These are the first pictures and video of the completed Motus MST-01 and Motus MST-R, 1,654cc V4-powered sport tourers from the tiny Birmingham, Alabama-based startup motorcycle maker. The bikes were shown for the first time at Pratt & Miller in Michigan, the auto engineering company designed the frame and transmission, while Corvette race motor builders Katech made the engine, based on their Le Mans-winning LS7.R V8. More to come.
Update: 5 new high-res photos.
This V4 is a scaled-down, four-cylinder version of the Le Mans-winning Corvette GT1 direct-injection small block V8 and is being built for Motus by Detroit-based Katech Engines on the same production line as the LS7R. Like that ‘Vette engine, it has a 90° V, is made from aluminum and uses nickel-silicon-carbide-coated linerless bores. There’s two pushrod valves per-cylinder. Unlike the LS7R, the KMV4 phases its crankpins at 75°, creating a big-bang-like firing sequence.
Motus revealed last night that, rather than the 140bhp/120lb-ft figures initially disclosed, the engine actually makes 160bhp and 122lb-ft of torque.
The KMV4’s single camshaft is mounted in the valley between the cylinders, actuating the valves through pushrods. This is an incredibly compact, simple and light arrangement, the benefits of which on a motorcycle should be obvious. Giving the engine a distinct visual character all its own are four individual 40mm throttle bodies fed by vertical intake trumpets.
In addition to providing Motus with the unique character of an American muscle car, the transverse V4 arrangement is also shorter and more rigid than an inline-four, allowing a relatively short wheelbase and making it a better candidate to serve as a stressed member in the chassis. The engine weighs only 130lbs and measures 18 inches at its widest point. The six-cylinder in that BMW? 22 inches.
Motus sees the MST-01 and Ohlins-equipped MST-R as a counterpoint to the traditional image of American motorcycles. “It’s core design principals are performance, comfort and range,” describes one of the company’s founders, Brian Case.
Unlike other sport tourers, this isn’t a de-tuned sportbike with high bars, it’s a ground-up design intended to offer superbike performance with all-day comfort. Hence the relatively limited peak output for the huge motor. Rather than chase meaningless peak horsepower figures, the V4 is instead intended to offer a huge spread of torque and power, beginning very early in the revs and carrying through to the redline.
“We’ve focused on the actual street riding experience and, specifically, fun, usable power for sport touring. that means high torque over a wide rev range, a sporty wheelbase and suspension, appropriate weather protection for comfort and low fatigue over long distances, all in a 500lbs package,” continues Case. “The engine we’ve designed should spice up the relatively mundane sport-touring market with the torquey characteristics of a big v-twin combined with the smoothness of an inline-four and an engineered sound unlike anything on the market.”
Maybe it’s just the steel spaceframe and the thumping V4 engine sparking a few nearby neurons, but when seated in the high, upright saddle, the MST-01 feels most like a Ducati Monster that’s grown up and gained some responsibility; but with that responsibility came a middle management job somewhere with very ergonomically correct chairs. This bike is intended for a crowd that starting riding on knife-edged sport bikes in their youth and need to move up to something smoother, easier and far more vertical now they’ve got a gob of back pain or a beer gut but don’t want to slide into a betassled cruiser.