Motus MST – Here Comes America’s Sport-Tourer

03/08/2011 @ 11:27 am, by Jensen Beeler39 COMMENTS

After much waiting, Motus Motorcycles finally launched its MST sport-tourer to the public today. Unveiled at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Motus’s hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, the American motorcycle manufacturer will head to Florida for the Progressive International Motorcycle Show on Thursday, March 10th for a more public showing.

Developed in conjunction with Pratt & Miller Engineering, the Motus MST features the KMV4 motor, a 1,645cc V4 push-rod style engine that include gasoline direct-injection technology (GDI). Power for the Motus MST prototype is said to be 161hp @ 7,800 rpm; 122 lbs•ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm, while the bike tips the scales around around 500 lbs dry. Motus will be riding the MST around the United States to show off their work, meet with supporters, and look for dealers interested in carrying the line.

“We are so proud to show the world the MST series,” said Motus President, Lee Conn. “We poured our hearts and souls into these motorcycles and hope that it shows in terms of the quality and character of the machines. The MST’s are exhilarating to ride- a very powerful experience unlike any other motorcycle I’ve ever ridden. There is usable power everywhere in rev-range, excellent feedback from the road, very responsive to inputs and….the sound of the KMV4 still gives me goose bumps every time one cranks.”

2011 seems to be the break-out year for the American sport motorcycle rebirth, as Motus is joined by Erik Buell Racing in announcing the release of a production sport motorcycle made in the USA. Like EBR, Motus has generated a lot of buzz about its project, and today we get to see the result of the company’s hard work.

We think you’ll either love or hate the Motus MST’s design, as there parts of the bike that strike us as being very elegant and others that appear more unpolished. The good news on that is because Motus will be proving the bike on a cross-country trek, stopping along the way to talk to motorcyclists, the opportunity for input on the bike’s design and features should be pretty high before it enters the market likely as 2012 model. We can’t wait to see the MST when it ventures out to San Francisco later this year.

Engine type: 1645cc (100ci) liquid-cooled 90º V4; dual OHV; pushrod; chain-driven single cam; hydraulic lifters

Performance: Minimum 140bhp @ 7800rpm; 162Nm (120lb-ft) @ 4500rpm; 8000rpm redline

Materials: 356-T6 cast aluminum block and heads; forged steel crank, cam, rods; forged aluminum pistons; linerless Nikasil bore

Firing order: 1 – 4 – 3 – 2

Ignition Sequence: TDC – 345º – 435º – 630º

Crankpin Offset: 75º

Minimum Octane: 87

Transmission: Motus 6-speed sequential gearbox; unit construction; wet multiplate clutch

Bore x Stroke: 86.5mm (3.41in) x 70.0mm (2.75in)

Compression: 11.5:1

Valves: Intake Ø44.5mm (1.75in); Exhaust Ø36.8mm (1.45in); stainless steel

Dimensions (engine): 610mm (24in) L x 492mm (19in) W x 508mm (20in) H

Chassis: Chromoly tubular trellis spaceframe; engine as stressed member

Front suspension: 43mm inverted telescopic forks, fully adjustable; 120mm travel

Rear suspension: Twin spar chromoly swingarm; fully adjustable pushrod monoshock with remote preload adjustment; 120mm travel

Brakes: Dual 320mm floating discs; dual 4-piston monoblock radial calipers; single 2-piston rear caliper

Wheels: 17in x 3.5in front; 17in x 6in rear; aluminum; Michelin Road Pilot 2CT tires

Bodywork: Composite

Overall length: 2130mm ( 84in)

Wheelbase: 1473mm (58in)

Seat height: 787mm (31in)

Rake: 26º

Trail: 108mm (4.25in)

Dry weight: 227kg (500lbs) (est.)

Fuel capacity: 22.7L (6gal)

Production date: 2011

Source: Motus

  • RSVDan

    I absolutely love everything about this project!

  • Mike J

    This is, sadly, a bit of a bland first offering, but then sports-tourers so often are.

    Here’s hoping they eventually get round to doing something a bit more exiting with the basic engine/frame package because the engine sounds fantastic and I like the basic concept.

  • dmclone

    I like what I see. The big question, what’s the $$$. If they can put it out for around 12K, I think they have a winner.

  • Sid

    @ dmclone – what full-size sport tourer is available for 12K? 600cc sport bikes have been over 10k.

    @Mike J – what is bland about a steel trellis frame?

  • dmclone

    @ Sid-There are none that I know of and that would be a big selling point. Most are in the $15K range. If they charge $15K then they’ll be going against bikes like the VFR1200F Triumph Sprint, etc. What advantage would this bike have over those bikes?

  • I really do not see the point of this bike. The touring market is over saturated right now, Ducati, Triumph, Honda, etc. What the american market needs is something remarkable. We have little racing pride in our motorcycles these days especially with HD ditching Buell. I wish MotoCzysz was still trying to make a MotoGP bike.

  • Other Sean

    Looks pretty good, and fairly high spec, pushrods not withstanding…

  • Charlie Smallman

    Not bad, but as an ST1100 Honda owner for the last 20 years, some things puzzle, such as the longitudinal engine, yet chain drive (90 degree power turn=lost rwhp and extra weight), the stated base engine being the Corvette engine, yet it displaces 1650 cc (3.7 liter V-8?); it seems there would be some other differences. This reminds me of the Ducati STs/3/4S series that didn’t sell too well (although decent bikes). Sales is still the key to success in this business. Buell sold thousands of examples and had the plug pulled by the “investors” anyway.
    If it’s $15K, I’m Kenny Roberts… :-)

  • fazer6

    Most likely this bike (esp. given the specs and low volume) will come in around $35k mark.
    What is offers is a unique engine, high-spec build and exclusivity.
    $12k? Really, really…? Have you priced a VFR or a BMW K bike lately? How ’bout a goldwing?

  • jack

    I like it alot. A little more rain protection? Smaller & lighter is more my size & style, but with a 1600 V-4 they did very good. The Triumph GT is 13K.

  • dmclone

    A VFR is $16K and a goldwing is in a different class all together. A sprint GT is closest in specs and it’s right around $13K. So to answer your question, yes I have priced them.

  • Mark

    Once you have designed, built and tested a prototype motorcycle you are only 10% of the way to becoming an actual motorcycle manufacturer. I applaud the efforts, but they are a long way from getting these into customers hands.

    The next step will be to attract enough capital to move this project from prototype to production, and I’m not very confident in their chances. These are sorry economic times, the motorcycle market has collapsed and doesn’t look like it’s going to recover any time soon, the motorcycle market is toxic to venture capital right now, if Erik Buell hasn’t managed to land some major funding yet, than these guys don’t have a chance. In addition, it looks like they want to manufacture this bike in the USA, also a major negative, capitalist want maximum profits as quickly as possible, which means China or India, or they don’t want any part of it.
    Sorry for the negativity, but this is the unfortunate reality we find ourselves in.

  • BikePilot

    I love the engineering, not a fan of the aesthetics of the bodywork (though the frame/engine itself has promise) and am not a huge fan of sport-tourers in general. The passenger accommodations also look to be lacking and honestly passenger comfort is the only reason I’d buy a tourer – I can get plenty comfortable on most sport bikes and sport standards to do repeated 1k mile days. If it turns out to be comfortable for a passenger and priced in-line with other sport tourers I’ll probably buy one along with a jumbo-sized shopping bag for that mug.

  • Chrome

    I have my beefs with the body work, but for those wondering what the point is: its an all – around, do-everything bike. Torque like crazy, so it will pull from any gear, commute on the freeway at 1500 doing 75 sipping gas like a latte, be comfortable enough and with a big enough gas tank to go the distance, its 150 lbs lighter than the nearest ST, so its plenty managable in town riding, sounds like someone pissed off a grizzly bear and lets me have one bike that will fit any style of riding on any given sunday. If I could only have one bike, this would be it (and hopefully will be)

  • Chrome

    As a side not, you can tell from pictures 7 and 11 from the seat angle that its going to be a wedgie monster. Nice wide seats are only half the story. The other half is not making the seat angle such that the rider slides forward. I am convinced that manufacturers are in league with the aftermarket guys like corbin, but i had hoped Motus would be immune. It supposedly has the same ergo’s as an FZ-1, and I can tell you that the corbin on mine makes all the difference.

  • Sid

    @ OtherSean – “pushrods not withstanding”… pushrods are not “high spec”, but that hasn’t stopped the Corvette from winning endurance races.

    @ Charlie Smallman – “the stated base engine being the Corvette engine, yet it displaces 1650 cc (3.7 liter V-8?)”

    what are you talking about? The Corvette reference is to the fundamental architecture, other than that it is still its own clean sheet build.

    @ dmclone – $12k as a selling point? Price anything low enough and its a selling point, eventually out of business. Advantage? torque and hp. Sorry the Triumph pales in character as does the Honda.

  • Chrome, if the OEMs were in-league with Corbin, then it wouldn’t have been up for sale for the better part of the last two years. ;)

  • dmclone

    Sid-What do you think a fair price would be for this motorcycle?

    For a new motorcycle to charge a premium price they have set them selves apart by creating something unique (think buell). This is usually by styling, pricing, power, etc.

    I like the styling but it’s not anything revolutionary.

    Maybe the motor is enough to bring in buyers.

    Lets say it’s a 20K bike. That would be taking a big risk on a bike that has unproven reliability/history.

    I respect those that take that risk, I’m just not one of those people.

  • 76

    I like it, I really dont think revolutionary styling was a key to this direction so I applaud them for not making it a monstrosity. Overall I wish them the best and hope those in the market for a tourer take a good long hard look. Good luck Motus!

  • fazer6

    In all fairness dmclone, I don’t think you are the target demographic for this bike.

  • dmclone

    Since I’ve owned 2 sport bikes, 1 standard bike, 1 naked bike, 1 cruiser, 2 quads, 1 3 wheeler, 1 pwc, and 2 snowmobiles which included companies like Polaris, Honda , Yamaha, Ducati, Bombardier, Suzuki, etc. I’m now a toyless 40 YO but have been considering buying a new Ducati Multistrada with cash but your right, I probably wouldn’t in their demographic….

  • Shaitan

    The engine sounds sweet. The basic look is decent, so I’ll wait to hear the reviews of actual ride/performance. If they came out with an Adventure Tour version I’d be even more interested, but exciting news nonetheless. :D

  • Richard Gozinya

    I think that the biggest problem with the looks of the bike is that ultra-boring silver paint job. Give it some different colors, and I bet it’ll look a hell of a lot better.

  • Does the bike have “161HP” or “140HP”? The article indicates both at different points. That’s a huge selling point right there, along with that torque figure, and 140HP isn’t nearly as compelling as 161HP is.

    Putting aside the reality that pushrod designs are still quite relevant, I’ve read that American car manufacturers are finding resistance from consumers to purchasing cars with pushrod engines. American car manufacturers call DOHC engines with 4-valves per cylinder “high value engines.”

    Harley owners are used to bikes with pushrods, but those of us who grew up riding Japanese bikes think of pushrod engines as anachronistic.

    Harley owners like Harleys and not much else. Other riders, and an increasing number of car owners, like cutting edge technology. I don’t know what the target demographic for this bike is, but having a pushrod V-4 may not hit *any* large or even distinct demographic. I doubt that the bike’s direct injection will make up for the low-tech impression that the pushrods make. Maybe this bike will appeal to NASCAR fans?

    If this bike is expensive, and I’m willing to bet that it will be, I’m not sure how it can compete with a BMW six or a high-end bike from just about any European or Japanese manufacturer. I doubt that many folks will purchase the bike over the competition based on it being made in the U.S.A. That Made In The U.S.A. tag hasn’t stood to quality in many years, and those pushrods may make buyers who are used to inferior American-made cars believe that this bike might be somehow inferior too.

    I’m not even sure that the comparisons to a Corvette will help this bike sell. Corvettes don’t have the panache that they once had.

    The Motus might have been a sensation 40 years ago. Now it unfortunately looks like a really well done garage custom using American technology. And American technology is no longer a selling point.

  • Good points Randy. For clarification, the prototype that Motus has built is 161hp, and the company has stated that the production version will have at least 140hp, hence the two figures quoted (however it should be noted a bike can have 161hp and be over 140hp at the same time).

  • raj

    Randy –

    The Corvette won the Petit LeMan last year with pushrods. Yeah, pushrods. Those archaic, no-good POS engines. The low tech impression that pushrods make must be confounding to the losing supporters of that race. “How could you lose to that pushrod!!? I bought my sedan because someone said it was high tech!”

    seriously – engine technology is a sum of the parts in more ways than one and good engineering focuses on the intended goals of the application. From what I read, Motus also wants to capitalize on a unique heritage that plays into its overall package:

    Made in the USA & muscle car similarities.

    I think including those 2 factors with the overall engineering (and application of that engineering for the street), their product makes a complete & distinct package. Something that is sorely needed in the relatively bland sport touring segment. (only recently has the sport touring segment become interesting).

    dmclone –

    Motus is a new OEM, but they have partnered with Katech and Pratt & Miller. Katech built the Corvette engine that won that race, so does that speak to reliability for you? Sure, this is a motorcycle engine from scratch, but there is a high-level of quality control and sound manufacturing behind it.

  • >> The Corvette won the Petit LeMan last year with pushrods. Yeah, pushrods. Those archaic, no-good POS engines.

    Well, that’s nice. However, I’ve owned Corvettes, and they were indeed POS’s. The worst that I’ve ever owned. As have the last couple of American cars that I’ve owned. Do you ever see anyone other than really old men in Corvettes anymore?

    As I said, the reality is that pushrod engines are still relevant. The question is whether the public still thinks that they are. Especially the motorcycle buying public. Motorcyclists tend to look for *more* advanced technology, not less.

    >> Made in the USA & muscle car similarities.

    Those would have been nice associations 40 to 50 years ago. Now…not so much.

  • dmclone

    raj-It makes me feel a little better but you’re still taking a risk on an all new motor from a company that has never produced a motorcycle engine. I’d probably take that risk if everything else fell into place but it would be one thing that I’d be a little worried about. In addition, the motor is only one piece of the reliability question. Companies like Aprillia have been making motorcycles for a long time and there is still concerns from customers about their reliability. I wouldn’t expect a first year motorcycle from a new company to be bulletproof.

  • Charlie Smallman

    @dmclone: not to mention that an engine making 80-100 bhp/liter generates a considerable amount of heat. The rad shown in the pics seems a bit on the small side compared to some of the WSBK contenders.

  • raj

    Sorry to hear about your Vette. There are others who think otherwise.

    Sure there are others that drive Vettes besides “really old men”. btw…how many 20-30 yr olds drive equivalent cars? Seems like the demographic is 40+ for these cars (relatively low numbers of rich celebrities & trust fund babies notwithstanding)

    “Made in the USA & muscle car similarities. Those would have been nice associations 40 to 50 years ago. Now…not so much.”

    Really? how many Mustangs has Ford sold lately? Enough for GM and Chrysler to play catch up with their muscle car re-dos.

    Forget the Mustang sales….assume there weren’t any current reiterations of the 60s-70s muscle car era. Harking back to that time frame now with an American-made motorcycle in a segment that none exist is brilliant. You can have all of that muscle-car feel and performance in a small fuel efficient package. It makes more sense now than it would to replicate that feel at a time when British twins ruled. In addition, muscle cars are in favor by many ages today. Have you seen the price of a 1970 Chevelle lately?

    The people who are not enlightened about pushrod advantages can continue to buy what they buy. This bike probably isn’t putting those riders at the top of its list to convert.

    I also disagree with your assertion that Harley riders only like Harleys. There are plenty of HD riders who have other bikes, namely Ducati trellis-framed twins. There are gobs more that only have an HD. The latter is a big number. Chances are good that many of them would consider an American bike like this, especially as they find out about the history behind it.

  • Singletrack

    Very nice execution, now that it really exists. I questioned the point of a 140hp 1.6 litre engine when the specs were released last year, and still do, but it does look nice; (To a 40+ yr old sport rider). But is that the best that Yankee ingenuity can come up with? It’s really no different than 10 other competitors in that small market segment.

    A sport tourer will be my next bike.
    Am I the only one that wants a Triumph Daytona 675 based SPORT tourer? Or a GSX-R750 based one… hmmmm..
    I want light weight, nimble handling, cutting edge chassis and motor – and a comfortable seat for two, high-ish bars and room to mount hard bags. 100-120 Hp and 13K redline is plenty if the bike only weighed 400-420 lbs.

  • I think there’s some merit to pushrods in that there has been a ton of development over the years and there are so many established suppliers of the components that perhaps the result is some competitive advantage in sourcing components. To produce an engine in the US, that is.

    Getting into production from where they are now is a long road, and a long conversation, but one key in this is that there has not been a high performance motorcycle engine mass produced in the US in the “Modern Era.” Not one. Buell never made one here, Fischer doesn’t make theirs here. Must be a reason.

  • 40Mike

    Richard’s right – we need to see this Sport Touring in Red with some White and Blue accents – after all it is the newest addition to our National bike roster…

    Randy is soooo wrong in so many ways! When was the last time you heard someone complain or state their purchase decision was made based on how the valves were actuated? Maybe price, appearance, ride and handling, exhaust note – but valve actuation, get real.

    As to his comments “I doubt that the bike’s direct injection will make up for the low-tech impression that the pushrods make” Anyone who knows what direct injection can do for internal combustion will opt for direct injection over OHC. Direct injection means improved horsepower and better fuel mileage. And yes, fuel mileage will help make a purchase-decision, this morning I paid $4.69 a gallon for 91, clearly this sticker shock makes one think about what they are riding or could be riding.

    And why, in this forum or in any discussion regarding a new startup motorcycle company would someone seem proud to express the falsehood “That Made in the U.S.A. tag hasn’t stood to quality in many years” – this is simply not true. There was a time when American made automotive products lagged behind imports, but the industry has moved beyond that and is on par or above the imports. Who would have thought that Lincoln would beat out Lexus and all other manufactures for this year’s fewest new car problems…? Our guys are headed in the right direction and we Americans are the beneficiaries of their engineering and good work.

    Some are questioning the spec’s for HP and Torque, remember this engine is computer controlled; with ignition timing plus fuel timing and pulse width adjustments its easy to understand the high/low numbers – it’s only a matter of which tune they deliver when shipping this beast.

    I love every part of this project; Made in America, a very simple engine with few moving parts, good looks that will look even better with additional colors, etc, etc, etc.

    Anyone notice, they are not offering pre-ordering or taking pre-delivery deposits. Says something to me – they have their finances in order, this is not a scam – it’s for real.

    I’ve been shopping a replacement for my ’04 Ducati STS4 and this may be it. I intend to seek out their visit to SoCal and attend one of their stops to talk to the people behind this effort and touch and feel their dream bike.

  • Sam Loya

    It has potential but needs a lot of work in the looks department. So far appears to be an American version of the Honda STS without a driveshaft. To have the best of performance and touring you will need to incorporate a drive shaft to make it appealling to the market you are looking at.

    I have been riding bikes all my life from a very early age and so far me best bike has been the Kawasaki Z-1 that was bullet proof. But now that I have a few years on my body I am looking at BMW for the total package but even they are lacking. My best combo would be a modified Honda STS to get the weight down.

    I’m still looking for that ultimate ride…!

  • A great, big-balls effort from these guys – especially during the destruction of the US economy. They might get one year’s sales before the US $ goes up in smoke due to the FED.
    In the meantime, this is a great bike! 160 hp, 120 ft. lbs, 550lbs ready to ride – what’s not to like? The seat, pegs and bars will determine the rest. I’d love to ride this thing at the Tail o’ Dragon with it’s excellent small block Chevy-derived design. Yeah! Pushrod design keeps the center of gravity lower without the top-heavy OHC layout and on a bike like this, performance is fine and maintenance will be easier also. I’m guessing cost will be ~18G’s.
    Now, the only thing that remains is crucial: reliability. This thing MUST be rock-solid reliable out of the box, solid build, durable, mile after mile, year after year first year out. If they nail that, I hope they take over the segment! Has anyone seen how fkkn ugly BMW’s are these days?

    GO MOTUS!!!! Ride it to the next Vette victory!!!!

  • bah

    Wow. What a bunch of armchair quarterbacks we have commenting on here. And no doubt, you’re all succesful billionaires with many succesful startup companies under your belts. *roll eyes*
    Motus, I LOVE this bike! I will absolutely be buying one as soon as you’re able to roll them out. You know the old saying “advice is usually worth what you pay for it”? Well, there’s a lot of free negative “advice” on here.
    “Build it, and they will come.”

  • piper72046

    I just can’t understand why motor cycle manufacturers insist on producing a bike with a seat height for giants. 31′ seat height for a person of 5′ 7″ and a 28″ inseam will not be able flat foot at a stop. come on people get with program if you want to sell bikes to masses.

  • Latest video from the Barber testing sessions.

    The bike certainly sounds great!

  • Ron

    Everyone is nitpicking this bike to death. It has plenty of power, light weight, superior handling and very good range. All other things being more or less equal, I will buy American. Wheather or not I buy this bike will depend on things like the dealer network, reliability, warranty, fuel milage and price. If I’m going touring on it, I want to know I can get it serviced wherever I go. Volume sales for the first couple of years will depend on reviews and marketing.