Test Honda DN01: Two wheels of the future?

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Test Honda DN01: Two wheels of the future?

October 1, 2012 | Filed under: Honda | Posted by: Rana Abaidullah

After several attempts at marketing of automatic motor bikes there is many years, Honda returns to this kind of transmission on its very atypical DN-01. Semi motor bike – semi scooter, this hybrid makes the bet reintroduce this technology in a radically different way this time, as well as at the very least original total concept. And this DN01 seemed to us very tempting…

Honda DN01: The complete test

When the DN-01 makes its first appearance with the Living room of Tokyo 2005, it is in the shape of a qualified prototype of simple exercise of style. But, since Honda revealed with the Living room of Milan 2007 its famous hybrid two-wheeled vehicle, with the forms futuristic and innovating technology, in almost final version intended for a close marketing, the question is remained posed: is the DN01 a motor bike-scooter or a scooter-motor bike?

With is its propellant block V-Twin derived from that of Honda NT700V Deauville, but with a hydraulic automatic transmission, the DN-01 opposed to the large scooters of the type Gilera GP 800 or even T-max 500? Or does she want intoduire neither more nor less than one new type of two wheels?

In spite of its attempts to market motor bikes CB 750 Honda mastic and CB 400 Hawk equipped with an automatic transmission at the end of the Seventies, in fact finally the large scooters imposed today their practical advantages on our markets. One can thus only greet the obstinacy of the first world manufacturer to return on this ground with the DN01 that is to say at the very least new concept.

Typified position custom

The Honda DN-01 parked out of ear form a hedge with the innovative style which attracts the glance from every angle. The position of control with the legs ahead, the feet which rest comfortably on tilted footboards and the right bust thanks to the molded aluminum handlebar which retrogresses very, all that evokes much more ergonomic comfort… of a motor bike (yes motor bike, because one takes seat above by spanning it) that of a scooter.

And one remains well in the world Custom or Cruiser with this Honda DN-01 which does not have the least filing space… It proves just possible to place some documents or a small theft protection device out of U under the saddle passenger.

It is damage besides that Honda did not benefit from bulky space available inside the careenage unit and hull of the tank to release a compartment worthy of this name.

At least, the generous saddle “culminating” to only 690 mm makes it possible all the gauges to naturally pose the feet on the ground. Other side of the coin, those which exceed 1.80 meter will have difficulties in being placed comfortably with the handlebar of Honda DN01 and reading My Array edge masked by the bubble of the careenage.

Comfortably installed, the pilot dominates this motor bike where nothing comes to disturb the field of view, not even rear view mirrors judiciously placed in the prolongation of the instrument panel. Under the curve of its tinted bubble, the DN-01 shelters a digital panel of instrumentation Backlit including a rev counter multi-segments surmounting a speedometer digital placed at the center of the instrumentation and framed, on the left, by a double kilometric adding machine and a clock, while one finds right side a gauge of fuel as well as an indication of the mode of transmission and of committed report. The traditional luminous witnesses of control accommodate in more the witnesses of system ABS and parking brake, without forgetting the dead point.

Orders to be assimilated

Classical starting, by pressing the starter of the Honda DN01 to the right control unit; it is then necessary to disengage the handbrake located on the right side of the engine (with would have found more logical than it is positioned on the left side of the motor bike, which would make it possible to preserve free the right hand which could then use the handbrake lever in the event of need). Not to forget to actuate the button of this same control unit of the mode “0”, not died, with the mode “D” for Drive.

A quiet ritual to assimilate on the Honda DN-01, which replaces the traditional pressure on the clutch lever, which quite simply disappeared on the left side of the handlebar, like the selector which it proves to be useless to seek to locate with the left foot… The footboard on this side does not comprise any order, whereas its counterpart of right-hand side is surmounted by generous brake pedals.

Good, all is comparable, but a last location makes it possible to locate the button being used well to rock of the completely automatic mode to the manual selection of the Honda DN01.

Placed in front of the right control unit, this order remains of an easy access for quickly placing from one mode to the other, whereas a button with the left control unit selects, either the type of automatic piloting wise “D” for Drive or Sporting “S”, or six reports in manual mode. Fortunately, by actuating the orders of the brakes, one profits from remarkable system CBS/ABS to find itself with the stop with the 1st automatically committed speed.

It is then enough to accelerate and assemble speeds to return to its mode of a little sporting control, or to choose an automatic control Drive or Sport.

Multimode operation for the DN-01

In automatic mode, it is logically by choosing the formula “S” Sport that the Honda DN-01 profits from accelerations and more vigorous recoveries but it is in mode of manual selection that transmission HFT associates best the feelings of piloting’s of a motor bike with a facility of increased use. While playing of the manual selection, it is not necessary any more to control the Honda DN-01 with the brake as of the approach of a tightened turn or a slowly moving vehicle, because it is enough to retro grass one or two reports to profit from the engine brake.

Thus, one forgets the control in accelerations and breakings which characterizes the scooters to find the feelings of a piloting motor bike worked thanks to the passage of the reports to the modes selected by the pilot and especially by the use of the engine brake. It becomes thus possible to indulge, to profit from frank accelerations and taken again, to double quickly after having fallen a report, to play of the selector, forgiveness of the button, to negotiate the turns quickly and to swallow the curves with exits which one would like still more nervous.

But there one touches with the power of the Honda DN01 and one starts to dream with this kind of transmission on an engine of more important cubic capacity, especially of Cruiser type stuffed of couple, like with the six cylinders of Gold Wing… But here is a pretty conk-pave and, lost in my thoughts, the reflex clutch and selector returns. Not engraves, because the brake again reveals its effectiveness and the frame its reactivity in spite of its important footing.

A little technique explains this possibility of piloting typified motor bike, because transmission HFT of the DN-01 has a blocking system similar to that which exists on the automobile automatic boxes, which allows a more direct connection between the engine and the aft wheel for accelerations plus sharp that on the classical automatic boxes and especially that on the aviators.

This system also understands a device of downshift associated with the throttle hand grip which modulates the power according to the load. Thus, when one approaches a rise with the Honda DN01, instead of passing from a report predetermined to the other, as on a classical box, or on certain automatic transmissions as multi-, the HFT varies gradually and uninterrupted the ratio of reduction gearing. This system thus offers an increased effectiveness and especially gets accelerations more sporting than those of the systems with belt.

With the stop and driving half-compartment, the transmission returns automatically at the dead point and the completely disunited aft wheel engine makes it possible to operate the DN-01 like a classical motor bike.

The Honda DN01 is perfect to roll up

The relatively long footing and the tilted fork of the Honda DN01 way custom do not forecast promptness or a particular agility, but we do not deal with sporting.

At the time as of fast goings beyond on the small roads, with obligation to fold back itself immediately, the Honda DN-01 marks certain inertia. By disregarding system of selection to the handlebar, one finds a behavior of powerful Cruiser, even of basic roadster. On the small mountainous roads with the tightened pins, in manual mode, the Honda DN-01 does not like to be abrupt under penalty of making slip its back Dunlop with acceleration.

One does not appreciate of it less the generous push (for the cubic capacity) linear of his engine.

It is then enough to step on the gas and to assemble the reports to the good modes to obtain a maximum effectiveness, without waste of time to be played of the clutch. That it is in the small turns or the large curves, the DN01 is let place on the angle without difficulty and one gets caught up quickly to thread the sequences of large curves at beautiful speed, simply limited by the ground clearance limited by the footboards which extremely fortunately are raised gradually.

For really appreciating such a use, the ideal remains to regulate the back shock absorber according to its load, my DN01 getting a handling to the effectiveness improved after this simple adjustment in preload (seven positions), without comfort really not feeling any.

Cruiser… with the sporting aptitudes!

Hold, about comfort, since the test of the Honda DN-01 proceeded by temperatures varying of 10 with 14° approximately, in spite of the position of right control and without windshield drawn up in front of the pilot, it should be noted that the air is sufficiently well channeled by the careenage and its bubble so that the pressure and the cold on the bust and the arms are practically unperceivable.

On the other hand, the legs are not also cozily parceled out since the bottom of the frontal preparing seems on the contrary to channel the air frozen on those. Those which will travel in Honda DN01 will appreciate on the other hand the comfort of the saddle on the long distances, as well as the possibility of slightly varying its base thanks to its length.

It during this tourist use that the attraction of the position “D will appear” (Drive), completely is forgotten at the time of the first part of this test to the profit of control “S” (Sport) and especially manual while playing with the six reports.

In position “D”, if the recoveries, accelerations and the behavior are not also any more nervous and tempting to have fun, the Honda DN-01 offers an increased comfort and a softness which invite to Cruising, to return to its initial formula of “sporting Cruiser motor bike” as its Japanese originators qualify it.

Thus, the Honda DN-01 does not want to be regarded a scooter, but as a motor bike of the future, knowing to associate the facility with the pleasure of controlling. Without real competition, it created a new segment thanks to its design and its technology.


The latter will undoubtedly be adapted to more conventional motor bikes if the reception of the motorcyclists returning to the motor bike, of the pilots of large scooters, the recently qualified drivers of two-wheeled vehicle, as well as few experienced motorcyclists letting itself allure by this new concept Honda DN01, appears favorable, in spite of a rather high price – technological ransom obliges.

Posted by Rana Abaidullah on October 1, 2012. Filed under Honda. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Honda DN-01 Automatic Sports Cruiser Concept

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