Honda Launches DN-01 in Japan

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Honda Motor, Co., Ltd. will begin selling its DN-01 in Japan Friday. It's a bike that features a liquid-cooled four-stroke 680cc OHC V-twin engine and Honda's new Human-Friendly Transmission (HFT) — the manufacturer's first automatic transmission offered in a full-size motorcycle since the 1962 Juno M85.

Compared with the V-belt automatic transmission used on scooters, the HFT automatic transmission unit can be stored within the engine crankcase, increasing the level of design freedom in the body layout. In addition to two fully automatic shifting modes — "D" mode to cover ordinary riding and "S" mode for a sportier riding experience — the HFT features a six-speed manual mode, which allows riding with a manual transmission feel.

The bike also features anti-lock brakes, the Honda Ignition Security System (H.I.S.S.), and a new computer chip-fitted key — called the Honda Motorcycle Data (HMD) key — that allows dealers to view the machine's service history and other information.

Honda calls the DN-01 a "sports cruiser." The DN-01 takes its name from the phrase "Discovery of a New Concept," after Honda's desire to develop a new concept motorcycle. Since its exhibition as a concept model at the 39th Tokyo Motor Show in 2005, Honda has been working toward the market launch of the DN-01, efforts that resulted in the unveiling of the production version at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show in 2007.

Available in Pearl Sunbeam White, Pearl Amethyst Purple, Candy Glory Red and Graphite Black, the DN-01 retails in Japan for ¥1,239,000 (about $11,928).