2009 Honda DN-01 | Motorcycle Design Award
Automatic Multi-Purpose Motorcycle
Behind Honda’s corporate mask of conservatism, lies an embedded ethos to the technically radical. Past designs have included the in-line-6 CBX, the oval-pistoned NR750, and the hyper custom flat-6 Rune. Honda continues the tradition with an undeniably futuristic, groundbreaking design, but this time the engine has fewer cylinders. A concept bike that debuted at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show, the 2009 DN-01 is intended as a multi-purpose “crossover” motorcycle that combines the various attributes of cruisers, sport bikes and commuter bikes.
The fuel-injected 680cc liquid-cooled V-twin may be conventional enough, but that cannot be said of the fully automatic, constantly variable ratio transmission. It is a computer controlled hydromechanical unit—using pumps and oil to alter the transmission ratio—rather than the belt-and-pulley technology for two-wheels in a 1962 Juno scooter, and then revived it for its modern Rubicon ATV, where it has enjoyed considerable success.
Honda’s Human-Friendly Transmission (HFT) has two automatic modes—Drive and Sport—along with a thumb-shift setting that has six preset ratios, but still offers clutchless operation. At highway cruising speeds, the transmission sets a ratio rather than constantly adjusting itself, improving fuel consumption effi ciency.
Other features include a low 27.2-inch seat height, ABS with a linked triple-disc braking system, Z-rated 17-inch radial tires, shaft drive, a two-compartment four-gallon fuel tank, CBR-style lighting, a parking brake, plus ergonomics and styling that Honda describes as “Low & Long + Modern Organic Body.”