Preview: A New American Motorcycle called Motus
All of their bikes will be assembled in Birmingham, Alabama, not far from the Mercedes-Benz plant in nearby Vance. I say "assembled" because the engines are cast and completed in East Texas, then shipped to the Yellowhammer State.
The bike will be offered in what's called a sport-touring model, and in two versions, the MST and the MST-R (shown here, with the fancy red valve covers). Each bike weighs around 500 pounds, which is a featherweight in this class.
The bikes' MV4R engine reads like pure state-of-the-art. It is an all-new cast aluminum V-4, purpose-built by Motus. And it has a huge 1650cc displacement, putting 160 horsepower to the back wheel (180 on the MST-R). Add closed loop multi-port electronic fuel injection, ride-by-wire electronic throttle control, a 720w alternator, and you have a machine ready for some serious business. Its 11.5-1 compression ratio will make you break out the extra bank for high-test, but you live once, as they say.
Their self-described "Baby Block" motor (hey, it's a motorcycle LOL) is coupled to a 6-speed transmission with dual overdrive. Then a 20,000-mile XW-ring chain spins a hybrid rear sprocket that has a lifetime guarantee, and at 70 mph, the engine is spinning at a leisurely 3000 rpm.
It's also the first V-4 motorcycle engine motor ever built in the USA, designed with high torque at low revs for many miles of freeway comfort.
The more pricey MST-R's tubular frame holds Öhlins NIX30 adjustable front forks, an Öhlins TTX30 rear monoshock with adjustable preloads, Brembo M4 monoblock calipers, and BST premium carbon fiber wheels.
Motus' options list is short and sweet. They offer forged aluminum OZ wheels, a heated seat, heated grips, a premium low seat by Sargent, a mid or full touring windshield, and a large top case with rear decking.
Their standard equipment list is definitely no slouch either. All Motuses (or is that Motii?) come with adjustable handlebars, an adjustable windscreen, removable side cases, a centerstand, three Powerlet ports, and a quite fetching LCD instrument panel.
But, as with most bikes these days, your color choices are few. Look for a Motus in either Strong White, Carbon Black Metallic, or Desert Bronze Metallic.
Then there's the price. Some say that $30,975 is a lot to pay for a car. And that sum gets you half of a car (or less) that falls over every time you stop. But this is the motorcycle world, and that's not the highest price out there. Oh, and the MST-R, with those aforementioned testarossas, is $36,975. But you also get 20 more horsepower, a better suspension, wheels, and brakes. And bragging rights, of course.
Sixteen Motus dealers are in place, and they expect to sell about 300 bikes in their first 12 months. Look for the launch of Motus in the 2014 model year. And with any luck, maybe I can mosey down to Birmingham and get a factory tour. And a test ride. And a T shirt.
--That Car Guy (Chuck)