The Motus Story – Part Five: Further

Insights: a new series from the pen of moto-adventurer Neale Bayly.

#001 being locked away in Barber’s “vault” forever

In early October 2014, Motus co-founders Lee Conn and Brian Case once more steered a Motus van onto the beautiful, twisty parkway leading to the world famous Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. With one special MSTR strapped in the back, there was definitely a sense of déjà vu. Over the past six years, making this drive to the Barber Museum represented a series of high notes in the musical score of Motus history: introducing the original concept, unveiling the first prototypes, testing on the famous racetrack, and revealing the pre-production bikes at America’s largest vintage festival. All landmark moments in a journey from sketchpad to showroom floor for the Motus MST and MSTR.

Presenting #001 to Mr. Barber

Handing the key to the first production Motus, serial number 001, to Mr. Barber and rolling the bike into its place in motorcycle history, the struggles and sacrifices of the last six years briefly seemed to melt away. With an operational factory in downtown Birmingham, in the original historic building that once housed the Barber museum, the original vision was now reality: building and selling America’s first V4-powered sportbikes.

The joy of production, every week our bikes find new homes

Fast forward to Fall of 2017, having completed its third model year of MST production, Motus is shipping 2018’s to dealers around the US and, soon, around the globe. Each machine is meticulously built with humble pride, each is hand signed by the team. Each aluminum casting is poured by an expert foundryman, each frame is welded by a master craftsman, every panel is hand laid, every engine is blueprinted, hand assembled and tested.

Testing a naked prototype

New models are being developed, new markets are being explored and continuing to scale up is a new challenge. One that is being met with typical Motus grit and determination. Custom bike builders are embracing the platform and American V4® engines are shipped all over the world to power off-road vehicles, boats, and cars, too.

Owners gather at the 2017 Barber Vintage Festival

The greatest satisfaction for all the team at Motus is the feedback from the growing family of MST riders out riding and creating a vibrant community, making new friends and sharing satisfying adventures. As the family grows, everyone at Motus would like to extend a heartfelt welcome to the brand, the adventure, and the journey while looking forward to meeting and riding with you soon. To schedule your Motus test ride, visit www.motusmotorcycles.com To interact with Motus owners and other friends, join the Motus Owners Group here.

Part 1: Validation here
Part 2: Awakening here
Part 3: Emergence here
Part 4: Growing Pains here

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Open letter to Motus dealers and friends:

The Motus dealer network is now 35 and growing. This past weekend’s events at the 13th annual Barber Vintage Festival and 5th annual Motus Block Party + Homecoming proved to be the greatest yet, and if there was one take away from the entire weekend, it’s the overwhelming feeling of gratefulness I have for our dedicated staff and customers.

After 9 years of sweat, I can’t adequately describe to you what the feeling was like for Lee and I to have led 17 customers for 5 or 6 laps (I lost count) around our hometown track at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday. What a treat! For a brief moment I felt like we were leading an army! Ok, small army, but the feeling was big! Somewhere after about the second lap, I looked back and all I saw were Moti as far back as I could see. While I was equally impressed with the skills of the Goldwing-dragging Sheriff out front, I couldn’t stop thinking “this dude really needs to get out of my way!” coupled with, “Lee might bail me out if I got arrested”. Well, cooler heads prevailed that day and we still had a blast.

So at this point, what does Motus stand for? It’s always been about motion, sure. Moving forward, inspiring a movement and so on. But it’s come to define the very characters within our small group. Motus is a state of mind around here. It’s for the mad ones, risk takers, pioneers, thrill seekers, people who continually set the bar higher for themselves and others.  Motus is on the road less traveled for sure and we have no regrets.

The MST has become the machine that defines us as a brand. It’s our flagship.

The MST is sporty, nimble, comfortable and sensible, mixed with that brutal, raucous, fire-breathing beast of an engine that is the American V4. More of a walk softly but carry a big stick design approach. Now in our 4th model year of production, the new 2018’s being delivered are so well refined, they’re the best we’ve ever made. We continue to refine our flagship MST as the machine that ignited this brand.

But, what’s next? Excellent question, I’m glad you asked! By now, some of you may have seen some images this past week of what can only be described at this point as “the naked Motus”. This is, in fact, a factory effort to explore the possibility and gauge the response for a future model to compliment our flagship MST line. You may get questions such as “when?” and “how much?” While it’s too early to share those details, I can assure you that if and when we do it, it will be radical, and it will stand apart from any other American production bike ever made. Motus has bared it all. We’ve pulled our clothes off and we’ve got nothing to hide. Now let’s ride!

-Brian Case

 

Motus of New England goes racing.

Rob Swartz of Motus of New England is well known in the “go fast”world. As purveyor of Rob’s Dyno Services in Massachusetts, riders looking to optimize engine performance send Rob their motorcycles from all over the country.

When Rob inquired about becoming MA’s first Motus dealer, we were thrilled to get him on board. Especially after we determined that we are kindred spirits in many ways.

Case in point: the first MSTR shipped to Motus of New England is titled to Rob as his personal bike. With less than 50 miles on the odometer, Rob safety wired the bike and rode it the 450 miles from Gardner, MA to Loring Air Force Base in Maine. Contending with high winds and snow flurries, Rob was able to get a couple of good passes in to set two land speed records in 1650 P-PP/4 classes.

Rob is an obsessive performance freak, so we would expect to see a lot more from Motus of New England Racing in the future.

We strongly recommend removing luggage before setting speed records, Rob only did so after reaching 150mph. 

Impressive for just a few passes on a brand new bike. 

 

The Motus Story – Part 4: Growing Pains

Insights: a new series from the pen of moto-adventurer Neale Bayly.

MST-01 test mules looked good, but were far from production ready. 

In the autumn of 2012, the last thing anyone at the fledgling Motus Motorcycles expected was to be, in part, victims of some initial success. Motorcyclists and media had applauded the two MST-01 prototypes from Florida to California and the industry was abuzz about first American V4 sport-touring motorcycle. The questions quickly centered on “How much?” and “When can I get mine?” and Motus co-founders Lee Conn and Brian Case were often seen as being coy when asked about pricing and availability. Truth was, they had no idea yet.

Every waking minute for the past three years had been spent building and testing prototypes. The mission at Motus was clear from the start to build the most exquisite machines possible and never, ever cut corners.  But, given the magnitude of the project and the small size of the team, the they found themselves with more questions than answers and the chorus of media, anxious customers and bankers was growing louder.

Suspension and chassis testing at Barber with Pratt&Miller and Öhlins.

Until Motus put big “PROTOTYPE” stickers on the bikes, dealers and buyers perceived they were ready for production. Designing and sourcing hundreds of proprietary components was challenging and time consuming. Once, when sourcing 300 sidestand cut-out switches, the manufacturer replied with a quote for 300 thousand. The sheer enormity of building a new American motorcycle company from scratch was completely lost on the public, but was happening feverishly behind the scenes at Motus.

Tough decisions were in store as first slow steps turned into a jog. Leading the technical teams, Brian added cruise control and a ride-by-wire electronic fuel injection, but aborted gasoline direct injection. He added a full-color LCD/TFT display and selected production colors. Sargent made final seat shape revisions.

Replacing the GDI system with a 3D printed port fuel intake prototype. 

The aluminum foundry and engine assembly facility were initially in Texas, but after a serious “lights-out” fire at a machine shop and repeated slowdowns at the foundry, the production casting was moved to Indiana and all engine assembly was brought in house to Motus HQ in Birmingham.

Challenges:  this CNC caught fire while milling an engine block mold.  

While Brian worked tirelessly on refining details of hundreds of mechanical components, he simultaneously oversaw production line setup. Lee was pulling double shifts on everything from marketing to part sourcing as he took deposits from customers, signed up dealers and worked with investors. By 2012, Motus boasted just four employees and durability tests were performed by seasoned industry veterans as ongoing upgrades and refinements continued all year. And throughout these long, hard days the same questions kept coming and the answers to them were getting harder to fend off.

Many, many months of testing and development.

The lengthy certification process to get EPA and CARB certificates isn’t a sexy media story. Neither is the story of tens of thousands of durability miles or that some certain part is being revised for greater reliability or that a machine shop caught fire. Journalists were eager to test the production motorcycles. Dealers were looking for pricing and customers a due date.

By the fall of 2013, Brian, Lee and their staff once more took the historic drive to Barber with their motorcycles. This time it was to display five production intent bikes at the Vintage Festival, so the world could see, hear and ride a finished Motus. Behind closed doors, they held their collective breath as they waited for the certificates of approval to arrive.

Part 1: Validation here
Part 2: Awakening here
Part 3: Emergence here

 

 

Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000/Bun Burner 1500 done!

We recently met Mr. Michael Kneebone, president of the Iron Butt Association, a community of serious long distance riders who sanction long rides including the 11-day, 11,000+ mile Iron Butt Rally™. Michael challenged us to be first to officially knock out one of their sanctioned rides on an Motus. Let’s just say he didn’t have to twist my arm very hard.

The Motus is built to “Go far, Go fast”, so the first chance I got, I grabbed the key to a demo MST and set out to tackle the Saddle Sore 1000 (1000 miles in 24 hours). The first 1000 miles passed pretty quickly, so I decided to push on and go for the Bun Burner 1500 (1500 miles in 36 hours), too.

I’m more of a twisty roads rider, but have to admit it was fun gathering the receipts and documenting the adventure using the IBA’s process. The Motus is so comfortable and stable at highway speeds, plus it has unholy passing power, so it just eats up miles with almost no effort. – Lee Conn

Stats:

6/10/17: Saddle Sore 1000 attempt (documentation submitted to IBA, not certified yet). 5:28am-8:13pm (14 hrs, 43 min) , 1061 total miles, avg speed 78mph.

6/11/17: Bun Burner 1500 (documentation submitted to IBA, not certified yet). 8:57am-4:20pm (7hrs, 23 min), 481 total miles, avg speed 77mph.

Total: 1548 miles in 22 hours and 6 minutes.

This nice family certified the SS1000 in Fosters, AL

Google Timeline for 6/10/17

Google Timeline for 6/11/17

No comment.

A filthy, but very capable and comfortable 2017 Motus MST after a hyper-tour. 

Burn Rubber This Summer Sales Incentive

Feel good riding the wheels off your new MST or MSTR this summer because Motus will provide your first replacement set of Pirelli Angel GT tires FREE!

Burn Rubber This Summer sales incentive is good for new Motus motorcycles sold between 6/9/17 and 7/15/17. Terms are as follows:

  • Motus will ship one set of Angel Pirelli GTs to the dealership of initial purchase upon request to info@motusmotorcycles.com. Simply provide your name, address, phone number, email, VIN, and dealer’s name.
  • To qualify, warranty registration/proof of purchase must be submitted to Motus by 7/15/17.
  • Incentive covers tires only, end user responsible for all install and shop fees.
  • Incentive not exchangeable for cash, alternate tire brands or tire sizes.
  • Valid at participating dealers only.
  • Reach out to a dealer here or email info@motusmotorcycles.com with additional questions.
  • Offer applies to new motorcycle sales only. Demo bikes (or any stock motorcycles sold with over 500 miles) or used motorcycles do not apply.

FullerMotus custom awarded at “The Quail”

John Bennett and his son, Jackson, accept the Industry Award at the 9th Annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering. 

May 4, 2017, Carmel by the Sea, California- Fuller Moto’s custom MSTR received the Industry Award at the prestigious “Quail”. The 9th annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering celebrates the past, present and future of motorcycling. The Industry Award is presented to a ground-breaking and thought provoking motorcycle created and built by industry professionals to the highest standards. This award is selected by a prestigious Judging Committee and can be from any category on the field they believe best fits this description.

The “FullerMotus” was commissioned by John Bennett, a long time Motus rider looking to customize his 2015 MSTR.  Bryan Fuller and his team in Atlanta were retained to build the “ultimate streetfighter”, so they stripped away everything not absolutely necessary and lightened the bike by over 100 lbs. While still retaining about 80% original factory content, the bike posted impressive performance numbers without engine modifications (156 hp, 115 ft lbs to the wheel) and has a sound like no other.

Congrats to owner John Bennett and Byran Fuller of Fuller Moto!

What do you want to do with YOUR Motus?

Click the image below for dyno video. 

 

Naked Motus by Fuller Moto debuts at Jekyll Island

Click any image for a full view. 

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This past weekend we traveled to Jekyll Island, GA for Caffeine & Octane at the Beach. We got to hang with friends and watch one very happy customer take delivery of his custom Motus built by Fuller Moto. If you wanted to know what’s under all those Sport-touring clothes, this is it. A 470-lb, 180 hp naked monster-slayer. Bryan Fuller and his team did an amazing job, as they do with all their projects.

The Pirelli/Motus sponsored ride on Friday led by Cristy Lee of “All Girls Garage” had a great turnout. Joining us were old friends and new, including Kevin Byrd of “Two Guys Garage”, Bryan Fuller, 11-time drag racing champion #62 Rickey Gadson, Stefan & Alan of Revival Cycles, and Peter Jones of Cycle World.

Midwest Motorcyclist Rides the MSTR

It’s the kind of motorcycle best described by two words you won’t often read together: hooligan sport-tourer. It incorporates the comfortable seating position and body work of a sport-touring motorcycle but underneath that carbon fiber is a fire-breathing small-block V-4 that could put your operator’s license at risk. – Ray Peabody, Editor, December 2016

http://midwestmotorcyclist.homestead.com/december_16_issue.pdf

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Demo Rides Tampa

Demo Rides at Motus of Tampa Bay Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5. If you want to ride America’s only V4 sportbike from Motus Motorcycles before purchasing one, this is for you. Get in touch with Jason at 813-926-9937 before all the slots are gone!

Tampa Demo Ride

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Mission accomplished.

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Now in its 100th year as a high speed proving ground for the fastest vehicles on earth, the Bonneville Salt Flats are an elusive, magical place where people go to measure what they’ve done against generations of others before them. We are extremely proud to announce that Motus set the two fastest land speed records for any American production motorcycle. With top speeds approaching 169mph and records of 163.982 and 165.813 respectively, company founders Brian Case and Lee Conn also demonstrated that Motus manufactures the fastest production pushrod motorcycles in the world. Oh, and when we were done racing, we bolted the mirrors and license plates back on and rode 1900 miles home to Alabama. But, that’s a story for another day…

The Motus MSTR motorcycles raced were in stock, unmodified condition (with the exceptions of removing mirrors, turn signals and license plates) and were entered in 1650cc P-PP (Production Pushrod)  and 1650 P-PG (Production Pushrod Gas) classes. The 4200 ft. altitude and high friction salt surface “steal” about 25-30mph from speeds expected on pavement at sea level and the records are an average of 2 runs (“down” and “return”) that must take place the same day.

Here is a link to a Dropbox with high res images and this team poster from Bonneville.

Bonneville Speed Trials, August 2014.

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I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life…if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.  – Roald Dahl

 

Enovation Controls’ Show Bike

Check out Enovation Controls‘ customized MST, revealed for the first time at the 2014 CONEXPO- CON/AGG show in Las Vegas. This show is HUGE  and the promotional graphics were a great way to attract attention and show off some new technologies offered by Enovation Controls. Great company, great folks.

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National Corvette Museum Exhibit- Two Wheel Speed.

It was a huge honor for us to loan an MST prototype and V4 Baby Block prototype to the National Corvette Museum for their 1st motorycyle exhibit Two Wheel Speed. Here is a link to an article about the exhibit was a huge success. It is no secret that we are Corvette nuts here at Motus, so it was humbling to be in such good company among the cars and other interesting motorcycles. Big thanks to the incredible staff and leadership at the National Corvette Museum. If you haven’t been there yet, put it on the bucket list.

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3rd Annual City Bike Night.

After the Barber Vintage Festival on Saturday, 10/12, head to City Bike Night at Motus. We’ll be celebrating car and motor culture with a bike/car show, local food and drinks, factory tours and live music by Matt Slocum & Mark Kimbrell Quartet. 6-10pm at Motus, FREE. Special thanks to: Mayor William A Bell, Sr. and the City of Birmingham, Alabev, Slice Pizza and Brew, Cantina Tortilla Grill. Enter in the following categories here (no charge to enter, meal tickets to entrants with RSVP):
Best of Show, Best American Classic (car & motorcycle)- ’83 and older, Best Import Classic (car & motorcycle)- ’83 and older, Best V4, Best rat bike, Best rat rod, Most exotic (car & motorcycle), Best small block powered vehicle

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Lock and Lean.

At Öhlins’ Cirkus of Speed, we got to spend some time with Mr. Ben Wolfe of Lock and Lean Precision Motorcycle Riding. Beside being a real American hero and a ton of fun to hang with, Ben is a motorcycle cop by day and precision motorcycle riding competitor/instructor after hours. He guides PD’s and individuals on tactical riding and can make his 800 lb Harley do impossible things. We pity the bad guy who decides to evade or run from Ben. He also taught us some new ways to think about safety and low speed maneuvering.

Things got interesting when he comandeered the Motus MST and MSTR (he can be pretty persuasive). After a few quick turns, he was doing full lock to lock maneuvers in his cone course and demonstrated some max braking on his police bike (equipped with trick rear shocks he developed with Öhlins) vs the MST vs MSTR. Impressed, but not surprised that the MST (525 lbs./Brembo calipers/Braking radial master cylinders/OZ wheels/steel braided lines) stopped well short of the 800 lb PD bike, all of us were shocked at how much shorter he stopped when he switched to the MSTR (Brembo monoblocks/Brembo radial master cylinders/BST carbon wheels/steel braided lines). We selected and have refined the MST’s braking system after a lot of work with our partners/vendors, so we know it is very effective, but seeing comparitive back to back braking by a total stranger/expert was eye opening.

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“I could catch the s*&t out of people on this.” -Ben Wolfe after riding a Motus MSTR.

Öhlins USA Cirkus of Speed, 9/28/13

We were honored to be asked to display again at the 2nd Annual Öhlins USA Suspension Cirkus of Speed, September 28. Nobody makes better suspension components than Öhlins and we are proud to have such good friends as the team at Öhlins USA. Oh, and it didn’t take much to be convinced to roll to Western NC, surrounded by some of the best riding anywhere. Hope to see you there!

Ohlins USA Cirkus of Speed