It is with great regret that we inform you today that Motus Motorcycles is ceasing business operations, as the American motorcycle startup has reached the end of its financial backing from investors.
The news was sent to Motus owners via email on Friday, August 31st, and confirmed to us later that day by Motus co-founder and designer Brian Case via text message. We imagine that a more formal announcement will be coming forth after the Labor Day holiday weekend, so at the moment, details are light.
What we do know is that the news comes as a surprise, as Motus has been busy with dealer events around the country. Also, the startup was getting ready to launch its second model as well, later this year, which was a streetfighter based off the Motus MST sport-touring bike.
This weekend at MotoGP’s Red Bull US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, I stopped by the Motus ten to give Lee Conn and Brian Case some grief, and to see how the production-ready Motus MST was looking. The bikes looked similar to their prototype form from two year’s ago, with obviously more fit-and-finish in the overall design. One of the big changes I noticed though was that Motus has dropped the industry standard analog tach and LCD speedo for an all-glass cockpit design.
It was two years ago that I first caught glimpse of the Motus MST at Laguna Seca, but now the American motorcycle upstart is ready to debut its production sport-tourer. As Motus Motorcycles CEO Lee Conn attests to in the company’s teaser video (below), it has been a long road for Motus to get to this point. Dropping gasoline direct injection (GDI) for port fuel injection on it proprietary 1,650cc V4 engine (which is available too as a crate motor), Motus has also struggled to find dealers out west, and meet its time-to-market goals. That all seems to be behind the Motus team now, as they gear up to debut their $30,975 in front of California’s MotoGP race weekend crowd.
When American motorcycle upstart Motus Motorcycles first began its undertaking of the Motus MST sport-tourer, the company from Alabama made it clear that its 1,650cc engine would be the centerpiece of the bike’s design. Hoping to build off the tuner culture that developed around push-rod engines in the automotive world, Motus even went as far to say that the Katech-designed KMV4 engine (now without GDI) would be made available as a crate motor for hobbyists.
With the Motus MST nearly ready for public consumption, the American company is making good on its other promise, and has released pricing on its “baby block” engine. At a cool $10,220 of your hard-earned cash, the turnkey 165+ hp V4 motor can be yours (along with the engine’s ECU, ride-by-wire intake, engine harness, and fuse box). A pricy sum for the small peppy engine, pricing on the Motus Baby Block at least puts the $30,000+ price tag of the Motus MST in perspective.
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.
The last time Motus Motorcycles graced the pages of A&R it was August 10th of last year — yes, I actually went back thru the pages to check that date. Since that time, the American motorcycle startup has been busy getting its sport-tourer finalized and ready for production. Launching the Motus MST prototype at the 2011 Daytona Bike Week, Motus Motorcycles will be returning to the Floridian biking event this year to announce its production plans, pricing, and availability of its American made motorcycle.
Another update from those southern boys at Motus, this time showing off their MST & MST-R American sport-tourers hitting some track time at Barber Motorsports Park. Obviously still in the development phase of their production process, we see that the MST-R has gotten some carbon fiber clothes (yum!), while the MST looks very fit and polished with its touring bags on-board.
We’re still not sure about how the Motus MST and MST-R will fare in free market, as we’ve seen so many American motorcycle companies generate a lot of buzz with little substance. However, one thing is for certain about the Motus project: the company has the right amount of cowbell in that KMV4 1,645cc GDI motor that should make any motorcyclist with a pulse grin ear-to-ear. Check the video out after the jump…yes, it’s ok to watch it several times.
Motus Motorcycles has just released the second part of its Daytona launch video, which unlike the first version, is chalked full of close-up and detail shots of the Motus MST and the performance-packed Motus MST-R. The Daytona Bike Week was the public launch of the new American-made sport-tourer, which features the KMV4 1,645cc V4 pushrod motor with gasoline direct injection. Motus’s approach with the KMV4 is to take a page out of America’s rich hot-rodding tradition, and therefore has built a power plant that tuners and hobbiests should find the designs of familiar.
Helping Motus build this tiny buy powerful engine is Pratt & Miller Engineering, who have made a name for themselves building all sorts of racing engines, including those from the C6R Corvette Racing squad, which coincidently also uses a pushrod design. This has lead to many calling the KMV4 as simply half a Corvette motor, which the math doesn’t really support, but the philosophy surely does.
Next for the Motus crew is a ride around the United States that will not only serve as an R&D/proving method for the new bikes, but will also help drum-up interested buyers and the much needed dealers to get the motorcycle company launched off the ground. We’re looking forward to seeing the 161hp sport-tourer come to San Francisco, we just hope the rumors we’ve been hearing of a $30,000+ price tag aren’t true. Get ready to bust out your “V4” gang signs, as the video is after the jump.
Motorcycle upstart Motus Motorcycles continues to press forward with its MST-01 sport-tourer, and has released a video that talks more about the development of their 1645cc gasoline direct-injection V4 motor: the KVM4. Balking at the advice of others not to build their own powerplant, Motus has teamed up with Katech to design an in-house motor for the Motus MST-01.
Motus Motorcycles has trickled out a bit more information about its Made in America MST-01 sport-tourer, giving CycleWorld their obligatory first look. What do they have to report? A 1650cc V4 motor with two valves per cylinder that features direct injection, which sums up to equal 140hp. If you forgot everything you know about the Motus MST-01 to-date, and approached the motorcycle motor from a mechanic’s perspective, you might mistaken the V4 motor for half a Corvette. Laid out just like an American-built V8, the large reason for the similarities is because the Motus MST-01 motor was designed by Katech, makers of the Corvette Z06’s 600hp V8 powerplant.
Motus Motorcycles is back on the radar after their mysterious awakening back in April. Along with slightly less cryptic information about their MST V4 sport-tourer, Motus has announced their partnership with Pratt & Miller.
If you’re not familiar with Pratt & Miller, they’ve made quite a name for themselves in the automotive endurance racing scene developing chassis in the American Le Mans Series, Rolex Grand-Am series, NASCAR, and have won the 24 hours of Le Mans six times in the GT1 category. Pratt & Miller have also worked with the US military in developing missiles and other classified projects.