It’s 2016, and here we are standing inside a warehouse in Burbank, Ca, with what has to be one of the most impressive, and thoughtfully curated car collections in the entire world. Talking to a man who has interviewed presidents, and, well, just about every important person or celebrity in the last 30 years. Our heads are spinning. And then we realize he’s interviewed Kevin Bacon 23 times, so there’s that. Jay Leno is a connector, a living legend himself and, without a doubt, a professional interviewer. He’s pretty funny, too.
So why are we here? What’s so great about a handful of dreamers, who in the depth of a 2008 global economy meltdown decided to bootstrap a business plan together and lock themselves in a “woodshed” with a Tier 1 automotive engineering powerhouse (read:Pratt & Miller) for the next 3 years developing a new “American motorcycle”? After all, it’s fairly well established what an American motorcycle should look like, right? Who are WE to change that? All we did was ask ourselves, “why can’t America make a sportier motorcycle to compete with the rest of the world?” What’s so hard about that? People told us no one would buy it. Americans only want “nostalgia” Really? Buell had a pretty good run. And how do BMW, Triumph, Ducati, Yamaha, Honda, and every other non-American motorcycle for that matter sell their bikes in the U.S.? Who buys all THOSE bikes?
So, that became our plan. And in 2011, we pulled the sheet off of what we considered to be a completely different direction for American motorcycles. The prototype was so believable, magazines put it on covers claiming “it’s here!” But, it wasn’t here. We had to produce the thing after all, which took an appropriate amount of time to engineer an entire powertrain and motorcycle, certify it and set up a production line. Never the less, we persevered. We struck a chord with a small group of enthusiasts early on, and have been shipping production bikes all over the country ever since the middle of 2015. I love it when a plan comes together.
Where to next? V-twin cruisers are America’s heritage, there’s no doubt about that. They are the mainstream. They sell in droves from $10k to $40k and are probably not going anywhere for a while. As for the rest of the motorcycling population, Motus is working hard for you. We make a sport-tourer, they start at $30k, and people are buying them as fast as we can make them. But, that’s not where this “crazy” plan ends. We have only just crossed the starting line. Now we ask, what’s standing in our way of becoming the next Triumph or BMW here in America? Is it adding more models, more dealers or more features to appeal to a wider market? All of the above? Well, I suspect those with deep pockets, the big OEMs, they know the answer to this. Maybe with a little attention, we may find that answer knocking on our door.
In the meantime, we continue to grow. We are becoming the motor company we dreamed we could be. We will continue to put every ounce of energy into cranking out the most visceral American motorcycle we can make, with the kind of hand-built, heirloom quality that can transcend time and last forever.