Hey Pete Roper
A buddy of mine just purchased a 2014 Aprilia Mana 850 GT ABS (from Vespa Thousand Oaks – Oca content. ) [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Any tips, tricks, or must dos on this clever bike? I know you’ve had nothing but praise for it over the years, and that factored into my recommendation that he give it strong consideration for purchase.
I love my Manas, I have two. Very early on when they were first sold here in ’08 I realized that this would be a perfect ‘Modern’ adjunct to my much loved V-1000 I Convert. I shelled out and realized immediately I’d made the right decision.
In fact I discovered that it is such a great little tourer I eschewed my Guzzis for my trip across the US in 2011 and bought a GT with the full fairing like the one pictured above.
Needless to say all the rough, tuff, he-men hate the Mana. Its an automatic so obviously it can’t be. Bike for a ‘Real Man’. It is also sub 1000cc, another blot on its man-card.
The great thing is that the sort of tools who worry about such shit are the losers and I laff all the way to the end of the road.
The Mana is fugal, it is robust, it is as close to ‘Maintenance Free’ as any modern vehicle you can get. Its also a sublime lightweight tourer and in hindsight Jude and I would probably of enjoyed our trans-continental jaunt in the USA last summer MORE if we’d taken the Mana rather than the Cali 1400!
Things to be aware of? Although the suspension of the GT is better than that of the ‘Plain Jane’ NA model it is still not brilliant. Unlike the NA all the GT’s have ABS which while a lovely thing and riding my GT changed my mind completely about its benefits on a bike BUT it means that if you want to upgrade the forks you are limited to working with the ‘Cheap and Cheerfuls’ it comes with or finding a take-off set of Sachs of an RSV-4!
The NA was much easier, I just got a set of forks and brakes off a late model TV-2 and they slip right in. Having ABS you need the mount for the sensor pick up. Having said that my GT handles acceptably and can hold a line in corners, something my NA never did in Stock trim. With the GT the back shock is still fairly drac but at least it has preload adjustment by knob rather than collar.
That helps. My NA has a Hyperpro fully adjustable on the back though and combined with the forks allows me to eat dweebs on 600 ‘Supersports’ for breakfast on the Clyde Mountain, even when luggaged up.
As far as reliability is concerned the only warning I would give is if you get the warning triangle come on and the word ‘Gear’ appear at the bottom of the dash it is because the front variator hub has most likely not been greased adequately at the factory. This causes a host of problems, (Visit the Mana specific site on the AF-1 board.) there are lots of listed examples. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
It seems most prevalent on MY2009 bikes but.
Really though they are practically bulletproof, super smooth almost to the point of being anodyne and for a not very powerful bike can be an astonishing amount of fun. My GT will shortly be leaving Los Angeles to take up residence in its new home in New Zealand. As I say its a great little lightweight tourer that handles both tar and dirt with aplomb, (I did the Mokey Dugway on the GT and got a speeding ticket for 85MPH on the freeway in Ohio in 2011!)
Why they aren’t a zillion times more popular I can’t make out? It is the perfect compliment to my GRiSO which Jude won’t travel on because its a torture rack for a pillion. If only I could justify buying a Tuono V-4 my motorcycling Nirvanha would of been reached but if I had one of those I’d be dead or in gaol in a week!
Nah, the GT is a great bike. As I say with everything spend money on brakes and suspension and enjoy the engine for what it is. Mine stays in ‘Touring’ mode 95% of the time but ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport Gear’ are both fun to play with. ‘Rain’ mode never gets used on the Roper Manas.
There are aftermarket pipes available but the CVT makes them sound ‘Flat’ unless you’re in ‘Sport gear, while some owners claim magnificent improvements in performance, (Oh look, there goes another squadron of pigs! Looks like they’re headed to the same place the people with 120 RWHP Grisos are headed to!) I really like both the quiet and the comfort of the Mana, especially the GT. I’ve done an 800 mile day on my GT and got off feeling human.
Few bikes you can say that for.
If you want luggage the factory racks are good and you can get Givi bags the same as the much more expensive Aprilia badged ones. My GT also has a cheap Chinese top-box from hell. Few bikes have the carrying capacity of a Mana.
Enjoy. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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