Motorman’s Road Test: Honda DN-01 Crossover
I had the opportunity to try something completely different from Honda, the DN-01 Crossover. That’s not exactly a catchy name, I know. Never heard of it? Most people haven’t. Honda introduced this bike in 2009 but oddly, never advertised the fact.
What makes the DN-01 so different from other motorcycles? Well, its’ styling for one. It’s not a Sport Bike, though it resembles a Sport bike from some angles. It’s definitely not a Standard or a Dual Sport. It’s not a Cruiser, yet it has floorboards and an upright, slightly laid back riding position. You might say it’s something between a Sport bike and a Cruiser; thus the moniker, Crossover.
The DN-01 is also equipped with a fully automatic transmission. A manual shift isn’t even available as a matter of fact. You can put the bike in D and it functions like a step less automatic. In other words, you won’t notice it shifting through the gears. Or, you can put the bike in S for Sport, the transmission shifts more aggressively. Last but not least, you can put the bike in M for Manual and shift through 5 speeds via a button near the left grip, there is no clutch.
The motor is a 680cc liquid cooled 52 degree V-twin. Fuel injected of course, and equipped with a SOH cam and four valves per cylinder. A low maintenance shaft drive delivers power to the rear wheel. ABS is standard equipment. Up front, there’s a dual floating 296mm disk. Out back, there’s a single disk of 276mm and a 3 piston caliper. Handsome blacked out alloy wheels mount 130/70 ZR 17 up front and 190/50 ZR 17’s out back.
Style wise, as I stated earlier, the bike is a cross between a Sport bike and a Cruiser but leans more toward the Sport bike school of styling. The fairing and lowers do a good job of blocking the wind from the chest down, but the shorty windshield means you’ll want to ride with a face shield or full face helmet. A larger accessory shield is available from Honda or the aftermarket. I’d recommend it for higher speed riding; which of course brings up the question, how does it ride?
First, if you’re used to a manual shift, you’ll find yourself searching in vain for the clutch lever. Once you remember there isn’t one, you can push the D button at your finger tips, open the throttle and you’re off the line. The motor is ultra smooth and never gets buzzy, even at highway speeds. In the D mode at highway speeds, passing power is a little lax. But, drop it into “sport” mode and it’s more than adequate. In fact, I preferred to leave it in the Sport mode all the time for better acceleration at all speeds. The ride is about as smooth as you’d expect from a Cruiser. The bike handles potholes well and holds its line in a curve, even leaned over on rough pavement. The floorboards will scrape the ground if you really push the bike on a winding road; though it does offer more lean angle than most Cruisers. At low speeds, the DN-01 is a dream. It’s got a 63” wheelbase and a 28 degree rake. These figures make it a very nimble motorcycle to U-turn on a side street. Plus, since there’s no clutch or friction zone to worry about during low speed maneuvers, all you have to do is put a little pressure on the rear brake, feed a little throttle, this bike will go anywhere you want it to go, even at a crawling pace.
The riding position is Cruiser-like and very comfortable. All the controls, including the different buttons for the transmission fall readily to hand. So, if you’re in the market for something different and or for whatever reason need or prefer an automatic transmission, the DN-01 Crossover might just be for you. MSRP is $15,599.00, not cheap I know, however, most dealers are more than willing to wheel and deal on this bike. That’s especially true at Performance Honda in Wesley Chapel at 28009 Wesley Chapel Blvd. They are at the intersection of I-75 and State Road 54, 813-973-1888. Tell them Motorman sent ya.