Ten Most Unusual Production Motorcycles (Part 7)

Honda DN-01

Please click here for Part 1 (Suzuki RE5), here for Part 2 (Honda CBX1000)here for Part 3 (Yamaha GTS1000)here for Part 4 (Suzuki Katana)here for Part 5 (Böhmerland), and here for Part 6 (MTT Y2K and 420RR).

Certain parties weren’t happy about our recent review of the Honda CRF250L and CRF250 Rally. We called it as it was, “soft.” It has also to be said here that “we” here included Oh Kah Beng. So if you’re reading this, go ahead and tell off the legend if you’re not happy.

Honda CRF250L & CRF250 Rally Test & Review

Why did I open with the above “intro?” Because in that same review, I mentioned that sometimes manufacturers aimed for too many segments in one model and ended up with a product that’s diluted at best (read: neither here nor there).

Take this bike, for instance. Honda meant the DN-01 to be a cruiser. Or more accurately, a cruiser/sportbike crossover. And a big scooter.

Courtesy of paratamoto.com

Firstly, the DN-01’s bodywork’s weird in anyone’s book, and wasn’t appealing to either the cruiser folks or sportbike fanatics. The ergonomics also took a bashing as was the lack of wind protection at speed, needing the rider to to hang on using the handlebar.

Customers were also unsatisfied due to the ridiculously low load capacity of only 147 kg. That meant if each the rider and passenger weigh 75 kg, their total weight of 150 kg has already overloaded the bike by 3 kg. That’s without figuring in luggage.

Wait, what luggage? There isn’t any storage space on the DN-01!

The transmission, however, was a different story. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) – marketed by Honda as “Human Friendly Transmission” – uses a hydraulic pump which varied the amount of fluid being pumped, changing the gearing as demanded. (It may sound the similar to the DCT in the current X-ADV, VFR1200X and CRF1000L Africa Twin, but no it isn’t.)

However, that brilliant CVT was mated to a 680cc engine (sourced from the Shadow) which produced an wheezing 43 bhp, which (sort of) propelled the 268kg DN-01 from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.41 seconds, and a quarter mile in 15.41 seconds at 140.7 km/h. Top speed? 182.0 km/h. Yawn.

Adding insult to injury was the US$15,599 asking price in 2009.

The DN-01 was only sold from 2008 to 2010.

Please click here for Part 1 (Suzuki RE5), here for Part 2 (Honda CBX1000)here for Part 3 (Yamaha GTS1000)here for Part 4 (Suzuki Katana)here for Part 5 (Böhmerland), and here for Part 6 (MTT Y2K and 420RR).

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