Motus Motorcycles of Birmingham, Alabama. Motus is the newest motorcycle manufacturer in the United States.
Motus' partner in developing the MST was race car manufacturer Pratt & Miller, who were credited with product engineering, development, testing and validation for the MST.
The MST is powered by a 90° pushrod V4 engine that is mounted longitudinally, with its crankshaft aligned fore-and-aft. The first V4 ever used in an American motorcycle.
The prototype was first shown to the public at Daytona Beach Bike Week in March, 2011. The production bike was rode at Bonneville and set the official land speed record for the world's fastest pushrod-engine production motorcycle, with speeds of 163.98 mph (263.90 km/h) and 165.81 mph (266.85 km/h) for the records and a top speed of 168.69 mph (271.48 km/h)
The American V4® Precision with Attitude
When we began our pursuit of building the ultimate American sport-touring motorcycle, we quickly realized the ideal engine didn’t exist. So we built it.
The mighty Baby Block® MV4 is a pushrod powered V4 that delivers massive torque across a wide, smooth power band. It speaks with an exhaust note unlike anything before it. Equally important, the American V4® uses known technology proven to be durable and easy to maintain. It's the same small block architecture found in the most reliable and competitive engines on the planet from popular American passenger cars and trucks to high performance racing vehicles.
Of course, some people want it for small race vehicles and other motorcycles, but the MV4 may also be perfect for other applications. If you are interested in a crate engine, we’d love to talk about your ideas.
A HEART ON FIRE. A MIND AT EASE. AN AMERICAN STORY
Two guys traveling wildly different roads through life, meet up in Birmingham, Alabama. Both there by accident or chance or fate. Both are passionate motorcyclists. One in it for his career; the other a lifelong enthusiast. As their friendship grows, they discover they have more than a love of motorcycling in common. They share a dream. Lee Conn, president, and Brian Case, VP of design, talk about Motus, the MST and how the American Dream is still possible for those who believe.
THE STORY OF MOTUSA CONVERSATION BETWEEN LEE AND BRIAN
Lee and I met in 2006. When we met, it had nothing to do with business; just two guys who shared a passion for riding and American manufacturing. Our relationship began as a friendship first and that’s been an important factor as we’ve built this business together. Lee was genuinely interested in the motorcycles I was designing at the time and the first seeds of Motus started in those days, long before we began seriously considering starting our company.
About the same time, Lee was selling a company he'd founded years earlier and was starting to look for his next challenge. We talked about starting a company together and inevitably our talks would return to motorcycles, and how the perfect bike for the kind of riding we love just didn’t exist.
One thing we knew from the beginning. If this crazy dream was going to work, we were going to have to find the very best partners in the business.
One key partner is Pratt & Miller Engineering, a company that has demonstrated incredible ability to win championships in many types of motorsports and also with deep roots in testing and development for OE vehicle programs.
Everything they do is absolutely first rate. So for them to take on our project — they were believers in what we were doing. They share our passion and were able to provide Motus sophisticated engineering, testing and development programs.
Designing a motorcycle is not like designing other kinds of consumer products. It's a machine, a system of thousands of integrated parts that all have to move in complete synchronicity. It's like riding a fine watch. In the early days, all I did was imagine, sketch, dream. I took a lot of inspiration from the collection at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. Seeing all those machines that have come before.
”THE DESIGN HAD TO BE LOGICAL. IT HAD TO MAKE SENSE — THE LAST THING WE WANTED WAS A CONCEPT BIKE THAT WOULD APPEAL TO A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE.“
The design had to be logical. It had to make sense — the last thing we wanted was a concept bike that would appeal to a handful of people. The Motus was never going to be a custom bike. It's not haute couture, it's not the flavor-of-the-week. The design naturally flows from the kind of riding we love to do. We drew inspiration from classic lines of the past, skipping over the 1950s entirely. We were aiming for a classic design that would hold up long after we're gone. I wanted the bike to move you, literally and figuratively.
I drew a lot of inspiration for the overall design from the engine. Turning the engine the way we did set up the idea of symmetry. The bike is not perfectly symmetrical, but almost so. Sort of like a human body. Dual pipes on either side. The 15° forward lean gives it an aggressive, powerful profile- like a bull charging the wall.
I wanted to keep the body styling minimal. The design screams mechanics — the form truly follows the function. We used bodywork like you would drape lingerie on a beautiful body — to accentuate, not to cover.
To truly understand the essence of the MST, you have to ride it. Brian did a great job of not over-styling and avoiding retro visual influences because the soul of the bike is in the performance. It's ironic. We didn't design it to attract attention in a crowd, but it certainly does attract attention.
Motus is not for everyone. This is not your first bike. It's really designed for discerning riders with a lot of miles, who understand the difference.
Our riders don't belong to one tribe where you need chaps and fringes and a closed-minded attitude to other bikes. He or she isn't necessarily a walking billboard for their brand of choice. They are aficionados, real riders. Whether riding to meet their buddies at a favorite overlook, or riding long distance up into the twisting mountain roads for dinner and a quick overnight fix, Motus riders have a broader, all-encompassing passion for this crazy obsession that is motorcycling. They want to go fast but they want to go far.
Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.
Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.
Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the infinite, so long are you young.
When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.
Samuel Ullman, Birmingham, Alabama (1840-1924)
Our approach, from the beginning, was to build the best motorcycle possible. We did not want to create a bike that people would immediately pull off the seat or the pipes because we used sub-standard parts. Everything about these bikes is top shelf. And when you're on the road, eating up highway miles — you will notice the difference.
More than one person called us crazy. Starting a luxury goods manufacturing company in 2008? Seriously? If we've proven nothing else it's that if you are willing to go all in, to risk everything you've got, you can still turn your dreams into reality. The entrepreneurial spirit, or whatever you want to call it, is alive and well. Motus is an American bike because the idea of it was born here. But it's more than that. It's an American bike because it represents everything that makes this country great.