Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Commuter Special: The 2008 Aprilia Mana 850


The 2008 Aprilia Mana 850. Nice styling, competent chassis and suspension, 76bhp v-twin, automatic gearbox. What more could you ask for?

Pics: Motoblog

The Mana 850, which was first shown at the 2006 EICMA in Milan, will now soon be available in Aprilia showrooms worldwide. While it seems to be a modern, smart looking and competent motorcycle overall, the Mana 850’s calling card is its electronically-controlled ‘Sportgear’ automatic transmission. The bike does not have a clutch lever – the gearbox can either be left in the fully automatic ‘Autodrive’ mode, or the rider can choose to shift gears manually, using the clutchless, sequential shift mode. And you can flip back and forth between the two modes, via a handlebar-mounted switch, even when the bike is running.

Automatic gearboxes on motorcycles are not exactly new. The 1975 Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert and the 1978 Honda CB400A Hondamatic had automatic gearboxes, as does the current Yamaha FJR1300AE. But, of course, the Aprilia Mana 850’s auto unit, with its more advanced electronics, is in a different world altogether. In fully automatic ‘Autodrive’ mode, the rider can choose between three settings – Touring, Sport and Rain – and power delivery is optimized accordingly.

In sequential manual shift mode, the CVT gearbox gives you seven electronically pre-defined ‘gear ratios’ to choose from, and the actual shifting can be done via a conventional left-side foot pedal, or a switch that’s mounted on the left side of the handlebar. And the best part is, in manual mode, if you do not downshift while slowing down (and/or while coming to a complete stop…), the Mana will still do it for you automatically!


A video of the Mana 850 in action!

The engine is a 90-degree, 8-valve, 839cc v-twin (developed by Aprilia themselves), which makes 76 horsepower at the crank. Yeah, sure, the Mana 850 is no GSX-R killer, but the bike’s CVT system and its engine’s Weber Marelli EFI system work hard to make sure that power delivery is smooth and consistent at all times. The Mana’s ‘fuel tank’ is actually a storage compartment that can take a full-face helmet, while fuel is stored in a tank that’s placed under the rider’s seat.

Coming to the suspension, the Mana 850 has a 43mm USD fork up front, and hydraulic monoshock at the back, that’s adjustable for preload and rebound damping. The bike is fitted with dual 320mm brake discs at the front with four-piston radial-mount calipers, and single 260mm rear disc.

To sum up, the 2008 Aprilia Mana 850 is a fresh, contemporary take on the middleweight, all-purpose motorcycle. If we had to choose, we’d probably take the high-tech, good looking Mana 850, over bikes like the BMW F800S, Honda Hornet, Suzuki GSR600, Yamaha FZ6 or Kawasaki ER-6n. For pricing and other details, visit the Aprilia Mana website here.

Also see:
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2008 Yamaha YZF-R6: The best middleweight sportsbike around?
Ducati almost ready with their all-new Monster 695...
Simply awesome: 2008 Triumph Speed Triple!
The amazing BMW HP2 Sport: Pics and details...
The all-new KTM 690 motorcycle range...
Top Secret! Hot new bikes coming from Yamaha, Honda and Ducati!!!


The first pics of the dual-purpose Moto Guzzi Stelvio! Better pics and more details soon...

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.... I dunno. The Mana 850 seems pretty dull to me. Why should anyone buy this bike is beyond me, but then to each his own. I'd rather have the Moto Guzzi Stelvio! :)

gixxerfan320 said...

if i wanted an auto 'box i'd get a scooter. a small, cheap chinese one. not a bloody 850cc bike. the mana sucks big time..

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't really see the point. 'Playing' with gears is part of the experience of riding.

I agree sometimes you don't care about experience, you just want to get somewhere - usually to work through the city traffic. Auto transmission could be handy, but for those times you buy a cheap runabout - which Mana is not.

Still, kudos to Aprilia for daring to try something different, even if I hope it doesn't catch on.

Anonymous said...

no. really, no. I'd much rather have an R1 and change my own gears.

Anonymous said...

The Mana is okay I guess but I'm really waiting for Aprilia's V4 machine which you guys wrote about some time ago. THAT is going to be something else! :o)

Anonymous said...

finally another choice for a disabled biker who cant pass the test on a manual bike.
only tow other bikes with auto boxes the hondamatic from the 70's and the moto guzzi 1000. nice to have something modern to make an auto trike out of, not the same as an R1 etc but gets more people back on bikes

Anonymous said...

It looks like a very useful bike. It's ideal for heavy traffic situations that exists in big cities, plus it gives the rider 75 hp for hard throttling.

Anonymous said...

you do have to change ur gears, all you have to do though is press a button.

Anonymous said...

No....you dont have to change gears at all even with a button. Read the article. Friend has one and its a pretty awsome bike.

Anonymous said...

I just saw one at our local Aprilia dealer. Nice looking. Quality. Good feel. I'm an older rider with a Honda Silverwing 583cc scoot as a daily commuter. No road racing at this point in my life. But sometimes I'd like to get a little frisky which is why the Mana interests me. Also at this point in my life I have the $$ to buy something like this. I generally don't miss shifting - especially in city traffic. For me it's the kinetic playground aspect that involves leaning into the curves of my highway commute and working traffic in a way 4-wheel boxes could never do. However the megascooters are awfully heavy which does take some of the fun out of the ride. But I also carry with me a spare helmet, full rain gear and cover for the scoot. Large scooters also present a lot of surface to crosswinds which can be unnerving at times. I think of my Silverwing as a Goldwing of scooters but maybe a Mana would be a bit more fun for everday commuting. These crossover machines (such as the Silverwing and Mana) are kind of in 'no mans land' as scooter folks are intimidated by their sheer size when riding in a group of scooters and motorcyclists don't really accept us either. It's tough life!

Anonymous said...

Seems most of you don't get it. I like shifting my own gears too, but the Mana isn't really for me. It's more for my wife, who doesn't ride her own bike or maybe the male or female who's not really comfortable with a clutch and shifting. Maybe it's for those that have done lots of biking and now just want to relax and enjoy the scenery around them with out bothering with shifting. Makes sense to me..

Anonymous said...

I too was sceptical on this bike , but my wife has a permantly injured left ankle & was really interested in the mana. I found a dealer that would let me test ride it,& was immediately impressed with this bike. It is fast enough, really nimble,& comfortable. The seat is great, you can ride all day & not get sore.I ride a duc. monster & kaw.z750,but find myself always wanting to ride her mana. This is also a great bike for two-up riding. Like I said, you have to ride it to really appreciate it.

moi said...

People said same kind of things when Ferrari brings out its "F1 gearbox" on the Ferrari f355;
Now, they sell it more than the normal version...

I know, it's not the same technology, but it give the same kind of pleasure...

RazorFish said...

There are bikers out there (like myself) that cannot manually shift anymore (severe gout in my case), but still want to ride a bike and not a scooter.

I think the Mana is an excellent solution for people like (who cannot) and people that do not want to shift.

How many of the nay-sayers drive an automatic in their car?

moi said...

RazorFish: there is nothing to do with automatic cars. Automatic cars are boats who never does what you want.
Here, the technical changes, but the reactions and the pleasure stays... You only have more ergonomic tools... ;-)

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