Author Topic: Honda DN-01  (Read 2040 times)

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Offline TCAdventure

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Honda DN-01
« on: April 02, 2011, 03:18:48 pm »
Well I have been curious about this bike for some time. However, with an MSRP of around $15k it was never anything I gave serious consideration. Recent manufacturer rebates brought this great machine into my view within the last few months while I was looking to replace my 2009 Kawasaki Nomad. I have a 2009 C14 and a 2011 BMW S1000RR. My stable was great and there really wasn't a logical reason to add another bike. Nonetheless, I kept thinking I wanted something for taking in the scenery while I was stuck behind the prolific "Sunday driver" traffic.  I wanted the new bike to get decent gas mileage and have ABS if possible. I was ready to pull the trigger on a Suzuki C109R. I am a sucker for speed and "hang on tight" power and that was the primary draw of the Suzuki. However, I came to my senses and admitted that the Suzuki would have been comfortable but it was heavy, didn't get good fuel economy and didn't have ABS. So I decided to continue my search.

After some extensive eBay trolling to explore additional options I realized that the price of the DN-01 had come down to a reasonable level. The bike had luke-warm reviews but is unique, moderately fuel efficient, has ABS, should have Honda reliability and is different from anything I own or have ever owned. I wasn't sure how high the Geek factor would be from the saddle so I called my local dealer and asked if I could demo the last "01" that they had. They agreed to build it and let me take it for a spin. Being a dealer non-demo I  didn't want to ride it too hard or put too many miles on it. Truth be told, I really wanted to test the bike so I could convince myself I really didn't want one. I was hoping that I would feel so silly that any nagging desire to buy one at a deep discount would go away. It didn't work that way.

What I don't like: 

A short time in the saddle will reveal that the press reviews are correct when they say that the stock screen offers very little wind protection. The aftermarket has solutions for this but the only option (GIVI) I can find is so ugly I couldn't bear to put one on the the bike. The seating position can be challenging above 60-65 mph because of the lack of wind protection. In fact, I think the screen actually makes the wind worse by directing flow right into your chest. The seat itself is fairly comfortable. Your feet are positioned slightly forward on floorboards. There is no obstruction on the left board because there is no shifter. There is a pedal style brake on right board. I am 6"1" tall so I find my self riding with my toes slighly off the front of the boards. In my opinion the airflow combined with a slightly slouched riding position is the primary factor preventing this machine from holding the place in a single bike stable. On the upside, I will have monster abs by the end of this season  8).

What I do like (a lot):

For reference I have had several cruisers in the past. My wife had a Silverwing but I have never owned a scooter. My cruiser history includes a Honda Valkyrie, Suzuki M109R, Honda VTX 1800S, Honda VTX 1800F and a Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad. I liked all of the bikes I have had in the past. They were all quick (some more so than others), they were all heavy and none got good gas mileage. I figured if I was going to add something it had to be totally different. Enter the DN-01.

1) It is very easy to ride. I am a track junkie. I believe the ease of the DN-01 will be a joy after the intense concentration required from riding a nearly 200hp machine at the track.
2) Fast enough to be entertaining.
3) Three different drive modes. Two fully automatic modes, drive and sport, and a semi automatic mode where the rider can toggle through shifts using thumb shifter.
4) Very smooth motor and seamless shifts from the CVT gear box.
5) Simple slow speed maneuvering from a well balanced low COG.
6) Clearance is limited by the boards but the bike is very agile at all speeds.
7) Very stable in sweepers however the suspension is a bit harsh as set up from the dealer (I weigh about 220 lbs).
8) I normally enjoy shifting. However, I can't wait to putter through in-town traffic and not have to modulate a clutch.
9) Before break in is complete I seem to be getting between 40-50 mpg. I think 50mpg on average will be easily attainable.

In short this is a bike that has a lot of good qualities. I wouldn't want it to be my only bike as set up from the factory. However, I think Honda hit a lot of things right and can't wait to see how it translates to future applications in "Big Red's" lineup. In the meantime, I will enjoy the DN-01 and am very glad I took the plunge.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 03:22:12 pm by TCAdventure »
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Offline Cap'n Bob

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Re: Honda DN-01
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2011, 06:55:55 pm »
Thank you for the review. Maybe sometime I'll get a chance to ride one of them. Your right though. They do look different.