My Norden is not running stock suspension (currently have WP XPLOR PRO) so that's going to be tricky, a buddy of mine still has a stocker that I rode so I have a frame of reference.
I will say this until I'm black and blue (hope HD is reading this forum). The biggest crime/problem with this bike imho is the wheel combo. I really wish it would have been 21/18, that would help it with getting over rougher terrain more easily imho.
Ok you asked for the differences:
- The approach to the traction control is night and day compared to KTM/HUSKY
- The PA offroad mode are very obvious, you can tell when they are trying to help you
- The Norden you'll swear it's you even though it's busting its ass keeping you alive
- The Rally/Explorer mode on KTM is a game changer with how you can customize it so it grows with you
- The balance weight difference is noticeable
- Norden has the low slung tanks which help with the balance of the bike along with being lighter
- PA balances well but when it gets jostled you can tell that it's weight sits a little higher
- The lighter feeling on the Norden gives you more breathing room (people say "confidence" but I like breathing room) on tackling rougher terrain.
- Tourability, I'm mixed:
- The fairing profile on the Norden makes the PA narrower up-top
- The PA feels like a more solid tourer, but it's only a slight difference
- Wind-wise the PA has a better windscreen so protection up top is good, I think buffeting to body might be a tie
- Seat on Norden stock is firmer, the PA seat has a tendency to have me slide forward which is not my favorite
- Motor, the PA wins hands down:
- Much broader range of power
- Motor is playful and is as comfortable being wound out as much as it does just chilling
- I don't know how good it is on fuel economy but I feel like it's not great on the PA? I get like 200-21x a tank?
Hope that's a decent overview, ask away if you want something more specific. I will say this as far as competitors go. I know people say that the BMW GS was what HD benchmarked after but I think it's BS because this bike is wayyyy more similar to KTM's 1290 Super Adventure S . The tale of the tape and features are just too similar, I've owned the R model and rode an S so I would say that this is a 1290 S that has a motor that's easier to live with.