View Full Version : The Automatic For the People

06-18-2008, 04:21 PM
I rode over to AF1 today and rode the MANA 850 for over 100 miles and rode the Shiver 750 for about 10 miles.
I know many of you already know much about this machine but I will lay out some of the basic info in "my lingo".
The MANA is a really neat bike, innovative and appears to be initially flawless. Power is very good, with the CVT the engine staying in the
torque curve well, very good acceleration both from stops and highway roll on's.
Vibration is minimal, in the bars and some very slight vibration in the pegs, which you seem to ignore after a few miles on the road.
There are three "drive modes" : Touring, Sport and Rain. You change all of these "on the fly" with a thumb button on the right handlebar control.
In touring you are basically an automatic like a scooter, with seamless ratio changes when accelerating. In Sport you can manually shift the 7 speed trans by foot shifter or "paddles" on the left handlebar control. Once again there are absolutley no clicks,clunks etc when shifting, totally smooth and seamless. I had no need to try the "Rain" mode but I assume it electronically decreases engine torque to reduce wheelspin in slick conditions, which would be quickly renamed to "dirt road" mode if I owned the bike. The is NO clutch lever! ( and that takes a little getting used to ! )
After riding the bike in SPORT mode for about 10 miles I thought WHY ? It performs just as well in TOURING and you dont even have to give a thought about shifting. There is some engine braking in all modes, not as much as you might be used to but it's there, maybe reduced by 60%, the bike does not "freewheel when the throttle is rolled off. Front radial brakes and good rear brake haul the bike down quickly.
Heat from the engine and radiators was minimal, with 99-102 ambient temps showing on the bikes digital guage on the dash, the heat on my legs was much less than my Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 I rode over on.
The engine and exhaust are very quiet, with the typical low Italian V twin rumble.
The bike features a storage compartment where the fuel tank usually sits, large enough to stow my full coverage helmet.The tool kit is also located in this storage area. The compartment can be opened with a switch on the left handlebar control while riding ( Kodak moments? )
The fuel tank is located under the passenger seat, you flip up the passenger seat for filler access with a key from the rear of the bike.
Handling is firm and sporty, handlebars are 1 1/8" fat bars, seating is upright and comfortable, seat is firm and not much room to "scoot around" due to the step in the passenger seat . Mileage was about 45 mpg, using 2.4 gallons in about 105 miles.
This is no "less" a man's bike because of the CVT transmission,and I would not hesitate to recommend this bike to anyone, especially with a MSRP under 10K and tons of potential for performance gains. This bike is geared towards commuting and in town traffic but I can tell that it will hang with most sportbikes ( and their riders) in the twisties easily, and will probably have a nice advantage on sketchy or slick pavement.
I would assume the chain and sprockets would last much longer on this type of bike ( provided adjustment and maintenance were adequate )
since there is minimal "snatching/jerking" passed on throughout the drivetrain.
Also it gets plenty of attention, just flip the storage compartment open and watch the people walk over and ask questions !
Aprilia got it right, hopefully they will continue to develope this bike and find some way to get the public interested in the value and function it has.
Entry level or long time riders will be equally at home with it.
Would I buy one? Sure, I am thinking about it !
Thanks to Ed and Micah at AF1 for the chance to spend a long ride on this bike, stop by AF1 and check it out !

06-19-2008, 04:02 AM
Nice review, I agree with all you had to say. I have had my Mana now for about 3 weeks and have done about 800 miles on it.

The only thing I have found in that time is that bizzarely I find that I use the sports gear mode when I hit traffic and Touring on the open roads. The reason being is that I personaly find the bike holds the gears for too long in traffic and which has quite an impact on MPG and also riding pleasure. I guess I ride very relaxed and therefore as I'm not zipping in and out of cars much prefer to be in sports gear mode and just thumb the gear up to 3 or 4 as soon as I can. This keeps both the revs and noise down (helping the vibes) and gives much better fuel effeciency. I found that over my commute of 2 days which was about 125 miles i would consume 1 litre more of fuel using just Touring. This may not sound much, but when you fill up every other day which on average means 10 fill ups a month it adds up to 1 saved tank of pretrol, not helped also by the high price of fuel here in the UK, Currently about 1.17 per litre !!!!!

On the issue of the vibes I didnt notice it at first, then I had a small problem with the starter motor connection and whilst it was being looked at the screen and Top box arrived and was fitted. When I got it back I found I noticed the vibes much more, could it also be extra turbulance caused by the screen, I dont think so as it can happen at quite low speeds depending on what gear its in. I notice that someone here has already managed to go through a belt already in 1500 miles which is crazy, I know the bike was ridden very hard for pretty much all that time. Perhaps Aprilia have a issue with the belts on some bikes causing early wear and extra vibes, only time will tell. I'm not really worried about it, ahve the warranty to cover me and make take out the extra warranty at the end of the 2 years, though not sure how much that will cost.

Over all I love the bike, handles beautifully (I have only ever ridden Maxi scoots before) and has plenty of power (for me anyway)