October 19, 2005 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. introduced the radical new DN-01 sports motorcycle at the 39th Tokyo Motor Show. Honda announced that the DN-01 will continue to be developed and will be introduced to the market "in the near future".
The motorcycle appears to be beyond the concept stage and nearly ready for production.
The DN-01 concept is equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission and a water-cooled, 4-stroke, OHC, V-type, 2-cylinder, 680cc engine.
The DN-01 is a concept model that was developed with the aim of "creating new value" without being locked into any existing category of motorcycle.
While an automatic transmission has been synonymous with the scooter and has not been readily accepted for motorcycle use, Honda is calling the DN-01 an "automatic sports cruiser", featuring Honda's unique infinitely variable hydraulic mechanical transmission, the "HFT" (Human Fitting Transmission).
The DN-01 is claimed to be easy to operate with much sportier performance than any current two-wheeled vehicles with automatic transmissions. The DN-01 "Discovery Cruiser" is apparently targeted towards the growing adult motorcycle market. Infinitely Variable HFT Transmission
The new-generation infinitely variable transmission is claimed to deliver superb throttle response and stepless shifting, with no mid-corner shifting shocks. Riders can select from three shifting modes: Drive Mode, Sports Mode and 6-Speed Manual Mode.
The HFT also offers the world's first (according to Honda) lock-up mechanism in an infinitely variable, hydraulic mechanical transmission.
Powered by a 680cc V-twin engine, the machine was designed to have novel levels of comfort and sportiness. Original and Creative Style
The design concept aims for a long and low, modern organic look. The image created by the long-nose front cowl is dynamic, while the under-cowl muffler and Pro-Arm rear suspension add a functional beauty to the overall design.
Highly centralized mass and an ideal front/rear weight distribution promise good maneuverability from the 1,605mm-long (63.2") wheelbase. Comfortable Riding Position
The large seat is fitted with an adjustable backrest for plush comfort on long rides, while wide footboards allow maximum freedom of movement. Complemented by a low 680mm (26.7") seat height, the riding position is spacious and relaxing.
Passengers should be comfortable, thanks to the ample and lengthy passenger seat. Some information (in Japanese) available on the Link Removed.
Harley has held the motorcycle world back in the dark ages for way too long. This is a neat concept, clever in fact. A stepping stone from scooter to real motorcycle. It will probably sell poorly because everyone thinks they need a chopper.
On the other hand... They should can the automatic tranny. If you can't shift a full size motorcycle, you probably aren't coordinated enough or experienced enough to take a corner at speed. It seems many accidents are caused by very inexperienced riders on bikes too big or powerful for them, and they leave the road for no apparent reason (other than the fact they didn't make the curve). Clutches would keep the riff raff out. With an automatic it will be way to easy to go fast.
Kids today don't know how to shift so the Honda is a quantum leap up. I see it all the time. I have to, in every truck driving class, explain the use of the clutch, shift patterns and gates (remember we all drove 3 on the tree or 4 on the floor). I've even resorted to sending them home for homework, a plunger stuck to the floor next to the kitchen chair....depress the clutch, shift into neutral, depress the clutch again (double clutch) and put into gear....downshift, raise the RPM, upshift...lower the RPM.
Kids will love it. A sportbike you can gas and go on. It's getting so bad that the ICC is considering issuing a CDL with a restriction that any student taught on an autoshift truck will be barred from a standard shift truck. Hows that grab ya.