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2009 Honda DN-01 Review


by Marc Cantin ,

The twin-loop steel tube chassis features a non-adjustable fork and a preload-adjustable monoshock at the back. Sport-bike quality rubber makes for excellent traction when braking or cornering.

Honda went an extra mile when it comes to braking, with twin discs and three-piston calipers in front, a big disk at the back, ABS, and front-rear cross linking. This configuration delivers stronger braking than traditional cruisers, as the system makes up for the lack of forward weight transfer under hard braking on this long and low bike, as well as for riders who shun the front brake through fear or lack of knowledge.

When it comes to ergos, think "Comfortable cruiser", with a low, 69mm high seat, adequate for more mature bottoms while still narrow enough at the front to allow shorter legs to reach the ground, and small floorboards that end up in the standard mid position, as defined by the cruiser gods of large air-cooled American machines. We did not get to try out the pillion seat and it's side handgrips.

Honda went an extra mile when it comes to braking, with twin discs and three-piston calipers in front, and ABS.

All levers and the rear brake pedal are easy to reach and operate, while the complete dashboard always remains highly visible and easy to read.

The smoothness of the DN-01 comes to the fore as soon as you take off, not too rapidly of course, with close to 400 kg propelled by only 60 horses. Once up to speed, the on-board computer makes the most of the efficient and flexible transmission to provide acceptable performance - this is a cruiser after all, not a performance oriented machine. On the other hand, road holding and braking are well up to the best standards, with predictable, effortless steering and enough agility to impress the target riders. They will not really notice the longish snout, which will contribute to the overall impression of stability and solidness for the new riders.

The DN-01 is close to being a no-brainer to ride: get on, start the engine and press the "D" button, release the hand brake and go! Just like in a car - which is what Honda was after from the start.

The DN-01 has sold well in Europe last year, and we must salute Honda Canada for the courage of their conviction that new riders need a new kind of bike.

Easy to ride
Excellent brakes
Should appeal to a new type of rider

Very different looks
No storage space

High price when compared to similar performing bikes

Photo Credit : Philippe Champoux
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