The Mana X represents Aprilia's idea of what a fun, stylish urban run-around could look like. Minus the ugly headlight, it represents ours too. At first glance the Mana X looks nothing like the Mana 850 that its based on, but it retains what looks like most of that model's frame and all of its engine and CVT transmission while adding flat track-inspired styling and some interesting technical twists.
The styling is the immediate appeal of the Mana X. Over the standard
model it's been lowered and had its seat extended to cover most of the
airbox (the Mana's fuel tank is underseat); huge dirt-style tires have
been fitted to 17" wheels; there's a new swingarm with KTM 690 Duke-style
exposed bracing; a heat-wrapped under-engine exhaust; some sort of
not-a-grab-handle sits proudly at the rear, housing the LED brake
lights; spiky motocross-style foot pegs round out the changes.
Look closely at those foot pegs and you'll notice something's missing:
gear and brake levers. Because the Mana X uses a CVT transmission,
shifting takes place automatically or by buttons mounted on the
handlebars. This has left room for the rear brake to be moved up to the
left bar. Aprilia envisions the Mana X appealing to riders looking to
make the switch from scooter to motorcycle, so retaining a scooter's
control system makes sense.
For now the Mana X is just a concept and not one that looks terribly
production ready. Despite being based on the Mana 850, it would need to
have its rear extended to cover a much greater proportion of the rear
tire in order to be road-legal. Having said that, we'd really like to
see something similar reach showrooms; a stylish, accessible, fast
motorcycle that doesn't adhere to traditional motorcycle categories and
therefore isn't subject to their stereotypes could be just the thing to
encourage more urban riders to move up to large motorcycles. We just
wish Aprilia would get the damn thing into a photo studio already.
Click the image up top for the photo gallery.