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Motus: In Person

The average age of the American motorcyclist is creeping ever upwards, and because of that, our needs are changing. We still appreciate good handling and lots of power, but we want our bikes to be all-day rideable.

So did the brains behind Motus Motorcycles, Lee Conn and Brian Case. They wanted to build an all-day comfortable sport-tourer that could, in the parlance of their Alabama home, haul ass. You’ve seen the press-kit photos of the resulting product, but you can make anything look good in a photography studio, right? What’s the bike like up close?

I heard the Motus and its creators would be riding through my Bay Area backyard on the Monday after the Laguna Seca MotoGP round. Right on time, as we were eating ice cream on the porch at Alice’s Restaurant in Sky Londa, we heard the barely muffled roar of V-Four motorcycles.

Riding on the two bikes were Motus President Lee Conn and MD contributor/TV Superstar/Action Hero Neale Bayly. Bayly somehow managed to convince Lee and Design Director Brian Case that letting him ride the bike from California to Colorado would be a good idea. I asked for a quick ride on the bike—impossible, said Conn and Case. But Neale let me climb on the back and ride two-up with him for a quick jaunt down the hill towards La Honda.

We’ll have to wait for more riding impressions from Neale, but I can tell you what it’s like to ride shotgun. The bike is reasonably roomy for a passenger, much better than a sportbike, but I’m not sure it’s a good long-distance two-up mount; but then again, I don’t really like riding on the back of any bike. But the pegs were reasonably low, the seat felt (for 10 minutes, anyway) reasonably sized and cushy, and there was a decent grab-handle. The motor wasn’t exactly smooth, especially by inline-Four standards. You could really feel it through the pegs and seat, but it was a good feeling, transmitting the kind of mellow power lumps you’d expect from a pushrod V-Twin. It was also very torquey—if Neale shifted I didn’t notice, and we went through a lot of turns in the two or so miles each way. I think he just stuck it in third and smoothly rolled on and off the throttle. The suspension seemed very settled and composed, helping Neale keep me from getting motion sickness.

Even though the Two Brothers Racing-badged exhaust cans snarled out a very racy-sounding note—think the antisocial bastard child of a VFR and a Harley V-Rod—it was a very pleasant experience. We never bumped helmets (let’s keep the “bumping helmets” jokes to a minimum, please?) and I didn’t feel terrified, the way I was the last time I did a two-up ride. Granted, that was on a KTM SuperDuke R behind Dave Stanton at Laguna Seca, but still, the Motus was very civilized. Of course, we didn’t open it up—I’d probably have a different opinion if that was the case.

After my ride, I hung out with Lee and Brian to hear what they had to say about the bike. They’re taking their “American Sport Tour” to test and develop the Motus as well as  show the bike off to the media, public and prospective dealers. The current bikes are third generation, built to test components and gather data—the fourth-gen examples will be for homologation and certification, and the fifth (or fifth and a half) gens will go to the 25 dealers Motus hopes will be offering its products. They say it will happen next year, and from what I saw, there’s little reason to doubt their word.

That’s because these were some pretty well-developed prototypes. Some of the 1000-odd bits needed to make one of these are still clearly one-off items, like the body panels and tanks, but I saw plenty of items that looked much like what you find on a mass-produced bike, like the brakes, instruments, suspension and even footpegs. I also saw the lavishly appointed Motus chase van, a new-looking Dodge Sprinter with custom interior (complete with “Motus” logos stitched into the passenger seats). There is some money behind this effort along with lots of confidence.

But why are they building these bikes? The sport-touring market is a tiny slice of the motorcycle pie, so why not put this gem of a powerplant into something Americans buy, like cruisers or jet-skis?  Lee could care less about what the market is like for sport-tourers. “I have no idea what the market for sport-touring bikes is,” he said, pointing out that since nobody else sells an American-built sport-tourer, “nobody knows what the market is,” and in any case, “we’re not trying to sell tens of thousands of bikes.” The business model is much smaller, around 200 units a year. No, Case and Conn are just building the kinds of motorcycles they want to ride—comfy enough for the interstate and fun in the twisties.

And that explains the minimalistic nature of the bikes. Not much instrumentation, and there’s no ABS, electronic suspension, heads-up displays or other farklage. Just a seat, motor, luggage and windscreen. Conn told me that every component was evaluated to see if it did one of three things. If it didn’t either increase performance, increase comfort, or increase range it was redesigned. “Everything else is just a gimmick,” according to Conn. I mentioned to Conn that in my last Motus story I wrote, “it’s the kind of motorcycle I’d imagine airline pilots would ride,” and he chuckled—he’s a pilot himself: “We’ll take airplane pilots.”

That commitment to performance has paid off. Conn claims his laptimes on the MST are the same as on his CBR600 trackbike at the Barber Motorsports complex where they do much of their testing and development. But he wants economy, too; Lee says the benchmark is 50 mpg, which would give the bike a 300-mile maximum range. The standard MST weighs in at 530 pounds wet, and with a claimed 161 horsepower (and 122 ft.-lbs. of torque at 4500 rpm) it should go fast—really fast.

That motor, so prominently displayed, is the star of the show. Case says he started the project with the engine, a 1660cc, pushrod 90-degree V-Four. The cam is chain-driven, and the valve actuation is hydraulic, which promises low maintenance. The longitudinal placement makes servicing easy, and Case tells me the perpendicular gearbox lessens the torque effect longitudinal crankshafts have. The bike’s chain final drive may not be what some serious long-distance guys want, but Lee says it’s essential for a sportbike—“all sportbikes have chains and there’s a reason for that”—and modern O and X-ring chains aren’t that dirty or so much trouble to maintain.

Listen to the exhaust note in these videos we’ve embedded and tell me you don’t want to ride a Motus. That’s why the Motus draws a crowd when it stops, with throngs of curious gearheads asking esoteric questions. Unlike other American moto-startups, it doesn’t trade on “heritage,” “character” or “tradition,” instead depending on performance and good design to provide a class (of one)-leading product—its only baggage is the included locking hard bags. Will 200 or more riders pony up the $30,000 or more to get what may be the most desirable sport-tourer on the market? Nobody knows, but one thing is certain—it’s impossible to dismiss the Motus if you see it up close.

77 Comments

  1. Norm G. says:

    to put this into perspective honda’s new single cylinder moto3 bike will apparently ALSO cost you $30 grand. gentlemen, if i’ve said it once, i’ve said it a thousand times… “welcome to the niche business that is motorcycling”.

  2. Easy1958 says:

    Cool Bike – Looks like a Honda ST1300 without some plastic and farkles and with 300 more cc’s and 60 more hp

  3. Artem says:

    There is something strange with valve caps. Something like GMC’s engines of WWII.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “There is something strange with valve caps. Something like GMC’s engines of WWII.”

      well that or it’s a deliberate visual cue to any LS engine built by katech or the one off 8.2L seen here…? jump to :30…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz9N5K2HUeA

      though i’m certainly not any closer to owning one, i’ve lusted after this “batmobile” for a few years now… LOL

  4. Bob says:

    So many of you just don’t get it. If you haven’t figured it out, the motorcycle is not for you, so why bother adding your 2 pesos? Because apparently 2 pesos is all you have, so you knock it? It’s an exclusive piece of machinery and will cost as such the first couple years until the fan base builds. They know they’re not catering to the frugal or, ahem, cheap consumers. If you want cheap, buy a used cookie cutter UJM. Nothing wrong with it. Nothing special about them either. It’s like complaining the Ferrari F40 is too expensive for a car without power window/locks, stereo system and even door handles.

    They’re building this bike because it suits their desires first and foremost. And that is because no one else out there is building a bike like this in the sport tourer class. What’s out there is too big and heavy and doesn’t have enough sport DNA to satisfy their primal motorcycle urges. They’re also hoping there are others out there that share their desires. They also know, that in it’s 1st year or two, the bike will not be priced like a japanese UJM that sells by the thousands due to price breaks from procuring large quantities or parts.

    The cost won’t be easily affordable right away. Keep in mind, they’re likely going to put high dollar parts on it because this isn’t a bike made to just get from point A to B in a conservative manner. It’s meant to perform very well.

    The prototypes had Brembo monoblocks, Ohlins front and rear suspenders, OZ and Marchesini wheels, CF bodywork, CF exhaust cans and included luggage. They were also offering something no one else does, adjustable handlebars (wide/narrow, fore/aft) and a lovely gas direct injection V4 with true racing DNA built into it (same architecture as the GM LS7R engine).

    The prototypes definitely had some fine tuning and cleanup to do as far as what the final pieces will look like. Things like real mandrel bent headers/frame pieces, casting the cooling passages into the heads internally via the block, but it was easy to see where it was going. And you can tell it was a very good prototype, ready to be ridden cross country. Once the design is validated, these details will be taken care of and pricing can then be set.

    I’m excited for these guys in a big way because I’ve done this very thing for myself when no one else offered what I was wanting.

    As for price, will it just be for the rich? No. Will it be for the true enthusiasts? Yes. Will it be for those who valve performance and function over gimmicks? Yes. This 42 year old is not rich by any means but I’m on the waiting list. I have no idea about the final price but considering I’ve paid 20k for one of Buell’s original body bikes, 22 years ago, 30k today is really not that big of a deal. Hell, even aprilia and Ducati have sold limited edition/homologation specials at 40k and they are well established brands.

    • MikeD says:

      Bob, i wouldn’t call u exactly rich but if you are paying ~30k on these times for a bike on my book you are one wealthy dude…hope u get it and ride the wheel’s hubs down to the ground…i’ll stay “frugal” till i hit that PowerBall…lol.

      • Bob says:

        Not about being wealthy. Some people don’t hesitate to spend 35-60k on a decked out vehicle with 4 wheels. My priorities lie on 2 wheels, not 4, because I simply can not get emotionally connected to 4 wheels. The only emotion 4 wheels stirs inside me is the feeling of being comatose. This allows me to spend that kind of money on a bike. Plus I save lots of money by doing the maintainence/repair work myself.

  5. Scott says:

    This is almost exactly what I’ve hoped someone would build for a long time. And I seriously doubt the problems with the US economy have touched the 200 or so wealthiest sport touring riders in the country. Spend a day watching the yachts going by on any major water way to realize there are still plenty of very rich people right now, the middle class that’s hurting wasn’t going to spend $30,000 on a bike when the economy was doing well so I think a low volume high price bike with no alternative has a much better chance of breaking even then something crippled by a budget competiting against many existing products. I’m not looking at it from the flaws with existing sport tourer point of view, but the flaws with existing performance bike point of view, i.e. why doesn’t a manufacturer take a performance bike and give it a decent riding position so I can enjoy that performance for more than 60 minutes at a time. I ride across states, not around tracks, and it frustrates me that the major manufacturers think I should sacrifice the difference in acceleration and handling that exists between a gsxr and a v-strom to keep my back straight while doing that. How much heavier do you really have to make a crotch rocket to give it a comfortable seat, upright riding position, and decent wind screen? Sure I could buy a cruiser and a sport bike for less then this, but I can’t ride them both to Indiana, so I’d either be sore or bored when I got there. That said, this is way out of my price range but I hope it succeeds and that success allows it’s price to be reduced and/or encourages the big 4 to follow suit and put some of that money they were going to spend on their next compromised naked or overweight tourer towards a true long distance version of their next hyperbike. (Why does my FZ1 have to be 100 lbs heavier and have 30 fewer horsepower than my one buddy’s R1 while being nowhere near as comfortable as my other buddy’s Tiger? I’d pay as much as either costs to have the Tiger’s riding position and the R1’s performance, but such a bike doesn’t exist).

  6. Norm G. says:

    re: “I heard the Motus and its creators would be riding through my Bay Area backyard on the Monday after the Laguna Seca MotoGP round.”

    next question… will they be riding through the backyard of Indianapolis…?

  7. Norm G. says:

    to properly understand this bike (vehicle) it requires “top down thinking”. unfortunately, the typical “bottom feeder up thinking” that the latter-day motorcycle consumer suffers from does not apply. move along, nothing to see here…! YES this motorcycle is targeted at the wealthy. more specifically well-healed CAR guys if had to guess. while the name motus might not be a name we low-budget operatives have ever heard…? the name associated with the important part of the bike (ie. the engine) is pratt & miller/katech, a VERY known quantity. these are the entities behind the GM racing program and the multi-time lemans winning corvette (think the yellow compuware car seen in the chevy commercials). we may not know the name, but you can be DAMN sure the guys in the american corvette and viper clubs know it. many of whom also ride bikes i suspect. as such, the engine ALONE is worth $30K and the motorcycle “conveyence” wrapped around it is thrown in for free. quite, the bargain this. :) see how the dynamic completely changes based on your perspective…? so, what’s $30k (assuming this is even the price?) when the target group, both young and old mind you, are routinely seen pouring MILLIONS into vintage muscle, modern muscle, and exotics…? not singular, but complete collections. these guys are all tripping over each other in the rush to be the next seinfeld, leno, tuttle sr, or “carolla” (adam, not the toyota). i’ve seen WELL more than $30k being spent on bikes at trackdays and racing at the club level by relative nobodys…? the money’s there, don’t let anybody kid you into thinking that it’s not.

  8. Tom R says:

    Not too sure that I like the sound of the thing on the track. My wimply computer speakers could be the culprit, but the Motus sounded something like a Honda V-4 with an exhaust leak. Not real sexy.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “but the Motus sounded something like a Honda V-4 with an exhaust leak.”

      that would be a ducati then…!!! LOL

  9. Leo says:

    Just another ride out of my financial reach, but all thing said I guess 30K for a niche bike is a bargain. Follow your dream guys…wish I could.

  10. FreddyJ says:

    I expect that these guys will make as much from selling the motor as they do their bikes. There are a lot of people that would love to put such a powerful, compact light mill in a number of specialty applications (http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/03/motus-mst/). I remember reading somewhere that this engine could easily be tuned to 300+ hp without a blower. These guys cater to wealthy motorheads, which there seem to be plenty of.

  11. Neil says:

    A very nice machine. A friend, for comparison, has his 99 VFR800 for sale for 4500 with a Sargent seat, front and year suspension upgrades, heli bars and a Staintune exhaust. I applaud the effort of MADE IN USA, but how many of us can afford that kind of expense if the business model is 200 units a year? I test rode the Diavel the other day at Seacoast Ducati in NH and it was amazingly comfy and easy to ride for half the money. We have close to 15 percent real unemployment here in the U.S. Hire some of those people and bring the price down.

  12. rapier says:

    Interestingly it obviously does not have a unit transmission. It’ the tranny which is of most interest to me. Somewhere online it says it uses a traditional motorcycle clutch but it can’t be a wet one. If true it can’t be a flywheel one. So what is the configuration of the clutch to the crank, or crank to tranny input shaft to the clutch. Now looking at the picture it seems the clutch is after the tranny input shaft.

    Then how and where do they do the 90 degree turn? Before the clutch evidently. I can’t recall a longitudinal cranked bike not using shaft drive. There were transverse cranked bikes that used shaft drive so they too had to make the 90 degree turn. I was in a dealership once when a guy brought it a shattered bevel gear from some Yamaha, model forgotten. Lucky it didn’t crash him. The engineering of the tranny would seem to me to be a bigger deal than the engine. The pushrod low rev thing makes perfect sense. Make up for rpms with displacement. the 50mpg thing seems almost impossible but if it’s true than what is the downside? Well it fits in no racing category.

    It is a sad commentary that HD hired Porsche to design the V Rod engine and that they were a slave to the old concept when a clean slate offered a clean new opportunity. Something like this actually crossed my mind at the time. As an old Guzzi hand I knew the possibilities of the longitudinal crank.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Then how and where do they do the 90 degree turn? Before the clutch evidently. I can’t recall a longitudinal cranked bike not using shaft drive. There were transverse cranked bikes that used shaft drive so they too had to make the 90 degree turn.”

      yes, likely a male spline is mated to a bevel gear with a corresponding bevel gear mated to the input shaft. it would have to. we have modern examples of this. bmw does it with the current K13/K16 architecture, yamaha with the FJR13, honda with the VFR12, and though longitudinal, i believe triumph actually has to do it with the rocket3…? don’t quote me on that. i know there’s some kind of “intermediary” in that gearbox before power outputs to the shaft.

      re: “It is a sad commentary that HD hired Porsche to design the V Rod engine”.

      not at all. it’s actually a brilliant commentary. smart business in the 21st century sees hiring outside consultants when you acknowledge technological limits or time constraints. even the UBER-boffins at BMW left the K13 redesign to ricardo. it’s essentially what motus is doing currently with P&M/Katech.

      • I don’t think rapier was referring to the fact that other companies are partnering with one another. It appears he is referring to the self-imposed design limits put on the VRod motor when working with a company like Porsche.

        I like Neal’s comment about the Guzzi motor when rolling off the throttle. That feeling and sound are two of many reasons Guzzis are so full of character.

  13. billy says:

    “I asked for a quick ride on the bike—impossible, said Conn and Case.”

    That’s exactly where I stopped reading. What a couple of db’s.

    • Bud says:

      Because if you were in their position you would undoubtedly hand over your prototype to some guy because he has a motorcycle blog.

      It’s not being a db, it’s called common sense.

    • stacius says:

      Why are they db’s? I wouldn’t hand over my prototype bike to just anybody who asked.

    • Ruefus says:

      I have a 2002 Suzuki SV650S with 42,000 miles. If you were to ask, the answer is no.

      You don’t have to agree, remotely understand or even like it. It’s MY bike and I’ll do as I please.

      If that makes me a db…….ooops.

      • billy says:

        It’s your bike and you’ll do as you please? That’s funny.

        I wouldn’t let you ride my Honda bicycle Ruefus. BUT I MAY STRONGLY CONSIDER IF I WERE WANTING TO SELL IT TO YOU!

        Get it now?

  14. harry says:

    I would pay #30k for a 1100cc air cooled inline 4 standard. Hey Honda!

  15. jim says:

    VFR1200 fairing with a Superduke headlight?

  16. Kjazz says:

    Looks like a pretty cool machine, but when you ask $30K for a sport GT machine, they had better done their homework exceptionally well as in, plenty of wind tunnel testing on the fairing, air management (no hot spots like the past FJs), good long distance economy, good lighting, bags that dont leak, really good passenger seating, electronics capability (hight output stator), very low maintenance intervals. The list could go on. The really great GTs or any bike for that matter that lasts has had umpteen design and redesign iterations and the public expects a high quality level for even $15,000. So, I hope they’ve done that. The way the economy is cooking (not) today, selling even 300 – 500 might be a challenge at $30K+….

    • Gabe says:

      I want to make one thing clear to all the MD readers–Motus has NOT announced pricing. $30k is my guess based on the low production volume. It could be more, it could be less.

      They are doing lots of testing–I would expect a more reliable bike than a custom machine, but not as much as the product of a large factory.

      Economy–as I stated in the story, they are shooting for 50 mpg. I’m guessing they are seeing mid-40s or better now, as the motor runs at ver low RPM.

      Maint. intervals-as stated, it uses hydraulic lifters–expect infinite miles between valve adjustments!

      Lighting and electrics–they are using high-quality components from existing suppliers. Should be good. The stator is good for 75 watts.

      Passenger seat–did you read my story? It’s not bad, but not really a long-distance mount, I don’t think.

      Hard bags–these are Givi units, so expect them to work great and be leak free.

      The bottom line is that there will be 200 or more buyers of this bike every year, regardless of price, because the buyers won’t be value shoppers. Those guys buy VFRs and Concours (very good bikes). This is a unique product, so for those who can afford the premium, $30k or more won’t be a barrier.

      • Dale says:

        What he said.

        The fact that unless I win the lottery I’ll never own a Desmoseducci (sp?) doesn’t mean that it’s a bad bike and it doesn’t mean I’m not curious about it, it also doesn’t mean that others haven’t already bought it…

  17. Greg says:

    Great effort. But only time will tell how reliable they are, parts availability, or if they’ll even be around long enough to handle warranty work.

  18. Foogunheimer says:

    I have a hard time believing that this bike can get around the track faster than a CBR600. I just don’t see it.

  19. jim says:

    reminds me of the moto morini story. Wealthy guys building what they want. Likewise, dean kamen bought sikorski because they didn’t make a heli quite the way he wanted.

  20. Freddie Brenneman says:

    I’m sure Leno will step up to the plate, but 30K is little much for me.

  21. monsterduc1000 says:

    Sounds INCREDIBLE!!! If I was willing to spend that kind of money on a bike though, I would get a Ducati Diavel. Less weight, wicked styling, similar power, less money…I know Ducati is calling it a power cruiser, but it would be great for some distances riding…well, longer than my monster.

    • Foogunheimer says:

      “If I was willing to spend that kind of money on a bike though,” That is what is going to be the main problem with this bike. Too many of us are not willing to spend that much money on a Sport Touring bike when a suitable bike that offers the same basic specs can be had for under $10,000 all day long. If you have to have a pushrod V-4 then this is the bike for you. Otherwise, you can get something for less the 1/3 the price that will do 98% of what this bike can do.

  22. Mondo Endo says:

    I can purchase a Concours 14 and a Griso 8v for about the same price….. no contest.

  23. Stinky says:

    30K might sound expensive, and is, but Harley, Honda Wing, BMW riders are routinely shelling out 25+ and in Harleys case another 3/5K in performance, handling, cosmetic upgrades. I don’t want ABS, linked brakes, cruise conrol, adjust on the fly suspension,dual clutch, paddle shifter. All that stuff means only dealers can sort out bugs or neglect. I happen to fit the CEOs definition of simplicity and performance. This seems like a good option.Unfortunately no purchase of this magnitude for 5 years.

  24. joezip5 says:

    The motus has a nice sounding exhaust note and an overall contemporary style. If the price is pleasing and not stratospheric it should be sucessful. Good luck Motus.

  25. Butch says:

    The only “new” bike that would cause me to go spend my money this weekend would be the Honda PC 800. I would love to get a new one. Practical, cheap, that is what I want. I am short of stature, do not want or need 150 HP or top heavy sport bike I cannot push around in the garage. I appreciate that others have different tastes.

  26. Denny says:

    Obviously, dedication to extreme will not meet with mainstreem. For this money you will get czech made Midalu – and that is 2.5l V6 hyperbike. Regular Joe, or Denny for that matter will be better served with 500 single or 800cc twin. However, great attempt american cousins, next chapter of attempt-in-vane to be written.

  27. butch says:

    American made bikes are too expensive, IMO, to get excited about (as an 41 year old American). Maybe Motus (Indian, Buell, etc.) is truly catering to the older crowd with the design and price tag. That’s great……now. But how is that long-term sustainability without attracting younger (ie, 30 & 40 somethings)? Maybe “phase two” of the business plan is to design an entry level and more affordable model bike?

    Can Buell, Motus, or (ahem) Harley-Davidson create a reasonably priced mid-size naked, standard, or supermoto? I’d love to buy an American made bike similar to a Shiver, 690 Duke, smaller Monster, or something like that. Do it for under $7 or $8K. Right now, people my age are busy trying to keep a job, pay for kids and *maybe* buy a modest performing bike, not a rocket ship for over 12 grand. I suppose they will cater to the people with money right now, can’t really blame them I suppose…

  28. Tim says:

    I actually don’t think $30k is all that out of line in today’s market. Lots of us, (me included), have been decrying the lack of an “American made” alternative to the imported sport tourers – or the lack of a true sport touring alternative to the they-all-look-the-same “American made” cruisers. Well, it costs a little more to manufacture in the US. I’m assuming that more of this Motus is made in America than, say, a Harley or Victory. If I was in the market in the near term, I’d have to give these a look and see if that price would be justifiable. With only 83,000 miles on my ST1300, (and a full 3 years remaining on the extended warranty), however, I won’t be shopping for a replacement for some time. I only hope Motus is still around by then.

  29. mickey says:

    I applaud their effort but for $30K I’d take a Ninja 1000 and use the other 21K for..well..lots of things..gas, motels, food, tires, riding gear, maybe another motorcycle or two

  30. 80-watt Hamster says:

    I have trouble wrapping my head around all the negativity whenever Motus is brought up. Addressing a couple common points:

    1. Engine: Yes, it would be nice if it were more technologically advanced or more refined or whatever, but the options are to start from scratch or borrow someone else’s engine. A ground-up engine in a ground-up bike would probably end up twice the price and more than twice the dev time. A startup can’t afford that. Starting with a motor from another bike manufacturer would dilute the unique factor, which is presumably a big part of the image Motus is going for. And while pushrods are old tech, so is OHC. Been around since the ’30s, IIRC.

    2. Price: 30k is a lot for a bike, but how much less could they charge and still survive at the volumes they’re talking? I don’t think 200 units is an unrealistic target, at least for the first couple of years or so. If they can get volume up and production costs down perhaps MSRP could meander downward over time. But even if they sell every bike they can build, I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t make it into the black for a long time.

    Fly or crash, I have to respect Motus for having the stones to attempt something that Harley and Victory/Polaris won’t.

    • Foogunheimer says:

      Which is why the Motus will probably fail in the marketplace. Most posters here say they don’t need what Motus is offering, especially at the price they are asking. This will being another “also ran” bike which will garner a small footnote in motorcycle history.

      • Dave says:

        Motus plans to build 200 bikes per year to sell into a 300m person market. They could sell that many at twice the price. US is full of people that will spend $30 on a bike “just because” and park it next to thier other 5-6 bikes.

        • Foogunheimer says:

          Yes, if it says Harley on it. Remeber, this bike is unproven in every way, while your average $30,000 Harley has a proven track record so folks know what they are getting. Motus who???

          • Dale says:

            I wouldn’t be comfortable spending 30k on anything right now but, as has been pointed out, it would be no biggie for the Guy that has a couple hundred grand worth of vehicles sitting in the garage already.

            IF I was looking to spend 30k on a bike something like this would have the inside line over Any “chopper” or full dress anything.

            Old fart that still needs (wants) more Sport than Touring in a Sport Touring bike here.

            Yes, I ride, 1185 miles on a “stock” ZRX1200R in a 24 hour period during one of my sea to shining sea rides.

            Floorboards??? I don’t need no stinkin’ floorboards or highway pegs! I either dangle my feet or stand on the pegs for a change of pace! (going for humor here Ride it how you want)

    • Bud says:

      You think pushrods are old tech? Pistons have been around longer than that! You should be looking for a bike without those old fashioned things!

      My point being, maybe instead of getting hung up on whether its cutting edge, it’s better to focus on the end result.

  31. Dannytheman says:

    I can never call something an all day rider if it only has one set foot position. Unless all day to some people is 150 miles. These are toys for rich boys. 30,000 is steep.

  32. Barkeep says:

    looks promising indeed but 30k is too much for any bike.

  33. steve says:

    yes… the sound… .very nice… in stereo…..

    I like the motor a lot. I’ve always liked Guzzi’s & have considered buying a California a few times but the closest dealer is Fast by Ferracci & thats about 50 miles away. Who knows where the next closest dealer is…

    Funny thing… other than the suspension, they describe the motor as pretty low tech… 90 degree V-4, pushrods, etc…. loads of torque….

    worth #30k??… not to me…. no versatility..doesn’t have a lot of storage, wind protection & not made for long distance 2-up… I’ll keep my HD Street Glide…. loads of torque, low tech, air cooled, pushrods, etc…

    Put the motor in a variety of more directly specialized bike types… like Moto Guzzi does….. but then, you’d just have an MG clone…

  34. very nice looking, sounding bike, BUT… 30k is way over priced imo… only old coots will pony up that kind of money…. ;)

  35. clasqm says:

    If this thing is going to have the word “tour” in its profile then let’s see the luggage provisions. And really, does the consumer get such a patriotic hit out of where a bike is made? Well, I’m not American, perhaps I just wouldn’t understand.

  36. Long Beach Show says:

    Saw it in person few weeks ago at Long Beach show. Very light weight. Wished them good luck since the moto industry is rife with hx of businesses sinking 200 million dollars & still bankrupt. Pointed out Norton, Buell, Indian, Chopper craze like AmIronHorse, Big Dog, Excelsior Henderson, the list just goes on & on…..

    The rep, & the CEO told me they are concentrating on pooling their resources on drive-train development, & use as much off the shelve parts as possible for all the peripheral/ancillary items like suspension, brakes, lighting (it uses KTM RC8 lights), etc.

    They are aware the path to success is littered with the entrails of good company lead by well intentioned people but sill went down in flames, $200 million dollars later.

    They realize it is a niche market, so they will be careful & prudent in their due diligence. I hope they succeed.

  37. jimbo says:

    “…Lee could care less about what the market is like for sport-tourers. ‘I have no idea what the market for sport-touring bikes is,’ he said…”

    An acquaintance Allan Perkins designed and engineered one of the finest and most respected high-end LP phonograph turntables, $25k MSRP (company is called Immedia). In an interview I was a bit shocked to read that he has no idea what his competition sells and never looks at the work of other turntable companies/designers. Interesting to read almost a direct paraphrase in this article.

  38. chris says:

    You can have many of the same characteristics in a more refined, and lighter weight package, vfr1200 by Honda

    • jimbo says:

      Per Honda OEM website specs their VFR1200 weighs 61 lbs more (591 curb wt all fluids full).

    • Foogunheimer says:

      60 pounds is a big deal on a sport bike but no so big of a deal on a sport touring bike. The VFR doesn’t seem to be doing well at half the price of the Motus, so what chance does a $30,000 undeveloped sport touring bike have in the marketplace? Let’s just say that if I were an investor I would look somewhere else to get a nice ROI. Iit would be nice though, to have another American bike manufacturer around. I just wish that they would do the necessary market research before laying pen to paper and find out what the consumer wants and is WILLING to spend on a sport touring bike.

  39. Dale says:

    Interesting Motorcycle, it’s generally along the lines of what appeals to me these days in a “ride it everyday” bike. With it’s torque and horsepower, at that weight, it would be a Rocket. I’m looking forward to the reviews of the production version.

  40. george says:

    They have part of something interesting here but they have a lot to do if they want to sell more than five of these. For $30K I would expect something a bit more exceptional. The exhaust routing and cans look cheap and dated. If they redo the exhaust and replace the tack and speedo display with something more modern it would help.

    • stacius says:

      It’s a prototype. Not the finished bike.
      “The current bikes are third generation, built to test components and gather data—the fourth-gen examples will be for homologation and certification, and the fifth (or fifth and a half) gens will go to the 25 dealers Motus hopes will be offering its products. They say it will happen next year, and from what I saw, there’s little reason to doubt their word.”

      If you actually read the article, the bikes in the pictures are for testing. Ergos, motor, rake, trail, etc.

      The engine doesn’t have to be high-tech, it just has to work. It’s not for racing on tracks. It’s for riding long distances at decent speeds, and to be easy to maintain and hot-rod if someone has the time, skill and money. Also, they’ll probably sell a ton of the engines for other applications, as it is dead simple and puts out decent power.

      • george says:

        I didn’t see anything about exhaust design updates in the article but you have clearly shown that I lack your reading comprehension skills and exceedingly veracious foresight. It is clear to me now that anyone with a basic education should conclude this would be addressed in the next iteration. I retract my obtuse comment and defer to your insightfulness. Especially enlightening was the comment about the engine just having to work.

  41. Michael Haz says:

    Be still, my pounding heart! *Looks around garage and basement to see what he can sell on eBay*

  42. bikerrandy says:

    It’s a good thing excessive speed isn’t important to me any more. Other wise I’d be drooling for 1 of these. Still I love this American made sport/tourer’s looks and the fact I have been riding Moto Guzzis for 25 years might have something to do with it. This Motus has the looks of a Mopar bike, IMHO.

  43. MikeD says:

    ~$30k or more…best of luck guys (i think they smoked the same as EBR when they came up with the 1190’s MSRP)…LOL.
    That’s ~5k more than a K1600GTL with the Premium Package.

    • jimbo says:

      BMW different specs:

      Wheelbase +8″
      Weight +235 lbs

      Doubt anyone is cross-shopping these two bikes.

      • Foogunheimer says:

        The BMW sells because it is a proven product. The Motus has no history and is asking a very premium price based on the fact that it goes fast around the race track. Who is really going to ride one of these things around the race track? You would be better off buying the BMW if you want to eat miles and be comfortable and keep your driver’s license. Sure the Motus has performance, but you can buy plenty of performance in a sport touring bike without having to spend $30,000.

      • MikeD says:

        If money IS NOT AN ISSUE for said persons…SURE!, but personaly i would and so probably most of US here.