Despite looking like nothing we’ve seen before, the Honda DN-01 isn’t as out of the ordinary as you’d reckon after checking out a few pictures with it. Except the lack of a clutch, the engine gets started like on every other bike, the very few special buttons on the handlebars being the “D” which gets you down to business and the “up” and “down” button on the left side of the handlebar for when you feel like shifting through the six gears of the manual mode.
The transmission is very smooth and values properly the engine’s 60 horsepower, making the new Honda adequate for beginners, but also feeling a little disappointing for the more experienced riders willing to get sport bike excitement out of the 680cc V-Twin engine. Quite frankly, the engine and tranny provide less than you’d expect from such a package, but at 55 mpg, you really have to take savings in consideration.
With a low center of gravity and a versatile chassis, the DN-01 is perfect for making your way through crowded cities. But what am I saying? The fact that you don’t have to hold a clutch is simply manna while the low seating position makes for a relaxing get away from stop signs and traffic jams. Aggressively approached curves will easily have the floorboards scrap the pavement, but the bike feels steady and secure during cornering and a slight release of the clutch will surely keep you on your trace.
Do you know how irritating a very strong exhaust note can be on the long haul? Well, in this case the irritating part is the fact that you don’t benefit of almost any exhaust note at all. In fact, you can easily hear the engine over the exhaust so going for an aftermarket silencer is the recommended solution if willing to hear those horses when accelerating out of corners.
But, if it doesn’t go like it shows, at least it’s comfortable. That’s what I said to myself after putting a good 200 miles on it and that’s also the opinion I’m sharing with you. At first you’ll have to get accustomed with looking a faired thing and practically riding a cruiser, but apparently this is the future and I like it.
Safety is also a crucial for Honda so even though this is not a performance motorcycle it comes fitted with combined ABS triple-disc brake. Due to the bike’s geometry, reliable suspension and great stability, the brakes would have been efficient no matter the type of wheels that Honda would have gone for, but these 17-inch ones dressed in road rubber are surely contributing to that safety feel every time you hit the brakes hard.
What would really set the DN-01 on a pedestal is a 100+ horsepower engine so let’s just hope that Honda is test riding us with this model and we’ll be soon witnessing a whole new entry in the crossover category.
But, as for 2009, we should be glad that the existing model is available to the North American market. And I guess that the $14,599 manufacturer’s suggested retail price isn’t quite pocket-ripping.
Some may love it, others may hate it, but what is worthy of appreciation in the case of the 2009 Honda DN-01 is the fact that it gets plenty of reactions and doesn’t pass unnoticed like a standard bike for example. Going through Honda’s lineup, you surely stop and smell the roses just before wanting to take one for a ride…and then home.