Considering the mix of comments that we received when we covered Honda's new DN-01, we decided to show our readers that Honda is not the only manufacturer bringing the automatic transmission to the motorcycle. Aprilia debuted its 850 Mana last year, and the bike has since gone into production. Hopefully, the Mana will make it across the pond and into American dealers too, because there are a lot of reasons to like the new Aprilia.
The most obvious innovation is the automatic transmission, which uses a CVT design similar to what is available on Aprilia's own line of scooters, and even a few cars. Continuously variable transmissions have pulleys inside that can change diameter and thereby change the ratio. All of this happens automatically, unless the rider uses the buttons on the handlebars or the foot operated gearchange lever in its normal location off the left footpeg. Although Aprilia is known for making sportbikes featuring V-Twin engines, the 90-degree twin inside the Mana's steel trellis frame is the first streetbike engine designed in-house by Aprilia itself. Expect more bikes from Aprilia using variations of this engine. The fuel tank has also been moved under the seat, leaving a storage container where the tank would normally sit. That storage area is large enough for a helmet, making this an excellent commuter bike.
So, is the Mana just the gift from heaven that you were waiting for? Let us know what you think in the comments!