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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motus: in Person (With Video)



Here’s why I like the Motus MST sport-tourer: it’s built by guys like me. There. I said it. I admit to being a bigot, but I like cultural products produced from within my culture, and I’ll bet you do too.

Lee Conn and Brian Case come from my tribe. I’m referring to the tribe of sport-oriented motorcycle enthusiasts, folk addicted to railing through a never-ending series of corners, who zoom in on digital maps to find the twistiest, gnarliest routes across states (or countries). Riders frustrated with gas tanks and seats that force them to stop every 90 minutes. Guys (and ladies) with no interest in motorcycles that weigh over 600 pounds, yet want the luggage, wind protection and long-distance reliability and power you usually find in 1/2-ton touring barges. “We are you guys,” Case told us. “We’re motorcycle nuts.”

In their minds, nothing like the lightweight, torquey, good-handling and fast sport-tourer they had drawn on a napkin existed. So they built it themselves: the Motus MST. It won’t be cheap. But in many ways, it’s in a class of one, and that means the roughly $30,000 base price is a bargain…or at least makes it the cheapest motorcycle of its kind.

We’ve already discussed the tech of the Motus in a few stories, but we can do it again, as there’s surprisingly little to the basic layout of the bike. The powerplant is unique; it’s essentially half of a scaled-down V-8, with
development assistance from Pratt & Miller, a big player in the custom racecar business. The liquid-cooled 1650cc design uses pushrods and hydraulic lifters, and is rated at 160 hp (180 for the MST-R). It’s bolted into a minimalist trellis-steel chassis, with a basic double-sided swingarm. Suspension is fancier—Öhlins NIX front suspension, with a fully adjustable Progressive rear shock (the premium-priced MST-R gets the Swedish treatment fore and aft). Brakes are Brembo radial-mount calipers (monobloc for the R).



But we all know the spec sheet. The last time we met Motus, two years ago, the boys from ‘Bama were headed back from Laguna Seca on their prototype machines. They told us they would see us again when the pre-production bikes were ready—and here they are. This time, they stopped at Piston and Chain, a sort of DIY motorcycle shop/social club for well-heeled moto-hipsters in San Francisco’s tech-friendly South of Market neighborhood.  Case, Conn, and other Motus staff were on hand with a brace of very finished-looking pre-production machines and a slideshow to show off what they had been doing since the project got underway in 2009.

The well-attended presentation was informative for several reasons. Not only did we get an over-the-shoulder look at what it takes to get a motorcycle from napkin sketch to dealer network, we also got an idea of who will buy these bikes and why. The common wisdom (as far as I can gather from Internet posts and discussions) is that there is some magic price point, probably between that of a Honda ST1300 and a BMW K1600GT, above which not even the most eccentric oil sheik will purchase a motorcycle. The Motus, at a likely MSRP over $30,000 (final pricing hasn’t been set), should therefore sell not a single bike.

Sorry, common-wisdom-holders. Conn tells us they anticipate the entire 2014 production run, around 300 motorcycles, will be sold out, with 200 deposits already in the hands of the 15 existing Motus dealers. And that’s before a single bike rolls into a showroom or into the hands of the motorcycle press for a full test.

Case’s passionate tech brief revealed many tantalizing details. The 6-gallon tank is roto-molded (in the USA) plastic under a carbon-fiber cover, while the engine block is sand-cast by craftsmen in Texas. Wheels are forged aluminum OZ units or South African BST in carbon-fiber (for the MST-R). The instrument display is a brilliantly illuminated TFT color screen flanked by easy-to-press buttons for gloved operation. The seat is by Sargent’s, and mufflers are now Slovenian Akrapovic products, bolted to locally made headers. Catalytic converters keep regulators in all 50 states happy.


The motor is light—around 130 pounds without the transmission—and painstakingly made. Case told us it’s under-stressed, designed to handle a lot more tuning than the current 1650cc, 11.5:1 compression ratio configuration (the MST-R uses different cams and FI tuning to yield the extra 20 hp). Gearheads should appreciate that Case designed it to use as many commonly available parts as possible—the oil filter is a Fram item you can buy at your local auto-parts store—and the centerstand, minimal fairing and engine’s in-your-face nature make maintenance chores easier. Additionally, the TFT display offers reams of diagnostic data for home or professional mechanics alike, not just the usual trip computer, speed and rpm.

The MST isn’t for the gadget-obsessed farkle crowd, though it could surely be set up that way, given its 720-watt alternator. There is no traction control, ABS or selectable engine mapping—a Motus pilot will have to rely on his or her riding skills to get safely down the road. It’s an intentionally simple design, but the components it does have are carefully selected and high-quality, justifying the higher cost; assuming prospective buyers are connoisseurs who appreciate the same high-end brand names as Case and Conn.

I’m looking forward to a test ride—I’ve been invited to Alabama in October to do so—but I can safely guess this is a pretty comfy long-distance mount. The controls are adjustable, including the handlebars, I know the Sargent’s seat will cradle my tush like a Fabergé egg in a velvet case, and there are three different adjustable windscreens to choose from. Fuel economy should be in the mid-to-high 40s, Case told me, meaning 200-mile stints are possible—there are actually two overdriven gears and the “Baby Block” V-Four makes 100 ft.-lbs of torque at just 2500 rpm. One disappointment may be the recommendation for 93-Octane fuel, but maybe you can boost low-yield rural gas with locally made moonshine. Motus told me that it’s just a recommendation, and the bike’s EFI system will burn any fuel that meets a rider’s needs. Also, the roto-molded 5.5-gallon fuel tank is “fully ethanol compatible.”


Will enough buyers (300 or so a year) buy these bikes so it’s a commercially viable operation? At a starting price of around $30,000, that’s a million (or nine-million) dollar question for Lee Motus. If you’re a single-motorcycle guy (poor you!), you’d say no—there are plenty of more rational choices for an all-around sportbike. But you’re not Motus’ target customer. Think of a Corvette owner, for instance. He or she will usually have that flashy, iconic sportscar as a second—or third or fourth or fifth—vehicle, and didn’t fret over that car’s $50,000 base MSRP. You can say the same about any vehicle that’s more about fun and lifestyle than practicality, be it a motorcycle, sportscar, aircraft or boat.

“It’s a bespoke, super high quality motorcycle, and all the details we put into it cost more,” says the smooth-talking and confident Conn. “There’s a value to craftsmanship and there’s a value to the human connection in the products they buy and ride. The goal is you’ll buy it and give it to your grandson.”

My goal is just to ride one. Stay tuned.

Gabe Ets-Hokin is the Editor of City Bike Magazine, and a frequent contributor to



  1. Frank says:

    How about the sport-touring model having shaft drive instead of a chain? I know that adds a few pounds and increases cost, but if I was in the market for one, that is what would keep me from pulling the trigger. Power loss doesn’t matter because they could tune that motor to what ever output they choose.

  2. Tom says:

    Lost me with the electronic screen. So, when the prolonged vibration toasts the unit, you are at the mercy of the availability of that unit. We want bikes that we can buy and work on ourselves. We do NOT want to be at the mercy of some far off dealer. PERIOD.
    You just sold one less bike, Motus. Nice design though.

    • todd says:

      You can just get one from Trail Tech or something. No big deal. Speaking of which, Trail Tech has been doing digital display dashes on dirt bikes for years now. You’d think if vibration was a problem…

  3. paulysr says:

    It’s like a Confederate for people who are more into riding and less into art

  4. Don says:

    I like that it has holders for your urine samples. I’m not sure why you would need two, but nice touch for the intended demographic.

  5. powermad says:

    I’d like to see them make it. I’m afraid it won’t be with my $30k, but I’d like to see them make it. I’m not sure what it weighs, that would be a big factor to me. I have a 1400 Concours and I think its a great bike, a really great bike, but I would be the first to admit that its a very heavy bike.
    In my mind the ideal sport tourer has a full fairing, hard locking luggage, around 100hp and weighs in around 400 pounds. No one builds anything close, Ducati got the closest with the ST3/ST4 series. That should be the target.

  6. PN says:

    I don’t see it, though I wish them well. Lots of bikes like a Connie 14, ST1300, FJR1300, VFR, the Beemer Six, et al,, can do the same for half or two-thirds the price. Give it to your grandson? Let him get his own bike. Besides, he’d probably consider this in his time to be old and frumpy.

  7. NORKA says:

    I am puzzled by the 93 octane comments. I have not seen a station without 93 octane here in Arkansas are in the surrounding states on my travels. Both my cars specify it. We even have some stations that sell pure gas; that is where i get fuel for my Concours.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Some stations offer 91 octane as their premium blend. In some states, that is the norm rather than the exception.

      Octane requirements also drop dramatically with an increase in altitude, so stations in a lot of mountain states out west may sell premium as low as 90 octane, though it would be equivalent to 92 – 93 octane near sea level.

    • Superchicken says:

      Kansas isn’t a surrounding state, but it is quite near and 93 is very rare here. I’ve been in many areas where I struggle to even find 91 for my ST3, though I’m thinking mostly east and south of me. Colorado has some places with very low octane fuel, but it doesn’t really matter so much as compression pressures will be lower on naturally aspirated engines. Thus, more an issue for my car, though it has the hardware to adapt, unlike my bike.

  8. GP says:

    I like the Motus, and the price seems appropriate to the exclusivity. I do, however, want to see how it stacks up against its competition. Is is just me, or does the bike look very raked out for an ST?
    Things I want to see: 1) More USA manufacturers, 2) More V-4’s, 3) More use of “Generic” designs/parts, 4) More built in adjustability, 5) Smaller versions of everything.

  9. allworld says:

    My kind of bike. If I could buy one I would buy one. I hope someday that I can.
    An American, sport touring bike that is not a cruiser, there is a God.

  10. theguy says:

    I’m surprised no-one has commented on the roto-moulded tanks. Ducati, another high-end manufacturer, has used roto-moulded tanks to ill effect, perhaps due to high ethanol content in most current gasoline: Motus may be spec’ing 93-octane as a get-out-of-warranty-free card when tanks deform much as VW has been asserting use of “sub-standard” gasoline to refuse TDI fuel system warranty claims.

    • Sam S says:

      I agree, they really should explain if/how they’ve tested to verify that they’re not going to have the “ducati” tank problem. I had a 2007 1098S Tricolore with the plastic tank.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “VW has been asserting use of “sub-standard” gasoline to refuse TDI fuel system warranty claims”

      well if you’re putting “gas” in a “TDI” i’d prolly refuse it to. 🙂 “well dere’s your prob’em right dere!” (80 year old shadetree mechanic voice)

    • Gabe says:

      Good point! I did talk to Jason about the plastic tanks. He says they’re working with a US supplier, who knows the tanks will be used with Ethenol and are used to providing that kind of product, so there should be no problems. He also told me they will be doing hundreds of thousands of miles of on-road testing before any bikes are delivered to customers.

    • zuki says:

      Actually, there’s more ethanol in higher octane fuel. Around here where I’m at, there’s a place I can get 88 octane that is 100% ethanol free, and the 91 they have is the same stuff but with ethanol added to get the higher octane. I buy the 88 and run in my older vehicles that don’t need higher octane, and still buy the 88 for my vehicles that do need higher octane, but I add octane booster to get it where I need it. I’m not going to use the ethanol crap fuel.

  11. TimC says:

    I’m overall still pretty enthused about this bike. But that said, $30k and a POS Fram filter? Really?

    • sliphorn says:

      Maybe it comes with the Fram Ultra Synthetic Filter which is a good quality filter.

  12. vitesse says:

    No ABS and traction control with a clean sheet, state of the art motorcycle, not even as an option? How is that possible? Most brands will offer this safety equipment as standard in the near future as costs, sophistication, reliability and weight reduction have vastly improved.

    Do the boys at Motus have a strategic reason for not incorporating these items?

  13. RAD says:

    I had much rather look at a Multistrada than the Motus.

    I’m I the only one who don’t like the looks of this thing?

  14. ApriliaRST says:

    Is it just me or have I read these responses before? We now know you can’t afford a Motus and that you’re stuck in cam chain mode. I wish I had five cents for every boogered cam chain adjuster and that someone would return all the money spent on OHC valve adjustments. In fact, if someone would return that money, everyone here could afford a Motus.

    But, yes, the little handlebar-mounted urine cups should go!

  15. Artem says:

    Theory of tribes makes sense. Even if it is not productive. But that is it.

  16. GG says:

    We need new manufacturers. Really hope they will do well. Triumph started from zero and today offers very competitive motorcycles. The risk I see is the concentration of the efforts of the Japanese factories to new markets line china and India and the continuation of reduced budgets on interesting bikes, leaving us with ………. BMW for Christ’s sake!!!

  17. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    For those who do not want to wait, just tune a Multistrada (I test-rode one the other day…wicked)for street riding and you have this thing beat in every category except for exclusivity. Pocket the extra 14 Gs and you dont have to go to Alabama to have it serviced.

    • DaveA says:

      Then again, if you do that you have to look at a Multistrada every time you walk into the garage.

      Apart from that, it’s obvious nobody is buying this because it presents a thrifty value. People who will buy this will do so because they like it. Doesn’t anyone remember that how cool you think a bike is used to play a significant role in purchasing decisions? It’s a motorcycle, not a refrigerator.


      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Doesn’t anyone remember that how cool you think a bike is used to play a significant role in purchasing decisions?”

        internet posturing is all. they remember just fine.

  18. pigiron says:

    The sport touring world reached V-4 perfection 15 years ago.

    Honda VFR800:

    An entirely gear=driven DOHC mill.

  19. Hamsta says:

    So, why is this bike so much better than a 20K Ducati Multistrada 1200? I have an MTS 12 and looking at the prospective price, this bike doesn’t seem all that much better.

  20. Mike Simmons says:

    I for one, like it. It’s too pricey for my tastes to be sure, but at least it proves that a motorcycle manufacturer here in the US CAN make a bike that doesn’t look, sound or perform like a Harley. Good on them!


  21. VLJ says:

    It’s marketed as a sport-tourer which, to me at least, means traveling. That being the case, I’m guessing the need to fill the gas tank will arise quite often. The author glosses over this issue with his “moonshine” quip, but the reality remains: where are we supposed to find 93-octane fuel? Here in California, unless I’m at the track I never see anything higher than 91. If this thing truly requires 93-octane, then it’s DOA for most real-world applications. If it can get by on 91-grade, great, but in the interest of full disclosure Motus needs to provide adjusted hp numbers that reflect its performance with lower octane fuel.

    Bottom line…

    Why 93-octane? No other streetbike manufacturer does that.

    • DaveA says:

      HP would likely go up with lower octane fuel. Octane doesn’t add performance, it hinders it (all else being equal). Higher octane is spec’d when resistance to pre-ignition is desired.

      • VLJ says:

        “All things being equal” being the key phrase. When a motor is designed to run best with a certain grade of fuel, no, it won’t necessarily put out greater hp with lower-octane fuel. We ran into this quite often with the Subaru WRX Sti. Customers became pissed when they ran their cars on the dyno with normal 91-octane premium fuel and saw considerably less than Subaru’s claimed 305 hp. Of course the fact that Subaru states right there in the owner’s manual that 93-octane is necessary for that 305 hp managed to escape the attention of those angry buyers.

        Meanwhile, guys at the track who had access to 93-octane and higher race gas were seeing better than 305 hp on the dyno.

        Regardless, the question remains: Why spec a bike that’s built in the United States (presumably for U.S. buyers) for a type of fuel that is essentially unavailable nearly everywhere here?

        • todd says:

          That’s because the Subaru has a knock sensor. When it starts to hear pinking it either retards the ignition or adjusts the throttle position to stop it.

    • NORKA says:

      I am puzzled by the 93 octane comments. I have not seen a station without 93 octane here in Arkansas are in the surrounding states on my travel. Both my cars specify it. We even have some stations that sell pure gas; that is where i get fuel for my Concours.

  22. Bud says:

    Fantastic looking bike. I hope they do well.

    On the other hand, whatever was used to film that video on, throw it in the trash. No, wait, stomp on it first, then throw it in the trash.

  23. joe b says:

    E-Gads, couldn’t they have at least found a way to hide the clutch/brake reservoirs?

    • dman says:

      Hide it so it’s harder to keep an eye on fluid levels and refill? I think this bike has been designed to be service-friendly as well as fast, comfortable and good-handling. Kudos to Motus for not falling victim to style.

      • Tom R says:

        Yeah, and when I hear a strange sound coming from the engine I turn up the volume on my I-pod. What’s your point?

      • todd says:

        Yeah. On some of my older bikes with disk brakes (like from the 70’s and 80’s and even my Monster) they ponied up for the master cylinders with the nicely integrated reservoirs and fluid level sight glass. I guess manufacturers don’t go to that level of detail any more and, instead, opt out for the cheaper universal plastic reservoirs and chintzy sheet metal brackets. I guess we can always go aftermarket.

  24. Yoyodyne says:

    What a cool bike, I was stoked many months ago when I first read the introductory blurbs!

    Direct injection engine! Oh wait, they aren’t doing that anymore…

    530 lbs with a full tank of gas! Oh wait, it’s heavier than that now…

    Well at least the hefty price hasn’t changed, yay!

  25. Gronde says:

    To bad they couldn’t make a version will lower output and less gimmicks that sells for $15,000. Then there would be a lot more of a customer base. Also, I see that there are a lot of riders that are defending pushrods, even thought it is an accepted engineering fact that the OHC setup is a superior set up. Oh well, I guess the pushrods on the Motus goes right along with the 1980’s styling.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “it is an accepted engineering fact that the OHC setup is a superior set up”

      and with that Norm responds, “superior for what…?”

      what are we doing…? hypermiling…? speeding up manufacturing…? running the high banks of Daytona…? creating a USP…? making a record attempt at the Nordschleife…? limiting warranty claims…? taking a weekend trip 2up with panniers…? repaying the favor to marquez in the corkscrew…? what…?

    • Bud says:

      One area OHC is not superior is in how much space it takes up. Those valve covers would be a lot bigger if they had cams underneath them.

      As far as “accepted engineering facts”, any engineer will tell you that any viable technology presents trade offs. Pushrods and rocker arms are far from obsolete.

  26. VintageDirt says:

    All development, hype and a $30,000 base price… and that’s their brake and clutch reservoir solution?

  27. mickey says:

    Very cool motorcycle, I think they did a hell of a job. Just what a lot of people have been clamoring Victory, Indian, and Buell to american made sport tourer. By its very nature of exclucivity, it is going to be expensive, more than most of us are willing to pay, but hey they did it. Kudos for that. If I belonged to that club that lived in million dollar homes, had corvettes and porches and Farraris in the garage, and a collection of really cool motorcycles, I would buy one, Unfortunately I am not, so will have to make do with my V4 Honda ST 1300 as my sport touer…and that’s not such a bad deal either. The ST does everything I ask without a whimper, and there are dealers everywhere if I needed one. If it weighed 150 pounds less, it would be perfect. The suspension is not perfect but that is easily fixed, and I don’t need 160 horsepower.

    Good luck Motus. If the motorcycle is as good as they say, they will sell everyone they make. You’d be suprised how much disposable income is out there. If they can sell $250,000 cars and million dollar boats they can sell $ 30,000 motorcycles.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “You’d be suprised how much disposable income is out there.”

      yup “plenny” money. and guess what, most of them aren’t your leno, pratte, hendrick, penske 1%-er’s either. just regular working folk with careers (and usually a spouse with a career) who just so happen to ALSO value motorcycling. it’s a winning combination.

      • Klaus says:

        Sure there’s money out there but that’s not the point. The point is that you get proven bikes with the same specs for 2/3 of the money. Even rich people can compare prices.

        • mickey says:

          Sometimes people are willing to pay more or exclusivity…how else could OCC or Jesse James, or Confederate or any number of custom bike builders sell motorcycles?

    • david says:

      yep, disposable income. My riding buddy just bought a Harley for $32.5K. Others have add-on farkles to their Harleys that end up around $30K anyway. It seems Motus has done some market analysis to come up with a number ‘300’ bikes a year. They will sell ok. Whether or not the model will survive in the long run is a different story. I bought my FJR as a used bike and at a fraction of the cost of this Motus. But it’s incredibly reliable and fun and I love it. Good luck Motus.

    • Schmutz says:

      You don’t have a porch?

  28. LarryC says:

    Looks good to me. I can’t see why everyone is making a big deal out of the price. You can sit on nearly any urban street corner and watch $30,000 lumps of butt jewelry troll up and down the boulevard and no one thinks anything about it. At least this a real motorcycle with capability and function, not some trinket encrusted land barge. If something kills Motus, it won’t be lack of farkles, it will be the business environment. Hopefully they are launching this project into an improving economy.

    • Tom R says:

      Yup, go into any H-D dealer and you will see half of the bikes on the showroom at over $30K. But hey, with these you will get lots of chrome crap and leather streamers coming out of the handlebars.

      Motus pricing is starting to sound fairly competitive…

  29. dman says:

    I looked these over and sat on one at the Laguna Seca MotoGP, and I’ll say that in the metal, the whole is a lot more than the sum of the parts may appear on paper or in pictures (with the obvious caveat of not actually having ridden one). Fit and finish, ergonomics, and overall design “rightness” were great. And, many wealthy Americans spend $30K plus on custom Harley baggers, which are arguably sport-tourers of a kind … and also have pushrods. Good luck Motus!

    • paul A says:

      You can buy a $30k H-D for $600/mo. Wealthy?

      • Don says:

        Exactly. Most people buying $30K+ cars and motorcycles aren’t wealthy, they’re just really, really in debt. They’re sacrificing any chance of actually achieving wealth and financial independence for the appearance of being wealthy for a few years. Meanwhile if they lost their income, most of them would lose all of their pretty toys within a month, since they don’t have anything in savings. Sure, there are the few exceptions, but when I see someone driving in a BMW, Lexus, etc, I no longer think “Oh that person must really be doing well” instead I think “Wow, they must be really in debt.”

  30. Bob says:

    I don’t think so. You can buy two VFR1200F’s for the price of this thing. The Honda is a V4, with shaft drive, OHC, single sided swingarm, impeccable fit and finish, stone reliable, etc. etc. I have a hard time imagining that the Motus will perform better than the VFR. Or you could buy a K1600GT, with six cylinders, shaft drive and DOHC and have $10k left over. Motus is a tough sell. In my opinion, they should make a high performance “roadster” that someone might only use occasionally to show off on, as opposed to a sport tourer. High dollar, low volume would suggest that they should be reaching to a whole different clientele. In a completely different vein, like Confederate does. Just my humble opinion.

    • Gronde says:

      I agree, there’s nothing that this bike will do that can’t be done better on a VFR1200 @ 1/2 the price. You’re never going to be using the 200mph+ speeds that the MOTUS is supposedly able to achieve, so let’s get rid of that perceived advantage right now. The HONDA offers a better dealer support, reliability, parts availability etc… that you just don’t get from a boutique builder.

      • Blackcayman says:

        You entirely missed the point. There are lots of rich dudes who “DON’T” want a VFR.

    • Klaus says:

      The VFR is Japanese, the BMW is German. Plenty of patriots will shell out 10 grand more for a product made in the USA.
      Nothing wrong with that. I wish Motus well!

      • Montana says:

        Not unless it looks American.
        This rig looks vintage Italian, including the urine cups.

        • Gronde says:

          Looks like Triumph Trophy that was offered about 15 years ago. The ONLY advantage I see is that MOTUS offers a unique sound with gobs of horsepower. Other than that, it’s just a regular overpriced, overweight, low-tech motorcycle.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “The ONLY advantage I see is that MOTUS offers a unique sound with gobs of horsepower.”

            i’m in, where do I sign…?

  31. hh says:

    300 bikes is one small tribe.. Is this a bike made for fans of James Fenimore Cooper instead of Louis L’Amour? Although the numbers in the tribes of 800GS and V Strom says that smaller, lighter, and simpler touring bikes have been accomplished. The Motus may be the appealing spawn of a quarter horse and a Clydesdale and maybe the quality mount that gets you from the Golden Gate to Bangor but is American Hollywood for sure; for guys who manage movie stars and after a couple of years sell the bike to a guy at the golf club with a “collection”……for a lot of folks who work for a living and love to ride, touring is throwing some bags on the bike we have and that becomes a touring bike.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Is this a bike made for fans of James Fenimore Cooper”

      close, D.B. Cooper.

  32. John Cameron says:

    First of all, lets get one thing straight. This is a very high tech engine even though it has push rods. Klaus apparently isn’t aware of just how successful Corvette race car have been over the last few decades beating the best multi-cammed, multi-valved cars that Europe or Japan could offer, both here and abroad. This engine is designed by the very same guys who produce the race engines for Corvette. This is a VERY refined design.

    High performance hydraulic valves have also proven their credibility time and time again in high performance situations. I would also absolutely love the idea of not having to pay a mechanic to adjust the valves on my bike.

    The image of this bike that will not be so easily overcome is the use of a drive chain. Drive chains offer performance advantages that simply do not overcome the disadvantages for the well heeled crowd that this motorcycle is designed for. The idea of having to get on my 69 year old hands and knees to adjust a chain every few days on a long trip leaves me absolutely stone cold.

    I guess Motus looked into the potential of using a drive belt but this idea was found abandoned because of current belt technology. I wonder if the crew at Motus has considered investing a little more time in developing an enclosed chain running in an oil bath to make the chain adjustments much less frequent. Enclosed chains running in an oil bath were common place until the late 1950s and then went out of fashion. It might be time to revive them.They are cheap, light,and clean and can double(or more) the life of a drive chain. A current example of what might be possible: a relatively modern automotive timing chains running in an oil bath can routinely last for more than than get a hundred thousand miles of use.

    It might be easier to do this than one might think. Just take a visit to the local well equipped motorcycle museum to see just what the old Britsh (or German?) enclosed chains look like and then try to incorporate the best elements from each of them.

    • sliphorn says:

      John, it is not necessary to adjust a modern high quality chain every few days. Far from it. In fact, once the initial 600 (or so) mile service is done and the chain has been adjusted, it will probably be unnecessary to adjust the chain for many thousands of miles. I go 10,000 miles with no need for a chain adjustment on my Triumph 1050 Sprint.

      • bmidd says:

        he’s thinking of those pesky “bathed in oil” chains…I adjust my chain whenever I put on a rear tire.

      • fivespeed302 says:

        My R1 needs adjustment about every 400 miles. 10,000 miles between adjustments would be friggin fantastic!

      • TimC says:

        Right, I use DuPont Teflon Multi-Use lubricant spray for my chain (FZ6) and I’ve gone an astonishingly long time without need for adjustment. Basically since I switched to this spray, many thousands of miles ago (close to 10k give or take).

    • mickey says:

      I got 30,000 miles out of my last 530 xring chain on my 125 hp FZ-1 and virtually the only time it got adjusted was when I put on a new rear tire.

      Just returned from a 5 state 1600 mile trip on my new CB 1100 and no chain adjustments were required during the trip although I did check it daily. Also lubed it once after getting caught in the rain.

      On the other side of the coin, I have 35,000 miles on my shaft driven ST 1300 and other than changing 8 oz of rear end oil once a year has never required ANY maintenance or replacement and shouldn’t for basically the life of the bike. Don’t have to check or lube anything while on a trip.

      Imo shaft drive is the way to go on long distance driven machines, but chains aren’t nearly the hassle they were even 10 years ago.

    • Klaus says:

      John, you’re right, I wasn’t aware of the fact that the Corvette race car beat chain-driven DOHC European and Japanese cars. Good on them. But still I have the feeling that it seems to be too big a hurdle for some American companies to abandon pushrods. If I look at BMW motorcycles who did away with pushrods decades ago, and at the new Triumphs that don’t feature them anymore, and at all Japanese MC makers which are building engines with cam chains (apart from maybe a Yamaha cruiser mimicking HD) I think it’s obvious that this technology is superior in some way. I mean they’re not doing this because it’s cheaper to produce or because of government mandates.
      Polaris builds modern pushrod Indians, that I can understand.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “If I look at BMW motorcycles who did away with pushrods decades ago”

        not so much. I was going to post this earlier as a standalone comment…

        many people don’t realize, BMW’s boxer ran push rods for almost 90 YEARS. most would prolly think the old air heads we’re a given, and they’d be right, but the modern oil head and hex heads still used them. just wasn’t as obvious ’cause the cam was relocated to shorten push rod length. the HP2 sport was the first production DOHC boxer (that’s what made it special). the accepted “king of adventure bike mountain” R12GS didn’t get this technology until model year 2010, just 3 years ago. so basically nobody’s complained in 87 years. see where i’m going with this…?

        • Klaus says:

          You got a point there, still I definitely prefer German BMW rods over American Mouts rods…

  33. todd says:

    Can’t wait for a sport-tour shoot out! The Motus is truly impressive in person.

  34. Starmag says:

    To Mr. Conn and Mr. Case, Thank you for making me say USA! USA! USA! and not have it be sarcasm. I’ve had a few disappointments, especially lately. This would be a fantastic effort even if it wasn’t from scratch. Who ever said “practical American sportbike with half-a-Nascar motor” before? Unique vision. I think you will do quite well.

    You’ve already got nice quick release bags, (optional color matched quick release top box for the wife too I hope), how about quick release clear fairing with hand protection so I can ride it around in town as a beautiful naked roadster when I don’t need the accessories? Just a thought.

    Again, great job guys, I’d be very proud to own one of these.

  35. sherm says:

    There is nothing in the severely overhyped spec sheet that would make this bike stand out among all the great sport tourers and sport bikes. I don’t see any reason to give it the benefit of the doubt before a bike from the production run is given a thorough test ride. Lack of farkles has always meant the basic model, i.e. the lowest price, not some form of exclusivity.

    I agree that Motus will sell the first 300 to well healed collectors. But these collectors already have the best of the best. The Motus will sit in the back of the barn gathering dust, unless this collection of common parts can do something remarkable.

  36. Klaus says:

    It came out quite beautifully, I like the looks, the fairing, the frame, it looks modern but not like a Japanese space rocket. But then it’s a V4, Honda did that already, and pushrods? What about reliability? Don’t know if the camera mike was high quality but the engine sounded like the valves were going to eject at any minute…ow! Then the price – $30,000 US?! Of course there are lots of patriotic Americans who will buy this bike for that kind of money. But how many will you see on the road?
    Personally I’m more interested in the new Horex with the triple OHC 1200cc VR6 which puts out the same power for way less money. But that’s just me.

    • bikerrandy says:

      There’s nothing wrong with pushrod motors. I’ve been riding Moto Guzzi V-twins w/PRs for over 25 years. When you have good torque you don’t needed OHCs too. Or do you prefer to work on your motors? I don’t.

      • Klaus says:

        Nothing wrong with pushrods. Nothing wrong with carburators or drum brakes. But if I spend big bucks on a brand-new developed bike I expect modern technology. There’s a reason why hardly any brand offers chain driven OHC.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “but the engine sounded like the valves were going to eject at any minute”

      I know right…? fookin’ awesome…! 🙂

  37. Norm G. says:


    watching the video and i’m thinking, there’s no way on god’s green gabe is going to let these guys get away without giving us a sound clip of the bike…? NO WAY…! LOL

  38. Wendy says:

    Looks like a great bike, but the shores of motorcycle manufacture are littered with high end bikes that didn’t find an audience after the initial run. Still, in ten years we will look back and wish they were around. To park next to our Honda GB500, Yamaha SRX 6 and Excelsior.

    • bikerrandy says:

      So Wendy, do you only buy loser bikes? I mean, I have some bikes that weren’t real popular. But I bought them to ride, not for their resale values. `81 CX100 Moto Guzzi LeMans, `91 Suzuki VX800, `00 MZ Tour 660 single(best handling bike I’ve ever ridden).

  39. Tom R says:

    “…isn’t for the gadget-obsessed farkle crowd.”

    You say it like farkles are a BAD thing…

    • joe b says:

      Farkles themselves are not inherently bad, its the gadget obsessed crowd that buys them.

  40. paul A says:

    If Motus is only making around 300 bikes a year, there is going to be a long waiting list. People will be buying for $30k and flipping them for >$40k.

    • Provologna says:

      If you want a new Ferrari you can get one now, but cost is about $100k over msrp. Otherwise, you order the exact car you want with the exact upgrades, and wait 2.5 years last I checked.

    • Provologna says:

      If you want a new Ferrari you can get one now at a dealer, but cost is about $100k over msrp. Otherwise, you order the exact car you want with the exact upgrades, wait 2.5 years last I checked, and then you can have it for about msrp.

    • EZ Mark says:

      They’ll be bankrupt in a year, two tops.
      I think comparing this bike to a Ferrari is a bit optimistic.
      Last time I checked, there weren’t a lot of 2-valve pushrod Ferrari’s.

      • sliphorn says:

        Right, but there are a lot of 2-valve pushrod Corvettes that regularly beat the snot out of the best offerings from Europe.

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