Honda Introduces their Automatic Motorcycle to the U.S. Market

April 10, 2009 by  
Filed under New Products

For the motorcycle purist out there, the idea of riding a motorcycle without a clutch is unimaginable. However, Honda is taking a gamble and introducing the Honda DN-01 to the American Marketplace this week. The Honda DN-01 uses a hydromechanical transmission, which allows riders to bypass the usual hand clutch and foot shifter. The DN-01’s hydromechanical transmission, or HFT, uses fluids to push a series of swash plates back and forth for seamless and buttery movement between the gears.

Autos have almost completely transitioned from the manual transmission to automatics. According to WardsAuto.com, 93% of all 2008 cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. were equipped with automatic transmissions. That’s a 14% increase from 1990 when 79% of vehicles sold in the U.S. had automatic transmissions. Will motorcyles follow the trend of their four wheel cousins? Honda seems to think so. “Five years from now, you’d be amazed how many automatic and semiautomatics you’re going to see in the two-wheeled world,” said Jon Seidel, assistant manager of motorcycle press for American Honda in Torrance.

2009 Honda DN-01
Base price: $14,599
Powertrain: Liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 52-degree V-twin, SOHC, four valves per cylinder, shaft drive, hydromechanical two-mode automatic transmission with six-speed manual mode, anti-lock brakes
Displacement: 680 cc
Seat height: 27.2 inches
Curb weight: 595 pounds
Road test MPG: 48 (based on 356 miles traveled)

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[Source: LA Times]