It feels like a long time since Husqvarna showed the Norden 901 concept bike at the 2019 EICMA show in Milan, but at last the production version is ready for launch and the showroom version is almost indistinguishable from the original show bike.
That’s welcome news, as concept bikes are often watered down to the point of blandness before reaching production, though the fact that the Norden 901′s adventure-forward design has always been heavily based on an existing KTM production model has clearly helped. Under the distinctive skin, the Norden borrows the lion’s share of its parts from the KTM 890 Adventure, though its new style should position it far enough from the Austrian machine to appeal to a different customer base.
The Norden’s engine is the same KTM LC8c parallel twin that’s used in the 890 Duke and 890 Adventure models, rated as making 105 hp at 8,000 rpm and 74 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm. It’s a stressed member in the same chromoly steel frame used on the KTM 890 Adventure and drives a six-speed box with an up-and-down quickshifter. Other tech includes Bosch cornering ABS with a switchable off-road mode that deactivates the system on the rear wheel, plus a cornering traction control system. Riding modes include Street, Offroad, and Rain, each altering the throttle response and traction control settings to suit. An additional Explorer mode is a software-update option available from dealers that reconfigures the TFT instrument panel and allows the rider to set the traction control system from nine possible levels.
As has increasingly become the norm, the bike’s TFT dash also acts as an interface for smartphone media and navigation, connected via Bluetooth, and cruise control is standard.
While the frame is from the 890 Adventure, the Norden gets its own version of the unusual side-mounted fuel tank idea that’s used on the KTM. Reshaped to suit the Husqvarna’s styling, its capacity drops a fraction, to 5 gallons, which should still be enough for a 250-mile range.
That styling is very different from that of the sharper-edged KTM Adventure. Clearly taking its cues from classic Paris-Dakar bikes of the ‘80s and ‘90s, the Norden evokes the past without being slavishly retro. The fairing and screen are more conventional than those used on the KTM, and more traditionally attractive, while the seat and oversized circular headlight give a clear family connection to the Husqvarna Svartpilen and Vitpilen models.
In terms of dimensions, there’s not much to choose between the KTM 890 Adventure and the Husqvarna. In many ways the Norden 901 sits between the KTM 890 Adventure and the higher-spec 890 Adventure R—the Husky’s seat, adjustable from 33.6 inches to 34.4 inches, is a fraction higher than the base 890 Adventure but lower than the R version, for instance. The same is true of the suspension; the Norden 901 has 8.7 inches of travel in the fork and 8.5 inches at the rear, while the 890 Adventure has 7.9 inches at each end and the Adventure R has 9.5 inches of movement.
Like the 890 Adventure, the Norden 901 has WP Apex suspension at both ends, with a 43mm fork, adjustable for rebound and compression, and a rebound-adjustable rear shock with a handwheel to tweak the preload. The swingarm is again the same as the KTM, with the usual lattice-style bracing and a direct shock linkage.
Wheels are the same size as the KTM 890 Adventure too; a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear, with tubeless Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires. The same is true of the brakes, which are Husqvarna-branded but, like the KTM-badged units on the 890 Adventure, are actually made by Brembo’s Spanish subsidiary, J.Juan.
Despite so many similarities to the KTM, the Norden’s closest rival may turn out to be the upcoming Ducati DesertX, due for launch in December and featuring similar, Dakar-inspired styling and the firm’s 937cc water-cooled V-twin, making around 110 hp.
Husqvarna has said the Norden 901 will be available in North American dealers this month (November 2021), with price starting at $13,999.
2022 Husqvarna Norden 901 Specifications
|Engine:||DOHC, liquid-cooled parallel twin; 4 valves/cyl.|
|Bore x Stroke:||90.7 x 68.8mm|
|Transmission/Final Drive:||6-speed; chain|
|Claimed Horsepower:||105.0 hp @ 8,000 rpm|
|Claimed Torque:||74.0 lb.-ft. @ 6,500 rpm|
|Fuel System:||DKK Dell’Orto w/ 46mm throttle body|
|Clutch:||Wet, multiplate slipper clutch; cable operated|
|Engine Management/Ignition:||Bosch EMS w/ ride-by-wire|
|Frame:||Chromoly steel w/ engine as stressed member|
|Front Suspension:||43mm inverted fork, compression, rebound and preload adjustable; 8.7 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Monoshock, rebound and preload adjustable; 8.5 in. travel|
|Front Brake:||Radial-mounted 4-piston calipers, dual 320mm discs w/ switchable ABS|
|Rear Brake:||2-piston floating caliper, 260mm disc w/ ABS|
|Wheels, Front/Rear:||Tubeless aluminum, spoked; 21 in. / 18 in.|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||90/90R-21 / 150/70R-18|
|Ground Clearance:||9.9 in.|
|Seat Height:||33.6 in. (adjustable to 34.4 in.)|
|Fuel Capacity:||5.0 gal.|
|Claimed Dry Weight:||450 lb.|