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Welcome to my Honda NM4 Vultus Vs Honda DN-01 review part 2 / comparison.
The Honda NM4 Vultus is the latest motorcycle styling exercise from Honda and one you can actually buy this year. It is strange that many so called reputable online sources skip the existence of the DN-01 which is shares similar stylistic inspiration. Anyway to everyone else the Vultus is an adventurously styled Japanese anime motorcycle design. Anyone in their twenties and thirties will be very familiar with the reference.
The predecessor to the NM4 Vultus is arguably the DN-01 in design but deviates is many significant ways. When the DN-01 was released it was by far one of the most stylistic and technologically impressive models ever. It combined the most technically advanced gearboxes, CBS, ABS, Single sided swing arm and shaft drive and a design unlike any other motorcycle at the time (2008).
The NM4 Vultus is mechanically not as exotic in 2014 as the DN-01 was in 2008 although LED lights and the DCT automatic box does count for some modern tech although the same as that used on the NC750 series which it is based, even down to the old school chain rear drive. Mind you the NC750 exhaust should be easy to change which is still a problem with the DN! The DN-01 is its own unique design except for the engine which is based on the NT series. The defining feature of the DN-01 was the gearbox or rather lack of traditional gears and of course stylistically it was and still is completely different to any other production motorcycle and as you can see from the pictures quite different from the NM4 Vultus.
The main issues with the DN-01 was purely marketing and price. Existing motorcycle writers and websites at the time and many even now simply are mostly about performance and slotting bikes into categories that they know. They didn’t seem to be creative or see the bigger picture. None actually understood what the DN-01 meant – the oft repeated scooter/cruiser mantra simply laughable today. Furthermore the major complaint was the lack of wind protection – only because it had a huge fairing that appeared to provide wind protection! Design or looks was the priority for the DN-01. However the key factor was that it was equipped with all the latest tech and unique design which meant the DN-01 simply was too expensive! Honda marketing has hopefully learned this lesson, clearly by making no reference to it.
DN-01 Vs NM4 Vultus conclusion: I do not consider the Vultus a successor to the DN-01 in total concept but a styling exercise. Based on specifications it will be immediately cheaper to make thanks to the common parts used with mass market NC series which was the main problem with the DN01! Hope that the Vultus does well because it is different and we need a new direction since all the new bikes are looking too much alike.
As for the DN-01 – it was a concept motorcycle brought into production that actually works very well and what Honda should do more.