The Honda DN-01 was, depending on who you ask, a cruiser motorcycle, a scooter, the greatest revolution to the motorcycling industry since the Honda Cub, or a waste of time. Very unique, and very controversial, it only sold in the United States for two years, as it was a commercial failure. The issue, in our eyes, is that this wasn’t truly a motorcycle – it’s a maxi scooter. Think of it as a Suzuki Burgman on steroids.
Though it’s got a V-twin engine from the Honda NT700V, the engine note is a bit of a disappointment. The Honda DN-01 is chock full of features you wouldn’t associate with a scooter, like anti-lock brakes and a single sided swing arm. But the biggest innovation this bike brought to market was the Human Friendly Transmission. HFT was Honda’s cutesy name for a highly advanced automatic transmission, a rarity in the motorcycle world. Though it did not satisfy the types of enthusiasts that read Bike-urious, it was considered by many to be the ideal drivetrain for the largest percentage of the population, as it had modes were fully automatic or even paddle shifting to simulate a six-speed transmission.
Unfortunately, for every positive feature, there were two or three negatives. Styling is subjective, but everyone can agree that the Honda DN-01 is distinctive looking. Every aesthetic aspect of this bike gives off the impression not of carving corners, but of comfortable short rides, or even potentially long distance touring. Yet reviewers complained of poor ergonomics, and a windshield that did nothing at high speed. On top of that, there was no storage space, and the price of $15,000 was astronomical compared to competition. Lastly, the load capacity was less than 330 pounds, so taking a passenger plus any sort of cargo would stress a bike that already wasn’t very quick. Even four years after the release of this motorcycle, we still can’t figure out who the target market was. It didn’t connect well with passionate motorcyclists, and it was too expensive for city dwellers who could have used it as a commuter.
This specific Honda DN-01 has low miles (less than 5,000) and seems to be in excellent shape. Not much else to say here – the bike should be stock. There aren’t many of these bikes around, but there also isn’t much of a demand. If you’re looking for an incredibly distinctive looking bike that is easy to ride from a shifting perspective – you may actually want to consider an Aprilia Mana. Jokes aside, the DN-01, if anything else, might just be a collector’s item 50 years from now.
Find this Honda DN-01 for sale here on eBay with bidding at $5,700 in League City, Texas.