In a time where planned obsolescence is the new norm, it’s encouraging to see that there are companies like Motus building heirloom quality products they proudly sign their names on.
-Chris Routt, Good Grit Dec ’17
Insights: a new series from the pen of moto-adventurer Neale Bayly.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling I had, standing there in the rain, staring at this remarkable motorcycle that had just taken me for the ride of my life.” -Rob Brooks, Born to Ride Magazine, September 2017.
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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!
Here’s ANOTHER spectacular build from Motus Custom Ops, featuring a one of a kind factory-custom PPG tri-coat Lamborghini paint over a full carbon fiber body kit. The deep metallic-pearl yellow compliments the carefully selected raw carbon areas which adds another level of stunning beauty to the overall Motus design.
The stock 180hp American V4 MSTR wasn’t enough for this customer, who chose to order his new ride with a very specific custom paint direct from the design department at the factory in Birmingham, Alabama.
The MSTR comes equipped with carbon fiber BST – BlackStoneTek wheels, carbon fiber Akrapovic Exhaust System, Brembo, Öhlins USA, PirelliMoto Angel GT’s, Rizoma handlebars, Sargent Cycle Products seat, National Cycle windscreen and a LOT more.
Hand welded chromoly chassis, hand welded stainless steel headers, GIVI luggage, center stand, cruise control, LCD/TFT display. Congrats to Kurt O and Wide World Powersports – Different Horse Customs in Wayne, NJ!
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.
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Like a Patek Philippe chronograph in a world awash with plastic Casios, the MST is built to be passed along to your heirs in fine running order. Rangy, wellfinished, comfortable, and swift, the Motus MST won’t override the impulses emanating from your helmet. It will communicate those directly to the pavement, mediated solely by your skills.
If you’re ready for that, Motus is building you a bike right now.
-Jack Lewis, Motorcyclist, Jul/Aug ’17
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
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
A filthy, but very capable and comfortable 2017 Motus MST after a hyper-tour.
Check out this one from the Motus Custom Shop and Hourglass Cycles in Atlanta. Congrats to Gil (that lucky dog!)…it’s stunning! Gil optioned his 2017 MSTR with trick PPG paint/lingerie exposing carbon fiber in all the right places, full Öhlins USA suspension, BST – BlackStoneTek carbon fiber rims, Pirelli Moto Angel GT’s, carbon fiber Akrapovic Exhaust System, Brembo monoblocks, HeliBars, Sargent Cycle Products, heated grips, Clearwater Lights, triple Powerlet Products, full LCD/TFT color display with cruise control, 180 hp American V4 and on and on and on….
Motus builds America’s only V4-powered sportbike, designed to excel in performance, comfort and range. After riding one, we think you’ll agree they are among the most satisfying motorcycles available. Each Motus is built to heirloom quality, using the finest materials and components in the world.
Motus means physical motion or movement, but can also mean a movement of people. For us, it’s Moto-US…Motus.
Specs, FAQs, videos and articles below. Motus Owners Group here.
The 2017 MST comes beautifully outfitted with the 165hp American V4 with cruise control, hand built chromoly space frame, hand laid composite and carbon fiber panels, Öhlins NIX forks, Brembo brakes, Galfer braided lines, wave rotors and Braking master cylinders, Akrapovic titanium mufflers, Sargent seat, HeliBars, OZ Racing forged aluminum rims, high color LCD/TFT display, billet triple clamps, GIVI luggage, center stand and a ton more. It weighs 590 lbs with 40 lbs fuel and 30 lbs of luggage. 5.5 gallon tank, 215-250 mile range. 2 year unlimited mileage warranty (extendable up to 6 years). Full MST specs here. The MST is $30,975.
The 2017 MSTR is the fastest production pushrod motorcycle in the world and holds the fastest land speed records of any American production motorcycle. 180hp American V4 with cruise control, hand built chromoly space frame, hand laid carbon fiber panels, BST carbon fiber wheels, Öhlins NIX forks and TTX monoshock, Brembo monoblock brakes, Galfer braided lines, wave rotors and Brembo RCS master cylinders, Akrapovic carbon fiber mufflers, Sargent seat, Rizoma sport bars, high color LCD/TFT display, billet triple clamps, GIVI luggage, center stand and a ton more. It weighs 580 lbs with 40 lbs fuel and 30 lbs of luggage. 5.5 gallon tank, 215-250 mile range. 2 year, unlimited mileage warranty (extendable up to 6 years). Full MSTR specs here. The MSTR is $36,975.
Motus Dealers. There are currently 31 high-caliber US dealers with more coming on-board all the time. All Motus dealers offer test rides, can arrange financing, take trades, and have factory trained techs.
Seat Height. Seat height is 31″ but the narrow front of the seat will allow a 30″ inseam to “flat foot”. A low seat is also offered.
Financing. Retail financing with great rates up to 84 months is available at all Motus dealers.
Warranty. 24 months, unlimited mileage with an extended warranty up to 6 years available.
Servicing a Motus. Any reputable motorcycle dealer can service a Motus. The motorcycles are simple to maintain, metric, and require no special tools.
The Victory and Pontiac Effect
“This Motus rides like a dream, but will they be around in 5 years?”
We hear that a lot. And, it’s a fair question. Customers buying a Victory in 2016 or a Pontiac in 2007 probably didn’t consider their purchase risky from those brands. But, why not?
As entrepreneurs/patriots/motorcycle nuts, we are saddened by the demise of Victory Motorcycles, but not surprised. Polaris is an incredible American company making the best business decisions for shareholders, as they should. Maybe similar to decisions General Motors made with Pontiac.
Conceived in Polaris’ boardrooms to grab some of the (then growing) v-twin market, Victory remained target fixated as demand for heavy cruisers shrank by half. At the same time, the European brands grew like wildfire by offering appealing bikes in other segments- and there was no American competition. While Victory marketing showed intriguing sportbike concepts under the fuzzy brand promise of an “inextinguishable passion for American performance”, Victory dealers only offered 800 pound/90hp cruisers.
So, what does any of this have to do with Motus? The Motus customer seeks a comfortable American sportbike and values attention to detail, premium quality, and character. For riders with a Motus already in their garage, the test ride sealed the deal. As long as we remain laser focused on providing an incredible customer experience, we will continue to grow and launch additional models in segments that complement our brand promise.
With Victory gone, some great motorcycle dealers are starting to look for alternative lines to represent. We hope that Motus – with our V4-powered, comfortable American sportbikes – will make sense for them and their customers.
Motorcyclists gladly accept more risk than “regular” people as we pursue the magic that is only experienced on two wheels. Every week, riders join the growing Motus family and we are deeply grateful they share our vision.
-Brian Case and Lee Conn, co-founders
Here’s a little photo album of a custom MSTR built for composites expert, Mike M. After inspecting the quality of the unpainted carbon fiber on every Motus MSTR, Mike wanted his Motus to tell the whole story in a unique way. We were happy to oblige.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Motus welcomes industry veteran John Alexander as NE Sales Manager
Birmingham, Alabama, December 27, 2016 – Motus Motorcycles has hired industry veteran John Alexander as Northeast Sales Manager. Motus is growing its product line and distribution network and Mr. Alexander brings considerable dealer development experience to support the expansion.
“We are so proud to announce that John Alexander has joined Motus as Northeast Sales Manager. John brings an incredible amount of strategic and tactical experience earned over twenty five successful years in the industry,” said Motus Vice President Brian Case.
Mr. Alexander has enjoyed an impressive career in dealer development at Bombardier Recreational Products, Triumph Motorcycles, and Husqvarna Motorcycles. As the first of four regional managers Motus is hiring, John will oversee business development in the Northeast US from Maine to Virginia to Michigan. In addition to new dealer acquisition, John will continue to develop the current network of Authorized Motus dealers.
“I couldn’t be more excited about joining Motus as we grow from both product and dealer growth perspectives. The three-year plans are amazing and I have never seen a more capable, passionate group of riders and entrepreneurs. Team Motus has achieved an incredible amount so far, but we are just getting started,” John Alexander, Motus Northeast Sales Manager.
Authorized Motus dealers are generally multi-line, premium motorcycle stores with Motus factory trained staff offering financing, test rides, customer trade-ins, etc. The Motus opportunity is simple and very appealing for the right dealers and Motus is actively seeking dealers in certain markets.
Motus manufactures comfortable sportbikes designed to excel in performance, comfort and range. All Motus motorcycles – the MST and more premium MSTR – are powered by mighty V4 Baby Block® engines, combining high performance with low maintenance and a unique character that expresses the evolving heritage of the American motoring experience. Founded in 2008, Motus Motorcycles is a trademark of Birmingham Motorcycle Company, LLC. For more info about Motus, please visit: motusmotorcycles.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; like: Facebook; or call: 205-208-9966.
For more information, please contact Robert Ohnich, (205) 208-9966 ext 101, email@example.com
Factory tours and demo rides. With advance notice, we love to tour guests through Motus HQ. And for those serious about purchasing an MST or MSTR, we now offer Factory Demo Rides. Standard caveats apply (weather, availability, qualification). Motusmotorcycles.com/testride
Check out and share AmericanV4.com, a new website celebrating the mighty V4 Baby Block® engine and the interesting places it is starting to pop up. There is also an accompanying American V4 Facebook page with more videos and pictures of Motus V4 based projects.
It’s always fun riding with “Sir” Alan Cathcart, and this time was no exception. Alan is a proper gentleman- until he dons his signature Union Jack helmet and Kushitani gear- then things get….spirited. His full ride report can be found by clicking the image below. Thanks Rider Magazine!
Sometimes the lilting burble from the twin exhausts makes the Motus MV4 engine sound like half-a-Chevy V8, other times there’s a fruitier crack more like twin twins, as in double Ducatis-but first, last and always it’s totally distinctive, and extremely entertaining when heard from the hot seat. –Alan Cathcart, Rider, May 2015
Meet Motus’ Senior Test Rider, Bruce Edmiston. This guy has ridden just about every bike out there over a 22+ year career and is now in charge of a rigorous mileage accumulation program at Motus. Here, Bruce discusses his feelings about riding the 2014 Motus MST and MSTR. No script, no rehearsal- we just put him in front of a camera as he came in for lunch after a 150 mile ride on a cold, rainy Alabama day in March 2014.
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
From the great roads to the excellent business environment, from the world’s best BBQ to the year-round riding, from the wonderful and open-minded people to the fantastic local craft beer, from the Barber Motorsports Park to the clean lakes and outdoor activities dotting the map, from Governor Bentley’s office and the Alabama Department of Commerce and the Alabama SBDC to our friends at Mayor Bell’s office….we want to say- Thank You, Alabama! Most of us at Motus are Alabamians by choice, drawn to the very tail of the Appalachian Mountains by many of these things (did I mention the pretty girls, excellent universities, advanced healthcare, and booming automotive industry?!). We love this great state and this town. If you’ve never been to this part of the Deep South, this is your invitation.