Strolling as much as the Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition for the primary time, the daring graphics caught my eye. In a departure from the subdued matte-black paint scheme on the usual Norden 901, the Expedition sports activities a blue and white colorway with yellow accents, a big white Husqvarna brand, and white handguards and aspect panels. Like the usual mannequin, the graphics embrace topographical traces that recall to mind far-flung locations the place one may enterprise on the Expedition.
The visible prowess of the brand new machine acquired me excited. The inverted WP Xplor fork – an improve from the WP Apex unit on the usual Norden – has an eye catching WP brand and crimson accents on the silver tubes. The wrap-around skid plate is large and rugged, defending each the underside of the engine and the decrease pods of the horseshoe-shaped gasoline tank.
The Expedition appears to be like the enterprise, and all I wished to do was trip it.
However is it the off-road beast I wished the primary Norden to be? The usual mannequin was launched simply final 12 months, and it planted a distinguished flag for Husqvarna – a legendary off-road model – onto the ADV panorama. The Expedition ups the platform’s sport with higher-spec WP Xplor suspension, a taller windscreen, and aspect carriers with a pair of 18-liter waterproof saddlebags. A number of optionally available options and equipment for the Norden are commonplace on the Expedition, together with the Explorer trip mode, a beefier skid plate, heated grips and seat, a centerstand, and Bluetooth connectivity for infotainment and navigation. It’s priced at $15,799, a $1,300 premium over the Norden 901.
Sufficient speculating, let’s trip!
Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition in South Africa
Husqvarna did an incredible job plotting a route up and down epic mountains, over rolling hillsides, and alongside rugged coastlines close to Cape City, South Africa. Our first day began with a brief stint on the freeway to get snug on the machine, after which we depraved it up on a hardpacked gravel street by way of vineyards and lately harvested grain fields. It was tremendous dusty, so we tried leaving sufficient house between riders to keep away from the mud with out shedding sight of these forward of us. With a fast look down, I noticed 136 kph (84 mph) on the TFT show, and I questioned, Are we in a rush?
Our route took us alongside the sting of a lake, and the surroundings was breathtaking. Then we returned to the tarmac and blasted down a gorgeous canyon street with towering cliffs, majestic mountains, and deep ravines. Backwards and forwards we went, from gravel roads to highways at a brisk tempo. The Norden’s 889cc parallel-Twin, which cranks out a claimed 105 hp and 73.8 lb-ft of torque, was pegged at 7,000 rpm in sixth gear with out grievance, regardless that redline is 8,500 rpm.
Day 2 introduced extra severe off-road terrain, with technical two-track, moist sand, and gnarly, rutted-out hillclimbs. At one level, dealing with uncovered rocks and step-ups because the path steepened towards a peak, I believed to myself, There’s no approach this bike is making it to the highest. It appeared like one thing solely an enduro bike ought to sort out however not this bike, not with its road-biased tires with 36 psi in them. However the Norden proved to be fairly the mountain goat, and we efficiently summitted the hill.
Then it was on to an enduro-type loop part with sand, unfastened crimson rock, hardpacked grime, and a moist, grassy stretch. We did a number of loops, every barely sooner and messier than the final, pushing the Norden 901 Expedition tougher with every move. Then we charged up a steep and crumbling single-lane paved street. What a climb, and what a view from the highest! It was an incredible couple of days to check an journey bike – the right mixture of a difficult route and out-there countryside.
The Husqvarna Norden 901 is constructed on the identical platform because the KTM 890 Journey and 890 Journey R, a motorcycle I’ve beforehand sampled. They share an engine and far of the identical know-how, comparable to trip modes, cornering ABS and traction management, Motor Slip Regulation, and a quickshifter. As on the KTMs, ABS is linked to the trip modes, so deciding on the Avenue or Rain trip mode prompts the Highway ABS mode, and deciding on the Offroad or Explorer trip mode prompts the Offroad ABS mode.
However the Explorer trip mode is absolutely customizable. Riders can choose amongst 4 completely different throttle-response maps (Rally, Offroad, Avenue, or Rain), choose both ABS mode, and toggle between 10 ranges of traction management for the rear wheel on the fly, starting from Degree 0 (off) to Degree 9 (most intrusive). I discovered that Degree 3 allowed for good energy slides with out letting issues get too out of hand.
The most important change on the Expedition relative to the usual Norden 901 is the suspension. In comparison with the WP Apex setup on the bottom mannequin, the Expedition’s WP Xplor fork has bigger diameter tubes (48mm vs. 43mm) and extra journey (9.4 inches vs. 8.7 inches), and the Xplor PDS (Progressive Damping System) shock additionally has extra journey (9.4 inches vs. 8.5 inches). The KTM 890 Journey R additionally has Xplor suspension, however the Expedition has softer damping for a extra snug trip. After two hard-charging days of driving, I can inform you that the bike’s dealing with is phenomenal.
On pavement, the added stiffness of the 48mm fork stored the entrance finish firmly planted regardless of how arduous I pushed into turns, even with the extra journey. The damping allowed the Expedition to drift down the street, but it surely by no means felt spongy or bouncy. Off-road was a distinct story. At excessive speeds on lengthy, quick gravel roads, I felt equally assured till I hit a unfastened rock or pothole and the handlebar did a fast 1-2-3 twitch – simply sufficient to remind me to tone it down. On gnarly trails, I felt the softness of the stroke and used all of the journey, but it surely by no means held me again and I skilled much less jarring on my physique than what I’ve skilled on the 890 Journey R.
Earlier than the extra technical driving on Day 2, I requested the Husqvarna techs to agency up the damping entrance and rear (there’s a settings chart below the rider seat). Adjusting the fork is easy since there are compression and rebound clickers atop the fork tubes; adjusting the shock requires instruments which are discovered within the toolkit below the aspect panel. The modifications made a giant distinction. On the street, I may really feel small imperfections within the tarmac, and I may dive into corners with much more confidence and velocity. Off-road was even higher. I felt extra in tune with the bike, permitting me to push the bounds. There was no extra twitch at excessive speeds, and the bike tracked straighter by way of sandy sections. On tough, rocky trails, the tires didn’t deflect as a lot, although it might have been even higher if we may have aired them down.
The Pirelli Scorpion Rally STRs on the Expedition, which have roughly a 70/30 on/off-road bias, carried out properly on pavement and on fast-paced gravel roads. We flogged them arduous, and so they supplied assured, constant grip. In sand and on a number of the extra technical off-road sections, nevertheless, I might have most well-liked a extra aggressive knobby. Tires are at all times a compromise, and the Pirellis are versatile tires with large knob blocks that ought to maintain up properly throughout lengthy multiday excursions.
Jack of All Trades
Journey bikes have a troublesome job. They must be rugged and able to tackling all kinds of off-road terrain, they must be sturdy sufficient to face up to abuse and carry heavy hundreds, and they should present sufficient energy, consolation, and class to fulfill riders who need to carve canyons or cross continents.
The Norden’s tubular chromoly-steel trellis body is gentle and powerful and makes use of the engine as a careworn member for added rigidity. The remainder of the chassis consists of a metal trellis subframe and a cast-aluminum open-lattice swingarm. The steering stem, triple clamps, handlebar, and footpegs are additionally product of aluminum, saving weight with out sacrificing sturdiness.
The parallel-Twin engine is actually as much as the duty. It’s a energetic powerplant, but twin balancer shafts maintain vibration to a manageable stage. It makes loads of energy and torque, its throttle-by-wire allows the selectable trip modes and different rider aids, and its 6-speed transmission is provided with a slip/help clutch and the very best quickshifter I’ve had the pleasure of utilizing.
Whether or not seated or standing, I discovered the ergonomics to be spot-on for my 5-foot-11 body. The low-slung gasoline tank retains weight down low for higher steadiness and dealing with, and it retains the higher a part of the tank slim between the knees. The tank, bodywork, and windscreen stored the wind and water off me for essentially the most half. The windscreen isn’t adjustable, but it surely has a cut-out within the heart that smooths the airflow. There was no buffeting, and I may look aspect to aspect with out the height of my helmet getting ripped by the passing air. When seated, I felt some airflow at neck stage, however I didn’t thoughts, particularly within the heat temperatures we have been driving in.
With good wind safety, cruise management, and heated grips and seat, the Expedition is an efficient alternative for individuals who need to burn miles. The bags that comes commonplace, nevertheless, wasn’t fairly as much as the duty. Midway by way of Day One, the crossmember that connects the 2 aspect carriers got here off and went flying finish over finish down the street behind me. That acquired repaired, however after two days of beating, the loaded baggage hung down as a result of the stitching on the higher backing was stretching and coming undone. The aspect baggage look good and supply helpful storage, however they don’t appear sturdy sufficient for severe off-road abuse.
For digital addicts, the Expedition has a connectivity unit that enables a smartphone to be paired through Bluetooth utilizing the Trip Husqvarna Bikes app, which allows telephone and music features in addition to Flip-by-Flip+ navigation and route planning. Pairing a Bluetooth helmet headset with the app permits riders to take heed to music and take calls, with features managed through the left swap dice and displayed on the TFT sprint. Maps may be downloaded to be used offline, and as much as 128 waypoints may be added to routes. I didn’t check the app, however I discovered the TFT show straightforward to learn and the menus intuitive.
General, my criticisms of the Norden 901 Expedition are pretty minor. I’d like an adjustable windscreen, extra sturdy baggage, and knobbier tires, however a few of that simply displays my private preferences. When you’re out there for a middleweight do-it-all journey bike, particularly in the event you put emphasis on the “touring” a part of Journey Touring, then the Expedition is difficult to beat. With its glorious on- and off-road dealing with, versatile engine, incredible electronics package deal, and cozy ergonomics, you’ll be smiling ear-to-ear on each journey.
2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition Specs
- Base Value: $15,799
- Web site: Husqvarna-Bikes.com
- Guarantee: 2 yrs., 24,000 miles
- Engine Kind: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel-Twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
- Displacement: 889cc
- Bore x Stroke: 90.7 x 68.8mm
- Horsepower: 105 hp @ 8,000 rpm (manufacturing unit declare)
- Torque: 73.8 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm (manufacturing unit declare)
- Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/help moist clutch
- Last Drive: X-ring chain
- Wheelbase: 59.5 in. ± 0.6 in.
- Rake/Path: 25.8 levels/4.2 in.
- Seat Top: 33.6/34.4 in.
- Moist Weight: 503 lb (claimed)
- Gasoline Capability: 5.0 gal.
- Gasoline Consumption: 52.3 mpg (claimed)