2009 Aprilia Mana 850

Aprilia Mana 850: First Ride

Almost all major manufacturers have at one time or another, imagined a motorcycle with an automatic transmission. But the achievements of the past  have never had the expected success. Possibly due to mechanical systems too complicated or simply because the pilot has ever thought to move from the clutch / selector pair. The drive for its part, one of the coolest mechanical discoveries in the history of two-wheeled vehicles, has found its place just inside the small motorcycles and scooters of displacement. With advances in electronics but also through the alloys and new materials that make up the belts was later perfected by the system and the ability of regulators to "absorb" power has almost ten times. Big scooters like the Suzuki Burgman 650, 500 Yamaha T-Max or the recent Gilera GP 800 examples are enough to measure this progress. But back to the new Aprilia, which in itself has nothing to do with the scooters, despite the presence of the unit.

 

Aprilia Mana 850

 

A whole motorcycle

The Mana 850 is a true motorcycle built as such, with a weight, brakes, suspensions and a motorcycle chassis. Their behavior has nothing to do with that of a motorcycle, in both the driving position and driving. To avoid confusion, Aprilia has followed the rear brake pedal (since there is no clutch, we could very well place this command on the left lever), used a transmission chain and ... keep the switch! However, engineers have not bothered to draw the characteristics of some scooters. The most obvious, but also the brightest, is certainly the trunk placed in place of the fuel tank that can house an integral helmet, tools, documents, and even has a small slot for the mobile phone. This frame can be opened electrically with a small button on the front of the left mechanical handle or with the ignition key. The opening of the hatch, which can be made even while driving, is hampered by a small hydro-pneumatic shock absorber. Certainly, this is not a principle, BMW had already used this solution with Scarver, but the result really succeeds and very convenient. As a result, the sixteen-liter fuel tank (built by Acerbis) is arranged underneath the seat and the air filter (and its box) is moved like the Harley-Davidson, to the left of the two cylinders. In this sense, from the model presented at the Furniture Fair in Milan last year, the work of Miguel Galluzzi reveals remarkable because we have gone from a large and ugly bulky air filter box to an integrating element perfectly to the line of the motorcycle. Under the seat, however, can not be placed and access the gas cap nothing should raise it by turning the ignition key counterclockwise.

 

Aprilia Mana 850

 

Automatic and sequential gearbox

As we said a little earlier, the Mana is built like a real motorcycle with a two-cylinder 839 cm3 76 cc engine, a steel frame, a front fork diam. 43 mm, 17-inch wheels or radial brake calipers (see "learned"). The big difference compared to any other motorcycle market is in the gearbox. Therefore, a complete set of gears, shafts, shift forks and other bearings, instead of a simple inverter composed of two pulleys connected by a belt, which varies the ratio of transmission as a function of the rotational speed of the motor ... But, and this is the difference, this mechanical simplicity is "assisted" by an electric motor that allows to intervene at will in the transmission ratio, or a semi-automatically, or in the sequential mode with seven speeds available. Clearly, this is a true gearbox without synchronizing gears or the unit because the Mana does not use centrifugal force and the separation of the plates is no longer driven by rollers. There is a principle similar to the 650 (SECVT system) Suzuki Burgman, with the difference that here the system is more complete and Mana has nothing to do with a motorcycle!

The main advantage of this concept, it helps to have a real motor brake. That's not all: thanks to electronics, the driver can intervene in the forward curve and in a variety of parameters for three different power curves in automatic mode (Rain, Touring and Sport)! 

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