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Thread: Aprilia Mana 850

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    Should Get Out More Nik S's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Aprilia Mana 850


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    While I was at Maxmoto I thought I'd also have a spin on their Mana - the automatic bike.

    First up, the look of it - meh, it's okay. The headlight's not all that, although it works well, but the back end's quite nice. What is interesting is that the fuel tank is actually under the seat - what looks like the fuel tank is actually a storage facility that'll take a normal-sized full face and has a power socket and a light in it and is supported by a gas ram.

    Okay, so this automatic thing - it's powered by a 850cc twin with a variable ratio belt. This means that the Mana has four modes, settings if you like, of operation - touring (fully auto), sporting (allows it to fully rev out), rain (softens the power delivery to eliminate wheelspin) and manual. There's both a push-button gearchange and a normal gear lever and you can, if you can be arsed, use the gearchange in fully auto mode to get yourself a little more engine braking into corners. I didn't bother and can't say I ever thought I needed to.

    It is, somewhat stupidly I thought, a very tall bike - the seat height felt about the same if not taller than the Stelvio - which seems a bit daft to me. Why build something that's so rider-friendly, 'cos it really is, and then give it a seat height that'll put a large number of potential buyers off straight away? The Aprilia Shiver is the same - great-looking streetfighter, but with a seat that only a feckin' supermodel in six inch porn star shoes can reach the ground from ...

    Anyway, not having a clutch lever is a bit disconcerting at first. You start the bike in a conventional mana (sorry), but obviously you can't rev it when it's on the stand like you can a conventional bike - the motor cuts out if you try. All you do is give it a bit of throttle and away it goes. That in itself feels a bit weird 'cos you're so used to engaging a gear and letting the clutch out, but not as weird as when you first throttle off to stop at a junction or summat - I found me left hand constantly reaching for the non-existent clutch lever. It doesn't take long to get used to, though, and once you're on the move it's really not a problem. I followed a mate of mine who lives round that way and leads demo ride-outs for Maxmoto - he was riding the new Aprilia Dosoduro and I very soon forgot all about the fact that I didn't have a clutch and/or didn't have to change gear 'cos I was too busy trying to keep his tail light in sight ...

    If you move it out of touring into sport mode, apparently, it'll accelerate hard enough to see off an R1 away from the lights. Whether this is true I can't tell you, partly because I didn't have a handy R1 to test it against but mostly 'cos I couldn't be arsed to put it in sport mode - I wanted to ride it in fully auto mode to see what it'd be like to live with day-t'-day.

    And? Well, I have to say that it didn't really do much for me 'cos it was a little too MOR for my tastes and I don't really like the look of it but, if you live in or on the outskirts of a big town or city and most of your riding is in traffic, then it'd be excellent. It rides like a bike, it brakes like a bike, it handles like a bike, but there's no tedious pissing around with constant gearchanging. With a bit more power, it'd be a great twisty hill roads bike too - wouldn't mind a crack at the Cat on one to see what it's like.


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    Should Get Out More El Gordo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aprilia Mana 850

    Do you think the bike would be hungry on brakes, if you can't really use gears to create a steady slowdown for things like planning junctions, lights, roundabouts etc?

    Is it like many automatic cars at a standstill, where you need to hold it on the brakes to stop the creeping?

    All aprilias are tall, unfortunately. Never found one that wasn't apart from their step-thrus.

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    Should Get Out More Nik S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aprilia Mana 850

    Quote Originally Posted by El Gordo View Post
    Do you think the bike would be hungry on brakes, if you can't really use gears to create a steady slowdown for things like planning junctions, lights, roundabouts etc?

    Is it like many automatic cars at a standstill, where you need to hold it on the brakes to stop the creeping?

    All aprilias are tall, unfortunately. Never found one that wasn't apart from their step-thrus.
    No more than any other, I don't think, it actually didn't feel any different to any 'normal' bike if you like.

    Nope, no creep whatsoever ('cept the one rising it) - quite impressed by this, I have to say.

    The Dosoduro is actually lower, for some strange reason.


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    Really Bored whysub's Avatar
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    Default Fantastic Gearbox.....

    I had one loaned to me for a couple of weeks (in which I did about 1500 miles) , and absolutely loved it. You have to ride one to appreciate how good an idea an auto box the same as this would be on most (but not all) bikes. The upward gear changes are just like making clutchless changes on any other bike, and are super smooth both up and down the box. And unlike auto cars with the "flappy paddle" gear changes, the change is instantanious, no lag, no slip, just going from ratio to ratio without hesitation. Changing up (either by foot or finger) is no mental problem, but the first time you change down at speed without having to match the revs, you do so with a little trepadation, before you get over the fear of lutchless down changes

    I can't see how it can be heavier on braking components, as you can use the gear box to slow down, even when it is the fully auto mode. I never found myself using the brakes any moer that any other bike

    The handling is as to be expected for an Aprilia in that it is very good, and the gear box helps this too. On my favourite twisties, with the 'box in the 7 speed Sport mode, the bike was so far over on a long left hand bend I could not get my foot unde the lever to change up to keep on accellerating-no problem when you can change up using the finger gear change. In all the time I used it, I only rode it in scooter mode a few to see what it was like, and it was fine.

    Being unfaired, wind blast is noticed, but I could maintain 110mph for miles with no discomfort (compared to the Tuono I had where 100 mph for more han a couple of minutes was a pain). There is a GT version coming out with a half fairing, and a 1200 cc version maybe put into production. I found the 850 motor a little soft powerwise, and another 10 bhp would make it so much better. But i liked it so much I have asked my boss if we can have one at work. Great in town, secure storage in the "tank", comfortable on distance work, and more importantly, great fun on the back roads. Hell, I've been considering buying one for my own use, and it's not ofen I'll consider doing something so drastic.

    Go and try one-this is no scooter type gearbox or CVT type, but a "proper" box, with clutch assistance. As far as I am aware, there have been no troubles with these bikes engine/gearbox wise. One day, most bikes will be like this-just overcome your prejudices and have a go on a demo!

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