Endurance test interim balance Aprilia NA 850 Mana

Constant friend of Mana

Few motorcycles are as interested in the meeting as the Aprilia Mana 850. But those who reduce the clutchless naked bike to its automatic function alone fail to recognize the versatile nature of the V2 machine.

The author was amazed in May of this year in Nessebar, Bulgaria, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here, of all places, far from the center of Europe, another specimen was found AT.prilia Mana, piloted by the vice President of the local motorcycle club. Obviously the practical qualities of the brand new motorcycle concept with automatic power transmission quickly got around to the shores of the Black Sea.

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Endurance test interim balance Aprilia NA 850 Mana
Constant friend of Mana

King in town


Because you cannot shift into a manual gear, the parking brake helps prevent rolling away.

But apart from this point of criticism, word about the qualities of Mana quickly got around in the MOTORRAD editorial team, so that the test motorcycle covered a good 30,000 of the planned 50,000 kilometers in just six months. And without major defects, see box on page 42. Could it be because MOTORRAD tester Georg Jelicic had the mana blessed at a motorcycle consecration in the Rhineland right at the beginning of the endurance test? In any case, the initial reservations of some members of the editorial team against the tutelage by the "excellent functioning automatic" (Quote from Jelicic) quickly.

"Top notch", finds MOTORRAD graphic artist Jörg Rettenmayr, "the mana is really fun. You are king in the city!" "The technology is convincing", also confirmed fleet manager Rainer Froberg after the first test drive. "Class! Who needs a manual transmission??" asks incognito "avowed sports driver". "Feels like rubber", on the other hand complains another representative of the heater faction. "And sounds awful too." The origins of the scooter sector cannot be denied, after all, the V-two-cylinder comes completely from the Gilera GP 800 scooter. The sound is annoyingly high in the higher-speed automatic sports mode and louder than in touring mode. And the vibrations are more violent due to the higher speed level.

In any case, the two-cylinder is not a model boy when it comes to running culture. The tingling sensation in footrests and rubber grips is already quite annoying from a speed of 130, at the latest from 150 it annoys all test drivers. The specified 200 km / h Vmax are Italian optimistic, with difficulty the endurance test Mana reaches a measured top speed of 190 km / h. In addition to the rubber band effect due to the constant speed when accelerating, the sudden disengagement of the centrifugal clutch when rolling is typical of a scooter. Especially since the drag torque of the two-cylinder is relatively large up to the disengagement, the free rolling then acts like a twist on the throttle. This is particularly noticeable in city traffic, but also in serpentines it sometimes rains the line. If you want to prevent this, you don’t necessarily have to switch to shift mode, but can also downshift at lightning speed in automatic mode, for example to increase the engine’s very high drag torque when driving downhill.

Everyday strong and travel-friendly


If the large, practical storage compartment in the dummy tank is not enough, the Mana can be upgraded to a full-fledged tourer using the optional luggage system.

The cockpit, illuminated in fiery red at night, is clear and informative: drive mode, outside temperature, driving time, stop watch, average consumption and speed. So a lot of distraction. You hardly miss the missing tachometer. But a low-maintenance secondary drive like the scooter. The conventional chain is supposed to underline a certain sporty claim, but needs care. And unfortunately a main stand is missing for the annoying chain maintenance. The chain kit lasted a decent 30,000 kilometers, but the Mana needs a new belt for the variator every 20,000 kilometers, which means a spare part price of 130 euros plus a little working time every time. After all, the service intervals of 10,000 kilometers are contemporary.

The series tires cannot convince. Because the really good grip, super sporty Dunlop Qualifier irritates not only with moderate cold and wet grip, see tire recommendation above, but also with low mileage. After 6320 kilometers, the first rear tire was completely bare, despite the large 180 mm wide tire in this class. A 160 would certainly have been sufficient. It is possible that the Mana would be more manageable and, above all, more neutral with a narrower tire. With standard tires, it tends to sit up on uneven asphalt in a sloping position. Which is particularly irritating in hairpin bends and requires fine course corrections.

Absolutely strong every day, the utility value of the Mana is convincing. The supposed tank offers the knee grip that motorcyclists miss on scooters. "It offers more intensive contact with the vehicle, an intuitive, direct driving experience, including more confidence when braking", says editorial roller expert Werner Enzmann. Tea "tank" serves as a spacious trunk: carpeted and equipped with a twelve-volt socket for a mobile phone charger or GPS. The helmet compartment, which can be unlocked both electrically and manually, only swallows full-face helmets with a relatively small outer shell. On tours, it turns into valuable storage space for the little things in life, wallet, cards, spare gloves, etc. Larger luggage had to swallow optional suitcases and top cases on long-distance trips.

She polarizes and converts


After briefly pressing the button, you can choose from three modes: rain, touring and sport.

The filler neck of the tank moved under the seat is located under the comfortable, foldable pillion seat. Refueling without spraying fuel is an art at the Mana, a side filler neck like the F-model from BMW would have been the better solution. It gets awkward when a roll of luggage is lashed to the back seat. The average petrol consumption is around five liters, so that the 16.3 liter tank enables a range of around 300 kilometers.

Apart from the puny, hard-to-reach side stand, the equipment and workmanship are at a high level: the shift lever and brake pedal are eccentrically adjustable, and radially hinged Brembo four-piston calipers are rarely found in the middle class. Unfortunately, the ABS version is only now on the market. However, the MOTORRAD example survived the first half of the endurance test well without the anti-lock device. If the second half runs similarly without problems, the automatic drive has finally proven its practical suitability.

Driver opinions

Werner Enzmann (editor)
"Seldom so easy and relaxed"

The Mana inspired me. Because I’ve seldom been on the road as relaxed and relaxed as with this compact, short and handy automatic Aprilia – a real feel-good motorcycle. The handling is great, I find the automatic system to be an asset in every situation – especially in the city, of course. The variator does its job perfectly, and anyone who wants can intervene. Only: That is completely unnecessary. For me, shifting and clutching a motorcycle are definitely anachronisms.

Michael Pfeiffer (Editor-in-Chief)
"Ideal for leisurely tours"

Is that what you want: a scooter in motorcycle design? A visually unsuccessful connection between Piaggio and Aprilia? The mana isn’t pretty. And I don’t need an automatic in the motorcycle either. I thought. Until I drove with the Mana. Because the whole thing works perfectly. Ideal for leisurely, pleasure-oriented tours. Accelerate, brake, that’s all. If Aprilia added a cardan shaft, ABS and a large fairing, the Mana would be a perfect mid-tidy tourer.

Norbert Kappes (test editor)
"The future belongs to the automatic motorcycle"

I am a comfortable person by nature. So I was eagerly awaiting the Aprilia Mana with its automatic in the long-term test. And she didn’t let me down. The system works ingeniously inconspicuously and allows the mana to progress so quickly that I don’t miss a manual transmission. It doesn’t even cross my mind that "Tiptronic" to activate. This is gimmick, yes superfluous stuff. I would have preferred an ABS for the Mana right from the start.

Defects in the test

So far, the Aprilia has had a good star. In any case, the defect devil has found only a small target.

Right at the start of the test, the turn signal was reset one or the other time, and water may have penetrated the handlebar fittings. Another problem was more serious at mileage 10556: the throttle valve did not close completely a few times. Which in certain circumstances can even be really dangerous on a motorcycle that cannot be manually disengaged. To be on the safe side, a completely new throttle body was installed, after which the defect no longer occurred. The reason could have been contamination in the throttle valve bearings. Aprilia has already responded and developed a plastic cover that can be retrofitted on older machines. More often there are entries in the logbook that the V2 suddenly stopped, especially when driving downhill or when coasting down during the warm-up phase, for example before traffic lights.


Of the 76 hp rated power, only 57 hp reach the rear wheel. The rest gets stuck in the variator and centrifugal clutch, which also thwart the performance projection on the crankshaft. Compared to the shift mode, the automatic increases the speed and thus the performance at low speeds. Albeit to a different extent in the three programs.

The switching possibilities of the mana

No motorcycle enables more switching functions than the gearless Mana. In addition to the three continuously variable automatic programs (rain, touring and sport), there is also a choice of seven “gears”. These are fixed gear ratios of the variator that are engaged without any clutch.

Tire recommendation

The choice of tires often has a more pronounced effect on driving behavior than some changed suspension settings. In addition to the standard tires (Dunlop Qualifier), MOTORRAD tested six other common pairings at the Aprilia Mana.

Bridgestone BT 021
With the BT 021, the somewhat sluggish steering behavior is followed by a very neutral steering behavior over the entire lean angle range. You only need a little force to keep the mana on course when you are on a steep slope. The BT 021 is very stable when braking and in a straight line. Despite different rubber compounds (two on the forehead wheel and three on the rear wheel) it weakens when wet.

Continental Motion
A higher mileage should distinguish the Motion from the touring sport tire from Conti, the RoadAttack. A possibly reduced liability as a result does not come into play with the limited inclination freedom of the Mana. From the neutral position, the Motion steers in easily and manageably, but unexpectedly tilts a little further at greater inclines.

Dunlop Qualifier
The sport-oriented qualifier cannot show his qualities on the Mana. Because he buys the good adhesion reserves in the warm state with early spinning and smearing away in cold temperatures and in wet conditions. In addition, the neutrality worsens noticeably with increasingly worn tires, and strong counter-steering is necessary in an inclined position.
conditionally recommended

Dunlop Roadsmart
With pleasant handiness and pleasant neutrality over the entire lean angle range, the Roadsmart fits better on the Mana than the sportier qualifier from Dunlop. When braking in an inclined position, the righting moment is only small. Only when driving over bumps or parting joints does it noticeably transmit slight bumps. Adhesion in dry or wet conditions: excellent in any case.
highly recommended

Metzeler Roadtec Z6 Interact
Thanks to a variable winding technology for the steel belt, the new Z6 Interact is said to have increased mileage and adhesion in wet conditions compared to the previous Z6. On the Mana, it impresses with its agile steering behavior without appearing nervous. Tea shocks are also well cushioned when crossing joints. The feedback is perfect even with cold tires and in wet conditions.
highly recommended

Michelin Pilot Road 2
The Road 2 turns in with great willingness to turn. Even at a great lean angle, it hardly requires any counter-steering forces. However, this manageable and sporty character causes a noticeable wobble and nervousness when driving moderately. The most weighty arguments of the Pilot Road 2 are its wet driving properties, here it is clearly superior to its competition and is considered a reference.

Pirelli Diablo Strada
The Diablo Strada impresses above all with its neutrality over the entire lean angle range. Even on a steep incline, the Pirelli effortlessly follows the chosen line. The handling and the good feedback are also convincing. As with the other touring sports tires, the Strada’s grip limit on dry roads is well above the Mana’s lean angle.
highly recommended

Accessories put to the test

For the still less common Mana, only Aprilia offers accessories. This is high quality and a perfect fit. This will soon also include a long awaited main stand.

The windshield for 259.99 euros is not really convincing. The wind pressure is noticeably reduced, but for a naked bike the seat position integrated deep into the motorcycle offers good wind protection anyway. Behind the huge pane that takes getting used to, it gets really loud, because violent turbulence drum on the helmet. Therefore, ear plugs are necessary from a speed of 100.

Luggage rack
The upper luggage rack is made of tubular steel for 162.78 euros and the separate, side pannier racks for a hefty 197.81 euros (set price). Both cases and top cases can be easily attached using three-point fastenings, the connection is very firm and absolutely vibration-free, even on gravel roads.

Top case
Tea sturdy top case with a large reflector remains absolutely watertight thanks to the large overlap between the wide-opening lid and the housing. That makes it ideal, for example, for transporting camera equipment. The volume is specified as 35 liters, the price is an inexpensive 93.72 euros (colored lid costs extra). Overall “highly recommended”, but a topcase – far back and up, very far from the vehicle’s center of gravity – naturally has a strong influence on driving behavior. The mana becomes more wobbly in curves. For this reason too, Aprilia only specifies a maximum payload of five kilograms.

The watertight side cases with a capacity of 40 liters have proven to be extremely robust and can even handle small bumps on street posts remarkably well. Like the top case, they each swallow a full-face helmet and open their lids wide. However, they are a bit difficult to open, it only works with both hands. Removing it from the wearer can also take a lot of effort. In addition, the case and topcase each carry separate keys. The price for the suitcase set is a hefty 519.53 euros.

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