Aprilia Mana vs. Aprilia Shiver First Ride Comparison Test | Motorcycles catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews and discusssions

Aprilia Mana vs. Aprilia Shiver First Ride Comparison Test

1 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Aprilia Mana vs. Aprilia Shiver First Ride Comparison Test
Aprilia Mana

First Ride: Aprilia Mana vs. Aprilia Shiver Shift or shiftless?

Early one morning at the 1992 Geneva Auto Show, the Williams-Renault Formula One race team held a press conference. The subject: A race car powered by the then all-conquering Renault 3.5-liter V-10 mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). It never competed, but if that car—wielding 850 horsepower—had brought its specially made CVT through the crucible of an F1 championship, it might have radically boosted the image of CVT technology.

Would a CVT-equipped motorcycle have a similar effect?

It was impossible to answer that question until Aprilia came along with the Mana, a sporty naked with a mildly tuned V-Twin coupled to a CVT. To what would it compare, though? Aprilia doesn’t offer a manual Mana, but the Aprilia Shiver 750 is close enough, as they’re both standards powered by 90-degree V-Twins.

Unfortunately, the similarities end there. The Mana offers a claimed 75 horsepower from its sohc 838cc motor while the Shiver delivers 95 hp from its dohc 749cc mill. At 507 pounds, the Mana is also significantly heavier than the 419-pound Shiver.

Could the CVT’s advantages overcome these handicaps?

I performed the comparison at Pirelli’s Vizzola test facility, with both bikes sporting the latest Diablo Rosso radials to make things more even. Still, on paper, it wasn’t a fair match. The Mana has sportier chassis numbers, with sharper front-end geometry and better weight distribution.

More compact heads allow for a longer wheelbase and front wheel set closer to the bike’s center of gravity.

Nevertheless, with its lighter weight and superior power, the Shiver set the pace during the first session. Since I last rode it, the Shiver’s throttle-by-wire fuel-injection system had undergone serious retuning. Now, the engine responds more aggressively and generally feels stronger.

My best lap time was 1:25.21.

But it wasn’t a huge lead. Even though the Mana felt sort of numb, with a riding posture that is wrong for all-out racetrack flogging, it was not far behind with a 1:25.5. By the end of the first session, I started to appreciate that the CVT relieved me of everything involved with shifting in and out of the corners.

Aprilia Mana

The power was mild, and the CVT seemed to smooth it further, keeping the adrenaline out of my blood.

The second session was another story. As I rode more quickly, the Shiver felt even more aggressive, with the front end getting light at every upshift. It turned quickly but was a little less neutral than the Mana, maybe because of those few extra degrees of rake and a little less weight on the front.

The Shiver got down to 1:24.47, although the slightest inattention put it back in the 25s.

Switching back to the Mana, I found a riding position that made the bike feel more at home on the track—neutral, precise and willing to corner at substantial lean angles courtesy of the grippy Diablo Rossos. It put all 75 hp to use, and the continuous progression of the transmission ratio didn’t upset the bike. Accelerating out of corners, I let the CVT do its job; I wouldn’t have been able to shift any better.

Approaching corners, I took advantage of the foot selector to downshift, but I only had to stomp on the lever and brake. The Mana broke into the 1:24s and stayed there, improving with every lap. The CVT allowed me to concentrate on the best possible line through the turns, and the bike flowed smoothly and easily around the track.

The Mana overcame its weight and power disadvantage thanks to a very efficient transmission that provides a constant flow of power to the rear wheel. Bottom line: The Aprilia Mana is a lot smarter—and faster—than it looks.

Aprilia Mana
Aprilia Mana
Aprilia Mana


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