich as the heritage of the Husky (as it is affectionate called everywhere in the world, more or less) is in the off-road arena, what we are riding today isn't an offroad motorcycle. In fact, while Huskies of old (as in pre-WWII) were in fact road going, the brand's name was made by their off-roaders. The Nuda, then is a break from tradition and a road bike.

The engine was sourced from BMW, from the F800 series of 800cc parallel twins and then the Husky engineers tuned it. They increased the compression, raised the bore as well as stroke and fiddled and tuned until they came up with this a 900cc fuel-injected, liquid-cooled parallel twin making 100Nm of torque as well as 105PS of power. In today's age of 200PS motorcycles that doesn't sound like much, we know.

But when you lay a fat, thick darkie through two gears coming out of a u-turn you learn that on most motorcycles, 105PS is a front wheel in the air and rear wheel smoking slightly at the same time if you are ham fisted enough. That said, once you get used to it, the Nuda is quite the charmer. The engine sounds mellow, large-hearted and throaty at idle and a harder edge and quicker revs can be released by using the first (the sportier) of two engine maps.

In the normal mode (the MAP1 indication on the digital display goes off), the motorcycle is distinctly sweeter in nature and response and feels more fluid and smooth. But pull on the throttle and she responds with an instant lunge forward that will have you shifting up as quickly as you can to keep up. The Nuda enjoys a good mid range so once you get used to its engine and power, you will find yourself shifting up a bit before you actually hit the redline, and mostly, even peak power.

That lovely engine is matched to a trellis frame with an adjustable USD Sachs fork up front with radial mounted Brembo monobloc calipers and an Ohlins adjustable rear shock with a piggyback reservoir. All this makes the Nuda a 175kg (dry) welterweight. It feels very slim for a twin between the legs and is long and tall in initial feel like a dirt bike.

It is a stiff motorcycle but it also has relatively long travel suspension so bumps are absorbed better than almost any imported sports motorcycle you'd care to name. In the corners, the Husky is stable - something dirt bike-based road bikes find hard to do on longer, faster corners - and in the sharper turns, flicks quickly from side to side which is very impressive.

Match all that to a wide, leverage-happy handlebar and you have a recipe for an indefatigable way to commute to work, blast up and down the twisties and on occassion even try the highway tour (as in live with the tank range and the wind blast).

The Nuda (as in without the R, the base version) gets lower spec equipment - non-adjustable shocks, a softer sear that is also lower, a lower spec Brembo brake and stuff. So while I, 6' in boots, got only my toes down on the Nuda R, I've read repeatedly that the Nuda is a bit easier on the lower slung. And definitely easier on the wallet.

Ah yes, the money bit. Huskies will be sold exclusively through Navnit Motors, who also distribute BMW motorcycles in India. They currently have outlets in Mumbai and Bangalore. The brand is to be represented by the Nuda and the Nuda R for now because the rest of the (amazing) range falls under the 800cc bracket and requires full homologation.

As of now, official word is that there is no plan on either BMW or Husqvarna's part for an Indian anything but CBU operation. And it's the fact that the Huskies are coming in through this route that makes them so expensive. Navnit indicates that the final prices are under discussion but are likely to fall in the Rs 12-14 lakh bracket.

first published:May 27, 2012, 11:19 IST