2009 Honda DN-01 Road Test Road Test Rider Magazine

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Honda DN-01

2009 Honda DN-01 Test

Honda’s “Crossover” blends the easy fun of a scooter the lowness of a cruiser and handling of a machine.

Photo Credit: Wing

Mark Tuttle

22, 2009

[this road review of the 2009 Honda was originally published in the August issue of Rider ]

If you find it to imagine a motorcycle that some character of a sportbike the lowness of a cruiser and the user-friendliness of a just look at the photos on pages. Honda has attempted to a new category with its DN-01 its 2005 unveiling in Tokyo, New-Concept 1”) it calls Crossover, and I can you from the miles I have put on the that it has succeeded in many With its automatic twist-n-go 27.2-inch seat height, sport radials and triple brakes, the DN-01 is fun, managed at stops and quick…like a a cruiser and a sportbike.

Whether or not our niche-driven market secretly a “comfortable sports cruiser” like this remains to be and it’s a pity that of the exotic-looking DN-01 itself won’t provide the answer, as priced nearly twice you’d expect at $15,599. even $94 higher than a Civic sedan, and the DN-01 less built-in cargo than the car’s cup holder.

OK, I get it—unlike most motorcycles a low sales volume bike an exotic transmission that is to build. But lacking the $7,000-$9,000 of a scooter or motorcycle in the 700cc and the dual-watermelon-sized underseat storage of the scooter, who would buy a DN-01 of one of Honda’s (or any OE’s) many functional or cheaper choices? Silver Wing?

It’s as if pulled the pin on a hand grenade “Lesseewahappens” and tossed it into showrooms.

Good mirrors and LED help to see and be seen in rear. bodywork makes mounting luggage a challenge.

Well, it be the first time. How about new Fury? Remember the Rune? Coast? CX500 Turbo? Sometimes Honda just to stir the pot to see what rises to the These often poor-selling but bikes usually have a styling or technological theme—in case it’s the DN-01’s HFT transmission, which stood for Friendly Transmission in the bike’s and 2008 European introductory

For the United States in 2009 just HFT, please, hoping the acronym alone suggest something a bit less and more whiz-bang. The DN-01 is a motorcycle, Honda insists no doubt, that no one shopping for a would ever pay this for one), and as a motorcycle the DN-01 in many ways. Enough an enthusiast who likes its crossover and doesn’t care or know its shortcomings just might up.

If they do, they will a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 680cc with a charming, burbling which made about the power and torque at the rear on the Jett Tuning Dynojet as the BMW G 650 GS single we tested in May 2009. At 598 fully fueled the DN-01 won’t experience arm-straightening um, ever, but will find power on tap riding solo and the delivery so efficient that brisk passes and climbing are a snap. Starting is instantaneous automatic enrichment, and there’s no lever by the left hand at all, just a toggle for Up or Down shifting and Drive or modes.

With more clearance than a scooter or the DN-01 hustles around until the floorboards grind.

a typical continuously variable which uses V-belts and or cones, the DN-01’s hydromechanical has evolved from Honda’s RD hydrostatic ATV transmissions and uses plates and pistons to continuously the transmission ratios. Pound-for-pound the HFT can a little more torque a V-belt CVT, isn’t bigger than a manual and offers similar performance and no scheduled maintenance. It shares the oil like a regular unit and transmission, too, and the combo has oil change intervals.

Another benefit of the HFT is that it engine compression braking, gives the DN-01 the same riding down hills or to a stop as a motorcycle with a transmission. Unlike a scooter, it has a starting clutch, so the bike is in neutral and then switched Drive with a button and can be manually switched into like a motorcycle so it can be pushed As on some big scooters the HFT has a normal Drive mode; a Sport that raises rpm at a given for more spirited but still automatic riding; and Manual that allows shifting six pre-determined ratios or speeds, and that ratio until you or the bike slows enough it automatically drops into

You won’t find low-maintenance drive on many scooters, and the HFT has no scheduled service.

As the normal mode offers compression and seamless automatic up- and downshifting, I yet found a lot of use for the Sport or Manual except splitting lanes in freeway traffic. This a lot of speeding up and slowing down short distances, and less is needed if the transmission holds or third gear in Manual Sure, it’s fun to shift on a twisting road, too, as you have to change throttle and it won’t shift at an inappropriate speed, but the HFT works so well in that after a while I let it do the work.

Ergonomically the DN-01 is cruiserish its feet-forward riding position, floorboards and pullback, almost handlebar. The seat itself is low at 27 inches that it rivals all but the cruisers, and almost everyone can the bike at stops.

Taller will find the rider’s back confining, however, and with my 29-inch inseam I only scoot back the hump, rather than forward, in order to shift on the too-softly padded seat. The throne is high, large, and offers huge grabrails, the passenger footpegs are also high.

The small windscreen the view of the instruments and offers or no protection for either rider, so at speed most pilots be pulling on the bar to stay upright the wind, or sitting on the hump in to lean forward a little. it under 75 mph and short rides are no and the engine settles into a spot right about 72

2009 Honda DN-01

The single shock in back is over bumps and potholes, and all of your weight on the seat for some unpleasant jarring at The front suspension, on the other is tautly compliant and helps the DN-01 some pretty handling.

The bike is long and low with that stick out and has less clearance than a standard or though it still hustles a corner faster than the cruiser or scooter and is very on the highway, too. Honda has the DN-01 with sportbike-level braking and ABS, which incorporates its Combined Braking (CBS) so that you get braking at wheels even if just the lever (which is adjustable) or pedal is applied. Combined sticky sport radials and its low of gravity the bike stops and smooth, with little when the ABS is engaged.

Honda DN-01

Creature include good, wide a bright headlight, a fuel a clock and dual tripmeters, it’s a long reach to the latter two from the rider’s Strangely the bike is lacking a and self-canceling turn signals. offers a passenger backrest and few accessories, and Givi (www.giviusa.com ) has a set of luggage, a tankbag and a taller although the bike’s load is already paltry at just 343

Around town the DN-01’s looks and scooter and cruiser make it fun and easy, and its handling in the provides some spirited Even at half the cost, most scooter seekers opt for something with some And for $15 large-plus any motorcyclist reading is going to want more maybe an electric windscreen and at self-canceling turn signals.

Honda’s not dumb—there must be a here, something to do with a for the HFT motorcycle. But it’s not telling and we don’t know….

Although obscured by the windscreen, the LCD digital is complete with clock, gauge and dual tripmeters.

Honda DN-01 Specs

Price: $15,599

Warranty: 1 yr. miles

Type: Liquid-cooled, 52-degree V-twin


Bore x Stroke: 81.0 x

Compression Ratio: 10.0:1

Train: SOHC, 4 valves per

Valve Adj. Interval: then every 8,000

Fuel Delivery: PGM-FI w/ enrichment circuit, 40mm bodies 12-hole injectors

Honda DN-01
Honda DN-01


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