HONDA DN-01 (2008-2010) Review

Published: 19 January 2011

Is it a cruiser? Is it a scooter? Whatever it is, it's a very easy to ride, comfortable and capable but let down by a very high price and too much hype

Honda DN-01

Is it a cruiser? Is it a scooter? Whatever it is, it's a very easy to ride, comfortable and capable but let down by a very high price and too much hype

  • At a glance
  • 680cc  -  51 bhp
  • 51 mpg  -  171 miles range
  • Low seat height (690mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

The DN-01 is hard to categorise - Is it a cruiser? Is it a scooter? Whatever it is, it’s a very easy to ride, comfortable, capable and enjoyable motorcycle, let down by a very high price and too much hype. If money is no object, all you want is an attention-grabbing commuter or Sunday cruiser, and you wonder why all bikes aren’t automatic, then you won’t be disappointed. But for the rest of us, the Aprilia Mana 850 is better and a lot cheaper.

Watch the video: Honda DN-01 longterm test

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Despite raked out cruiser geometry, the DN-01 is a nice handling bike and on the move you’d never guess it weighs a hefty 270kg. A seriously low seat height makes it accessible to anyone and the feet-forward arms-out riding position is comfy and satisfying – riding the DN-01 is an experience and never fails to raise a grin (think manga meets easy rider). The problem is ground clearance – even a small amount of lean will have the footboards on the deck. Brakes are great though, thanks to fantastic and confidence-inspiring combined ABS. 

Engine 3 out of 5

The DN-01 is powered by a version of the Honda Deauville’s 680cc v-twin lump. We dyno’d our long-term test DN-01 and it makes 51bhp at the wheel, which is enough to take it to just over 100mph. The steady motor is married to Honda’s Human Friendly Transmission (HFT) which gives you three modes: automatic – twist & go, sport – twist & more go, and a steptronic mode that lets you change gear using a toggle switch on the bars. The whole package is ridiculously smooth and easy to use, although we found ourselves sticking it in sport mode and leaving it at that. Around town the motor is a pleasure – give it full gas at the lights and it fires you off the line brilliantly and no gears makes traffic a breeze. But get it out on the open road and the motor runs out of puff at the top end - there's not enough there for swift and safe overtakes. Plus that splayed out riding position (which is like your favourite armchair in town) can be torture on the motorway.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

It’s a Honda, so as you would expect the DN-01 is a very nicely put together piece of kit. Clocks look great, the metallic paint is lovely and deep and it all just works. The mirrors are the best I’ve ever used on a motorcycle and shaft drive is a pleasure – no more messing about with chain oiling or adjustment.

Value & Running Costs 1 out of 5

This is where the DN-01 starts to come unstuck for us… £10,625 is the list price for a new DN-01 (although a lot of dealers are offering substantial discounts). That’s a lot of money for what is basically a funky looking maxi-scooter, especially when Aprilia’s stylish, sportier automatic Mana 850 roadster has a helmet storage bay, 75bhp and a phone charger socket for £6,699. Find a Honda DN-01 for sale.

Equipment 2 out of 5

Besides the fancy Human Friendly Transmission and ABS the DN-01 doesn’t really have a lot of features to shout about…. Yes it looks funky at first glance, but underneath the weird bodywork it’s basically a maxi-scooter, only you don’t get any storage space. Compare and buy parts for the DN-01 in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

4 owners have reviewed their HONDA DN-01 (2008-2010) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 3.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

safe

19 February 2014 by stonecoldjohn

i didn't want a bike to kill myself on so opted for this, great choice, love it to bits Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

I Love Marmite

25 December 2013 by bobfisher

A "Marmite" bike in virtually all aspects. I bought mine at 3 years old with less than 1K on the clock for half the price when new - more sense than spending up to 11K on a new one, although they are no longer in production. Comfort is great,... Read more although full pre-load on the rear shock is needed to maximise ground clearance, and also reduce bump feedback to the lower spine. Economy on mixed riding is about 12 miles per litre, and tank re-fills after 150 miles can be expected. Honda build and reliability is great, although I did have to replace the plug caps which arced badly when hot in hot weather - a 5 minute job to prevent stalling and lumpy tickover. Ground clearance on the twisties is actually pretty good - I've only had the left hero blob down once on anti-camber on the second bend on a bumpy s-bend sequence. Getting the throttle to match push-button gear changes is quite rewarding, although you can hold it on the stop if you want while changing gear. Automatic mode in traffic is brilliant - traffic light stomps in CVT just get a "wooomph" from the engine and you're at 30 or 40 in no time (depending on the limit!) - and so smoothly. Motorways are OK at 70, but a more comfortable cruising speed is more like 65. Tyres are wearing well at now 3K miles, with the rear showing virtally no "chicken strip" on the edge, demonstrating the good fun that can be had when riding enthusiastically. As to actually what the DN-01 is, my description is "an automatic sports-cruiser". Marmite - I love it!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

DN 01 first impressions

10 February 2011 by petervoros

Had this bike just over a week, had one trip so far of about 100 miles. Now I am nearer 60 than 50 this bike makes sense to me. It is not a cruiser and it's not a scooter in fact there is no category for it as such, some people say they are... Read more confused by it. What does it matter? To me you either like it or you don't and if you don't you look elsewhere for what floats your boat. I thought it was worth a punt as I like the technology, style and exclusivity. I bought it to impress myself not others. It is so easy to ride that I got time to see and enjoy the scenery. I arrived home after a hundred miles feeling as fresh as I did setting out, and so relaxed. All right so it won't keep up with a Blade or even a CBF 600 but there again that's missing the point a bit. The motor is bombproof the transmission is so smooth in any of the three modes it is a revelation and it's fast enough for me and sensible overtaking is not a problem. The styling is different, the screen has no purpose other than style and to keep the instruments dry in poor weather and I like it that way. I have good kit for weather protection and in the Summer will be glad of some wind in my face hopefully. Being 6'3" I find knee room at a premium but manage by being able to alter my position slightly to suit. The suspension is well damped without being harsh and handling is accurate and confident. It can be fitted with luggage if you want to tour with it and has a fair amount of after market parts available for a bike produced in small numbers. It's early days yet but so far I'm very pleased with my purchase.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
1 out of 5

Diesel

07 February 2011 by Fly by night

It might have done better as honda's first attempt at a diesel. Good gas miles crap looking ntv type engine. Read more

Overall Rating 1 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 1 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 1 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
Read all 4 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2008
Year discontinued 2010
Original price £10,625
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 51 bhp
Max torque 35 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 51 mpg
Tank range 171 miles
Specification
Engine size 680cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled 8v v-twin
Frame type Double cradle steel tube
Fuel capacity 15.1 litres
Seat height 690mm
Bike weight 270kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension preload
Front brake 296mm disc, 3-piston calipers, ABS
Rear brake 276mm disc, 2-piston caliper, ABS
Front tyre size 130/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

DN-01 Launched 2009, discontinued at the end of 2010.

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

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