American motorcycles are typically associated with a thumping big V-twin engine. But the two creators of Motus Motorcycles, Brian Case and Lee Conn, saw things differently.
They set out to build the first sports-touring motorcycle the US has seen since World War II, and it DOESN’T have a V-Twin engine.
In fact - it has a V4!
The company started as a result of a chance meeting between the two in Birmingham, Alabama in 2008.
Like other stories we’ve heard, they came from different backgrounds and had different paths in life, but they had a common interest in motorcycles.
The company has been developing two motorcycles - the MST and MST-R - which are now making their way to customers.
They wanted to create something different, so rather than buy in the same stock engine and chassis componentry that other manufacturers use, the guys decided to develop their own.
That delayed production but allowed them to stay true to their original goal of creating a truly unique motorcycle.
The engine design was done in conjunction with Katech, a car engine R&D specialist.
The team came up with a 1650cc overhead valve V4 Baby Block motor with two valves per cylinder operated by pushrods.
While that sounds very old school and low tech, it apparently uses some of the best design features from the Chevrolet Corvette LS7.R V8.
The engine produces 123kW and 167Nm in standard trim. The MST-R gets a performance boost through a high-lift cam, revised engine mapping and a 400rpm higher rev limit that brings those figures up to 134kW and 171Nm.
As Director of Design, Brian Case created the concept for the frame and overall design of the bike, but Motus teamed up another Detroit-based engineering company, Pratt & Miller, to make it all a reality.
Both bikes run a six speed transmission and the team decided on chain drive rather than belt because it was able to handle the engine’s torque output. They looked at shaft drive as well but that would have added too much weight to the bike.
Suspension is fully-adjustable 43mm Öhlins NIX30 upside down forks on the front, with an Öhlins TTX36 shock on the rear of the MST-R. The MST model gets a slightly down spec unit that has rebound damping only.
Brembo M3 Monobloc calipers are fitted to the MST-R, the MST still gets Brembo’s but the two-piece caliper version.
Prices start at about USD $31,000 for the MST and around USD $37,000 for the up-spec MST-R, but we have no idea whether the bikes will make it to Australia.