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Motus Motorcycles Ceases Operations


Motus Motorcycles founders Lee Conn and Brian Case announced on the Motus Owners Group Facebook page that, “After an amazing ten year ride, Motus is forced to shut down operations, effective immediately.” The post goes on to state that the company’s investors unexpectedly pulled the rug out, informing Motus management that they will not provide “sufficient capital to maintain operations and grow the business” (which sounds like a business-speak way of saying that they will only provide funding to keep the remaining factory assets together until a decision is made on their future). This was right before Motus was rumored to be unveiling a new streetfighter-style model for 2019 based upon the company’s trademark longitudinally mounted single-cam/pushrod V-4 engine.

Created in 2008 by Case and Conn in Birmingham, Alabama, as a sort of American antithesis to the boutique V-twin choppers and cruisers that were popular at the time, Motus’ V4 was designed with help from Pratt & Miller Engineering, General Motors’ endurance racing partner for 25 years. Cranking out more than 180 hp with 127 ft/lb of torque, the company’s two current models—the MST and MST-R—boast top-shelf components that reflect the bikes’ hand-built (about 300 per year) origins. The two sport-touring models garnered numerous kudos from the motorcycling media, and had an enthusiastic cult following. But with the sport-touring genre soon morphing into the adventure tour segment, and the lack of a real promotional campaign that reached all the consumers that mattered, the sales apparently flattened out enough to concern the Motus backers.

Here’s hoping that the company finds a buyer to keep the American V4 in the market. It would be a shame to lose yet another American sportbike manufacturer.

112 Comments

  1. bmbktmracer says:

    This is nothing that a swanky set of valve covers wouldn’t have fixed.

  2. Sean says:

    Great engine, everything else about the bike was straight out of the late 90s as far as technology goes. Still, always hate to see a manufacturer go under. RIP Motus. =(

  3. Stuki Moi says:

    Whether the bike itself is nice or not, is largely irrelevant. Anyone, anywhere can build nice bike with nary a dealer network for $50K. The big boomer cohorts who were the market for “mine’s bigger and more exclusive than yours,” are aging OUT of motorcycling. That kind of market positioning may still make some sense for cups of coffee, but not for big ticket manufactured products.

    The Yamaha MT series is where it’s at now: Bikes that do what they do for less than a decade ago. 790 rather than 1290. XMax’ over TMax’. Smaller singles and twins over larger multis. There’s still a market for “flagships,” but it’s a shrinking market. Predominantly people closer to the end than the beginning of their riding careers. Along with perhaps the occasional journalist, who doesn’t pay for, nor live with, anything anyway.

  4. BRIAN says:

    This sad news for Motus, I think that it refreshing to see an American motorcycle company making not just a V Twin Cruiser. They thought outside the box making a true brute of a motor. Ok, yes they are expensive but with the top of the line braking and suspension you bought a motorcycle that needed nothing but ridden! And Hard! My best friend bought MSTR and has said “This is the Best Bike I have ever owned” and has put 20k plus miles on it with no issues (other than tires!)I hope they can get the financial backing that they need to continue.

  5. Robert Gagne says:

    Well this a shame, I test rode the Motus and it was a fantastic bike, I met both Lee and Brain and they are truly motorcycle people.

  6. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    custom motorcycles for rich people = great way to launder money

    • Kento says:

      Not even close to the case here. This isn’t some guy hacking and welding a contraption in his garage.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also not even close because cash or cash equivalent transactions over $10,000 are required by the IRS to be reported on Form 8300. They particularly scrutinize vehicle dealers because people with that kind of cash like their toys to have wheels, or maybe propellers. Excuse me, sir, was that money declared on your tax return?

  7. yellowhammer says:

    Well, I never liked the look of the fairing beak right in the front, and the seat was way too jacked up for my taste. But, like all have said, the msrp just made me not even give it anything other than a casual glance.

  8. Artem says:

    Too much for that thing.

  9. fred says:

    What a shame. I’ve followed Motus off and on since 2008. I couldn’t justify the price, my Concours 14 at half the price was plenty expensive for me. I salute them for the effort, and admire the bold riders who bought the bikes.

  10. joe b says:

    Sort of sounds like the comment that “adventure touring and lack of a promotional campaign”, was the only reason of its demise. Gosh, why not just make it a ‘adventure bike, and I thought this bike was heavily promoted? Instead, its easy to see, this is a one version machine, big heavy, so much of what so many dont want. Oh, and its 30k? with good used bikes going for 5k, what were they thinking. The mc market is flooded with every conceivable kind, style, of both bike and engine. One would think the Honda ST1100 would be its competition, but I dont see hardly any of those about. This is not a better mousetrap.

    • Kento says:

      When you’ve got a relatively small operation that can only build 300 units a year, you can’t hang your hat on trying to better a Honda or BMW on practicality terms with your product, it needs to have the “want” factor for those who can afford a $35,000 motorcycle. That means simply making an adventure bike with the drivetrain won’t work either, because the term “practical” rears its head again.
      Yes, they were in most of the moto-enthusiast media and events, but that isn’t really the audience looking for an emotional $35K purchase. What about the media that cater to that clientele and population centers rife with folks with that kind of disposable income? For example, Silicon Valley is full of that kind of demographic, yet they were underrepresented there.

  11. Fuzzyson1 says:

    Sorry to see Motus go, I’ve admired them since their start, checked them out at Americade in Lake George each year and “dreamed” of one. But realistically how many customers are out there buying $30k+ sport bikes? Especially when the big dogs are already producing top notch sport bikes and sport tourers for far less money. Still, hate to see them and any small independents go.

  12. DR007 says:

    Loved Motus, but price did them in. The motorcycle market is very slow and they are ‘wants’ not ‘needs’ in the eyes of the general public. Motus was unique and I agree, sport touring is morphing into the adventure bike touring. Harley is finally seeing that and hopefully they aren’t too late to the game with their 2020 offerings.

  13. cagefree says:

    Never saw one on the road, and here in So Ca where you see everything thats saying something. Honestly forgot they even existed, and now they don’t.

  14. motowarrior says:

    Lots of good comments as to the shortcoming of the bike and the operation, along with good analysis of what caused the company to fail. I still have a great deal of respect for all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears these guys invested in trying to create something different and special to add to the options we have available to us. I visited the factory and talked to the guys on several occasions. I really would have liked to own a Modus, but like many others, I could not justify the price, especially compared to what BMW offers for less money. Modus bikes are quite good for what they are. They simply aren’t good enough to justify the price. Sad to see them go.

  15. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    In America a motorcycle is a toy and a suitable substitute for an airplane. People who can spend $30k for any toy are smart enough to see that $10k spent will do the same thing as well, transport down the road. You gotta have volume to survive, and the awkward angles of the layout did not help the functional image also.

  16. TunaPete says:

    (Whispering) Pssst… hey Polaris, want to broaden your customer base?

  17. KenLee says:

    Seling Motus for 30k$ is like asking BMW M6 price and offering a Mustang… There is a space in the marked for simply, strong and reliable bike, but asking price should be focused on best HP-for-bucks ratio. And Mustang is got a heritage and history, no matter, how cheap it is. For 30k$ you can buy any sport-tourer including sophisticated BMW K 1600 with all bells and whistles.

    • ApriliaRST says:

      > For 30k$ you can buy any sport-tourer including sophisticated BMW K 1600 with all bells and whistles.

      The Motus sure looks like it weighs a LOT less than the BMW K 1600. If brand name recognition is a reason to buy a motorcycle, then what you get is compromised.

      Another observation: The Motus is way more handsome than the recently announced future Harley-Davidsons. The Motus looks like a unified design as opposed to a disjointed collection of parts.

      • Dino says:

        Motus is a couple hundred pounds lighter than the K1600. It did not have all the electronic bells and whistles for sure.
        Pound for pound, the BMW was a better “value”, but for comfortable sporting, it would not even compare.

        Sport touring may have been the category, but it was more like a comfortable Sport bike.

        • KenLee says:

          K 1600 was just an example of very complex bike for money to compare. If you want to focus on weight, then just swap it in my original post on Kawasaki H2 SX. More comparable, more advanced and still cheaper.

          • Dino says:

            Ah, true.. I saw the next post about weight, and went there..
            Definitely a lot of coin for the Motus without the electronics of many other bikes. But there is just something about the simplicity of a v4 pushrod, pumping out very usable power, surrounded by top shelf bits. As someone who never seems to upgrade the bits on his ride, I saw that as a sign!

  18. Frank says:

    Very sorry to hear this news….great effort and great looking bike.

  19. John says:

    Wow. But not a shocker. When I met w the owners of this company a few years ago and asked them about ABS, traction control and cruise control. They told me that wasn’t needed. I told them any bike at $25,000-30,000 has to have it. They shrugged me off. My concours 14 had all but cruise. And my Ktm 1290 super adventure has it all plus electronic suspension for half the price

    I really wanted a high performance America Motorcycle. But lack of ABS was ridicules

    • Stinky says:

      The lack of nannies was the reason I wanted one. I do like Cruise Control, The rest should be an option on all bikes and see how many want to pay for it. I for one would rather have the best suspenders, seat, luggage than the rest of the crap.

  20. CrazyJoe says:

    None of the versions really looked right. Tire size? Your talking an engine that would remain the same indefinitely. Sport touring bikes like sports bikes have customers that want change. Why didn’t they go after the cruiser market. They wouldn’t need to change it for 30 years. Maybe an Italian company contemplating a cruiser could use a milder v4 that doesn’t guzzle gas. Italians know how to design a good looking bike. Harley does too. An engine like thix might even bring more customers. The 114 is ok but a v4 will get people talking.

  21. Dino says:

    Crap.. really wanted one of these. They are right up my alley, not a lot of tech which is fine by me. Pricey bike, but i was working on it.. I hope someone does invest in them. Not HD, as they would just booger it up, or shut them down. I’ll post again if i hit the lottery, and buy the company!

  22. Lee Spector says:

    I’ve watched Motus since their start, and w/eager anticipation but could never get over the price point. So I’ve admired from a distance. Frankly, there’s nothing a Motus can do that my ’11 N1K can’t and I can buy 3 new N1K’s for the price of one Motus. Would I get 3x the enjoyment out of riding a Motus over an N1K? Very, very doubtful.

    But they didn’t build that bike for me; I’m not in their end of the affluent bike-buying range and yet I’m still sad to see production stop and another business go under. I would, however, like to see them put that engine to good use. Never understood why V4’s and V6’s were not put into cars. The sound of the exhaust alone almost makes it worth it.

    I feel badly for the dealer network and current bike owners; they’re the ones who are going to take it on the chin.

    • Stinky says:

      I feel sorry for any new bike owner that has anything go wrong with the their bike out of warranty. So much to go wrong and no way to fix it yourself. The Motus “should” only need chain/sprockets and brake pads occasionally. Most anything else is NAPA stuff. I was wishing it didn’t have throttle by wire even. Maybe there will be a panic and I can now afford one.

  23. Tom K. says:

    After Motus, I have to wonder if anyone will ever try a new MC startup again in the U.S.. The paradox is that you can’t get costs down until you get the volume up, and you can’t get the volume up until you get the costs down. Reminds me of a certain electric auto manufacturer whose name rhymes with “TESLA”. Alta was lucky enough to be picked up by Harley; Brammo by Cummins and Polaris. I guess that’s the future for startups, to develop something unique enough that you are absorbed by one of the Big Boys. I couldn’t quickly determine whether Zero has ever turned a profit or not, it’s backed by a private investment group – not sure what their future is, other than they “partnered with Confederate” in 2017.

    The sad fact is that the MC market, at least in the U.S., is oversaturated with players and product offerings as it is, I have to wonder if there won’t be further consolidation among the current major manufacturers, let alone new startups. There is a parallel in the auto industry: Ford’s recent cancelling of most of its’ auto lineup in the U.S., the shaky future of FCA, the question mark surrounding TESLA, and much less recently (two decades?), Suzuki Auto, Mercury, Pontiac, Saturn, Oldsmobile, GEO, Hummer, and Plymouth brands.

    • Tendentious says:

      Tesla was started by a guy who was already a gazillionaire, which helps.

    • Kento says:

      The Alta/Harley partnership has basically ended, according to people in Alta. Apparently Harley is either looking at doing its own electric powerplants, or the recent presentation of a production LiveWire was all smoke and mirrors.
      Brammo was purchased by Cummins solely for its motor technology that will be used for industrial purposes. No motorcycles will come out of it.
      Zero has a very shaky future from my viewpoint. While their technology is pretty good as far as EV is concerned, their designs look cobby and dated, and the PR campaign is listless.

    • Relic says:

      Tesla is a $100,000 car that sells for 30k thanks to the taxpayer.

      • Rhinestone Kawboy says:

        That statement is completely wrong. Tesla now has a much lower priced car than $100,000, and more are on the way. The incentive from the Fed is soon to decrease from the $7500, to in a year or so to $0. You also fail to mention all the years that the taxpayer has contributed to the oil industry, milk industry, and others.

        • Provologna says:

          Ethanol subsidies may be the all time worst taxpayer funded boondoggle (well, after illegal wars to “spread democracy” around the globe, a meme created by Woodrow Wilson).

          The mere fact that corn fuel subsidy increases fuel consumption and pollution, the exact opposite of the lies promulgated by corn-State Iowa and other proponents, should be enough to eliminate the subsidy.

          Ethanol increases fuel consumption by greater ratio than that added to regular fuel.

          • bmbktmracer says:

            Maybe we can all agree that the government should abide by the Constitution and stay out the subsidy business. Or we should agree that they should be in the subsidy business and accept that some things they subsidize we’re for and others we’re against.

          • TimC says:

            Replying to bmbktm there – the WHAT? We HAVE one of those???

            Man, if they’d actually stuck to that thing from the start…who is John Galt?

        • Bryan says:

          Thank you! I get so tired of listening to this kind of FUD regarding Tesla. They don’t live on the government and they paid back the single loan they got about 8 years ago(not a real number but for the life of me I can’t remember the actual year).
          I would still like to see the payment history of Ford for their loan to develop their ECO line of engines. Wanna bet that with the Ford restructuring and deleting all of their cars except for the Mustang that will never get repaid.
          Or how about GM for their bankruptcy and restructuring.
          Oh well never mind haters gonna hate.

          • relic says:

            IC subsidies wouldnt be needed if it wasnt for fanatical emission and cafe rules. Mostly PR to keep the global warming fantasy balloon inflated.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Darn! I was hoping they would stay in business long enough to let me buy one with my 401K. I wanted one real bad, I just wasn’t willing to sell every bike in the garage to have only one. I guess now the only reasonable weight sport tourer is the Ninja 1000. I loved that it was the only bike without ABS,TC,…

    • Tendentious says:

      Most sport-touring riders like tech on their bikes, making for another knock against the Motus.

      • Bob K says:

        Who is most sport touring riders?

        The thing about the ST group is that with tech, we’d all set it up once and forget it til we die. ABS is about the only really useful tech, and maybe rain mode. Pages of settings for TC, mapping, etc in the search for ultimate performance isn’t a long term goal of the sport touring crowd.

    • todd says:

      There’s still the excellent F800GT.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I like those. I had rented one years ago (when it was an ST instead of a GT) and was really impressed with the bike. Very well balanced and fleet-footed, comfortable ergos, an engine that made usable power from idle to redline, and I got nearly 60mpg on the thing over the four days I had it. As a plus, I think it is a very attractive bike as well.

        • Tim says:

          I agree, the 800 twin is a great motor. Fast revving, plenty of power and phenomenal gas mileage. But we Americans want even bigger and faster. I rode a friend’s F800 ST and came away impressed though.

          • Snake says:

            It’s more that we wanted a bit more for our $14K (loaded OTD) investment. A 900 triple, with smoother highway cruising and 105-110HP? Yes please!

            A 800 twin with some highway vibes and 90HP, for $14K?

            Err, can I get back to you on that?

            And I **really** liked the F800GT, too.

  25. Relic says:

    The Grand touring bike with full fairing, hard cases etc requires a level of refinement that a small start-up company is incapable of.
    They could’ve gone the route of a small custom bike builder such as orange county choppers. One advantage is that they can tap into an existing network of frame builders, suspension suppliers

  26. Jimmy says:

    To the current owners – good luck and even more luck with resale value

  27. Anonymous says:

    Wow, but then, 300 bikes a year at $30k each is only 9 million. Not worth it to keep the doors open. RI.P. Motus

  28. bmbktmracer says:

    I completely agree with “Joe Lewis”. They should have done their homework and looked at what was selling in big numbers and gone there first. The sport-touring market is really thin and made up mostly of old guys who’ll buy one bike and ride it for 10 or 15 years. Honda can’t give away VFRs, the BMW 800ST was a modest seller, the BMW R1200RS seems to be a phantom, Triumph cancelled the Sprint…

    • Max says:

      Sad, but ya got a point. For the inseam challenged, sport tourers make a lot more sense than adventure bikes. And they’re a lot better on-road bikes too.
      Now, I have to buy adventure bikes and remove the slits to make them useful.
      This was more of a spec sheet rider’s delight. For the low low price of a few great sport tourers, you too could have the best dyno scores on the internet!
      And then Kaw delivers an H2 for $15k less…

      • ApriliaRST says:

        > And then Kaw delivers an H2 for $15k less…

        I agree with your comment much more than this one:

        > They should have done their homework and looked at what was selling in big numbers and gone there first.

        I’m sure they did their homework and made a product that they thought would sell in numbers sufficient to support the manufacture. It’s easier for an established manufacturer (such as kaw’s H2) to create a halo bike for less simply because of the greater financial resources.

        The Motus engine is a great piece of work and a stand-alone product. I hope someone picks up the brand providing enough financing to resume production. I wonder how to contact someone with product available today?

        • mickey says:

          the owners were enthusiasts, sport touring riders who wanted to build their own idea of the ideal sport touring machine. It was a decision of passion and not business.
          Sometimes those decisions pay off, most times they do not. They gambled and it didn’t work out the way they wanted it to that’s all.

          • Bart says:

            M, I have to agree, having been close to the development of the Czysz and Norton bikes here in the PNWest. Passion? For sure, in spades. Being around those bikes during development was addictive and exciting.

            Witnessing M Czysz run down through the corkscrew with a giant American flag on his shifter toe is something I will never forget (told me later he couldn’t shift with that flagpole on his toe!) The IoM e-bike was amazing.

            And the sound of the Norton coming off a turn at full chat was equally addictive.

            And now Motus is gone. Never even seen one on the road, anywhere. Seen more BossHosses (not that that is a good thing!)

            We’ll see what happens next!

  29. My2Cents says:

    A longitudinal V4 with chain final never made sense to me, and as mentioned by another poster the look is dated. Polaris dropped Victory to concentrate on Indian and certainly even Victory produced far above 300 units per year. The failure of mom and pop motorcycle manufacturers is easy to accept once you think of all the chopper shops charging huge wads of cash for somewhat foolish machinery and where are they now. There are a dozen or more sport touring motorcycles that are superior at a lower cost and parts and service readily available.

  30. Mick says:

    I am sad ro see them go. I had high hopes for them. I think it odd that they didn’t notice the trend toward popular parallel twins and ADV bikes. Their engine is short and powerful. They could have made a compact 90hp twin that would run for decades with little maintenance.

  31. relic says:

    The pushrod engine once thoughtto be obsolete continues to hop. Thefanatical quest for efficiency has led to low revving engines. No need for dohc or ohc. Oh hasnt gm poured millions into such an engine? Could ve made it a parallel twin or triple and lowered cost.

    • Bob K says:

      Pushrod engines rev lower due to more valve train mass needing to be controlled. But they have the advantage of being 2-4″ lower in height permitting stuffing it into a smaller space or allowing more crap to be stuffed around it. Lower center of gravity and easy to work on.
      .
      However emissions regs love higher revving engines that build heat quickly so the cat gets hot (stays hot) and works faster.

  32. Joe Lewis says:

    Nice bikes but flawed idea. They picked a tiny market segment to develop a new bike, sport touring. . Their bike had no electronic aids such as this segment requires. To boot it was a $30k bike. Styling was poor and dated.
    In retrospect, they should have targeted a cruiser or maybe adventure style bike, need a sub $18k retail as base.

    • Bob K says:

      Truth be told, because Lee and Brian admitted it in an old article, they built the bike for themselves because that’s what they personally wanted. They simply also hoped that the public also wanted it.
      .
      That was the flaw. Not that it was a sport touring bike fitted out with premium componentry driving up the price. I actually think a bike like this needed all that to set itself apart. Problem is at the low volume, they weren’t getting those parts for much less than retail for us.
      .
      Rider aids are something they were working on with Bosch. Time and money stood in the way.
      .
      I liked the styling. It wasn’t comical and cartooninsh. It also had fantastic ergos. Just sitting on it and tilting it back and forth at one of their events, it was quickly apparent how amazingly comfortable it was.

  33. Dave says:

    It was a really cool engine. Maybe Polaris could see fit to acquire the IP and assets. Imagine UTV’s, snowmobiles, watercraft and motorcycles roaring around with this V4’s soundtrack!

  34. Jeremy in TX says:

    This is sad but, as others have said, not unexpected news.

    Motus tried and came up with a unique and, by most accounts, excellent take on the sport touring segment. I applaud them for that, and they had (and still have) my respect. Then I remembered seeing the sticker price and thinking, “Who in their right mind would think these bikes could be sold in sufficient volumes at this price?”

    They built a great motorcycle, a special one even. But that doesn’t justify a 50%+ price premium over the other fantastic offerings from established manufacturers for the vast majority of buyers.

    Today’s environment – stiff competition in a disappearing segment of a flaccid industry – leaves too little light at the end of the tunnel for a group of investors to feel warm and fuzzy about.

    RIP Motus.

    • Mikedard says:

      At least I didn’t buy one… I’ve had last year model cars, motorcycles, electronics. I did want one, figured a $28,000 Harley, $28,000 BMW, wasn’t better than the $30,000 Motus. It was better than any custom shops were building, and way less expensive. Sad

    • Blackcayman says:

      I wanted one for the motor. I was always a little disappointed in the rest of the bits.

      I’m sure I was the target audience, because all the marketing hit me dead center… All that torque lingering just an impulse away.

      …..the price was always a deterrence. In a few more years when I actually could drop that much quan on a mc, it will be everlastingly too late.

  35. Pacer says:

    Moto Guzzi should absorb them. Paiggio has the coin. They could make use of the powerplant in many models. Have a US presence, and enter new segments of the industry all with a proven platform. I would continue doing limited runs and they would have a decent dealer network.

    • Eric S says:

      Probably a good fit except that Piaggio really doesn’t give a damn about the US market. If they did the dealer network and support wouldn’t be so crappy.

        • Pacer says:

          If they just bought the rights to the engine. Good design, and at fire sale prices. Guzzi is in need of something cool. I like the Griso, but when was it’s last update.

          • Bob K says:

            It isn’t Motus’ place to sell the engine design. Most of the PI in it belongs to GM and Pratt and Miller. Motus doesn’t have any patent rights to what went into that engine.
            .
            Same story regarding selling Buell. HD owned the patents to the Sportster drivetrain and also to Buell’s PI when they bought majority share. That’s why Buell was shut down and not sold.

      • Bob K says:

        Exactly. I don’t even know where a MG dealer is in Houston anymore. I bought my last one. I won’t until they come out with a compliant and updated MGS-01. Only 3 squeaked into the USA through a backdoor and none can be registered for road use.

      • kjazz says:

        Motus motor in a Griso…… now that is genius!!! But keep the twin Griso too !!!

  36. Pat says:

    Very sad, but not surprising at all. It looked like an amazing machine, and I was rooting for them. But let’s face it. How many bikes could they actually sell at the price they were asking? Not saying they weren’t worth it, but the bikes priced themselves out of business IMHO. A sad day…

  37. Matt says:

    I was very sorry to see this. I liked Motus and thought their bikes were brilliant, and was really looking forward to seeing their streetfighter bike. Hopefully a financial white knight will appear and help them out.

  38. Larry Kahn says:

    Where’s MAGA when ya need it.

  39. mickey says:

    Wish I had been able to at least test ride one. Don’t think I would have ever bought one seeing as my old Honda ST 1300 (110,000 miles) and my new Yamaha FJR 1300 did, and are doing, the same job reliably for far less money and with a huge dealer and aftermarket backup.

    It’s just not important to me to be different, for different’s sake.. and that is the customer they needed

  40. TimC says:

    It may have been a doomed idea but DAMN IT!

  41. Mike says:

    I met the owner at a bike show. I told him I would love to buy a Motus especially as it was American made but I just couldn’t afford the price. I told him If was high teens, maybe twenty thousand I would push myself to buy one. He said that there’s was no way he could get the price down owing to the quality of parts and development of the engine and the bike itself. I agreed and wished him luck.

    It’s quite a bike, this is sad.

  42. Spiderwatts says:

    Sad news. A great motor and close to getting another model. Maybe HD could buy them?
    I hope they can somehow recover. Losing anothe American bike is disappointing.

    • Fred_M. says:

      Harley Davidson is the company that bought Buell, shut it down right before Christmas, and refused to sell it to Polaris, a sale which would have kept many, if not all, of the 200 American workers employed.

      • WSHart says:

        Oh please…for the greater part Buells sucked. If it didn’t suck so much then why didn’t everybody buy one that claims they were going to buy one?

        Eric Buell was never a genius. He’s a guy with some weirdass ideas that managed to convince a few lemmings to run toward the white clifss of Bendover and jump. Polaris would’ve been twice burned (think Arlen Mess) if they had bought up Buell and his so-called ASSets including that black hole of an ego of his. Without HD, Buell would’ve tanked a lot earlier than it did. It
        s not so much that the bikes were crap but that the designer was. Don’t believe that?

        Get used to the reality of disappointment.

        As for Motus? There was no real value in what they were offering for sale.

        • Fred_M. says:

          You’re simply wrong. I currently own two Buells and have been riding motorcycles since the 1970s. I’ve owned more brands of bikes than most people have ridden.

          “Eric[sic] Buell was never a genius. He’s a guy with some weirdass ideas…”

          Yeah, like when he was the first to put “upside-down” forks on street bikes. That never went anywhere, right?

          I’ll take the American Motorcycle Association’s expertise over yours any day:
          http://www.motorcyclemuseum.org/halloffame/detail.aspx?RacerID=327

          Same with Motorcyclist Magazine:
          https://www.motorcyclistonline.com/blogs/2011-motorcyclist-year-erik-buell

          “As for Motus? There was no real value in what they were offering for sale.”

          Again, people throughout the motorcycle industry, who know far more than you do, disagree with you. No real value? Please. The Motus bikes sported BST wheels, Öhlins suspension, Akrapovic mufflers, Sargent saddles, Rizoma bars, Magura master cylinders, Brembo calipers, Galfer rotors, SuperSprox sprockets, K&N air filters, Andrews cams, Cloyes timing components, FAG and Timken bearings, SKF seals, Givi luggage, and American-made CruzTools tool-kits. That’s a level of stock componentry that I doubt you got on any bike you ever bought.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            You poor Buell guys… Take the bait every time!

            Buell and EBR are irrelevant to any of this, so I won’t go there. WSHart is correct with respect to Motus, though. They didn’t offer any real value. We wouldn’t be reading about their demise if they did.

            That doesn’t mean they failed to create a great sport tourer. The bike was universally praised for its virtues. Motus just failed to understand the market and were asking customers to pay for value that wasn’t there. It’s a mistake that is made all the time.

        • Fred_M. says:

          Just what I would expect from someone whose username includes “shart”:

          https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=shart

          • WSHart says:

            Actually my little remedial typist, WSHart was one of the great silent film cowboy stars. You’re forgiven for not knowing that because I have no doubt that you’re only 13 years of age (mentally speaking). I pay homage to his portrayal of the American Cowboy with my nom de plume (look it up, Chumley).

            I still maintain Buell was more idiot than savant (look it up Chumley) and that Motus had zero value built into their machines. To the thinking person (you obviously only “feeeeeeeel”), a great many motorcycles don’t offer much in the way of value for the price.

            If the truth hurts that much I would guess that you NEVER look into a mirror again.

            And never forget, hindsight ain’t gonna be 20/20 with your head up your butt, buckwheat.

        • Bob K says:

          Spoken like someone who has never ridden a Buell or owned one. They didn’t seel as many as the Japanese brands because they weren’t competing in a spec sheet war. Plus too many people were comparing Buells to the race rep models which really weren’t the models to compare to. Things like the gen 1 FZ-1, VFR and SV1000 were more appropriate comparisons. The masses wanted Buells to be something they were not meant to be rather than for seeing them for what they were.
          .
          I’d been a Buell customer from 1992-2003. The XB did not appeal to me so I quite buying them. But as far as street bikes go, they did everything a street bike needs to do for me. And as bikes go, it’s simply a great all-around do-everything bike. Still is.
          .
          I still have a ’99 Buell X1. This and other models I have owned have been all over the country as far as Alaska and Ontario and as far south as Belize with zero problems. They had the right amount of power and delivery for everyday street riding and long distance touring, gas mileage around 50 mpgs on average and all day comfort and carrying capacity when hard cases and top cases were used. When I replaced Buells, I converted the old ones to race bikes for heavyweight twins class and for land speed racing. Lots of fun adding 3X the RWHP and breaking 200 mph on the salt.
          .
          I only had a couple issues with a 2001 X1 and that was a case machining issue with a bearing bore being undersized and a bad speedo from a new supplier. I got those remedied right away.
          .
          My gen 1 Tuono took 6 months to receive a new speedo after 2 months of ownership and 4 months to get a new radiator. My 2011 Ninja 1000 needed a new ECU in the first couple weeks, and its still had fueling issues that took 6 months to receive a new map that worked. Also, the first time I lifted the rear to replace the tire, the spool mount on the swingarm broke off. Luckily it was a slow-motion event that allowed me to catch the bike. Took about a month to get a new swingarm. I’ve had leaky countershafts on Hondas. I’ve had BMWs that soaked my dry clutch (no final drive fires). No brand is exempt from issues. Especially my Moto Guzzi.
          .
          As for Motus… I has 1000 down on one for over a year til they released the final price. I was willing to go to 25k for one. The one I wanted was 15k more. So I got my money back. While there are a lot of others out there with the finances to buy, the ones interested in Motus were a limited number and thus quick to saturate.
          .
          Like Buell owners, it was a cult following and they loved their bikes because they did exactly what they wanted and did it well. I’m sad to see them shut down. But they simply ran out of people wanting to spend that kind of money.
          .
          As much as I4 bikes bore me, I’m in line for a H2 SX SE to replace my Ninja 1000 when the shop gets one. 15k less than a Motus and more refined everywhere and with a large network. My money is already down and I have money set aside to take care of it’s shortcomings too.

        • TimC says:

          No real value? Really? They offered a hell of a lot, exactly what some wanted in fact – a premium bike without extra crap. By all reports – ALL – a stupendous machine. The only value they didn’t (couldn’t) offer was all this at a price enough like-minded people (e.g. me) could actually afford. That’s the reality that has to be accepted, but saying they offered “no real value” is freaking farcical.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Value is a function of price and benefits. If either one of those components is lacking in relation to the other to the point that a product won’t sell in sustaining numbers, it lacks value. That doesn’t mean the bike is bad. If it were a $15,000 bike, for example, it would offer undeniable value. If it we’re a $20,000 bike, perhaps you could say it offers good value. But at it’s current price, I still say it doesn’t offer any real value. That’s just business, not farcical at all.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Should have started with smaller bikes.

    • TimC says:

      I don’t think that would help. It’s not the size that dicates the cost of manufacture (including R&D as noted in Mike’s post) really, and having to hit an even lower price point would only make things worse for them.

    • Pacer says:

      Yup, that is how auto manufacturers break into new markets.

    • Fred_M. says:

      “Should have started with smaller bikes.”

      Then they could have gone out of business in six months instead of ten years. There’s no profit in smaller bikes, especially when the manufacturer is starting from ground zero with no factory, no dealer network, no parts distribution, and no name recognition.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Smaller bikes need massive volume to make money.

      The only example we have in recent history of someone doing it right is Triumph. They offered unique stuff that with just enough mainstream appeal and priced the bikes for the masses. And they got better and better with time but still stayed focused on that original mission.

      Time will tell if Indian is successful. (I think they will be.)

      • Anonymous says:

        “need massive volume to make money”- Isn’t that what they told Jeff Bezos? He decided to sell books because of their low cost and universal demand. We need a low cost motorcycle with universal demand (electric?).

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Bezos didn’t manufacturer books. He resold them. And as I recall, he lost money even at that for a very long time.

          Volume in manufacturing requires commitment to produce. For motorcycles, that means your manufacturering facilities, material purchases, and work force are scaled to produce large quantities. Big, big bucks.

          Even if you have the investors for that, it won’t go anywhere unless you can convince suppliers to extend credit in vast sums for the quantities needed.

          And don’t forget a means has to be established to distribute, purchase and resell those large quantities (motorcycle dealers.) Also big $ and commitment required not only from the manufacturer but from a global network of independent third-parties.

          Noy to say it can be done, but you have to convince investors to lose money for a very long time, for which they expect a very large payout in the end.

          High price+low volume, vice versa, or something in between… It’s a tough sell no matter how you go about it. Especially in the motorcycle industry.

  44. cagefree says:

    Pretty much forgot they even existed. Too bad, but at the price point they set it was bound to happen.

  45. Grover says:

    Sounds like the investors were tired of pouring money into a losing proposition. I’m surprised they lasted as long as they did. The MOTUS was very high priced and still couldn’t pay the bills. Another marque that joins the junk pile of “boutique” manufacturers.

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