Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Aprilia 850 Mana GT

Fri, March 12th, 2010

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2009–10 Aprilia 850 Mana GT
It's low on horsepower for an 850 and torque is soft given its V-twin configuration. But throttle response is just as well-sorted as the Dorsoduro and the Mana manages to be even smoother. The multi-mode clutchless CVT is a stellar piece of work.
It is not stellar, but perfectly adequate given the bike's grand touring role.
The GT model's half-fairing and revised tank panels really clean up a design that was more intriguing than attractive. Some of the quirkier details of the original unfaired Mana still aren't perfect (the muffler appears to be crash damaged); others, such as the round air cleaner on the left side of the engine, have grown on me. The overall look is now much more conservative, which fits the bike's performance.
I still can't give Aprilia the benefit of the doubt, and there are places in the country where it would be a long haul to visit an authorized dealer for service work. The throttle and transmission are electronically controlled, and with it's unique transmission design, the unproven Mana could be a real bugger over the long haul.
Assuming that you don't have any maintenance hassles, this bike nails practicality while still possessing lots of visceral appeal.
I love the concept of a true twist-and-go big bike. The only drawback would be hopping on another bike and finding that your touch on the clutch and shifter has gotten rusty.
If I could afford more than one motorcycle, the Mana GT would be my first choice for a second bike.