July 10, 2008 From its sports-scooter meets future-cruiser styling to its dual-mode auto/sports-shift infinitely variable transmission, the 680cc DN-01 destroys Honda's conservative, staid reputation in a flurry of raised eyebrows and shaking heads. It couldn't possibly be a Honda - yet it is, and it's going on sale in the UK from August 1 to see if the market's ready for a truly progressive, niche-busting two-wheeler.

The DN-01 features the 680cc engine from Honda's Transalp, presented cruiser-style and exposed in the frame. Its forward footboards are also very much in the cruiser vein, as is the riding position - but from there things get strange. The handlebars are shaped like a maxi-scooter's - as is the tail section and storage compartment. The front end is somewhere between a sports-tourer, a Transalp and a Deauville, the shaft drive outputs to a flashy single-sided swingarm and there's a large, flat underslung exhaust. Nothing preceding the DN-01 looks anything like it.

It's the first bike to feature Honda's new 'Human Friendly Transmission' - which runs in full automatic as an infinitely variable transmission, or locks into standard ratios to provide a tiptronic-style 'sports mode' for twisties action. Brakes are ABS.

Honda has announced it will go on sale on August 1 in the UK - with no precedent at its hefty UKP9200 (US$18,200) price level, it'll be interesting to see how this strange and wonderful bike is received by the public.

More information and loads of photos at TheBikerGene.