An Obsession: Honda’s DN-01

December 23rd, 20092:05 pm @ Angela Odom


The Honda DN-01

I’ve been obsessing since I heard the roar of my neighbor’s bike. For a few weekends now I have heard that bike start up, rumble like a purring kitten — well, louder than a purring kitten — and finally, finally, I was able to see him pull from his garage, with those long handlebars, to begin his cruise down the street to places unknown. Ahhhhh, the joy of open air cycling and that’s when the obsession began.

So, I talked with a friend to find out what’s out today. Of course, Duder drives a Honda Goldwing, or what we used to call a “grandaddy bike.” That’s too much bike for me but he did mention the Honda Shadow and thought that would be to my liking. I looked at the Shadow but, no, not to my liking.

What I really want is a bike that is automatic, no chains, shaft drive, that will take some decent accessories for schlepping around stuff, like cameras or lunch for the day. Scooters are too small and I’ve seen a few humming around town looking for more power. I want a hybrid something between scooter and touring bike and I found it in the Honda DN-01. Yum!!

I know, I know, I wanted a motorhome at one point but gas prices froze that thought completely out of my head. If gas prices weren’t so high I would have had one in a heartbeat. They were good back in the day when gas prices were under a dollar a gallon, but not today. The next best thing? A bike.

The Honda DN-01 is the he world’s first crossover bike. Honda says of the bike:

Its styling and seating position alone set it completely apart, showing influence from the world of our sportbikes, sport touring machines, and cruisers. But underneath that bodywork the DN-01 is even more revolutionary, offering Honda’s radical new HFT Transmission (Human-Friendly Transmission). it’s an automatic—but an automatic unlike anything you’ve ever seen. You can shift it into six preset ratios, or you can let it function as a stepless, no-shifting Continuously Variable Transmission, or CVT. The DN-01 is a perfect choice if you’re looking to get into motorcycling, if you’re a long-time rider who wants to be on the most cutting-edge bike out there, or if you’re just looking for something completely different. This bike is going to turn heads like no other in 2009.

All dolled up with the right accessories

It’s a nice little “twist-and-go” too and I like that. After seeing a few videos of the bike — well, lots of videos of the bike — I fell in love with it. It’s just enough scooter and just enough touring bike to make me feel as if I’m eating Häagen-Dazs ice cream when it’s actually store brand.

I also like switchable shifting modes from two fully automatic—D mode for ordinary riding and S mode for a sporty riding experience—or the 6-speed manual mode, which gives riders the option of riding with a manual transmission feel. Oooo la la.

The bike features a 680cc engine which is more my speed. It has has a few — and I do mean a few as in short list — options but, those few options are actually pretty nice like heated grips with adjustable temperature, Honda Motorcycle Navigation Kit, speakers for a rider’s MP3 player, Bluetooth connection for a mobile phone, a motion and vibration sensitive anti-theft AVERTO alarm system, sturdy U-lock and a rugged, full bike cover.

Not an accessory by Honda but available for the DN-01 is the Givi Topcase Rack (Honda DN-01, ‘09-), Givi Tubular Sidecase and PLX sideracks (Honda DN-01, ‘09-), and a Givi Windscreen (Honda DN-01, ‘09-). Unfortunately, I have found not crash bars for this bike and I’m used to crash bars or highway bars. I don’t like bikes falling on top of me and if at all possible, I like protecting the engine. So far, no see. Hopefully, a manufacturer will come out with something for this bike soon, before I end up purchasing one.

The jury is still out but I do want a bike and if the DN-01 returns for 2010 — or I’ll buy a used one — the DN-01 will be my pièce de résistance for summer 2010. Oh, the joy of open air riding.

Bike test: HONDA DN 01