Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition – Review (2023)

Technical Review: Ben Purvis
Riding Review: Adam ’Chad’ Child


Price: £13,599 | Power: 103bhp | Weight: 229kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 4.5 / 5

It’s been a decade since Pierer Mobility – parent to KTM – snapped up the Husqvarna brand from previous owner BMW and since then the company’s recipe has been straightforward: take existing KTM models, restyle them and rebrand them as Husqvarnas. It’s proved a winning strategy for the company and it’s a pattern that’s repeated for the latest addition to the range – the Norden 901 Expedition.

With previous models, the really clever bit of Husky’s strategy is that despite sharing huge swathes of components and tech with KTM sister models rolling off production lines at the same factory, the Husqvarna machines manage to both look and feel different enough to have a distinct appeal, carving their own niche in the market. With the standard Norden 901 the basis is KTM’s 890 Adventure, but the Husqvarna has a semi-retro, Dakar-style appearance that the more brutalist KTM lacks. For the Norden 901 Expedition the bones come from the higher-spec KTM 890 Adventure R and the target audience is travellers looking for a globe-trotting adventure bike. You may recall that we rode the standard Norden on its world press launch last year – and rated it highly.


Pros & Cons

  • Uprated suspension and protection deliver improved off-road ability
  • Standard touring equipment including taller screen, GPS mount, heated grips and seat, and soft side bags costs less than retrofitting similar kit to a standard Norden 901
  • Improved comfort over the standard Norden
  • Explorer mode now comes as standard, allowing you to personalise the rider aids accordingly.
  • No extra power compared to standard Norden.
  • Extras mean Expedition is heavier than the base bike
  • Brakes lack bite when compared to Brembo items on the competition.
  • Dash is not instantly intuitive to use.
  • Soft saddlebags bounce around a lot off-road
REVIEW: Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition
Off to South Africa we go to ride the more extreme version of the Husqvarna Norden 901 known as the Expedition, with its longer travel suspension and larger fuel tank among the updates. Let's see if the bike can survive the tricky terrain (not to mention the 8 crashes!)


Review – In Detail

Price & PCP
For and against
Engine & Performance
Handling & Suspension (inc. weight & brakes)
Comfort & Economy



At £13,599 the Norden 901 Expedition is only £900 more expensive than the standard Norden 901 (£12,699), and that looks like something of a bargain when you look at the amount of additional kit that’s included. Totting up the extras that come with the Expedition – including 18-litre side bags and their mounts, a tall screen, heated grips and seat, a centre stand and more – and it the total comes to around £2000-worth. And that’s without considering the uprated suspension that that Expedition boasts, front and rear, over the standard Norden 901.

Once you add the value of the uprated WP suspension and the extra riding mode, the Expedition looks like even better value. KTM’s own 890 R (£13,299), with a similar suspension set-up costs a fraction less, but can’t match the Expedition’s spec. Adding luggage, screen, centre stand and all the extra’s to the KTM will take its price past £15k.


2023 Husqvarna 901 Expedition Review Details Price_17


2023 HUSQVARNA NORDEN 901 EXPEDITION Engine & Performance

There isn’t much to say about KTM’s 889cc LC8c parallel twin that hasn’t been written before and the motor is carried over unchanged to the Norden 901 Expedition. That means it’s a known factor, with the same 77kW/103bhp at 8,000rpm as the stock Norden 901 (and the KTM 890 Adventure/Adventure R), and no change to peak torque at 100Nm/73.8 ft-lb, arriving at 6500rpm.

In terms of changes, the Expedition does get the additional ‘Explorer’ riding mode as standard, alongside the Rain, Street and Offroad settings. It’s an extra-cost option on the base Norden 901.

‘Explorer’ mode is essentially a rider-configurable setting, letting you pick your own traction control mode, ABS settings and throttle response.

Of the other settings, Street offers the sharpest throttle and tailors the traction control to suit tarmac. Rain, as its name suggests, is for wet roads, with TC that cuts in earlier and throttle response that’s softer, with less peak output. Offroad also gives a gentle throttle but allows more wheelspin before the traction control cuts in, while also tweaking the ABS to suit loose surfaces.

The standard Norden’s up-and-down ‘Easy Shift’ quickshifter is carried over to the Expedition, offering clutchless changes in both directions through the six-speed box once you’re on the move, and the clutch itself is an assist-and-slipper design.

Husqvarna are clearly confident in their product and, like the original Norden launch in the Azores, allowed Bike Social two full days of riding both on and off-road, over 500km in total, with around 70% of those miles in the real wilderness. This allowed us to try every mode in a variety of conditions.

As noted, the LC8 is a proven recipe, and while some might be disappointed the Expedition doesn’t have an increase in power and torque over the standard bike, it is simply not needed. 105bhp and 63.8f-tlb puts it right in the ballpark with the competition, delivering the same figures as the KTM 890s (obviously), a little more power than Honda’s Africa Twin, and a smidge less than Ducati’s Desert X.

You immediately feel at home with the LC8: power levels, throttle response and fuelling are just-so. There are no glitches or niggles and, while the twin is distinctly lively, it’s not overpowering or intimidating either.

In Street mode, jump on, and ride – it’s that simple. The 889cc parallel twin is hugely versatile, pulling cleanly from low in the rpm thanks to a helpful spread of torque, or lofting the front wheel at will in the first two gears as the numbers build on the tacho. On a private section of South African road the taller, less aerodynamic Expedition reached an indicated 200kph without fuss and was happy to cruise at high speeds – and, yes, cruise control comes as standard.

I spent the majority of the African adventure in Offroad mode, or the now standard-equipment Explorer mode. In Offroad, a soft, easy-to-live-with power delivery gives the rear Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR an easier time when searching for grip over large rocks or sand – which we encountered frequently on our two-day test. In Explorer mode, the rider can trim the throttle further, or opt for a quicker 'Rally' response to give an instant kick of torque to lift the front over deep puddles or smaller obstacles. You can also trim the slip control to your setting (between levels 1 to 9) rather than going with a fixed setting from the factory.

For example, in Offroad mode the throttle is given a gentle, dirt-friendly setting and slip is fixed on level four. In Explorer mode, however, you can have a faster response with that Rally throttle and reduce slip to 1 or opt for a maximum of 9. The traction control can be completely removed in all modes, even on the move, but automatically reverts to ‘on’ when the bike's ignition is turned back on.

Away from Tarmac, riding on terrain that varied from deep sand to large boulders to loose-top tracks that we 'cruised' at 70mph, I preferred the dedicated, pre-prepared Offroad mode. Then, once back on the road, I flicked back to Street, with or without TC, depending on traffic and how much one-wheeled fun I was planning.

I nearly forgot... Rain mode caps the power output to 82bhp and softens the throttle response, making it feel lazy and elastic. But given the scorching heat and complete absence of a single cloud, I only sampled it for test purposes but imagine that in the wet of the UK it might become more useful.

All the Expedition's riding modes are clearly shown and understood on the colour 5-inch TFT dash, and it’s relatively simple to scroll through the options and even turn the TC off and on again. Incidentally, the cruise control can’t be activated if the TC is removed.

I’m familiar with the KTM 890 switchgear, which is easy to navigate, if not immediately intuitive. There are short-cuts available from the menu but, when transitioning from road to off-road terrain, it took me several glances at the dash and stabs at the buttons to choose the correct mode. Not ideal when riding at 70mph-plus on potholed tracks patrolled by gangs of baboons...



2023 HUSQVARNA NORDEN 901 EXPEDITION Handling, weight and suspension

For the standard Norden 901, Husqvarna aimed to split the difference between KTM’s 890 Adventure and the more hardcore 890 Adventure R, offering 220mm of front suspension travel at the front and 215mm at the rear, compared to 200mm at both ends for the base 890 Adventure and 240mm front and rear from the 890 Adventure.

With the Expedition, Husqvarna skews its position closer towards that of the 890 Adventure R, with the same long-travel WP Xplor 48mm forks for 240mm of front travel, replacing the 43mm WP Apex units used on the standard Norden. At the back, there’s a similar upgrade. The standard Norden 901’s Apex monoshock is gone and in its place you’ll find a WP Xplor PDS, boosting travel from 215mm to 240mm.

The suspension changes inevitably impact the handling as well, increasing the ground clearance from 252mm to 270mm and pushing the wheelbase up from 1513mm on the base Norden 901 to 1529mm on the Norden 901 Expedition.

The addition of a slew of parts from Husqvarna’s options catalogue, including a heavy-duty skid plate to protect the belly-mounted fuel tank and engine, a centre stand and standard-fit luggage, inevitably means the Expedition is heavier than the stock Norden 901. Including fuel, the difference amounts to around 10kg, with the Expedition clocking in at 229kg while the base Norden weighs 219kg fully fuelled. With an empty tank, the Expedition is 214.5kg.

Although the Expedition shares the taller, longer-travel suspension of the 890 R, its internal spec differs from the KTM in terms of springs, shims and settings. The new Norden might look as full of gnarly dirt intent as the 890 R but is in fact a little more compliant and easier to live with. On the road, I initially wondered if its forks were on the soft side, particularly during the early part of their stroke, and was going to add a little compression damping or spring preload (easily done via adjusters on the fork tops). However, road performance and high stability were excellent. Our test route took the Norden Expedition through towns, along high-speed sweepers and even a motorway, and the 21-inch front wheel remained planted and sure footed.

On tighter roads, that slight softness and dive became more noticeable when closing the throttle and braking into the corner, and taller, heavier riders may want to add a little more support on the suspension (sporty suspension settings can be found under the seat). But the 901's handling on challenging roads was truly impressive – crisper and smoother than the excellent 890 R's even – with the Pirelli Scorpion Rally rubber offering great feedback and instilling confidence on unknown surfaces.

Husqvarna also treated us to some of the most challenging off-road riding I’ve experienced on a road bike launch. Clearly, they were confident in their product as we were invited to take on everything from mud, water, rocks and rubble to cliff-like ascents and my favourite of all: deep energy-sapping sand.

One section of the wretched stuff was so deep I think I dropped the Expedition four times in 20 minutes, while my average speed was barely 10mph. Then we hit a fast, flowing section of loose gravel and for over an hour averaged 70mph. It was truly amazing what the Norden could put up with and do so on standard tyres with standard suspension and the added weight of fully loaded saddlebags. Yes, those soft bags were full, as we camped overnight and needed to carry spare kit.

Over the two-day test I dropped the bike a few more times, but nothing broke or was damaged beyond the odd scuff. I tried to drown it on several occasions, bounced it cruelly off rocks, the large bash plate taking a hammering, and it came out laughing. The Expedition soaked it up, is an incredible bike to ride off-road, one that compliments the rider and is happy to take on challenges I’d normally only contemplate on a dedicated enduro bike.

For riders who don’t ride off-road every week but have a genuine yearning to pilot their adventure bikes into the wild, the Expedition will prove more than enough. It’s worth mentioning, too, that the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres that were so accomplished on South African asphalt excelled on the dust-dry dirt too.

However, there are limitations to the Husqvarna's abilities, and I did experience a few moments of off-road instability when riding rough and potholed tracks at 70mph. These brief but alarming head shakes may have been in part due to that softness of the forks in the first part of their stroke. It may also have been a result of the sheer loaded-up weight of the bike. With the heavy-duty bash plate, rack and bags, the Expedition's weight is a claimed 214.5kg, up 10kg on the standard Norden 901, or 229kg with fuel. For comparison Honda’s larger-capacity CRF1100 Africa Twin comes in at 226kg kerb weight, fully fuelled.

It doesn’t feel heavy on the move and rolls over rough terrain with more agility than the Africa Twin, but it does give the suspension a hard workout, especially with a bulkier rider and luggage fully loaded. Certainly, more experienced riders who are pushing to competition levels of riding will want to tweak the suspension accordingly. And it will be interesting to compare the Husky directly to the 196kg (dry weight) KTM 890 Adventure R, which I suspect will be slightly more composed on super-fast dirt trails.  

On harder, more technical terrain, with the rider standing up but leaning back to take weight off the front, the Expedition's front end was faultless and took all the punishment sent its way. And, of course, the UK isn't really the place to experience 70mph off-road riding like you can in South Africa, but if I was planning a trip where I’d be taking on some high-speed gravel trails, I’d look to set-up the fully adjustable quality suspension to match my riding and style.



2023 HUSQVARNA NORDEN 901 EXPEDITION Comfort & Economy

Comfort is already a strong point for the Norden 901 and the Expedition version promises to give a substantial boost on that front.

The taller windscreen that comes as standard on the Expedition, along with the raised suspension, increases the bike’s overall height by a substantial 162mm. Other extras including heated grips and a heated seat as standard pursue the same goal, and the Expedition comes with a GPS mount and Husqvarna’s ‘Connectivity Unit’ to link your phone to the TFT dash, both are options on the standard Norden but standard on the new model.

The luggage, again taken from the existing options list, adds 18 litres of storage on each side of the bike (but can be quickly removed if it’s not required), and the centre stand – normally a £180 option – is a helpful piece of standard kit.

Of course, the Expedition still has the same benefits that come as standard on the base-level Norden, including cruise control. There’s also a wide range of optional extras including hard luggage, top cases, Akrapovič and Remus exhausts, and bar mounts in five different heights to tailor the riding position.

The same fuel tank as the standard Norden, split into two sections and slung low on either side of the engine to lower the centre of gravity, means the Expedition should be capable of a similar range between fill-ups of around 250 miles. Husqvarna says the Expedition achieves the same 62.77mpg as the standard Norden 901, despite the extra weight and equipment.

Husqvarna have improved comfort with the much-needed taller screen. It offers excellent wind protection on road and is low enough when you're stood up on the pegs off road not to be a distraction. While we are discussing height, the Expedition's long-travel suspension means the seat height has increased from to 875/895mm depending on which position – so it is on the tall side. The heated seat is narrow towards the tank, then widens rearwards for comfort. I did have a few moments when the ground was further away than expected, but never toppled over, and short riders need to slide forward to the thinnest part of the seat when coming to a standstill. There is an optional lower seat, but it's not heated, unlike the standard item.

Husqvarna claim the same fuel economy for the stock Norden 901, 62.77mpg and the Expedition variant despite the added weight (10kg) and messier aerodynamics, larger screen and luggage of the 2023 bike. In the past I’ve managed 5.1/100km or 55.4mpg on the standard Norden; on day one of this test the Expedition averaged 4.9/100km 57.7mpg but riding in Africa wasn’t aggressive. This will still equate to a range which more than enough, and I’d happily take on a 250-mile stint non-stop. Set the cruise control, sit in behind the big screen, turn on the heated grips and seat if needed and churn out the big miles. No problem.




The brakes might carry Husqvarna branding but they’re made by J.Juan, the Spanish firm that’s now a subsidiary of Brembo and used across many of KTM’s 890 models.

With Bosch 9.1MP cornering ABS, including an off-road mode, plus dual 320mm front discs and radial-mount, four-pot calipers, they tick all the boxes in terms of specifications.

Off-road the ABS is outstanding: not lean-sensitive but the clever system finds grip that you just don’t think is available, and more than once the system rescued me from a tricky situation. In Offroad mode the ABS is no longer active on the rear, which allows you to flick the rear around on sharp turns with ease.

Back on the road, in Street and Rain modes the ABS becomes lean sensitive with ABS working at the rear too. Only once when hard braking in Street mode did I feel the system kick, yet even then it was smooth and faultless. You can turn off the rear ABS for street riding should you wish.

The only niggle is with the brakes themselves. In common with all KTM's 890 range and the standard Norden 901, the Expedition lacks of bite from its J.Juan calipers, especially when you compare them to the excellent Brembo race items on Ducati’s Desert X. The stoppers are perfectly adequate and have good feel but, laden with luggage and perhaps a pillion, you’ll need four fingers on the lever hauling down from speed – not an easy two like the Ducati.




The Norden 901 Expedition is surely the most convincing adventure bike from Husqvarna yet but it’s diving headlong into perhaps the most competitive segment of the motorcycle market today, with cheaper alternatives like Honda’s new Transalp 750 snapping at its heels from below and bigger, more powerful models – including the inevitable BMW R1250GS – attacking from above. Even in the tight confines of the mid-sized market there’s no shortage of rivals, for instance…


KTM 890 Adventure R | Price: £13,299

Sharing most of the same components but with a more hardcore approach and modernist looks, the Adventure R must be a consideration for anyone shopping for the Norden Expedition.

Power/Torque: 103bhp/73.8lb-ft | Weight: 210kg


BMW F850 GS Adventure | Price: £11,750

The F850 GS might not grip the mid-sized market in the same way that the R1250 GS dominates the bid ADV sector, but it’s still worth considering. Less power and more weight than a Norden Expedition, and you’ll need to raid the options catalogue to get a similar level of equipment.

Power/Torque: 95bhp/67.9lb-ft | Weight: 244kg


Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin | Price: £13,049

With a 200cc capacity advantage over the Husqvarna, the Africa Twin might seem like a larger bike but it’s actually very close in terms of power, weight and torque. You’ll need to dig deep into the options to match the Norden Expedition’s kit.

Power/Torque: 100.6bhp/77.4lb-ft | Weight: 226kg




This test was one of the most challenging (and enjoyable) road bike launches –­ for rider and bike. Husqvarna laid on two long days and over 500km of mainly off-road riding in blistering heat and wanted to show how their new machine would cope with sand, rocks, bogs, deep water and extra-rapid trails. It even had to carry my clobber in the standard panniers. It was a true adventure and test of the new Expedition, which came out on top.

Admittedly, I like Husqvarna’s. I like the styling and brand and appreciate the Expedition's looks more than those of its KTM 890 R counterpart. I grew attached to it despite having to pick it up out of deep sand on more than several occasions. The Expedition sits above the standard Norden but isn’t as extreme as the 890 R. It's easier to ride and live with both on and off-road.

The Expedition makes the 901 more versatile. With a larger screen and heated grips and seat, it is even more comfortable; with a centre stand and luggage as standard, it is even more practical; with longer-travel suspension and a sturdy bash plate, it can take on tougher terrain ­– and you have the added Explorer riding mode as standard. And this extra versatility has come without any notable sacrifices.

Yes, I’d like stronger brakes with a fraction more bite, a slightly easier to use dash and, if I was intending to ride fast off-road, I’d want to tweak the fully adjustable WP suspension to suit.

But away from the drama of riding in Africa, the Norden Expedition makes more sense to British and European riders than the immediate competition of their own and sister brands. Why would you buy a standard KTM 890 or Norden when you can have the Expedition with all its extras for a reasonably small increase in price? This new Expedition is a ready-made, globe-trotting adventure bike.


2023 Husqvarna 901 Expedition Review Details Price_302


2023 HUSQVARNA NORDEN 901 EXPEDITION Technical Specification

New price




Bore x Stroke

68.8 x 90.7mm

Engine layout

Parallel Twin

Engine details

Liquid cooled, 4v per cylinder


77kW / 105 bhp @ 8000rpm


100Nm / 73.8ft lbs @6500rpm

Top speed



6-speed, chain drive

Average fuel consumption


Tank size

19 litres

Max range to empty

250 miles

Rider aids

Standard 4 rider modes, Bosch cornering ABS and cornering traction control


Steel trellis

Front suspension

WP Xplor 48mm 240mm travel

Front suspension adjustment

Fully adjustable

Rear suspension

WP Xplor PDS shock absorber

Rear suspension adjustment

Fully adjustable

Front brake

2 x 320mm radial 4-piston J.Juan calipers

Rear brake

260mm 2-piston J.Juan caliper

Front wheel / tyre

90/90 21 Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR

Rear wheel / tyre

150/70 18 Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR



Ground clearance



229kg (including fuel)

MCIA Secured rating

Not yet rated





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2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition REview Details Price Spec_02


What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars (three stars for bikes of 125cc or less), based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.