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2009 Honda DN-01 Review


by Marc Cantin ,

Now in its third year, the concept of Honda Powerhouse dealers has now passed the threshold from rarity to highly visible. Either stand-alone or paired with a car dealership, these new, clean and easily identified facilities are working hard to present a friendly, approachable face, especially to the new bike buyers it wants to attract. But what about the two-wheel products it sells, and how do they appeal - or not - to car shoppers who wander over to the "other" side?

When it comes to ergos, think "Comfortable cruiser", with a low, 69mm high seat.

How does a bike sales rep answer the typical car driver who asks intelligent questions about two wheelers, such as: "can I get an automatic, do you make a bike that is safe and comfortable for my build, can I read the instruments easily and make sense of them, is it powerful, is it easy to ride for a newbie, can I get on it easily without hurting myself, can it look different from my niece's scooter..." At the same time, this prospective buyer is also thinking in terms of style, prestige, a little excitement, safety and, above all, something that is less intimidating than the traditional noisy machines that he or she sees all the time.

Various Honda models offer some features that address one or more of these concerns after a fashion, but Big Red developers went one further and created the DN-01, a machine that directly addresses all the above cage-driver concerns. After riding it around Daytona and Northern Florida, one certainty stood out - this "bike" does not slip easily into any of the more traditional market segments, it clearly comes across to us confirmed bikers as a clean sheet creation aimed directly and new riders coming over from the four-wheel world.

Powered by a 680cc fuel injected, 4-valve per cylinder V-twin, coupled to a the fully-automatic, computer controlled Human Friendly Transmission (HFT), the DN-01 delivers smooth, easy-to-ride power, with adequate acceleration for riding around town as well as for relaxed cruising. To make life easy, the rider can select from three HFT mode: the fully automatic "D", the more sporting "S", or even an "M" mode that lets the rider shift by pushing buttons without having to worry about the clutch.

Electronic fuel injection helps provide 60hp of seamless power at 7500rpm, as well as 47 lb-f of torque at 6000 rpm, through the HFT and a smooth shaft final drive. A hand brake keeps the machine in place when parking on an incline, as there is no solid connection between the rear wheel and the engine.

Powered by a 680cc fuel injected, 4-valve per cylinder V-twin, the DN-01 delivers smooth and adequate acceleration.
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