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The Nuda 900 Was Badass – Can KTM’s New Parallel Twin Top It?

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Husqvarna Nuda 900

When KTM purchased Husqvarna from BMW a few years ago, it decided to drop models that utilized derivatives of BMW engines, resulting in the Nuda 900 and 900 R getting the ax. These lightweight 900cc parallel twin bikes were an absolute blast to ride … as we found out when we tested both models at the press launch.

It turns out a grunty, mid-displacement twin (if you can call 900cc “mid-displacement”) in a supermoto-style chassis resulted in one of the most grin-inducing bikes ever produced. We were sorry to see the models disappear from production.

In its latest Annual Report, KTM indicates a Nuda 900 replacement is in the offing. Here is a quote regarding recent R&D efforts:

“Development of a new motorcycle platform based on a revolutionary 2-cylinder engine design, which will make a substantial contribution toward opening up new market segments.”

There is already a spy shot circulating of a development mule. We are not sure what KTM considers “revolutionary” about the new twin, but you can count on the first production bike being extremely light and powerful for its displacement level (rumored to be 800cc). KTM hasn’t missed the mark with too many of its bikes lately, and we expect this new platform to result in exciting new models for the brand. Stay tuned.

 

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Husqvarna Nuda 900 R


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73 Comments

  1. Mick says:

    I sure hope that KTM does a better job of keeping the weight down. When I saw this article I wondered why I didn’t remember seeing the bike. So I did some checking and found some figure around 430 pounds. That of course instantly punts a bike completely off my radar.

    Being an old guy is difficult at times. I’ve seen so many things improve in so many ways. But not motorcycles. Sure the components slowly improve, geometry is refined, flex and rigidity get better controlled. The buck stops there though. I don’t really care how much more power a street bike makes. I am waiting, have been waiting, for them to get significantly lighter. At least one hundred pounds lighter in this case. Even if it loses 25hp in doing so. I would still consider it a bit heavy.

    Why is it that a 300 pound dirt bike is so ridiculously heavy that it would never sell and a 400 pound street bike is considered light? How do these two things exist on the same planet?

    • Dave says:

      Re: “Why is it that a 300 pound dirt bike is so ridiculously heavy that it would never sell and a 400 pound street bike is considered light? How do these two things exist on the same planet?”

      Because they’re meant for two completely different things and light + strong = $$$$. Ever ridden a 250lb. bike at 70+mph in high crosswind?

  2. azi says:

    Hopefully KTM’s Nuda 900 successor will hold more fuel than the original’s 13 litre tank.

  3. John says:

    It would be great to see the Nuda or a derivative 900 show up in the SWM line.

    A Nuda ADV bike would be sweeeeet.

  4. Hot Dog says:

    Nothing beats a redhead that’s willing to play.

  5. Half Baked says:

    If you like this Rotax motor a version of it is available on several BMW’s.

    • John says:

      This is a different and available engine from the 800 though it may share some parts or even be based on it. It is still shown as an individual sku on the Rotax website. Why isn’t anyone using it? WTF knows.

    • peter h says:

      The version on the BMWs is a dead soulless lump. The Nuda was a modified version. I don’t know how good it was as I never rode one, but they were beautiful bikes.

      • John says:

        It is soulless because it is basically it was designed to be soulless.

        “We already knew the engine was derived from the BMW F 800 R motor with an increase in bore and stroke giving it 898cc, but what we didn’t know previously is that the crankshaft has been altered from the F 800 R’s 0-degree crank offset angle to 315-degrees, creating an engine with the feel and sound of a V-twin, but with the same excellent power delivery of the parallel-twin at small throttle openings, a characteristic not normally associated with v-twins.” – Gizmag

  6. Kevin says:

    KTM can top it by getting their twin to the USA. We never saw the Nuda here. And keep the price down. I like the 690 Duke but its too pricey. I’m considering a “new” husky Strada single. They’re still out there for <$6K. Its $8 – 9K for the KTM. The KTM is better, but $2 – 3k better?? not even close, esp for a fun commuter, weekend bike. Heck, that's 390 money, and the Strada will run rings around the 390.

    • Kent says:

      I’m curious why you think the 690 Duke is too pricey.

      It’s filled with high end equipment, and is incredibly light – both of these things cost money to develop and manufacture. It has a lot of horsepower for its displacement – and it’s less than 10k. There’s a few ’15’s around for under 9k.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I can’t imagine them pricing too cheaply unless they discontinue the 690. I expect they will aim at the Monster 821 price point, which is reasonable in my mind.

      I have a Terra that I bought for less than $5300 all in almost a couple of years ago, now. It is an amazing bike for that kind of money. As a street bike, the KTM is just a little more of everything (including dealerships if that is important to you), but you do pay for it. The Strada/Terra are “orphaned” models, so research it to know what you are getting into before you decide to go that route. Think about it: that bike is a German-Italian hybrid owned by an Austrian company. What could go wrong? 🙂 That said, I love mine and really can’t imagine selling that bike.

      • Kevin says:

        Jeremy in TX:

        Assuming I don’t drop it (!!). it seems like common parts availability aren’t too bad yet. Some have noted a high speed weave @80+mph),. Have you noticed this? Other than the seat being tall ( i have a 32″ inseam) I don’t see a lot of downside for the money.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Kevin,

          The Terra is probably a good inch taller than the Strada, and I have a 30-inch inseam. I’m sure you’d manage fine.

          Since the Terra has a 21-inch from with a semi-knobby tread design, I don’t know if it draws a good parallel to the Strada for comparison with respect to your question about the weave. (I have heard a few people mention this about the Terra as well.) All freeway and interstate slabbing here takes place at 80+mph, and I’ve set my Kaoko cruise control at 85 mph indicated many times for miles, taken my hands off the bars to stretch and everything. No weave or wobble. I’ve also had the bike up to 105mph indicated for short spurts and still no weave or wobble.

          For what it is worth, I find that most people that complain about weaves and wobbles cause them with a death grip on the bars.

          • Kevin says:

            Jeremy in TX; Thanks for the info. I’d like a smaller lighter bike for commuting and weekend fun. I plan on keeping my CBR for a bit longer. I’m always looking for a good deal, and these bikes seem like better deals than the current crop of 250 – 375cc small displacement bikes.

    • Half Baked says:

      If they kept the price down it would be a Honda and since they are never going to keep the price down you may as well go ahead and buy a Honda or something else from Japan.

  7. teelee says:

    Good looking bike but the chain is on the wrong side

  8. Auphliam says:

    Great news. I love the trend back towards more reasonable displacement bikes. The 700-900cc market is starting to look very attractive. Not everybody wants or needs neck snapping torque or eye blurring horsepower.

    …but seriously…”revolutionary 2-cylinder engine design”? At this point, what hasn’t been done in the twin cylinder design arena? Upside down V? Horizontal rearward facing parallel twin?

  9. xLaYN says:

    Yami Yami… your TDM sin were to be way ahead of your time (same for you Paul Smart).

    I didn’t find any MD review of the TDM, closest one is a preview

    http://www.motorcycledaily.com/2001/09/24sept01yamaha2002tdm900/

    Anyone with comments about it? did you like it?

    • Hot Dog says:

      I had a buddy that had a blue ’92 (I think that was the year) and he loved it. He’d load it up like a pack mule and ride all over. He never had a lick of trouble with it. Yamaha also put this engine in a steel trellis frame, it was called the TRX850, but the press scribes of the day thought it was cute to call it “Trixy”, sales languished and it didn’t go anywhere. Yamaha has always been ahead of the curve.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I agree. Definitely a bike a ahead of its time. Who would have thought that some 25 years after it was introduced that style of machine would be enjoying so much success. I remember being pretty taken with the bike in my high school days in the 1990s, but I’ve never had the opportunity to swing a leg over one other than at the dealership.

      • mickey says:

        you were in High School in the 90’s? PUP!

        I don’t remember that model but an upright 900 weighing 420 pounds with some wind protection and a decent seat? I’d consider that today

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          LOL. Class of ’94!

          If I remember right, the brochure for the bike even had it riding through some lone, dirt road. Even their marketing for it was ahead of its time!

      • todd says:

        Same here. I was in my senior year when the TDM came out. It appealed to me more than the Hurricane but, even then, I thought it was a bit too big. I was happy enough with my 90cc twin Yamaha HS1.

        • John says:

          I actually am surprised at how small and comfy the TDM850 is. At the time, it seemed a little big, but hell, in the 80s, seat heights were all in the 30″ range almost across the board.

      • Dave says:

        TDM was very cool, there was another model in the EU market, the TRX 850 that was designed to get after the Ducati 900SS/Honda Superhawk that was even cooler.

  10. Shaunock says:

    I made an EOI with the local dealer about these when they were first released. He said he would call me back to organize a test ride.

    He never called back, had the stock sitting on his floor unsold for months as well. I really wish I had bought one instead of the Ducati POS I ended up getting.

  11. Walter says:

    “It turns out a grunty, mid-displacement twin (if you can call 900cc “mid-displacement”) in a supermoto-style chassis resulted in one of the most grin-inducing bikes ever produced.”

    Yes, with over 57,000 miles on my 950SM, I agree 🙂

  12. John says:

    KTM has no idea what ergonomics are apparently. Maybe Husky will do something useful with the engine.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      What makes you say that? All of the KTMs I’ve ridden have had great ergonomics.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        Perplexes me as well. Not a PDS fan on the dirt bikes, and definitely not on Sumo conversions, and I guess they do fit taller people better than shorter ones, but ergonomically, what’s not to like?

      • John says:

        I find them to be uncomfortable and harsh and with a universally too tall seat. Maybe it would feel better with longer legs, but I much prefer BMW ergos.

        • TimC says:

          I think the ergos are probably just right for the bike’s intended purpose in life. Generally a bit harder-core/sharper-edged than equivalent BMWs basically across the range….

        • Dougalicious says:

          See I think KTMs have some of the best seat heights out there. What fits me may not fit you, but it’s definitely not that they have “no idea what ergonomics are”

        • George says:

          Ergos are not that difficult to replace by changing handlebars (<$100 easily), changing footpegs and changing seat shape.

          It is not rocket science.

          KTM sets the ergos up for the customers they think will buy the bike. We don't all fit that description but that is not KTM's "fault" that is just the reality that we are not all the same size and shape.

  13. pacer says:

    First, that wheelie pic is awsome.

    I think that KTM will keep the Duke concept (I think this includes the Nuda) for KTM. Husky will get the “off the beaten path” stuff, retro/cafe etc. Imo KTM’s street bikes are hitting their marks as good if not better than anyone.

    • TimC says:

      “Awesome” yep – these bikes are made for hoonin

    • xLaYN says:

      I accidentally hit the “report post” button, I’m sorry.

      lil bit js could display a pop up “you sure?” to avoid this :S

    • thrus says:

      I came to the conclusion that it is using they same type of science to not fall over as cats use to mold themselves into things while vets say they have a spine.

  14. Cyclemotorist says:

    Wow! That looks bad ass!

  15. Butch says:

    Vertical twins.
    Arguably the best all around motorcycle engine design there is.
    Narrow, compact with adequate torque and hp.
    KTM should have a winner with this one.

    • Joe Bogusheimer says:

      Except for the vibration and flat exhaust note typically associated with them.

      • TimC says:

        The linked riding impression specifically mentions the exhaust note is not the expected blah, but rather the opposite. Hopefully they don’t lose that.

      • Onto says:

        It will only vibrate if they let it. They can get rid of vibrations with balance shafts. Vertical twins usually only vibrate badly if they use a 360 degree crankshaft. Most vertical twins these days use a 270 degree crank which makes them sound the same as a Ducati.

      • mickey says:

        My (3) XS650 Yamahas were real paint shakers, but my 2003 Bonnie was so smooth it was uncanny, so twins don’t necessarily have to shake. Wonder if the new 1200’s are as smooth.

        then again with the factory exhaust on the Bonnie there was NO exhaust note lol

        • VLJ says:

          mickey, I can’t tell you about the new Thruxtons, but I can certainly say that the new 1200 Bonneville is very smooth, and it makes a lot more sound than the previous generation 850. The sound is obviously different, though, with the 270-degree crank. As has been stated so often, it sounds more like a Ducati and less like a 360-degree Bonneville.

          That 1200 is one of the two or three most beautiful bikes on the market right now. God, it’s gorgeous. It’s also waaaaaaay too slow for a iiquid-cooled 1200, and the fueling needs work. It’s not as bad as, say, the first generation FZ-09, but it’s not far off. It’s very abrupt, on and off the throttle. It needs work.

          I was surprised to see Triumph get that one wrong. They usually do a good job with fueling/throttle response, and the new Bonnie is probably their most important model, plus it’s a large, liquid-cooled, thoroughly engineered package. I would have thought they’d leave no stone unturned in making sure they nailed the basics on such an important new model.

          Alas, nope, they missed the mark. Hopefully the Thruxton will be better. It will certainly be faster. I was blown away by how slow the Bonneville was, especially after all the press regarding the “huge torque.” I wasn’t expecting big-time speed or anything, but I certainly was expecting an impressive hit down low that would carry into a healthy midrange before signing off too early, knowing there’s no top end. What I discovered instead was merely a nice little shove forward before our pretty girl all-too-quickly ran out of fun. Slow motor, slow handling, glitchy fueling, minimal ground clearance…zero excitement.

          I took a pass on her. I was there to buy her, too, but the test drive killed her for me. As much as I want her for her sheer beauty, I simply don’t find her fun enough to justify the purchase.

          Probably a good thing, too. Had I bought the Bonneville I wouldn’t have looked into the new Yamaha XSR900, which is what I ended up buying (swapped the ’14 Street Triple R for her), and I could scarcely be happier. It took a decent while, but I finally found the right bike for me.

          • mickey says:

            VLJ I asked on another thread what happened on your test ride, but guess you never saw it. Now I know. Funny I took a 64 mile test ride on the FJ09 day before yesterday as my son is interested in buying one and I had some time to kill. The bike has a great exhaust note and is very eager to run, although I found it quite vibey (particularly on the freeway)and that seems to be the rap on them. The fueling wasn’t perfect but close enough I suppose. Brakes great. Certainly was light. Transmission while not snick snick smooth was pretty good. All in all not a bad bike. Expect low 40’s on mpgs. Let us know from time to time how you are doing with yours. And with that you won’t have to ride like an old man lol.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Congrats VLJ. I really like those XSR900s. Did you get the Speed Block Yellow model?

          • todd says:

            See that’s where marketing doesn’t do itself a favor. They hype up torque like it’s some kind of special power when in fact it isn’t power at all. People climb aboard thinking it will have neck snapping acceleration because of all that “torque”. When all along it’s power that provides acceleration (or better, power over weight) and torque just determines what RPM what little power it has is being produced at.

            They should start advertising bicycles by the torque numbers you can get out of them (albeit with your own effort), up to 150 lb-ft, depending on how heavy you are. They would open up a new market segment with all the Harley riders buying bicycles expecting more acceleration than their motorcycles.

          • todd says:

            Actually, I said that wrong. Torque doesn’t determine the RPM of the power, it is really just a factor in determining what power it has at any particular RPM the torque is produced at. The higher RPM the torque is produced at, the more effective it is (I.e. more powerful it is) since higher RPM can take better advantage of lower gear ratios. Lower gearing and higher RPM gives more acceleration at any given speed.

          • VLJ says:

            mickey, my XSR900 had a problem with the warning lights, which turned out to be the result of an ABS plug-in that wasn’t fully plugged in. While the dealer was trying to figure out the tripped codes—the bike is so new, Yamaha hadn’t yet posted any service manuals—they gave me an FJ-09 demo as a loaner, which I rode for a couple of days.

            Long story short, the FJ is no XSR. Its only advantages are the optional hardbags, clearer mirrors with a wider view, and a larger fuel tank. Compared to the XSR, its weaknesses are myriad: iffy fueling (the XSR’s is spot-on), massive wind buffeting/turbulence, more buzzing, it’s much slower everywhere (or so it felt, anyway), and it’s just not very attractive. Also, it’s extremely tall. Throwing a leg over that thing is no picnic.

            Bottom line, don’t base any impressions/preconceptions you may have of the XSR on the FJ-09 or FZ-09. It’s a different, much more polished animal. The suspension and fueling have been greatly improved, even compared to the updated ECU-flashed 2015 FZ-09. I rode my buddy’s ’15 model, and it still has the pogo stick suspension and crap fueling in A-mode. The XSR is night-and-day better. In fact, it’s much closer to the Street Triple R now than to the FZ-09, only more comfortable and a lot punchier.

            Awesome motor. It really is. If you ever decide you want something lighter and sportier than your CB1100, but still upright and comfortable, with even more legroom, the XSR might be a good choice for you. Also, no Transformers styling; no trying-too-hard origami nonsense. It’s a grownup’s bike, and looks it.

            Jeremy in TX, I was all set to get the Kenny Roberts version. That was the one I liked best, judging from the pictures and videos. The irony there is I never liked the Yamaha speed blocks. I didn’t hate them, but I always thought the Honda and even the Suzuki paint schemes for their race bikes looked much better. I was just never much of a fan of the bumblebee design.

            Regardless, I thought the 60th Anniversary model looked better than the silver version. That is, until I saw the silver one in person. That brushed aluminum tank, similar to BMW’s R-nine-T, looks absolutely outstanding. I fell in love with it straight away. In the sunlight it’s simply brilliant.

            I also think it looks a bit classier—perhaps more befitting a moron of my relatively advanced years—and I like the two-tone burgundy seat. And, hey, $500 is $500, right?

            So, yeah, I bought the brushed aluminum one. No regrets. I took her out for her first major sport ride yesterday, and after loosening the suspension a bit after initially firming it up a little too much, man, does she rip. No kidding, that 847cc Triple is just about the perfect motor for the street. I was able to lose the last of the chicken strips and still nothing touched down. Very satisfying. She’s a supremely comfortable ride, too. Along with the extra grunt, that’s the one area where I sought improvement compared to my STR, greater comfort, and the XSR delivers, in spades.

            Due to the more upright seating position, there is definitely more windblast on the freeway. It’s still smooth and quiet air, but there’s enough of it that it does somewhat reduce my average cruising speed. Whereas on the STR I probably averaged 80-85 mph on the freeway, with the XSR I’m finding that I’m usually a good 5-7 mph slower. Also, zipping over 100 mph makes me want to duck down a bit, which was never the case with the Triumph. On that one I didn’t need to do anything. It was just smooth sailing, regardless of how fast I was going.

            The STR also goes farther on a tank of gas, and it only requires Regular 87, vs the XSR’s Premium 91. Of course the STR has stronger, sharper brakes, as well. The XSR’s have bedded in nicely now, and they’re absolutely fine, but the STR’s binders were truly stellar.

            The XSR is more fun, though, and more comfortable. Neat trick, that.

          • Scott says:

            VLJ, glad to hear you bought an XSR! I’ve been waiting for my “Bumble Bee” since they were first announced, and it sounds like mine should arrive any day now. My dealer-of-choice is an hour and a half away, so I haven’t been down there to see the silver one yet, but I’m excited.

            Your report confirms everything I’ve read so far about the XSR from the Euros, which is that it’s a fantastic bike. I would imagine there should be a US press intro pretty soon…

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Sounds great VLJ. Enjoy the ride! The XSR is one of the first bikes that has really tempted me in quite a while. I really liked it when I got to see it up close and personal at the IMS. I just wish the damn thing held more fuel.

          • VLJ says:

            Scott, congrats! You’re going to love it. Guaranteed.

            I’ve heard of three units so far, mine included, that tripped the Check Engine, ABS, and Traction Control warning lights. All three were the result of the ABS plug-in not being fully connected. So, if your lights come on, let your dealer know. It’s a very quick fix.

            Also, plan on your brakes initially feeling a bit dull and soft. Don’t worry, though. They come in nicely, properly scrubbed. And don’t worry about some of the reports of the A-mode still being a bit of a handful. It’s not. It’s well removed from the FZ-09’s lightswitch A-mode. It works just fine, up to and including 1st gear switchbacks. It also works just fine rolling through town at a steady throttle in low gear.

            True, it doesn’t reward hamfisted applications, unless you just like to wheelie everywhere, but if you’re even halfway smooth with your right wrist you can leave it in A-mode for the entire ride, regardless of your speed or level of aggression. It just plain works.

            And if all Yamaha offered was the bumblebee version, no problem, I still would have bought it. I prefer the brushed aluminum, but the gleaming yellow and black is gorgeous too.

          • VLJ says:

            mickey, what was the other thread in which you asked about the 1200 Bonnie test ride? I just went back and looked, but couldn’t find it.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “The sound is obviously different, though, with the 270-degree crank. As has been stated so often, it sounds more like a Ducati and less like a 360-degree Bonneville.”

            that’s my only criticism of the B12. when I want that sound…? well, I just go ride my ducati. but I also love the “buzz” of a Bonnie, if I had the room, I’d have one. is it the fastest thing…? no (not something you’d normally hear me say) but there’s a distinct character to that P-twin that you don’t find with any of the others short of maybe a late 80’s air cooled Suzi GS500. that Nuda engine of course being cranked, cammed, and 3rd arm balanced to fire and sound like a 12GS.

          • VLJ says:

            Jeremy, regarding the fuel tank, yep, my two primary criticisms of the XSR center on the fuel tank. The first is that it needs to hold more fuel. My low-fuel warning light comes on at around 110 miles, despite the onboard computer always telling me I’m averaging 43 mpg. The other thing is I wish it would accept a magnetic tank bag, the way the FZ-09’s will. I’ve been using the same magnetic tank bag for fifteen years. I live out of that thing, even when I’m not on a bike.

            Having to go and buy a backpack truly sucked. Doffing and donning that thing at every stop can’t suck enough, and it’s only going to get worse in the heat of a Sacramento summer.

            Besides, come on, my tank has a brushed, bare-metal look, so make the damn thing out of metal!

          • Scott says:

            Ha! I had to give up my magnetic tank bag a decade ago. It’s just the way of the world these days… 😝

      • Butch says:

        Go to YouTube and type in Nuda 900 (with the Leo Vince).
        Nothing like a 13 to 1 compression ratio and a free flowing exhaust to wake things up a bit.

      • Neil says:

        I have a CB500F and it’s very smooth indeed. 500s used to shake like the Devil. I rode the old Yamaha 650 twin and that thing was an earthquake with wheels on it. The exhaust note on my is only flat because Honda put that tiny hole in the exhaust pipe to quiet it down for the EPA.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      I find twins the least inspiring engines out there, anywhere above the potato-potato rev range. Down there, even the Superduke, does have some charm. But above, it’s just a dull drone. A nice, resonant one in Ducati/Termi’s case, but a drone nonetheless.

      I find The KTM LC4 single, charming as heck. And the older Honda/Kawi/Suzi air cooled 650s as well. And love both I4s and V4s. And 6s, although the bikes they come in tend to be a bit big. The new, short stroke Daytona triple sounds great on full song as well. And the pure function of the Speed/Street triples are hard to argue with.

      There are lots and lots of great bikes with twins in them, perhaps for the packaging and power band reasons you noted. But I just don’t like the incessant, characterless drone across virtually the entire rev range.

      • VLJ says:

        +1, especially regarding the preference for Triples and V4s. V-Twins (or L-Twins) are great for blipping the throttle at startup and at stoplights, but out on the road or even at the track it’s just one long sonorous drone. It’s not a bad sound by any means, but it doesn’t have the dual-personality charisma of a racy Triple or V4.

      • Derek Smith says:

        An MT-01 with akrapovics being the exception. Glorious

  16. mickey says:

    Isn’t that the same garden spade front fender the Nuda had?

    Would be nice to have one of those and have your own racetrack to play on.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Pretty sure that is the Nuda, Mickey. I think it might be that “Husqvarna Nuda 900” caption beneath the photos than give it away.

  17. Starmag says:

    KTM already has the market cornered on angular styling and orange, and the Nuda seems like a great bike, how about a 400 cross type tank? Harley,Triumph, BMW, Ducati RE and others seem to be doing very well with retro. Sorry, but the blue, yellow and white isn’t working for me.

    http://n.b5z.net/i/u/6144735/i/Used_vintage_tanks_-_Large_Pic_ezr.jpg