The already hotly contested Adventure bike market is now glowing white-hot. Enter the 2022 Husqvarna Norden 901, a Scandinavian-inspired refinement of a proven Austrian platform.According to my Swedish wife, Norden means ‘The North’ in Svenska, and the world got a glimpse of the Norden 901 prototype at EICMA in 2019, just before the global pandemic turned everything upside down. The Norden project quickly shifted gears to online engineering collaboration, field testing in isolated locales, and overcoming the challenges of a tight supply chain.
The result: A middleweight travel enduro that alchemizes high levels of on-piste performance, off-road prowess, and all-day ride comfort into a singular, aesthetically stunning package.To put the Norden 901 to the test, Ultimate Motorcycling journeyed to the Azores, a small Portuguese island chain 500 miles west of Lisbon in the North Atlantic Ocean. Through 200+ miles of sub-tropical rain, loamy volcanic soil, and super slick tarmac, here are the 21 Fast Facts that you need to know about the all-new 2022 Husqvarna Norden 901.
Derived from the KTM 890 Adventure platform, the Norden 901 is purpose-built for long-haul travel performance. We love the off-road chops of the KTM 890 Adventure, and the same engine, chassis, brakes, wheels, and electronics provide a rock-solid foundation for the Norden 901. From there, the real work began, designing for ergonomics, aerodynamics, and suspension performance to take the adventure longer, farther, and in greater comfort.
The design ethos of the 2022 Husqvarna Norden 901 was to unify form with function from a uniquely Scandinavian perspective. From the subtly swanky matte graphics and the singularity of the massive headlamp, to the sharp-cut Bauhaus-inspired lines of the bodywork, all aspects pull double duty to aesthetically deliver performance. The Norden 901 is the quintessential Swedish cousin to the bikes in orange.
With 105 horsepower and 74 ft-lbs of torque, the compact 889cc DOHC parallel-twin packs an incredible punch in a lightweight package. A 13.5:1 compression ratio creates a torquey feel that comes on early with an arm-straightening pull that peaks at 6500 rpm, providing plenty of front-wheel lofting fun. Peak horsepower is reached 1500 rpm later, before redlining at 8500 rpm. There is plenty of power on tap to short-shift the Norden 901 to quickly reach eye-watering speeds, and dual counter-balancers neutralize any perceived vibration, even when the rubber footpeg dampers are removed. All of this performance is delivered by a powerplant that weighs in at just less than 118 pounds.
The six-speed gearbox comes standard with a quickshifter. The cable-actuated clutch has a nice, easy pull, thanks to its assist function. The slipper clutch provides grippy smooth performance from the rear end, avoiding rear-wheel hop on hard braking and quick downshifts. The quickshifter is completely addictive, working with the ignition and butterfly valves to ensure precise rev-matching and clutchless shifting, up and down. If, for some reason, you prefer to indulge your inner Luddite, the convenience of the quickshifter can be deactivated.
The low-slung, rally-inspired fuel tank keeps the weight down low for improved handling, and delivers a 200+ mile range. The shape and position of the five-gallon, rotationally-molded fuel tank is a massive driver of the Norden 901’s handling performance. Centralizing the fuel load around the rider’s knees lowers the center of gravity for incredible off-road handling, and tip-in feel on asphalt corners. It also allows for a nice flat seat from front to back. The Norden’s tank is similar to the KTM 890 Adventure’s, though a bit slimmer at the bottom and designed to support the overall full-fairing design aesthetic of the Husky.
I averaged 44 mpg while slogging it out both on and off-road, putting my range on the 2022 Husqvarna Norden 901 at around 220 miles. That’s a little less than the claimed range of 248 miles. Common sense would have me looking to refuel at the 200-mile mark.
The advanced electronics package on the Norden 901 is its killer app, maximizing performance both on and off the tarmac. Regardless of some old-school banter, electronic rider aids have become indispensable for managing horsepower and delivering a high-performance experience to a wide swath of riders across varying grip and weather conditions. The Norden 901 has the full complement of electronics, including lean-angle sensitive ABS and traction control, with configurable ride modes to match any condition. Street mode offers full power and ABS and traction control optimized for the tarmac. Rain mode has a smoother throttle response and reduces maximum output to 80 horsepower, with early ABS and traction control assistance. Offroad mode offers full power, smooth delivery, and optimizes ABS for the dirt.
The optional Explorer mode is ultra-versatile, and you definitely want this. Explorer mode is akin to Rally mode in KTM-speak. It allows the rider to select throttle response and ABS settings, in addition to unlocking nine levels of on-the-fly traction control, from a super-safe level 9 to a power-sliding and barely perceptible level 1. I used levels 1-4 for off-road situations and bumped it up to level 9 on the wet tarmac.
My go-to Explorer setting is smooth Offroad throttle response and Offroad ABS, and traction control level 2 for dirt and wheeling on the tarmac. Adjusting it on the fly allows me to instantly compensate for tire wear and grip levels to ensure I’m getting optimal drive to fit the conditions and my aspirations.
Rain Mode isn’t just for new riders—it works really works a charm in slick weather-soaked conditions. With 80 horsepower on tap, Rain Mode on the Norden 901 still delivers more horsepower than some of its middleweight rivals, though the power delivery is much subdued. This doesn’t mean slower; it just means safer. In a torrential downpour, I used Rain mode. I watched the yellow dash indicator flash constantly as it allowed me to ride quickly and safely over some frightening slick cobblestone surfaces.
The 2022 Husqvarna Norden 901’s WP Apex suspension is fully capable of tackling nasty off-road obstacles while optimized for long-distance comfort. With about eight-and-a-half inches of suspended wheel travel at both ends, the Norden 901 slots between the KTM 890 Adventure R and the standard 890 Adventure. The 43mm fork is separate function—compression damping in the left tube, and rebound on the right. The rear shock has a handy preload adjustment knob to easily adjust rear sag to compensate for pillion and luggage weight, as well as handling preferences.
After a few suspension adjustments, the Norden 901 and I were in lock-step. After 150 miles or so of every soil and tarmac condition imaginable, I zeroed in on my optimal suspension settings. The Norden 901 is very receptive to rear spring-preload adjustment. Eight twists of the adjustment knob really got the front tire to bite and eliminated the headshake I experienced when riding aggressively off-road. I also increased the rear rebound damping to compensate for the added spring-preload. Up front, six clicks of increased compression damping offset by three clicks of additional rebound damping allowed me to put the Norden exactly where I wanted it, despite the lack of adjustability of the fork’s spring-preload or the shock’s compression damping.
The Norden 901 comes stock with tubeless Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires mounted up to 21-/18-inch wheelset. Although I’ve never been a big fan of the Pirelli Scorpions for aggressive off-road riding, they were completely at home on the wet, moss-covered tarmac of the Azores. With on-the-fly traction control in Explorer Mode, it was easy to find the right setting to match the grip level of the rear tire. We had the tires set at 36 psi front and 34 psi in the rear, which is quite a bit higher than I prefer for traction off-road. However, it is added insurance against pressure dings on the stock wheels from sharp square-edged rocks.
Brakes are courtesy of Brembo-owned Spanish component supplier J.Juan, and are more than adequate. Dual four-piston, radially mounted calipers up front sport the Husqvarna logo, and are matched up to 320mm rotors and tethered with steel-braided hoses. Lever feel is excellent, with a nice initial bite and plenty of power. A two-piston floating caliper with a 280mm rotor is plenty powerful in the rear, capable of locking up the Pirelli on asphalt or the dirt with ABS switched off or in Offroad mode. With intervention from the Bosch ABS system just barely perceptible, the braking package performs incredibly, whether ABS is on, off, or in Offroad mode.
The wide, comfortable seat has two height positions. Husqvarna is not particularly known for manufacturing comfortable seats, but my rear-end thinks they absolutely nailed the comfort target on the Norden. It’s wide towards the back, skinnier up front, with a nice cushion and grippy surface, suiting me perfectly. In the low position, it’s 33.6 inches from the ground, and sitting 34.4 inches tall in the high slot. Even with my 30-inch inseam, I like the rider triangle provided by the high setting.
Stability and streamlined aerodynamics are the calling card for the 2022 Husqvarna Norden 901. When riding at high speed, the Norden 901 punches a hole through the wind where I feel comfortable and stable. With the horsepower and performance levels offered by the Norden, I would have no problem going two up with a passenger for days-long adventures. It’s probably the only middleweight-class ADV motorcycle that allows me to say that.
Additional accouterments add functionality to the Norden 901. To accommodate the touring crowd, there is cruise control and a 12-volt plug next to the TFT dashboard to keep all of your electronics topped up. LED lighting, including fog lights, is standard. There is an accommodation for a second screen or smartphone mounting above the TFT screen and behind the non-adjustable windscreen. A reversible rear brake lever claw is included to accommodate your preference for standup or sit-down riding. The standard brake claw position works fine for me, albeit with the seat in the high position.
Dashboard information is customizable, and consumed via an all-new 5.5-inch TFT screen. Not only is the display big and bright, but it’s also easy to read, even when covered in dust, and automatically adapts to all lighting conditions. Data widgets can be configured to make the information pertinent to you easily viewed. Navigation is available via the optional Connectivity Unit, and becomes visible on the screen by pairing your smartphone with the dash and utilizing the Ride Husqvarna Motorcycles app. We tested the beta version, which was a little buggy. However, once connected, it worked well.
The nearly 10,000-mile service interval means more time riding and less time fixing. With that kind of range between oil changes, the maintenance routine basically becomes chain lube and air filter replacment as required—piece of cake.
If I had my druthers, there’s not much I would change. Would I bolt on beefier 48mm forks for more off-road performance? No way. The 43mm offer plenty of damping performance while providing the necessary flex and comfort for globe-trotting adventures. I find that it is optimized for the sweet spot of on-road comfort and aggressive off-road riding. Potholes and jarring cobblestone are taken in stride, all of which means less rider and passenger fatigue over long days in the saddle. Everything else—from electronics to engine performance to braking—ticks all of the boxes for me in my quest for fun and adventure.
With an MSRP of $13,999, the 2022 Husqvarna Norden 901 is an ADV-bike bargain. With these levels of off-road performance and long-haul comfort, it’s surprising that the price is comparable, and in some cases less than, mid-size ADV bikes from other manufacturers. If I only had one adventure bike in my garage, would I choose the Norden 901? Absolutely, and I’m not just saying that because I’m married to a Swede. The Norden 901 is due to hit US dealer showrooms in December.
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
My name is Arthur Coldwells.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week’s episode features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the beautiful new Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST that is loosely based around the original FXRT Sport Glide from the 1980s. Hailing from The Golden State, these cult-status performance machines became known as West Coast style, with sportier suspension, increased horsepower, and niceties including creature comforts such as a tidy fairing and sporty luggage.
In past episodes you might have heard us mention my best friend, Daniel Schoenewald, and in the second segment I chat with him about some of the really special machines in his 170 or so—and growing—motorcycle collection. He’s always said to me that he doesn’t consider himself the owner, merely the curator of the motorcycles for the next generation.
Yet Daniel is not just a collector, but I can attest a really skilled rider. His bikes are not trailer queens, they’re ridden, and they’re ridden pretty hard. Actually, we have had many, many memorable rides on pretty much all of the machines in the collection at one time or another.
From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!