It is a rarity that an A&R reader is better informed than us on a topic, but one of the great things about online media is that there is an instantaneous two-way dialogue on every subject we publish. As such, a special hat-tip goes out to commenter “Bob” who spilled the beans that Motus had dropped gasoline direct injection (GDI) for the Motus MST sport-tourer that the company is soon to unveil at the Daytona Bike Week. We followed up the comment with Lee Conn, President and Co-Founder of Motus, about the comment, where he confirmed that Motus would adopt a port fuel injection & ride-by-wire scheme instead of the heavily touted GDI setup.

“Having ridden the MST’s with GDI all over America, I can report that we pioneered a really cool GDI system and it works great,” said Lee Conn. “GDI is a modern, smart and efficient way to fuel an engine, but after a lot of discussions with dealers, customers, technicians, and tuners, we concluded that there is not enough support in the current industry to roll out this technology yet.” After seeing what bikes A&R commenters were using in comparison to the Motus MST, Lee made a joke about how the Motus team would have to rethink its product messaging, and then said something that is very central to the Motus MST ethos.

“We want the MST’s to be accessible, understandable, fun to work on, and easy to modify, so we are removing barriers for dealers and regular riders that like to wrench and tune their bikes. No big conspiracy, just makes more sense for our goals. We hope people will hold their fire until they ride the production MST’s, which will begin shipping to dealers this Fall and will exceed expectations in terms of smiles per mile, our benchmark of what a kick ass motorbike is about.”

Having never ridden the MST, I won’t get into the comparable products debate here, but this idea that a motorcycle should return to a form where a regular handyman could wrench and modify on his bike until his heart’s content has been a time-honored and common theme for the southern-based startup. This idea was one of the key elements in Motus’ decision to use a Corvette inspired push-rod design for the KMV4 motor, and it is the company’s hope that the familiar block will strike a chord with hobbyists and tuners alike.

When Motus first broke cover, it was right on the heels of Honda’s VFR1200F announcement, and I remember asking Lee about how his bike would stake up to the dual-cluch transmissions of the world. In a market segment that has become the proving ground for most of motorcycling’s real innovations, the Motus team is zagging with its back-to-basics approach while everyone else zigs with their sport-tourer designs. It is possible that such an approach could be Motus’ folly. Or, could it be that the American company is shining a light on the fact that we have strayed too far from motorcycling’s fundamental core of riding for enjoyment?

Source: Motus; Photo: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • fail! what a short-sighted decision! the technical highlight is gone… :^(

  • Jack

    Back to basics is exactly what’s needed, I don’t even like electric windows or locks on my car. Seriously, whatever they want to do is just fine. Back to basics should sell just fine, I’m just waiting for them to build one I can afford.

  • MikeD


    Careful with those comments, the Motus Vigilantes could dissapear u in the blink of an eye.
    Seriously, the man seems to be very focused at the task at hand, seems to know what he’s doing and yet has the time to read,glance at our “crazy critics”…unlike vashing his product like i did on the previous Motus article lets give him a chance to a fair fight…then if it all fail, well…we’ll still be here to pound his product into oblivion with those “classy comments” we usually let out…starting by me. LOL.


    +1 on affording. Broke schmoeks like me like 0 miles bikes too…lol.

  • The lesson here is that you never know who may be lurking in the A&R comments section…I’m saving that disclosure for my novel. Ha!

  • Brandon

    There is something to be said for taking that wild step, that leap of faith into the unknown regarded as genius by some, and foolish by others.

    It’s the stuff legends are made of, and apparently, it’s not Motus.


  • An uninformed reader

    Nice first sentence you pretentious douche.

  • spytech

    i have to agree here, no GDI = fail… it should not be an option it should be standard. lots of hype on this motorcycle, which was the GDI, now no GDI it is a let down. if i was going to purchase this bike, i would no longer. it is borderline bait and switch. some customers may never be aware that it is not GDI.

    i love technology, and without GDI this bike is not very advanced. why pay all the money? are they running out of money and can not get GDI out in time because investors want to see a return on investment? who knows, the fact is that this bike with out GDI is not very impressive. does GDI make or break this bike, we will see.

  • Rich Melaun

    I am rather stunned that you actually claim it is rare that reader is better informed than A&R. My list of motorcycle websites which I visit with regularity has now been reduced by one.

  • AndrewF

    I thought what *was* central to their ethos was using the pioneering (for a motorcycle) GDI engine! Without it, there goes the one major factor that truly set them apart from all other brands. BTW, how many people buying toys in price range expected for this bike really want something they could wrench and tune themselves? My feeling is, not many… well, time will tell.

  • noch

    @Rich Melaun

    Oh no. please don’t leave. no come back?! you will be dearly missed

  • back to basic? hey, why not using a rigid frame and carburetors? that would be consequent! sorry guys, GDI-motors are state-of-the-art technology and no rocket science! For Europeans like me those push rod OHV engines are anachronistic low tech. don’t get me wrong, i’m a Buell XB rider (since 2003) and i love these oldfashioned HD lump, but putting the GDI in the KMV4 was the most awesome thing. wenn i pay 20K $ for a modern sport touring motorcycle i want something special! tuning a torqueful 1650cc engine with ~ 160 HP? why??? that is more than enough power for a sport tourer – you don’t need 20 extra-HP to be the first on the race track! and if yes, why not selling a MOTUS Performance Kit with Sport camshaft, Sport ECU and Sport exhaust?
    i am really disappointed with MOTUS’ decision.

  • R. Davis

    I think the reason for not using GDI is more of a mechanical nature & would require further R&D than they planned. Possibly. I’ve read that FoMoCo had spent considerable time & effort on perfecting their GDI in the Focus because of intake valve deposits. The intake valves with GDI don’t get the fuel charge of port injection to cleanse the valve stems. They spent much R&D on valve timing to minimise these deposits as much as possible. Maybe MOTUS found after touring the country (the best real world test going) that the engines had these deposits & they just don’t want to go there…yet. Maybe.

  • tbolende

    Obnoxiously pompous even by your inflated standards. Not pretty.


  • John

    As long as the KMV4 motor still makes its target power numbers, I don’t think the loss of GDI is as tragic as many above seem to believe. Considering all the Motus literature is still very publicly advertising a minimum of 160 hp and 122 lb-ft of torque, it would seem it will still make gobs of power without GDI.

    For me, the appeal of the bike isn’t one singular feature or aspect, but rather the total package of a machine that offers sportbike handling and acceleration, touring comfort/practicality, and a torque curve flatter than everything this side of electric drive. And in my opinion, if there were any single spec sheet goody to get excited about, it would be the option for full Ohlins suspension from the factory.

  • Damo


    “Nice first sentence you pretentious douche.”

    Wow, these guys have no sense of sarcasm do they?

    Do you guys even visit this site often?

  • kevin


    Whether it has GDI or it doesn’t it’s still a pushrod. If you think its antediluvian so be it but for many performance applications its great.

    The LS small block is lighter, smaller (dimensionally), produces more power and is arguably more durable. What’s not to like?

    The Gen V small block, which should debut within then next 18 months, will have GDI and by all indications will be an absolute terror.

    Europeans like you are a tad bit biased and maybe, just maybe a tad bit ignorant.

  • Richard Gozinya

    One thing I’ve been curious about lately, and perhaps I’m in the minority on it. What’s the fuel economy on this motor, and how does the switch from GDI to port effect it? Dino juice is getting rarer and rarer, and more and more expensive (That’s why that Canadian oil sands, and whatever they’re getting out of North Dakota is now profitable) Fuel economy is becoming a greater concern.

  • Uberbox

    I don’t think anyone is going to buy this bike soley based on it’s fueling system. The machine as a total package is still extremely impressive. I think their decision to use proven technology is a smart business move for a small start-up company. If all you Kips out there who love technology so much, go buy the bike that’s already there for you…the VFR.

  • Damo


    +2 points for using “Antediluvian” properly in a sentence.

  • Bob

    Lots of uninformed opinions. An apparent lack of technical knowledge too. Combine the two and you get someone who is no more knowledgeable than the hole in my rear.

    I can think of many reasons why one engine design is better than the other and visa versa. What matters is the application in which that engine design is used, not the engine design itself.

    As for GDI, there’s a lot more to it than sticking a nozzle in the combusion chamber. The complexity is unreal and only the automotive segment has had the finances to R&D this technology. It isn’t simple by any means. Everything learned from port FI and carbs is thrown out the window. The same physics doesn’t apply.

  • gebeme

    I don’t care one way or the other about GDI. If port injection improves performance/reliability/cost so be it. But if your operating principal is to create a machine that some dude in a shed with a box of wrenches can work on; that market is pretty well filled by Harley Davidson and about a half million bikes left over from the 70s and 80s.

  • MikeD


    U bring a good possibility to the table, i have heard from other “sources” that DGI does that to the intake valves…is it on the stem area or the seat ?


    Let me first make something clear, The SBC architecture is GREAT as in “smaller and lighter”, but not an END ALL for ALL APPLICATIONS kind of engine. Don’t let it go up to your head.
    I don’t see many if any Push Rod ICE making 100/Litre w/o braking a sweat like…i don’t know, an R6 Engine ?! It does 124hp to the crank…206hp/Litre…talk about power dense and EFICIENCY.
    Show me one…a production one…not some race engine.
    I think that’s Enrico’s reason to complaint, maybe im mistaken.

    Bob seems to have a ringer, all engines are great at one thing or two…but not all. Again, it all depends on the tint of the glasses u see the world thru…(^_^)…mines are DOHC, VVT and shim under bucket color…although sometimes im on the mood for hydraulic lifter color.

  • irksome

    Losing the GDI might make sense in regard to their stated desire to create both a wrenchable bike and a crate motor for other applications but how many people who can actually afford the thing even OWN wrenches?

  • Richard Gozinya


    That is a good point. Fewer and fewer people know how to do anything mechanical. Even simple stuff like changing the oil, people go to the dealership to have it done. Shadetree mechanics aren’t exactly a huge demographic anymore. If they were really after that segment of the motorcycle market, they’d have better luck with 750 cc parallel twin crate engines.

  • Jay K

    “We want the MST’s to be accessible, understandable, fun to work on, and easy to modify, so we are removing barriers for dealers and regular riders that like to wrench and tune their bikes.”

    I wonder how hard it would be to modify it to have GDI?

  • MikeD, outside of racing regulations, displacement or power per displacement isn’t really a great way to judge an engine. Power density is really what you care about. So power per pound, or power per volume of the total package (rather than just the combustion chamber) are much better measures of what you can do with an engine on a motorcycle, and the pushrod V architecture (SBC) is one of the best in that regards, especially if you’re talking accessible power. The head is so compact and engine so light that you can swap a 5 or 6 liter V8 into spaces originally designed for 2-3 liter I4s and V6s, without messing up weight distribution and sometimes even saving weight.

    If racing regs were based on total vehicle weight and nothing else, I suspect you would see a lot more high displacement twins (power:weight) and pushrod heads (power:packaging size) than tall, heavy, complex multi-cylinder DOHCs which are architectures designed to extract maximum power from a given displacement.