Video: Motus KMV4 runs!

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Know what 1,645cc of liquid-cooled, gasoline direct-injection, American V4 power sounds like? You’re about to. Motus isn’t a company we’ve covered yet, but it is a company we will be covering extensively in the future; they’re building a ground-up sports tourer from scratch in Birmingham, Alabama. For now, feast your ears on a motorcycle engine based around similar pushrod architecture to the Corvette’s V8 revving like crazy on the dyno. America, fuck yeah. >

Happy Fourth of July!

  • Jason Stone

    Oh wow does that sound good. I really hope for the best for these guys.

  • gregorbean

    that sounds awesome

  • Richard Gozinya

    Great, but why all the talking?

  • Glenn

    I’m jealous – I’m an engineer, and I want to be a part of that program.

    • Glenn

      More thoughts – the solo tour concept really gets me hot and bothered.

      The fear I have is that Motus will build themselves out of the market – this bike will be expensive, but if they price it and themselves out, it will be irrelevant. If the best sport tourer in the world is an American V4 with everything I want in it and it costs 45K, I don’t give a shit because I’m buying a Concours and putting the 30K I saved into my ‘buy a house’ savings fund. Building a truly amazing motorcycle at any price is not any great accomplishment – building a bike that becomes a sales success, in some real volume, or funds the development of the bike that does – is something.

      I wish them the best of luck, and if they need an energy harvesting specialist and mechanical engineer….

  • Mike J

    Fearsom sound..!

  • Beale

    Other than the number of cylinders and country of origin, I know that there’s no real similarities but Offenhauser keeps popping into my head when I see this motor. I have the feeling we’re watching the birth of n iconic motor like the Offy, Chevy 350 or Harley twin.

    Man it sounds like a brute.

  • carbon

    I got goosebumps from my neck down to my thighs. yyyyeaaaahhh

  • JT

    Case- Wow! That represents a tremendous amount of work. I am very proud of you, and honored that I had a small part to play on the road that led you to this point. This is some bigtime serious shit you got going on. Now your challenge is to make the motorcycle as compelling on the outside as it is on the inside. Stay out of the shamu zone. I would love to help. — JT

    • Ray

      Please let JT help. The sketch looks like an Insurance Institute of highway Safety design from the late 80s.

  • Mark Ryan Sallee

    Ah-meerrrry-cah. Ah-MEERRrry-cah.

    America, f*** yeah.

    Looks and sounds good, I don’t really want one.

  • Core

    I’m always thrilled to see people accomplish something constructive… awesome!

  • VetteWrecker

    Do want.

  • Jnk

    I want one… when is the damn thing coming out ???

  • georGe

    Yet another example of why America is no longer the innovative bad ass it once was.

  • George

    I hope they give the design a big pinch of Honda NR flavor. Regardless of the bike plans I think that engine will find a lot of uses. I’d love to see a supercharger thrown on it and power the next Exige.

    • Brian Zooom

      forget powering an Exige with this, power a Smart Car with it instead of a Hyabusa motor when that tired lil 660cc 3 cylinder poops out.

      that motor does sound extremely bad ass! Though I more than likely wouldn’t buy that machine, I would like to see their engineering efforts succeed!

  • SlowerThanU

    Another American motorcycle that’s most likely doomed for failure because they started at the wrong end of the product lineup. They’ll never sell enough of these to recover their investment let alone put money back into the company. Sad too because it looks like a solid attempt at a real bike with American flavor.

  • Ryan

    When I first heard of Motus, I thought “Oh, well, another upstart American small-production company that will never get off the ground, or die an early death.” Until now, I never thought of it s a two-wheeled C6RS. I hope they succeed, based on the sound of this sonafabitch alone.

  • Nate Gnau

    I’d put that thing in a small car. Like a Miata, or a Z600… That motor sounds sick as hell. I’d then rip the V-twin out of my Kawasaki VN750, and throw this thing in it’s place.

  • Hancock

    Can’t wait until we as Americans get back to making the BEST shit. Not just big heavy poor handling shit. We can do it.

  • Anders

    Sounds like a big part of the thinking behind this engine and company is the openness. Encourage people to tune the engine, find improved solutions, and get involved. Lets see where it gets them.

  • dave hargreaves

    Congrats Brian! Sounds and looks GREAT! Wonderful to see you going forward with this project… Nothing but love for you guys!

  • Ninjah

    Sounds and looks awesome – congrats to those guys for making the engine happen. A couple of questions from an engineering standpoint:

    1) Why pushrods? Is there any advantage over modern valve cams?

    2) I understand that mounting a V engine transversely “feels” right for visual balance and even air-cooling, but aren’t you going to run up against problems that previous sportbike development has dealt with? (Like ending up with very wide body to stradle, and you lose the ability to tilt the engine forward to put more weight on the front wheel)

    • Ceolwulf

      1) Pushrods require an inefficient two-valve head, and also limit RPM. The benefit is a very compact design for a given displacement. The result is an engine with poor power-to-displacement ratio but good power-to-weight. I’d imagine this engine is probably narrower than the only other transverse V4, the Honda ST1300.

      2) Yes they will run into those exact problems, and moreover they’ll have rocking torque reaction when revs change. In addition, they’re losing drive efficiency by requiring a bevel gear.

      I like this engine but I think a sport tourer isn’t the right platform. They’re all excited about making the engine easy to modify (which, how is it much easier than a DOHC I4? I don’t see it), but no one mods sport tourers, apart from putting yet another accessory on it. A pure sportbike would work, although transverse mounting would be better; the best application would probably be a power cruiser, Yamaha Warrior-like styling with this engine, I could see that being a popular thing.

      • Drew

        I definitely agree that a power-cruiser or muscle bike would be the best application for this engine. I LOVE the unique configuration! As a Moto Guzzi/Aprilia technician, I see similarities to my favorite characteristics of the engines I’m familiar with. The pushrod valve train and longitudinal mounting of the Guzzi (which looks great and adds all kinds of attitude), with the liquid cooled V4 configuration of the Aprilia for performance. Add to that the usual American application of displacement, and you’ve got one hell of a drivetrain! I didn’t see how they are planning on transmitting power to the rear. Longitudinally oriented cranks are easy to mate with shaft drives, a generally preferred setup for a tourer anyway, if such is their plan.

        • Lentz

          I’ve had both belt drive on Buells and shaft drive on BMWs and I’ve spent 10 years with each. In my opinion, belt drive is the way to go. It’s clean, cheap and more efficient.

          The way the bike is configured it looks like replacement of a belt every couple of years would be a snap. The latest Buell belts are supposedly good for 20,000 miles.

      • Drew

        Ceowulf wrote:

        [quote]1) Pushrods require an inefficient two-valve head, and also limit RPM. The benefit is a very compact design for a given displacement. The result is an engine with poor power-to-displacement ratio but good power-to-weight. [/quote]

        This is not true. Guzzi has a pushrod 4v head. Also, this engine is certainly not designed for high RPM power, rather torque. If they really wanted to reinvent the wheel with a goal of high rpm power, they could have done roller valves or something else nearly as silly.

        Again, this is certainly not a sportbike drivetrain, and as a planned tourer, I hope they go shaft rather than chain.

      • Mark D

        Also, the LS7 in the C6 Corvette can rev to 7,000 RPMs; not bad for a 7.0L engine! As will all technology, your mileage may vary.

        This engine sounds and looks sick!

      • Lentz

        I suspect that they are turning the alternator, etc in the opposite direction as the crank to solve the rocking problem. I wouldn’t get my panties in a wad imagining that it will be a problem.

        With an OHV, the heads will come off in a snap without having to take half the bike apart to get them off.

        It’s also easy to have hydraulic lifters. Never any valve adjustment. Nice for a touring bike.

        What they’ve lost in going to an OHV vs an 4V Dohc, they have more than made up in size.

    • Joe

      I agree, why use an design that delivers substandard performance?

  • Skipper

    Sounds like a nice engine but this is supposed to be a touring bike and it has a chain drive. I doubt many people will want a touring bike with a chain drive.

  • Isaac

    Sounds great and phenominal design…but do we really need another Baby Boomer Cruiser company?
    Keep the motor and make a differnt bike.

  • Hiwatt Scott

    I love how the sketch sheet had “Must have balls” written on it.

  • AK

    Wow…at least copy an engine thats based off of a motorcycle. Congrats on getting an engine built and I’m sure now that this is out of the way they may get/have more backing.

    This is downright maddening that these two dudes, no matter how nice/ cool/ smart they may be are hillbillies with a big-engine-in-bike mentallity thats killin the US. Its easy to work on for a reason because it’s simple and it sounds cool because its 1650cc!?!?

    Come on! Git yer fuckin head out ya ass, would ya?!

    BTW, I like that your designing it to have the rear box trunk and fairings removed for an open bike look, very cool.

    • DoctorNine

      The size of any given engine is relatively plastic. When developing a new architecture for a sport touring machine, the range of 1200 to about 1800cc is where previous successful designs from other manufacturers seem to have ended up, so that puts 1650 pretty close to the middle of that range. A smaller iteration certainly could be designed for naked or straight sport applications, once the basics of the new layout are researched in the 1650cc size.

      As to the ‘hillbilly’ stuff, talking about people like that simply makes you look stupid. I’m sure the talented folks at MOTUS don’t give a rat’s posterior what kind of prejudices you are laboring under. And the history of performance engineering in the US probably has more ‘hillbillies’ in it than any other regional/ethnic group. So it doesn’t really give your comments much credibility to spout off like that.

      Please, carry on, if your objective is to look like a fool.
      I’d just as soon laugh at you as talk to you anyway.

  • Kevin

    Very promising “torque” engine. I hate dealing with rev happy motors in the twisties. I was also excited to hear them talk about the “experience”. The BIG PICTURE is where most developers lose sight and become myopic to the point of losing the overall balance or perspective concerning the bikes intended market/rider.

    Here’s to a light weight, torquey, simple bike that can rail as well as eat miles in relative comfort!

  • Kit

    I approve of this motor! Now, can you build me a flat-tracker with one?

  • Michele

    I prefer a V4 such as Aprilia or Honda with a transversal crankshaft…however i want a new Guzzi with a similar engine! :)evolution of the species


  • Pete

    lol, U.S still stuck in a ’60s engineering mindset. Doomed to obscurity I’m afraid.

  • Random

    In the current form Motus bike seems to suffer the same problem of Honda’s VFR 1200: inability to define their raison d’être.

    Since the fall of UJM popularity bikes seem to need a specific function to sell. Urban city commuter, Touring rig, sport bike.

    Like Honda’s flagship, it is stuck in the middle of currently defined markets: big sport bikes and touring oriented bikes. Both have neither the power or the small weigth to ride like the first ones nor the touring amenities found in the second.

    It remains to be seen if bikes like those can attract consumers that want a versatile bike (and if someone still wants this) or if they will be despised by bikers of both niches.

  • Philipp

    you should look at the 1:5 V12 engine on youtube, some germans build it. 87ccm, 8hp. ah, and also a 14 cylinder radial engine.

    nice V4 btw, can’t wait to hear one of those running next to me… or under my butt.