Final: Honda DN-01


Final: Honda DN-01

Final: Honda DN-01

What am I?

Scientists have long sought the missing link between apes and humans. That between scooter and motorcycle is now found: DN-01 ?? Under this mystical abbreviation Honda presents the future of the two-wheeler. And thanks to? Human Friendly Transmission ?? be particularly philanthropic.

KPull the clutch briefly, tip a little with the tip of your toe, click, the aisle sits. It moves forward with only minimal interruption. Switching has become part of our flesh and blood, it works by itself. It happens so unconsciously that we usually don’t even ask the question of whether it really has to be that way. The permanent switching and coupling, even if it happens automatically, detracts a little from the concentration that might be needed more urgently in some situations elsewhere.

Modern large scooters make it clear that a stepless belt transmission including centrifugal clutch offers a very special level of comfort that one could easily imagine in a motorcycle. And individual manufacturers have already come up with this idea. Aprilia, for example, has implemented the symbiosis of motorcycle chassis and scooter drive technology in Mana.


Futuristic flank: Honda DN 01.

But Honda wouldn’t be Honda if the Japanese couldn’t think of something special on the subject. The first glance at the DN-01 shows that. Motorcycle? Scooter? Anything in between? As is so often the case, the really important things lie beneath the surface. Don’t catch the eye like the set proportions. Do not stick like the far forward front section, the wide mouth, the evil eye. Not irritating like the wheels in the full-size motorcycle format in the stature of a large scooter.

The new thing about the DN-01 (Dream New Concept 01) is more subtle. It is hidden inconspicuously and compactly in the engine block and is called “Human Friendly Transmission”, or HFT for short. Which implies that gears have been unkind to their users in the past. Instead, shift without a clutch, shift at the push of a button, yes, even shift without shifting. And it is precisely in this field that HFT offers a completely independent solution. In contrast to the somewhat simple belt drives of the scooters, the drive force in the DN-01 is transmitted hydrostatically. Basically nothing sensational, that already exists in excavators, tractors or lawn mowers. But so far not in motorcycles. The physical basis: The crank drive of the combustion engine drives a hydraulic pump, which in turn supplies a hydraulic motor. The hydraulics enable a stepless, electronically controlled gear ratio change. With a switch on the right end of the handlebar, you can choose between two automatic modes (?? D ?? as in Drive and ?? S ?? as in Sport); six manually operated gear steps are available on the left.

It doesn’t really scooter


Try sitting on the DN 01.

It works, regardless of whether it is set by the automatic system or selected by hand, as soft as butter. Which is not surprising, because the gear ratio change works hydraulically, not mechanically. From this point of view, it is almost a matter of course that any roughness and human operating errors during driving are excluded. In automatic mode "D." the translation is adapted in time and silky smooth to the tempo according to the relaxed nature of the DN-01, in "S." the motor is allowed to rotate higher when accelerating. A bit higher, because the 52-degree V2, known from Deauville and Transalp, is certainly not a bundle of temperament even in the DN-01 environment. On the contrary: under the influence of HFT, the motorcycle engine subjectively clearly mutates into a scooter propellant.

Which almost answers the question of which entity predominates in the DN-01, despite the clear motorcycle genes in the chassis and engine. HFT determines awareness, the cruising seating position and the long stem take care of the rest. The fact that the 17-inch rims carry super-athlete-sized tires is no longer important? At the back a mighty 190 is raised, at the front the 130 that was believed dead is coming back to life ?? or that a telescopic fork at the front and a directly hinged strut at the back work. Even when the gear ratio is changed manually on the left end of the handlebars and the 61 hp motor is allowed to turn in the six specified gear steps down to the limiter (at 7800 rpm), the conventional motorcycle feeling only arises to a limited extent.


The impressive nose signals "Shark Attac".

On the other hand: Despite HFT, it doesn’t really scooter either. In addition, the chassis with the long wheelbase acts too calmly and too precisely, and the weather protection is too poor despite the large amount of plastic and the mighty running boards. And storage space in the sense of a scooter is practically non-existent. Neither under the bench nor in the mighty paneling. Since there are neither luggage hooks nor luggage racks, even long-distance travelers will initially be skeptical of the DN-01, while a pillion passenger will be happy to make himself comfortable on the wide bench.

Which almost inevitably leads you back to the question asked at the beginning of what the DN-01 actually is. The answer: you can approach it both positively and negatively. If you see it positively, you will discover the advantages of different types. On the chassis side, the DN-01 has what it takes to be a motorcycle, but on the drive side, the problem-free nature of the scooter comes through. And ergonomically, with its extremely low seating position (690 millimeters), the running boards positioned far to the front and the long antler handlebars, it clearly tends towards a cruiser.

On the other hand, it could just as well be said that the DN-01 combines the disadvantages of different systems. The passive seating position, the bad weather protection and the lack of storage space of the cruiser, the sedate driving dynamics, the weight and the huge dimensions of the large scooter. In addition, a price that, at almost 12,000 euros, breaks scooter and motorcycle mid-range limits. In view of this mixed situation, one thing is certain: With the DN-01, Honda has presented a new concept with convincing power transmission. The future will tell whether this actually embodies the dream of many customers.

Data Honda DN-01

water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 52-degree V-engine, one overhead, chain-driven camshaft, four valves per cylinder, ø 36 mm, stepless hydrostatic power transmission, cardan. Bore x stroke 81.0 x 66.0 mm, displacement 680 cm³, compression ratio 10: 1, rated power 45.0 kW (61 PS) at 7500 rpm, max. Torque 64 Nm at 6000 rpm

Landing gear:
Double loop frame made of steel, telescopic fork, ø 41 mm, single-sided swing arm, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, double disc brake at the front, ø 296 mm, three-piston floating calipers, disc brake at the rear, ø 276 mm, double-piston floating caliper, cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17, 6.00 x 17; Tires 130/70 ZR 17, 190/50 ZR 17

Mass and weight:
Wheelbase 1605 mm, steering head angle 61.5 degrees, caster 114 mm, spring travel f / h 106/120 mm, tank capacity 15.1 liters, weight 270 kg. Colors: black, dark red

11960 euros including utilities

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