Wednesday, 14 July 2010

easy rider

I've been a keen motorcycle rider for most of my life. I got my first bike (a Honda SL 125 as in the image to the left [which isn't my bike]) some time back in the late 70's.

I've pretty much had a bike ever since then, with the exception of my time in Finland.

Being back in Australia I wasn't immediately thinking of "gosh I have to get a bike" (honest) but with only one car in the family at the moment it was clearly a reasonable thing to start thinking of soon.

Lucky for me a good friend of mine came to the "rescue" and offered me a bit of time on his new toy, a Honda DN-01.

theDN01


In a nutshell it is an 800cc, V twin, fuel injected, water cooled, shaft drive bike with ABS and a fully automatic gearbox.

shaftDrive

Everything is neatly tucked away, no muck flying out of the windows incubating the passers by with this one ... Heck its the first bike I can ride to work and not get my pants dirty (chain lube fling off) or my black shoes scruffed up by the gear change lever (even my K1oo can't boast that).

A close look at the front end shows the typical ABS sensor system and triple pot (six piston) disks.
frontABS

Yep, it stops quite well!

The cockpit is quite nice ... and clean!

cockpit

nice foot rests too, and not a trace of vibration through them.

The gear box is based on the CVT system which have been used in Honda 250cc scooters since the Spacy in 1986.



If you're unfamiliar with the CVT system, I suggest this video will help clear up how the thing works.



But think of your MTB bicycle gears and the way the gears go up more by both increasing the front sprocket diameter and decreasing the rear.

For how the pulleys operate ...



Its used in use in some cars now too.


A little over a week and a thousand kilometers on the bike have given me time to get used to it and develop impressions.

My first impression remains with me still ... "hey, I kinda like this bike"

Sitting on the bike is an interesting experience, it is way lower than I expected. This is something which will / should make the bike more appealing to many riders who have "ducks disease"
"Ducks Disease", a term coined by the Welsh comedian Harry Secombe. He would demonstrate it by sitting between two men who appeared to be of the same height. Then they stood up and he was a foot shorter

Sufferers who ride bikes often go for bikes like the Yamaha Virago (ok if your a chick) or those wanting something different try the Yamaha T-Max (more on that soon). The problem with the T-Max is that while its a 500cc big scooter it also has a big seat height with a wide fat seat that generally keeps anyone shorter than 180cm (6 foot for the UK and USA readers) from touching the ground ... which is just the opposite of what a learner with ducks disease wants. The DN-01 however is perfect. I can even stand up and be 3 or 4 cm out of the saddle (and I've got ducks disease too!)

The operation of the automatic gearbox is fantastic. Within a few moments you forget about it (aside from the reflex twitching of the left foot and reaching for the clutch with the left hand...) and just ride it.

On the highway it cruises smoothly and if you want a little more acceleration when over taking, hit the switch on the left which puts you into S mode of the gearbox.

The minor fairing does an excellent job of keeping the wind off my chest at everything up to and including 110Km/H (we have some sections of highway here that are that speed) without introducing any noisy turbulence.

Fuel consumption seems to be something like 21Km / L (4.7L/100Km) out on the highway doing the speed limit.

I reckon this is the easiest to ride bike I've ever sat on. The 800cc V-Twin gives enough power to sit all day at 100Km/H on the highway (about 3800rpm FYI) and even with a passenger it all feels effortless.

If you were even roughly interested in a simple to ride, low seat height, competent easy to own bike then it would be hard to go past this. At the current prices they go for used they are a steal.

Honda have a long history of making evolutionary bikes; they're quite capable of producing class changing bikes (like say the CBR 600 which totally redefined the 600cc class) or completely orphaned things like the CX 500 Turbo. I have a feeling that the DN-01 is destined to be more like the CX500 than the CBR600.

That's not to say that Honda wasted their R&D money on the bike, as quite like the CX 500 Turbo they are bound to make great use of the many innovations which appeared on the bike. Stuff like the CVT, the electronic controls of the CVT, the well integrated ABS and the fact that its a "real bike" (not a scooter) which behaves like a bike and operates as easily as a scooter is bound to make an impact.

dn-01

its a bottler. I reckon that something like this system in a bike like the Honda Revere would be a scorcher. Either that or you could get a Silver wing or the Yamaha T-Max (especially if they bring out the 750cc version)



PS - some of my other bikes:







3 comments:

LensBubbles said...

I know nothing about bikes, but I have always been drawn to them. This DN-01 looks very clean and yet you can feel the power hidden underneath. One nice looking bike for sure.

Noons said...

That DN-01 sure looks like a sweet ride!
Shaft drive bikes just ride a lot smoother.

obakesan said...

Noons

while a well oiled and tensioned chain will consume less of the power in transfer to the wheel, I look about and see heaps of noisy flapping chains on the bikes around.

So shafts are more predictable and of course require less maintenance and cleaning than do chain bikes. I've had quite a few shafties and I know I prefer them too!

The Yamaha T-Max however has a fully enclosed oil bath chain drive to the rear, best of both worlds. I'm picking mine up on the weekend if all goes well