Somehow, in the process of giving the Husqvarna version of the Rotax/BMW F800 engine an extra 100cc, the engineers responsible did more: They gave it a character transplant. Ride Husky’s Nuda and you’d swear it wasn’t powered by anything derived from the somewhat staid parallel-Twin of the BMW F800. No, this engine has a syncopated growl as it lunges for redline and feels much more like a particularly smooth-running Ducati V-Twin than any typical parallel-Twin. It accelerates hard and long, and the exhaust note booms as though the engine were wearing a set of Termignoni racing pipes (thank friendly Italian TUV inspectors and a “smart” ECU-controlled exhaust valve that recognizes sound tests).
But the Nuda is so much more than just a barky exhaust note. Its engine was given the classic hot-rod treatment: more bore (plus 2mm to 84), more stroke (plus 5.4mm to 81), more compression (up a full point to 13.0:1), bigger valves (plus 1mm). Then there’s the alchemist’s trick: The crankshaft has been given a 45-degree twist, offsetting the crankpins and banishing the symmetrical firing order of the BMW 360-degree engine. Instead, the firing order becomes exactly that of a Harley-Davidson, and the engine offers an all-new feel. Output jumps by more than 20 horsepower to a claimed 105.
Similarly, what looks like a GS frame isn’t, at least not quite. While most of the structure is the same, a bigger steering-head is re-angled to a steeper 24.5 degrees and moved rearward, shortening the wheelbase from 62.1 inches to 58.9. Further, the BMW swingarm casting is machined differently to offer a more rigid coupling with the frame. The overall result is a 30 percent increase in torsional stiffness.
The rest of the bike is designed to look much like one of Husky’s supermoto machines, and the in-command riding position is almost pure dirtbike. The seat is tall and skinny (hint: not designed for touring). Suspension travel is long at more than eight inches in front and seven inches in the back. The result is a claimed-429-pound machine fully fueled that flies on a backroad. The R version features a length-adjustable Öhlins shock, and longer fork tubes let you raise the bike another half-inch.
But don’t get too excited; Husky doesn’t believe there’s a large enough market in the U.S. to justify redesigning the Nuda’s exhaust system and paying for emissions certification, at least not until there are other members in this twin-cylinder family. Perhaps in 2014, alongside an adventure Twin?