Nov 16, 2018

All American V4 Sports-Tourer – The Motus MST and MST-R

Motus MST
The Motus MST and MST-R Sports-Tourers are being shipped to US customers.

When you think of American motorcycles, probably the first thing that comes to mind is a thumping big V-twin engine.

But the two creators of Motus Motorcycles saw things differently and set out to build the first sports-touring motorcycle the US has seen since World War II that DOESN’T have a V-Twin.

Motus KMV4 V4 Engine
The Motus 1650cc V4 engine.

In fact – it has a V4!

The company started as a result of a chance meeting between Brian Case and Lee Conn in Birmingham, Alabama in 2008.

Like other stories we’ve heard, they came from different backgrounds and had different paths in life, but they had one common passion in motorcycles.

Since they started the company, the guys have been developing two motorcycles – the MST and MST-R – which are now making their way to customers.

The company had reportedly taken orders for 400 bikes even before the finished product could be delivered!

Rather than buy in the same stock engine and chassis componentry that other manufacturers use, the guys decided to develop there own. That delayed production but it meant the company could stay true to their original goal of creating a truly unique motorcycle. 

First up in developing the bike was the task of creating a suitable engine, and that was done in conjunction with car engine R&D specialist Katech.

They came up with a 1650cc overhead valve V4 Baby Block motor with two valves per cylinder operated by pushrods.

That sounds very old school and low tech, but it apparently uses some of the best design features from the Chevrolet Corvette LS7.R V8.

The engine produces 123KW and 167Nm for the MST, while the MST-R gets a performance boost through a high-lift cam, revised engine mapping and a 400rpm higher rev limit that brings those figures up to 134kW and 171Nm.

The crankshaft runs along the chassis in a similar way to a Moto Guzzi or BMW boxer, rather than across the frame like inline 4 cylinder engines.

Director of Design Brian Case created the concept for the frame and overall design of the bike, but the mission to make it all a reality was assigned to Pratt & Miller, another Detroit-based engineering company.

The bike has a six speed transmission and the team decided on chain drive because it was a better option to handle the engine’s torque output without adding the weight of a shaft drive.

Suspension is fully-adjustable 43mm Öhlins NIX30 upside down forks on the front, with an Öhlins TTX36 shock on the rear of the MST-R. The MST model gets a slightly down spec unit that has rebound damping only.

Brembo M3 Monobloc calipers are fitted to the MST-R, the MST still gets Brembo’s but the two-piece caliber version.

Prices start at about USD $31,000 for the MST and around USD $37,000 for the up-spec MST-R.

Will we see the bikes here? Good question.