2018 is coming to a close now, so we of course are looking back at what happened over the past year in the motorcycle industry.
There was no shortage of weighty stories in 2018, so we picked just our Top 5 big themes from the year to share with you.
They range from business items, racing news, and new motorcycles (or the lack thereof). Without too much fanfare, let’s get into it, and see Asphalt & Rubber‘s most important stories from 2018.
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.
Motus Motorcycles looks to be working on its second motorcycle model, as a naked prototype of the Motus MST has been making appearances on the American brand’s social media channels, including a very tasty video of the bike testing a 4-2-1 Akrapovic exhaust on the dyno (watch it, after the jump).
We reached out to Motus about its latest project, and the company confirmed its interest in making a naked version of the Motus MST sport-tourer, though it is waiting to see the feedback from other Motus owners and potential customers before committing to make the machine.
Still, Motus is teasing some very intriguing performance specs and design elements, which is more than whetting our appetite.
The Motus MSTR is a burly beast of a bike. The American-made sport-tourer comes with ergonomics designed to eat up miles of riding, and its 1,650cc V4 engine helps make passing those miles a quite the spirited event.
We have always wondered what the Motous MSTR would be like as a streefighter though – sans the production bike’s sweeping fairings, and with a bit more ‘Merica in its attitude. Now we have a glimpse of that, with Fuller Moto giving the Motus MSTR some customizing love.
If you are a fan of Fuller Moto, then you should find his design on the MSTR both visually appealing and strikingly familiar. The color accents (red, white, and blue…obviously) start with the MSTR’s stock red-painted heads, though don’t stop there.
Just in case there was any question about the Motus / Fuller Moto collaboration being all show and no go, the bike puts some impressive 155+ horsepower figures down to the dyno drum, in the attached video.
If you happen to be in Austin for the MotoGP round, you can catch this Motus down at the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show.
The Motus MSTR is a beast of a machine, it just oozes raw power and torque from its 1,650cc V4 engine; and to compliment all that grunt, the MSTR also comes tastefully wrapped in painted carbon fiber fairings.
But when a composites expert wants one of your motorcycles, painting those carbon fiber body panels might not be the best of choices – it may even be an affront the Gods of Internal Combustion.
When customer “Mike M.” wanted to see show off the weave of the Motus MSTR’s carbon fiber bodywork, he opted for his machine to come sans the livery. We think that was a pretty good choice, and the gods are surely pleased as well.
So, to help get the New Year off to a proper start, and to return to the appreciation of all things two-wheeled, we give you Mike M.’s Motus MSTR motorcycle (how’s that for alliteration?) – we think you will enjoy it.
Motus Motorcycles continues to grow its dealership presence, especially with the announcement that the American motorcycle outfit has added eight new dealerships to its dealer network.
That addition brings Motus’ total to 22 dealers in the United States with more on the way, the company says.
That’s good news for riders interested in a unique American-built motorcycle, especially those that are familiar with tinkering on push-rod muscle cars.
Episode 20 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast builds off the previous episode, which covered in-depth the mythos that surrounds Erik Buell, Buell Motorcycles, and Erik Buell Racing. Exploring the differences between fans and fanatics, as they exist in the motorcycling realm, we move from Buell, to other manufacturers with cult followings, before finally landing on MotoGP.
Fresh from the MotoGP round in Austin, we talk about the rise of Rossi fans as a tyrannical force in Grand Prix racing, and how that has permeated through the paddock in various forms. Naturally, a few rabbit holes of side-discussion occur along the way, per usual.
Before all that though, we talk about the Motus Motorcycles project, as I rode the American-built MST and MSTR sport-tourers while in Texas. A very unique motorcycle, the true American machine is a good segue into the topic at hand. We think you will enjoy it.
As always, you can listen to the show via the embedded SoundCloud player, after the jump, or you can find the show on iTunes (please leave a review) or this RSS feed. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well. Enjoy the show!
Beautiful weather, rolling green hills, and a world class facility; all punctuated by a crowd of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts. Welcome to the Barber Vintage Festival at Barber Motorsports Park.
This year marks the 11th anniversary of the event and the crowd was as big as ever. Last year, over 65,000 people attended during the three day event and this year didn’t seem any different.
Of course, the highlight of this year’s event was the largest gathering of Britten V1000 motorcycles ever (which we’ll cover in-depth in a separate article), and as always, there was great vintage motorcycle racing by the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA).
Everywhere you looked, there were motorcycles. The amazing thing about this event is the variety. Unlike many events where the focus is on one type of motorcycle, Barber focuses on a little bit of everything.
The Confederate Wraith is perhaps one of our most favorite custom motorcycles ever produced, and it happens to be the product of JT Nesbitt’s supreme imagination.
Working now out of his own shop, Bienville Studios, Nesbitt has produced the first of his ultra-premium, tailor-made, American-born motorcycles, dubbed the Bienville Legacy.
Beyond the radical lines, there is the familiarity of things like the Wraith’s carbon fiber girder front-end style, the Motus MST’s V4 engine, and…that is about it.
The rest of the Bienville Legacy motorcycle is unlike anything else on the market, which should surprise no one considering its source (Nesbitt) and the fact that Bienville is setting out to make commissioned bespoke machines for its patrons.
This has not been a good year for speed freaks looking to set land speed records at Bonneville, as the Utah course has been subject to a series of storms, which have either left the salt flats flooded, or the salt conditions unsuitable for record-smashing.
That didn’t seem to stop Motus Motorcycles at the AMA-sanctioned 2014 Bonneville Speed Trials event, as the upstart motorcycle company walked away with two records, in the 1650cc P-PP (165.81 mph) and (168.69 mph) 1650cc P-PG classes –set respectively by Motus founders Lee Conn and Brian Case.
It was two years ago that I first caught glimpse of the Motus MST at Laguna Seca (actually, I missed seeing the prototype machine at the track, and had to ambush the Motus crew at Alice’s Restaurant the next day), but now the American motorcycle upstart is ready to debut its production sport-tourer.