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ADV NewsBDCW’s Husqvarna Norden 901 Build: Ready For The Back of Beyond

BDCW’s Husqvarna Norden 901 Build: Ready For The Back of Beyond

Black Dog Cycle Works gives the Norden 901 a big performance boost.

Published on 03.28.2023
Husqvarna Norden 901 Custom Build

With the release of the Husqvarna Norden 901 roughly a year ago, the mid-sized ADV segment gained a new travel-minded explorer loaded with all-around capability. Receiving the same steel trellis frame and 105-horsepower 889cc parallel-twin engine as the KTM 890 Adventure gave it a robust foundation. Yet the sophisticated design, high level of finish and ample travel amenities made it quite the unique machine, especially those adventure riders looking for an alternative to KTM’s polarizing Kiska styling.


Kurt Forgét, owner of Black Dog Cycle Works, was one of those who became captivated by the Norden 901, yet he also wanted to give the machine a performance boost and add versatility beyond its stock form. Opportunities for improvement would include suspension, carrying capacity, off-road protection, lighting, comfort, and more. With an eye on building a bike to shred miles on the Wyoming Backcountry Discovery Route, Kurt set out to assemble his vision of the ultimate Norden 901 for the journey. Below is an overview of the build:


The cost of building a custom adventure bike can be considerable, but it becomes a question of how much you value safeguarding your investment. Not only for the resale value but simply being able to fully enjoy your time on the trail, without worrying about costly damage you might incur from a random kicked-up rock or dropping the bike on a slippery slope. Additionally, time off work for an epic adventure can be an even more precious commodity. Having your big trip cut short due to insufficient stock protection can lead to major regrets. Thus, trail protection became a major focus of this build. Check out what was added:

BDCW Ultimate Skid Plate

Husqvarna Norden 901 skid plate

The beating heart of every motorcycle is its engine and its lifeblood is oil. An oil leak that goes unnoticed for a bit after an encounter with a rock may be no big deal on a de-tuned Japanese dual sport, but the Norden has state-of-the-art superbike technology in its guts. Run it dry and you could quickly run up a bill that has your insurance company calculating a total loss. Straight off the showroom floor, the Norden has a bit more protection than most, but take a closer look at the thin aluminum sheathing and you’ll notice it’s not going to protect much against a high-speed g-out on rocks.

BDCW’s ‘Ultimate Skidplate’ employs 3/16-inch thick 5052 aluminum, a material chosen for both its strength and ability to ‘give’ slightly under hard impacts, lessening the stress on mounting points. BDCW’s two-piece design not only avoids any engine case mounting points, but strengthens the footpeg mounts by tying them into the center stand mount and covers all vulnerable underbelly components while simplifying oil changes and other maintenance. MSRP $379.00

Hepco Becker SOLID Engine/Tank Protection Bars

Husqvarna Norden 901 Crash Bars

Sometimes we do dumb things with big consequences. Just a small tip over in our driveway can cause ugly damage to our precious machines. The destruction can be even more dramatic if a failed hill climb results in a gravity-fueled tumble. So what can help prevent costly bodywork and/or engine case damage? A good set of sturdy crash bars. The German brand Hepco Becker is one of the best names in the game. Made with 1” stainless steel tubing, these crash bars are tied together on both sides so impacts are spread evenly instead of being transferred directly to the frame. Plus they protect not only the engine but come up high around the bodywork to help keep expensive plastics from being destroyed in a fall. MSRP $474.50

Rottweiler Rear Brake Master Cylinder Guard 

Husqvarna Norden 901 Protection

It’s the little things that get ya more often than not. Sure, you could go on 50 rides in technical terrain with nothing happening to your rear brake master cylinder, but that one time it does… Riding on the street with no rear brake is one thing, but off-road, on day 3 of your 7-day adventure? You know if it’s happened to you before. The Norden 901’s exposed plastic reservoir connector isn’t just susceptible to a fall, but also a kick from a slipped boot. Rottweiler offers simple, cost-effective insurance against damage to this kink in the Norden’s armor. MSRP $59.95

Fasst Company Simple Solution Handguards

Husqvarna Norden 901 Hand Guards

Hand guards are a must on any adventure bike or dual sport, not only because they protect your hands from tree limbs and brush but because they keep your brake and clutch levers intact in a fall. Plus, they offer a considerable amount of wind protection on the highway that is noticeable when temps begin to drop into the chilly range. Fasst Co’s Simple Solution handguards are rock solid protection with a stout aluminum frame and large plastic covering. They use a threaded anchor to fasten the guard to the handlebar and a 10mm button to attach it to the pivot pin for maximum strength. MSRP $135.99

Husqvarna Headlight Cover

Husqvarna Norden 901 Custom Build Headlight protector

Another great joy of off-road riding is putting the pass on one of your riding buddies, just to show him what the pecking order is. Oh but beware. The roost from a big-bore ADV can be deadly, or at least costly, if it takes out that big-ole round Norden 901 headlight. But you don’t need to let that come between you and glory at the top of the hill when you can purchase a clear polycarbonate headlight cover that will take that rock to the 901’s eye and ask for another. The factory Husqvarna accessory catalog has you covered. MSRP $49.99

Doubletake Scrambler Mirror

Husqvarna Norden 901 Mirrors

The mirrors on a stock adventure bike are typically one of the most susceptible items to trail damage. One decent fall and you’re riding home looking over your shoulder every five minutes. The mirrors on the Norden are actually the same old units from the original KTM 950 adventure built in 2003! So not much innovation has been infused into these old stock units. Tried and tested, Doubletake mirrors have proven to be the top choice of many adventure riders who venture off the beaten path. And with the latest evolution, the Scrambler model, they are even more stable at higher speeds, plus the round design fits perfectly with the aesthetic of the Norden. Oh and they’re guaranteed for life! MSRP $130.00


The sound, the fury, the flow state you experience from a finely-tuned machine while blazing down a challenging trail — there are few sensations as exhilarating for a motorcyclist. Riding a bike that allows you to push beyond your own limits, rather than the bike’s, in a safe controlled way, is a key benefit to performing performance mods on an adventure motorcycle. Sure, the stock Norden 901 is pretty good out of the box, but why settle when you can make it even better? Here are the mods that were performed:

Revalved/Resprung Suspension By EVO Idaho 

Husqvarna Norden 901 Suspension Upgrade

The suspension was at the top of the list of things that needed to be addressed on the standard 901. From the factory, the Norden WP APEX suspension offers limited adjustability and is fairly undersprung for a full-sized male rider, especially when carrying camping gear. Kurt sent in his suspension to a local shop, EVO Idaho, along with his weight, riding style and other details and what he got back was a re-spring, re-valved set of forks and rear shock that would completely transform the bike. According to Kurt, “it made a huge difference” and we’d have to agree after taking the bike for a quick spin on some rough tracks in the Anza Borrego desert. MSRP $1000.00

BDCW Traction Footpegs 

Husqvarna Norden 901 Footpegs

Over the years, we’ve seen manufacturers increase the size of their stock footpegs but the Norden’s remain middle of the road. The Black Dog ‘Traction’ platform-style footpegs are significantly larger than stock and feature sharp teeth so boots can find better grip in wet and muddy conditions. For those who need even more grip, each set comes with screw-in spikes that help keep your feet locked in during the most challenging terrain. As mentioned on the Black Dog website, having more surface area on the pegs is like “power steering” for your bike because of the leverage they create. Plus the added comfort of the larger platform means you can stand longer without getting sore spots under your feet. The pegs also have wide spacing in between so they clear mud better, and at the end of the day there’s a handy integrated bottle opener for your post-ride beverage. MSRP $259.00

Wings Titanium Silencer

Husqvarna Norden 901 exhaust system

The sound of the Norden’s 270-degree crankshaft parallel twin mimics a v-twin quite well. Some might argue it sounds even more satisfying. What better way to fully experience that throaty exhaust note than through an aftermarket canister. Better yet, a lightweight titanium silencer that not only opens up the exhaust but lightens the load. While the bling of titanium is somewhat obscured behind the luggage racks on this build, it’s still quite a lovely piece of eye candy to gaze upon in the garage, and the sweet rumble it makes when rolling on the gas is even more inspiring. MSRP $535.00

Rottweiler Pro Edition Full Intake System 

Husqvarna Norden 901 Performance upgrades

Horsepower isn’t everything off-road but when you can unlock a major increase while improving throttle smoothness in one fell swoop, why not. The Rottweiler Pro Intake claims to add 10 extra HPs, and it’s right at 6,300 RPMs where you need it most in those nasty mud pits and loose hill climb situations. That’s with no other changes to the bike — no re-mapping required. Just one, big velocity stack that both smooths and increases airflow to the bike’s OEM intake stacks. They also claim better sealing than the stock unit, peace of mind for those oopsie drops in the silt. MSRP $399.95

DynoJet Power Commander 6

Husqvarna Norden 901 Fuel Injection

DynoJet’s Power Commander 6 allows riders to custom tailor fueling, timing and other parameters to improve fuel flow to the engine, retune for various mods and boost overall power. Rottweiler simplifies the process by offering free custom maps that work with the Power Commander products for a plug-and-play solution. Some maps retain the stock 02 sensors and emissions mapping, others go wilder for bigger gains. With the recently released version 6, the new Power Commander now gets a simpler software interface to make choosing and tuning a map even easier. MSRP $479.00

Motoz Tractionator Adventure Tires

Husqvarna Norden 901 Tires

Adventure riders are always seeking more off-road grip and longer tread life, two seemingly incompatible characteristics. The Tractionator Adventure is MotoZ’s answer to this dilemma, featuring self-sharpening block edges, deep tread and a sturdy carcass for an extended lifespan. This design has become popular among big-bike riders for its impressive traction and wear performance, making it a fitting complement to the Norden 901’s all-around-versatile nature. MSRP $381.00

Fast Company Fasst Flexx ADV Handlebars

Husqvarna Norden 901 Handlebars

Although the Norden 901 boasts a fairly smooth engine, riders may experience tingling in the handlebars at higher revs on the highway or during acceleration. To combat this issue, a set of Fasst Flexx Adventure bars were added. These bars utilize elastomer spacers that can be adjusted to meet the rider’s individual preference, effectively dampening vibrations and reducing fatigue from impacts in rough terrain while out on the trail. In addition, the height of the bars was raised a bit, helping to improve off-road stand up ergos. MSRP $399.99

Scotts Stabilizer With BRP Sub Mount 

Husqvarna Norden 901 Steering Damper

Similar to other big-bore adventure motorcycles, the 901 can be a handful to manage when navigating rough terrain or sand. To aid riders in maintaining control, a steering damper can help limit unwanted inputs to the steering for enhanced stability. The BRP sub mount incorporates a Scotts stabilizer under-the-bars while lifting the handlebars slightly for taller riders. There’s also plenty of space for mounting accessories like GPS units or phone mounts without obstructing access to the stabilizer for adjustments. MSRP $650.00

Galfer Wave Rotors With Sintered Brake Pads

Husqvarna Norden 901 Brakes Upgrade

The original Galfer Wave Rotor design was invented in the early 90s to address the issue of water and mud accumulating in brakes during trials competitions. They soon found the design helped cool the brake system as well. Over time,  the Wave Rotor technology has been refined with high-quality materials and construction to create a product that not only helps improve braking performance, but also longevity. A set of Sintered pads were part of the kit, which can withstand higher temperatures than the stock pads and dissipate heat more effectively thanks to a ceramic coating on the backing. MSRP (Front $664) and (Rear $257)

Travel / Convenience

Husqvarna Norden 901 Custom Build

As Adventure Riders, we pride ourselves on being able to endure harsh conditions but when it comes down to it, a big part of how much we enjoy the journey has to do with equipment that either saves time or improves our comfort. An epic adventure can quickly become tainted by poorly attached luggage that sends your sleeping bag flying into oblivion, or the 2×4 of a seat that has your mind on other things than the awe-inspiring sunset in front of you. When you are living off your bike day in and day out, oftentimes it’s those personal touches you’ve made to your machine that make the adventure all the more memorable, in a good way. Here are the mods the Black Dog crew performed to this 901 to improve its travel comfort:

BDCW Multi-Function Rear Rack and Pillion Rack 

Husqvarna Norden 901 Luggage Rack

Having a secure spot to strap down your travel gear is critical on the Norden, which comes standard with a paltry-sized rear rack. BDCW offers a much larger rear replacement rack as well as an additional plate that replaces the passenger seat, resulting in a 15-inch wide by 14-inch long surface that significantly expands cargo-carrying capabilities. In the case of Kurt’s WYBDR trip, it allowed him to carry ample camping gear along with a drone to document his journey. Constructed from durable hard-anodized aluminum that’s a quarter-inch thick, both racks boast strength and longevity while offering large mounting slots to give a range of strapping options. The racks come pre-drilled to accommodate RotopaX gas and water containers, and are designed to work with the bike’s original seat lock mechanism. Furthermore, the pillion rack maintains compatibility with the front seat in both high and low positions. MSRP $440.00

BDCW Side Stand Enlarger

Husqvarna Norden 901 Custom Build

If you want to keep your Husky standing upright when parked, especially when it’s fully loaded with gear, using a side stand foot is a smart move. For some reason, the stock side stand that comes with the bike has a tiny foot, so parking on soft surfaces like sand or loose dirt can be risky, causing you to search for a rock or stick to place under the stand for more support. To address this issue, BDCW’s Side Stand Enlarger is a great solution that not only eliminates the need for additional support but also reduces the risk of the bike sinking into hot asphalt and tipping over. This accessory is easy to install and the fact that it’s shaped like a dog’s paw is pretty cool. MSRP $65.00

Mosko Moto Nomax Tankbag 

Husqvarna Norden 901 Luggage

Tank bags are always handy on the road for storing items that you need to access frequently, such as sunglasses, ear plugs, spare gloves, snacks, and loose change. The 7-liter Mosko Moto Nomax tank bag takes this a step further by providing compartments for all of these essentials, as well as a 2-liter water bladder. This feature enables you to free your back from the weight of a hydration pack, while still having easy access to your sip tube. Additionally, the Nomax can be used as a backpack off the bike, thanks to the included straps. MSRP $250.00

Mosko Moto Backcountry 35L Panniers 

Husqvarna Norden 901 Luggage

For rugged off-road adventure rides, it’s crucial to have a durable and reliable luggage system. Mosko’s Backcountry 35L Panniers are an excellent choice, as they are constructed from ballistic nylon and Hypalon for maximum durability and resistance to damage. The panniers feature inner waterproof bags that ensure your gear stays dry, and their roll-top closure allows for easy access to your belongings. Additionally, the panniers come with molle panels that provide expandability, plus a pair of quick-access, waterproof bolt-on pockets that are perfect for storing tools, fuel bottles, or first aid kits. Mosko’s “puck” mounting system is adaptable to various pannier racks, and the “Speed Pin” latch keeps the bags securely attached to the bike. Overall, the Mosko Moto 35L Backcountry Panniers, along with the 40L Backcountry Duffle and Nomad Tank Bag, proved to be the perfect combination of luggage for a long, primarily off-road trip such as the WYBDR. MSRP $950.00

Hepco Becker Pannier Racks

Husqvarna Norden 901 Luggage Rack

Forgét opted for Hepco & Becker racks to increase the bike’s carrying capacity with the addition of convenient rack-mount panniers. These sturdy asymmetric racks are compatible with various Hepco & Becker side cases, which can be quickly attached and detached with a fast-release mechanism. Additionally, the racks can accommodate a range of soft panniers from different manufacturers. Despite being lightweight, these racks are highly durable and offer extra protection for the bike’s rear bodywork in the event of a fall. MSRP $422.50

Rigid Dually Side Shooter LED Auxiliary Lights 

Husqvarna Norden 901 LED Auxiliary Lights

While many auxiliary lights boast impressive lumen numbers, Rigid Industries has taken their powerful D2 Pro lights to the next level by adding two LEDs into the side of each optic. This innovative design creates a 120-degree lighting field, allowing you to see what’s in the ditch beside you while riding at night. With 7,100 lumens of light each and only 57 watts of power draw, these Aux lights are an excellent upgrade for rides that extend past dusk. BDCW’s kit includes the Dually Side Shooters mounted on machined, black-anodized 1” bar mounts, with a “pendant” switch, wiring harness, and amber covers for the lights, designed to enhance your visibility in traffic during the day. Plus they can be wired to come on with the bike’s high beam for added convenience. MSRP $597.00

Garmin Zumo XT GPS

Husqvarna Norden 901 GPS Mount

The Zumo XT is the latest state-of-the-art dedicated motorcycle GPS from Garmin, offering a range of advanced features. With its large 5.5-inch color touch-screen display, it provides clear and easy-to-read navigation, even in bright sunlight. It also comes preloaded with maps for North America, as well as the ability to download maps from around the world. Use it for navigating by GPX file or get turn-by-turn directions without a cell signal. When connected to your phone via Bluetooth, you can get real-time traffic updates or road hazard warnings, send and receive text messages and take phone calls hands free. It’s also designed to be resistant to water and dust, and can withstand temperature extremes and vibration, plus it’s light and compact making it an excellent option for off-road use. MSRP $499.99

Venasche GPS Mount 

Husqvarna Norden 901 GPS Mount

The Venasche GPS Mount is a high-quality and durable solution for mounting your GPS device securely on the Husqvarna Norden 901. This CNC machined mount is made from solid billet aluminum and features tapered wall machining and form tapped holes for maximum strength. It incorporates a standard AMPS bolt pattern in both Portrait and Landscape orientation, allowing you to use a range of different phone and GPS mounts in various ways. Matching the same angle as the Norden’s TFT display, the mount provides the perfect view of your navigation device, whether sitting or standing. Additionally, the mount includes a wire pass-through hole at the front for cleanly routing a charging cable. It’s available in either anodized blue or black and installs in minutes in the Norden’s dedicated GPS mounting slot directly above the standard display. MSRP $99.00

Custom Seat by Bill Mayer Saddles

Husqvarna Norden 901 Custom Seat

While the Norden’s stock seat is fairly comfortable for ‘KTM standards,’ it’s not the best for longer distance travel. With many miles planned for his upcoming journeys, Kurt decided to give Ventura, California-based custom seat maker BMS a try. With the knowledge of building saddles for touring and adventure motorcycles over the last 25 years, they know a thing or four about comfort. The BMS Adventure Saddle is designed with a dimple in the seating area that contours to your backside, yet it doesn’t significantly increase the width of the seat and has a small step up so you can still adjust your body position off-road easily. They’ll even customize the seat to your body type and preferred firmness. The result according to Kurt was a significant improvement in comfort and greater support. MSRP $450 – $600

Husqvarna Norden 901 Build Parts List

Aftermarket ProductPrice $USD
BDCW Ultimate Skid Plate$379.00
Hepco Becker SOLID Engine/Tank Protection Bars$474.50
Rottweiler Rear Brake Master Cylinder Guard $59.95
Fasst Company Simple Solution Handguards$135.99
Husqvarna Headlight Cover$49.99
Doubletake Scrambler Mirror$130.00
Revalved/Resprung Suspension By EVO Idaho$1,000.00
BDCW Traction Footpegs$259.00
Wings Titanium Silencer$535.00
Rottweiler Pro Edition Full Intake System$399.95
DynoJet Power Commander 6$479.00
Motoz Tractionator Adventure Tires$381.00
Fast Company Fasst Flexx ADV Handlebars$399.99
Scotts Stabilizer With BRP Sub Mount$650.00
Galfer Wave Rotors With Sintered Brake Pads Front & Rear$921.00
BDCW Multi-Function Rear Rack and Pillion Rack$440.00
BDCW Side Stand Enlarger$65.00
Mosko Moto Nomax Tankbag$250.00
Mosko Moto Backcountry 35L Panniers $950.00
Hepco Becker Pannier Racks$422.50
Rigid Dually Side Shooter LED Auxiliary Lights$597.00
Garmin Zumo XT GPS$499.99
Venasche GPS Mount$99.00
Custom Seat by Bill Mayer Saddles$450 – $600

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

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March 29, 2023 3:27 am

Sounds good…if you can afford the cost of all those add ons

March 30, 2023 3:49 pm

From the Wings web page:
„No remapping is needed with or without the dB-killer (tested on a bike with no modifications other than a WINGS exhaust).“
However on this bike also the inlet side has been modified!
And on top of that: Byebye factory warranty!

March 30, 2023 9:33 pm

Factory warranty will be fine.


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