Click above for high-res gallery of the 2009 Honda DN-01

There's a recent trend towards automatic transmissions in full-size two-wheelers that blur the line between large maxiscooters and true motorcycles and Honda is making that distinction much harder to differentiate with its new DN-01. While Aprilia's recent Mana 850 could best be described as a motorcycle with an automatic transmission, the DN-01 seems a bit more like a very large scooter with a laid-back cruiser styling and riding position. What's the point? It seems that some riders prefer machines with larger contact points on the ground and that are more comfortable with a motorcycle-style saddle than a scooters tell-tale step-through design.

Popular Mechanics managed to snag an early DN-01 for testing and they seem to have come away impressed with how well the machine works. With a 60-horsepower V-Twin engine displacing nearly 700ccs, we wouldn't expect incredible fuel mileage, and the 44 miles per gallon that PM recorded proves that there are certainly more efficient ways to get around. Still, for the right person, Honda's latest cycle could offer an easier entrance into the world of two-wheelers. The biggest downer may be the price; $14,599 is a lot of coin, especially since the Aprilia Mana comes in at $9,899.



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