Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Honda DN-01

Fri, January 15th, 2010

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2009-10 Honda DN-01
I'm not sure what the big fuss is over the Honda's HFT ('Human Friendly Transmission') technology. Other than offering a pushbutton shift option, the DN-01's riding experience is not unlike existing big-bore 'twist-and-go' scooters like the Suzuki Burgman 650, Yamaha T-Max and Honda's own Silver Wing. The power delivery of the modest 46 rear-wheel HP is impressively smooth, but not eye opening. A lot more like Herb Alpert than Yngwie Malmsteen.
On a par with today's better cruisers. Long wheelbase prevents freeway skittishness. Low center of gravity and nice suspension parts are hampered in turns by lack of ground clearance. Brakes are great.
I haven't quite decided what to make of it. It looks like a shark mated with a beluga whale: it's racy but bulbous, sexy but not. I will say that it looks better up close in person than in photos.
The new, untested HFT merits just a half-point off—When Honda wants to do 'consumer friendly,' they rarely miss the mark by much. The DN-01 should rack up many miles with little maintenance.
Half-point off for the silly seating position and lack of storage (both admittedly shared by many cruisers), plus a full point off for the ridiculously high price tag.
New, innovative, interesting, but performs like a 2-wheeled Accord. An odd mix of weird geekishness and 'beige-ness' will keep this out of my garage.
Honda's attempt to give people something truly new warrants a polite golf clap, but little more. Admirably bold marketing move, but not a bold bike.