31 May 2012 - 06:00
First ride: Husqvarna Nuda 900 R
Italians can make anything desirable. Even when they’re owned by Germans. How else can you explain taking a BMW F800 R motor and turning it into this, the Husqvarna Nuda 900 R, undoubtedly one of the coolest motorcycles in the world?
One look at it is enough for people to stop and gawk. It’s dirt-bike lines are simple striking and no one’s ever going to say ‘Look, Hayabusa!’ when you pass by on the Nuda. The fat tyres (120/70 front and 180/55 rear), form a substantial part of the visual mass, as does the tightly packed engine bay that contains the red-head motor.
And in keeping with the Italians’ detailing fetish, the Nuda’s got lots of tasteful touches sprinkled all over it. Be it the red ‘Husqvarna’ on the soft-touch grips, the skewed Husqvarna logo on the footpegs, the motor’s red rocker cover or carbon-fibre trim on the exhaust, there’s no escaping the attention to detail showered on this motorcycle. And that detailing extends to the motor as well.
They’ve taken the F800 R motor, increased the displacement by a small margin and changed the crank to a 270-degree one. The end result is that the Nuda’s motor now imitates a 90-degree V-twin, instead of acting like the parallel twin it is. Not a bad thing at all, that. With 105bhp and 100Nm combined with low gearing, all the Nuda wants to do is give the world a one-fingered... one-wheeled salute.
There’s really no point trying to post acceleration times and top speed figures, because you’ll be distracting yourself from all the fun, namely, the rear spinning and the front aiming increasingly skyward. That’s pretty much the way the Nuda wants to behave and it doesn’t take long for this Husky to convince you to abandon all socially acceptable behaviour.
How about handling? Well, transplant a gymnast’s arms and legs onto a bouncer’s torso and you’ll have some idea of what the Nuda feels like. You want to defy gravity and so does the motorcycle, but you’re always aware of the 195-kg kerb weight. However, there is no doubt that once used to it, a good rider will keep much faster machinery in sight on a twisting back road, thanks to the comfortable suspension and riding position, the thrilling power delivery and the ferocious brakes.
However, there’s a problem. If the Nuda was priced at Rs 10 lakh or less, there would be a long queue outside BMW showrooms, all of them real motorcyclists not fooled by fairings. However, from what we hear, the Nuda 900 R will be closer to Rs 15 lakh. That’s as much as the near-200bhp Japanese inline-fours. Hmm. It’ll be interesting to see how many rich boys take to this toy.