Aprilia Mana 850 vs. Honda DN-01

Automatics For The People

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Kevin Wing, Motorcyclist Archives

2008 Aprilia Mana 850 | Price $9899
Hard Parts

The 839cc, eight-valve V-twin is stout...considering it's sourced from a Gilera scooter. Dry-sump lubrication means oil lives in a separate tank. The Sportgear transmission is a belt-type CVT; the most advanced example we've sampled. Pick one of three Autodrive maps and let it do the shifting, or row through the seven computer-derived ratios on your own.

Everything bolts up to a lattice of tubular Italian steel, including the aluminum swingarm. The 43mm fork is predictably utilitarian and sadly non-adjustable. An offset rear shock, adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping, bolts directly to the aforementioned swingarm without the benefit or expense of a linkage.

Those 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are shod with sticky Dunlop Qualifier radials. Beyond that, the Mana rolls on an assemblage of unassuming-yet-capable hardware. Paired with 320mm floating stainless-steel rotors, ersatz Brembo front calipers are somewhat less effective than the real thing. ABS would be a nice addition for next year.

Nothing is exactly what it seems around here. What looks like a fuel tank is actually a roomy storage bin, complete with remote release switch on the handlebar and cell-phone charging slot. A 4.2-gallon fuel tank is disguised as the seat base. Pop the pillion pad to top if off. Strategically placed modesty panels minimize clutter around the engine.

Tech Spec
Engine type: l-c 90-deg. V-twinFront brake: Dual Aprilia four-piston calipers, 320mm discsCorrected 1/4-mile: 13.49 sec. @ 97.72 mph
Valve train: SOHC, 8vRear brake: Aprilia single-piston caliper, 260mm discTop-gear roll-on: 5.64 sec.
Displacement: 839ccFront tire: 120/70-ZR17 Dunlop QualifierFuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 42/37/39 mpg
Bore x stroke: 88.0 x 69.0mmRear tire: 180/55-ZR17 Dunlop Qualifier Colors: Passion Red, Lead Gray
Compression: 10.0:1Rake/trail:24.0 deg./4.0 in.Availability: Now
Fuel system: EFISeat height: 31.5 in.Warranty: 24 mo./unlimited mi.
Clutch: AutomaticWheelbase: 57.6 in.Contact:
Aprilia USA
140 E. 45th St.
New York, NY 10017
Transmission: Automatic or standard 7-speedFuel capacity: 4.2 gal.
Frame: Steel trellisWeight (tank full/empty): 516/491 lbs.
Front suspension: Showa 43mm inverted telescopic forkMeasured horsepower: 47.7 bhp @ 7750 rpm
Rear suspension: Single Sachs shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound dampingMeasured torque: 41.7 ft.-lb. @ 5000 rpm

Okay, so 55 bhp and 40 lb.-ft. of torque are less-than-impressive numbers for a mid-sized sporting twin. As with the Honda, quality trumps quantity when power flows through a CVT. You'll get where you're going, but excitement is eclipsed by expediency.

The Aprilia feels as conventional as it looks, especially compared to the longer, lower Honda. The 31.5-inch seat height and low pegs provide ample legroom for tall riders, but the Mana accommodates humans of (mostly) all sizes more comfortably than the DN-01.

Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!

*Please enter your username

*Please enter your password

*Please enter your comments
Not Registered?Signup Here
(1024 character limit)
  • Motorcyclist Online