Used to be, there was no such thing as a “sport-tourer.” It’s kind of a silly concept, if you think about it – take the biggest, slowest, worst-handling sort of bike and combine it with the smallest, fastest, best-handling. It’s like crossing an F-18 with the Goodyear Blimp, and nobody will be happy.

Of course, you’re reading this on the Internet, where nobody is happy anyway. Give us power, handling, reliability, locking luggage and price it like it’s on the McDonald’s Value Menu! Give us all the plusses and none of the minuses. Oh, and can you make it in the USA? Cuz ’Murica?

Company founder, Lee Conn, riding his creation. "Ya gotta admit, it’s got balls," he yelled at me when we pulled up to a stop sign. Yes it does, Lee. Yes it does.

Company founder, Lee Conn, riding his creation. “Ya gotta admit, it’s got balls,” he yelled at me when we pulled up to a stop sign. Yes it does, Lee. Yes it does.

Schizophrenic product requests like this must drive planners and engineers insane, especially when you have to balance so many conflicting demands. Make it happen – all it takes is a huge corporation and hundreds and millions of R&D dollars, after all – and then the resulting machine gets faulted for lack of character. Yeah, the Concours 14 is affordable, fast, good-handling and reliable, say the guys with checkbooks out, ready to buy, but so is the FJR1300 and the ST1300 and the K1600GT … I think I better go think it over and talk to the wife. “Please excuse me,” says the exasperated OEM, “while I insert the pointy end of this JD Powers award all the way into my eye.”

Thank God, then, for the hopeful naiveté of youth. One day, back in 2008, a pair of enthusiasts – an engineer named Brian Case and a business guy named Lee Conn – decided they would build a kick-ass, all-American sport tourer that would be irresistible to self-proclaimed sport-touring customers. You can read the whole Motus story elsewhere on MO – after all, we’ve been covering it from the very start – but here’s the executive summary.

The MSTR’s engine gets a big bump in power, which makes the valve covers glow cherry red even when the bike is stopped.

The MSTR’s engine gets a big bump in power, which makes the valve covers glow cherry red even when the bike is stopped.

The motor is, architecturally speaking, half a small-block V-8, shrunk down to 1650cc. It was developed by Case and, race-engine specialist, Pratt & Miller, and is impressive. Hydraulic lifters – no valve adjustments required – and pushrods are a nod to tradition, but it’s an aluminum block (engine weight is a claimed 150 pounds without the 75-pound six-speed gearbox) and sports closed-loop EFI, and an 11.5:1 compression ratio. The basic MST makes a claimed 165 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque at the crank. The MSTR, with sporty red valve covers, makes 180 hp and 126 lb-ft.

The motor goes into a chromoly tube-steel space frame (also developed by Case and Pratt & Miller, and fabricated in Alabama), with matching swingarm. It puts 58 inches between the wheels, and the Öhlins fork is set for 26 degrees of rake and 4.25 inches of trail. The linkage-equipped rear suspender is by Progressive, and it’s fully adjustable, of course. Wheels are forged aluminum from Italian company OZ, and brakes are by Braking and Brembo. The MSTR gets an Öhlins TTX36 shock, Brembo M4 monoblock calipers, and carbon-fiber bodywork.

The rest of the bike is pretty simple. There’s some simple-looking (but expensive, made-in-South Africa fiberglass) bodywork, a minimal tail, and grab handles that double as mounts for included Givi locking hard cases. The seat is by Sargent’s, and a choice of either a low or high seat are available at no extra cost to the buyer, and the adjustable windscreen is also available in multiple widths and heights. A small but data-packed TFT display delivers the 411. It all weighs in at a claimed 585 pounds with bags and a full 5.5-gallon fuel tank. Expect to see more than 200 miles of range.

Yum, yum! BST carbon-fiber wheels, M4 Brembo monoblocks, Öhlins NIX30 fork … that stuff retails for over $6,000. And that's just the front.

Yum, yum! BST carbon-fiber wheels, M4 Brembo monoblocks, Öhlins NIX30 fork … that stuff retails for over $6,000. And that’s just the front.

I have been reading about this bike since 2010 or so, so I was eager to ride it. After a 2-minute tech brief, I climbed aboard the MSTR. Lee – also a shorty – had the low seats on both bikes which is 32 inches (the high seat is 33.5), though it’s very narrow at the front, making it possible to get both feet flat on the ground despite my 30-inch inseam. The bike is bulky at a standstill and heavy at low speeds, reminding me of a big standard like Kawi’s Z1000. Steering lock was limited as well, but then I remembered I was on a 180-hp sport-tourer and realized it was much easier to handle than it should be.

Riding up into the Altamont Pass for photos took us onto a bumpy, twisty road, and the Motus handled it well. The Öhlins rear was stiff, but I probably could have tuned the harshness out if I had time. The steering felt heavy at first, but after a few miles it felt manageable, and never hard to turn. Feet-up U-Turns between photo passes were easy, especially considering this genre. The bike’s longitudinal crank rocks the bike a little – the transmission’s perpendicular countershaft partly mitigates that effect – but it also keeps the center of gravity very low, tricking the rider into thinking the bike is much lighter. I would not guess this bike is almost 600 pounds. Riding it on slow and medium-speed roads is reminiscent of something like a cross between a supermoto and an ’80s UJM, if you can dig it.

Handling is light and unintimidating for a bike with this kind of heft and power.

Handling is light and unintimidating for a bike with this kind of heft and power.

High-speed handling is even better. The Motus feels stable, but the steering is easier as the speeds increase. You can opt for either handlebar when you buy a Motus, but I preferred the HeliBars-built multi-adjustable bar. It puts you in a bolt-upright position that provides good leverage, and you can tune it perfectly for your reach and preferred riding position. The low bar on the MSTR felt like it would be better for shorter, more spirited rides or track days.

The brakes, tires and suspension all work well together. The Pirelli Angels GT’s (with a 190/50 rear) offered plenty of grip and feedback, giving me confidence on gravelly, slightly damp roads. The brakes did what they were supposed to with the lower-spec Brembos, with noticeably more feel, power and bite from the MSTR’s monoblocks. The front Öhlins was predictably plush and controlled (and should be, considering it retails for around $3,000), but I thought the Progressive rear shock on the MST, with its progressively wound spring, was a better match for real-world riding.

I’m saving the best part about the Motus. It’s that motor, and putting half a Chevy V-8 into a motorcycle is as good an idea as it sounds. On paper, the Motus makes about the same torque as BMW’s K1600GT, but it’s where it makes it that’s remarkable. If Motus’ dyno chart is to be believed, it’s making over 100 lb-ft. from 3,000 rpm all the way to the 8,000-ish rpm redline, and over 100 hp at about 4,500 rpm. That means you can be in any gear, pretty much, and just roll on and off the throttle. Wheelies? Well, it’s got a long wheelbase, but the front gets light with a firm twist of the throttle tube, and using the clutch (which is smooth, light and precise) would probably get the front hoop way up there – but that’s not what this bike is for, is it?

This chart, supplied by Motus, shows a nice, flat torque curve that would actually be pretty nice for a 3,000-pound car. On a 600-pound motorcycle, it’s 3-2-1 blastoff.

This chart, supplied by Motus, shows a nice, flat torque curve that would actually be pretty nice for a 3,000-pound car. On a 600-pound motorcycle, it’s 3-2-1 blastoff.

It’s for riding public roads fast, very fast, for great distances, and that’s where the Motus excels. The wind protection was nice, nicer than some heavily engineered sport-tourers from other brands, putting my helmet into clean airflow and protecting my body from windblast, even at triple-digit speeds. Engine vibes from the 90-degree engine are present, but it’s a pleasant, organic sort of rhythm, like being on a living being. The Sargent seat is cushy and supportive, with lots of room to move around. But leave it in 5th or 6th, and even though both gears are overdriven, you can roll on and off the throttle to overtake traffic, even on steep upgrades, at any speed, whether you’re going 60 mph or 120, in a blink of an eye. It’s a badass road warrior, with a presence and character completely unique to a motorcycle with such a modern, polished appearance.

So you could tell I like this bike, and I do, but is it the ultimate sport-tourer? Did Conn and Case hit the mark? Well, I can tell you if I could pick any ST to ride coast-to-coast, this would be it – I like my motorcycles small, light and torquey, and having good wind protection and a comfy riding position is icing on the cake. It’s the best-handling and fastest ST I’ve ever experienced, by a wide margin, and the comfort is certainly good enough for 500-mile days. A 720-watt alternator will power all your farkles, and there’s cruise control along with three Powerlet (or BMW) 12v outlets. A heated seat and grips are options. Sure, it has a chain, which some consider a non-starter for a ST, but don’t worry, mile-eaters: it’s warrantied for 20,000 miles, and the steel rear sprocket has a lifetime warranty, even if you never bother cleaning or lubing your chain, like me. But it does have a centerstand, gratis.

All dressed up and someplace to go. In a hurry.

All dressed up and someplace to go. In a hurry.

It does have flaws and drawbacks. The transmission is pretty rough, hard to find neutral, and clunky and agricultural to shift, even on the test units I rode, which are over a year old and have almost 20,000 miles on the clocks. Speaking of clocks, the TFT displays have a lot of info – including a full diagnostic readout, no OBD reader required – but it’s small, hard to read, placed at an odd angle and is hard to safely work while riding, as it lacks handlebar controls. That last item sounds like a nit, but in the seven years since this bike has been in development, that’s become a standard feature on electronics-equipped motorcycles. And speaking of electronics, there’s no ABS, no TC, no selectable mapping modes. You have to use your mad skillz to keep from crashing, and Lee is unapologetic about that.

But the two big obstacles to most buyers will be reliability concerns and price. Many enthusiasts like the idea of a big V-4 sport-tourer, but are worried about investing in a product from a new company, a company with a challenging task ahead of it. Motus has been around for a while, sure, but the engine maker, Pratt & Miller, is a pretty big company with a long history and a diverse product line, including defense contracting and aerospace. The rest of the parts come from outside suppliers you’ve heard of: Brembo, Öhlins , BST, Akrapovic and others. And the motor is designed to be low maintenance, with hydraulic lifters and a spin-on oil filter. Motus will honor warranty work from “any reputable shop,” according to Conn, and the bikes require no special tools, which would make a BMW dealers’ head explode.

Gabe offering to trade six windmills for one MSTR. "They don’t really kill that many birds, you know."

Gabe offering to trade six windmills for one MSTR. “They don’t really kill that many birds, you know.”

Okay, here’s the elephant in the room – the Motus’ elephant-sized price tag. It’s $30,975 for the MST and $6,000 more for the MST-R (a deal considering what you get for that six grand – 20 extra hp, carbon-fiber bodywork, Öhlins rear shock, premium brakes and BST carbon wheels). That’s a lot of money, but Motus’ Lee Conn likes to point out that top-of-the line Gold Wings and BMW K1600GTs are about the same amount of money, and the average Harley-Davidson Big Twin buyer spends the same after he or she gets all the performance and accessory shopping done. “The price isn’t really that high,” Conn said. “Gold Wing buyers and our buyers are just regular guys.” Think of how many suburban driveways are filled with boats, RVs and Corvettes – the kind of lifestyle tools that can cost far more than the handbuilt, low-volume Motus.

I think the ire from the Internet peanut gallery is because the Motus is just the kind of bike most of these guys want, and they resent having to pay an extra $10,000 or $15,000 to get it. “They want that bike but they can’t afford it,” photographer Bob Stokstad told me in the car on the way home, and I agree. Conn has made it clear he doesn’t want Motus to be a giant company selling zillions of units, but is structured to be profitable selling small numbers (maybe around 300-500) of heirloom-quality motorcycles to serious enthusiasts, the motorcycle world’s equivalent of guys who collect hand-built guitars or vintage record players.

TFT display is incredibly packed with data, but hard to read on the fly. I didn’t even realize it had a clock until I wrote this caption.

TFT display is incredibly packed with data, but hard to read on the fly. I didn’t even realize it had a clock until I wrote this caption.

So, if you want a bike that’s built to last, offers superbike performance with the reliability of a Ford Crown Vic and is comfortable, dripping with moto-jewelry and is unlike anything else on two wheels, check out a Motus MST. If you want a performance bargain, consider a used SV650. Conn is unapologetic about the price – it’s hand built, has high-quality components and Motus is a small company that can’t achieve economies of scale like Honda or BMW. “The beautiful thing about motorcycles these days is that there are all kinds of choices,” says Conn, “so if you don’t see the value of the MST, there are options for you.”

Will Motus succeed? Well, 2016 is the company’s third year of delivering bikes to actual customers, and the 15-employee operation is working hard to meet existing orders, screwing together about six bikes a week in the Birmingham, Alabama factory. After more than seven years, Motus has turned a napkin sketch into a running reality, and a pretty good one at that. Best value? Highest tech? Probably not. But as we said in the car trade, there’s an ass for every seat, and Motus is now a real choice for the hardcore sport-touring rider.

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  • DickRuble

    “the reliability of a Ford Crown Vic” — and the looks and engineering too… for twice the the price.

    • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

      You’re being unfair, unless you’ve ridden a Motus…and driven a Crown Vic. Fine, Canadian-built machines.

      • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

        Ride the Motus. The devil is in the details. Haters gonna hate.

  • Chris

    I can get on board w/all that, except the flaws. High cost? Understood. Wait time? I’m patient. Power? Love it! Unique? Always cool. Primo components? I’m in. Heck, I even love it doesn’t have all the ABS, TC, Power Modes, and electronic suspension gadgetry…But why doesn’t the thing shift like it oughtta’? That’s not okay on a $30K’ish bike. That’s not knit-picking; that’s a major flaw. Fix it. Likewise, it shouldn’t feel heavy at low speeds or have an overly restricted turning radius. Those are daily deals. If you’re going to ask top dollar for hand-made and done right, then do all the “must have” stuff right…Otherwise, very cool. And, yeh, you can’t make everybody happy and nothing’s perfect. For my value equation on money expenditure, it comes up short for those reasons. Very cool, though.

    • http://norimek.com/blog Robert C. Barth

      BMW has gotten away with a $30k K1600 that shifts like a tractor for four years now.

      • Chris

        Don’t do Beemers, so no personal experience. However, I can assure you they’ve gotten none of my money for a “$30K K1600 that shifts like a tractor,” nor will they. What others buy…

      • Kevin Duke

        None of the five different ones I’ve ridden have shifted like a tractor…

    • frankfan42

      Gotta agree with you here. WHY does it not shift well? Poor design? Or perhaps poor manufacture? This flaw bothers me because this is not an aftermarket purchase, it is a core piece of the equation.

      • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

        I asked Motus for comment on the gearbox. The response was they prefer to focus on all the good stuff about this bike, and I agree. You don’t need to shift it much, anyway…

        • Chris

          So, they acknowledge it’s an industrial, clunky gearbox? Surely that’s not what that means…

          • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

            They did not acknowledge anything. Just that they would prefer to talk about other features of the motorcycle. A smooth shifting gearbox is kind of like having heated seats–nice if you have it, but not a deal-killer if you don’t.

          • Chris

            I didn’t think that’s what they’d be saying. I’m gettin’ you, now. Not sure I agree w/it, but I’m understanding the perspective. Not a great gearbox is ok; a crappy gearbox is not ok, especially on this kind of bike. Now, the question is: Is it really good, or not, on average? I reckon we shall see…Thanks for the clarification. Ride on.

          • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

            I got to ride the MST & MST-R and, comparing it with other bikes I’ve ridden, I would say that the transmission is much worse than my Buell 1125R, worse than my FJR, better than my old Buell XB12R and than any other Harley I’ve ridden including my old V-Rod. To me, it felt closer to the Harley shifting experience, but less vague and clunky.

            Shifting the MST felt very precise and certain, as if there’s no chance of a false-neutral or slipping out of gear. Shift travel was somewhat farther than expected, increasing effort vs. other sport-touring machines I’ve ridden. I noticed that clutchless up/down shifts, while possible, were quite harsh and I quickly decided after trying it once each direction that I would not do so again.

        • DickRuble

          They prefer to focus on the positives? Hilarious.. The first thing they need to fix (get rid of) is their CEO.

          • Auphliam

            LOL Dick, did this guy steal an old girlfriend years ago or something?

        • sgray44444

          How many people whining about the gearbox have ridden a BMW airhead? Those things suck to shift, and I would still love to own one.

      • Chris

        Yep. You are a wise man.

    • Dave Cooper

      I rode ’em and the gearboxes on the 4 I rode were far better than a bunch of bikes I’ve owned and ridden. As far as weight, they feel more like a 600 sportbike than anything their size (I ride a Multistrada1200 now). The fit/finish are second to none and I agree with Gabe- …” if I could pick any ST to ride coast-to-coast, this would be it.” Can’t wait to get mine.

      • Chris

        Well, that would be a pretty huge contrast to the write-up (No attack intended.). I haven’t ridden one, so I’m only going on reports. So, which is it: pretty good tranny and handles much like a 600 SS, or industrial shifting and clumsy feeling at low speeds? Or is there that much variance from bike-to-bike and, maybe, quality control on a and-made, low production bike? Again, not an attack (On the bike or Gabe.). I’d really like to know.,

        • DickRuble

          That’s the beauty of this tractor…ahhmm bike… it’s something different to every different suburban sucker that already owns a boat, a corvette, and an RV… If they buy all of that, why wouldn’t they buy this? Don’t you love Conn’s strategy? But hey – “It’s a free country” 😉

          • Chris

            And I have no problem w/the concept or the price…IF it does all it should do. Sounds close.

        • Cecil-T

          I think some people are super-sensitive to certain items like gearboxes. I’ve ridden the Motus and have 8 or 9 bikes myself, and I didn’t notice anything unusual or difficult about the gearbox. But I see people discussing how bikes shift all the time even going into what oil do they use. Windscreens and seats are another thing people argue about to the earth’s end which never seem to bother me.

          Where are you located? Go take one for a ride and decide for yourself.

          • Chris

            Yeh, everyone has their own ‘druthers, experience, and perspective they operate from. I have, and have had, many bikes, as well. I take it all w/a grain of salt, but, still, it’s information and input. That’s all I get before, until, and unless I get a test ride. And even then, it’s a test ride; not a long-term, conclusive opinion. The dealer near me that “carries” Motus, doesn’t have any in, yet. I just ran by there today and chatted w/them…about a variety of things, including their Motus status, arrival time frames, and test ride policies (New dealership.). And the game goes on.

        • pcontiman

          Chris, you are gonna ENJOY that ride when you get it. For background let me say that I can’t taste the cherry or blackberry notes in a good cabernet and I can’t sense the region of origin in a good cigar but I can dang sure tell you if either one is good or not! In the same way I can’t speak to the nuances of handling or center of gravity or suspension tuning but I can tell you what is a great bike to ride and the MOTUS hits that mark with a sledgehammer. Lee Conn’s description during a test ride was that they had built an American Hot Rod and that is exactly what the MOTUS is. Power at every twist of the the throttle, high RPM or low. Speed by the bucketful. Few will pass you if you don’t want them to. Does it handle like a clip-on GSXR1000 ? I doubt it. Does it shift like a ST1300 ? Again, I doubt it. I did have some trouble hitting neutral when hot so you will have to test ride a bike that hasn’t been beat up on the demo trail to find out if that really is an issue or not. Up and down shifting while moving was no problem. Was it easy to handle ? I think it takes a better rider than I to really answer that question. I can ride my 1200R sportster into the hard parts on both sides but I couldn’t keep the MOTUS hammered in the corners without risking my mortal bounds. My take on that was that it just had too much power for my ability, not that the bike couldn’t do it as Lee C. was smokin’ the corners with no problem. Fortunately, every now and then he would pull over and wait for us so we could try again…. My long winded point is that the article above gives a pretty dang accurate picture of the riding experience. Ride it and I believe you will say, “that’s a dang sweet motorcycle”. Shiny side up my friend.

          • Chris

            I will enjoy it, I have no doubt. Will it be worth that money to me? We shall see…Thanks for the input.

          • DickRuble

            Yet you didn’t buy one…

          • pcontiman

            not in my budget Dick….I’m the kinda guy that’s still flogging my 10 yr old Sporty and having a hard time justifying spending the additional bucks to move on to a Dyna or Victory. (not to mention that I really like the 1200R) If you are the kinda guy that can drop 30k on a CVO I would suggest dropping it on the MOTUS while you are still Moto enough to ride one. I do enjoy your comments though ;>

          • DickRuble

            Yeah.. so you’re just another guy on the side cheering for some fool to jump in the frozen waters to hog tie the white shark…

          • pcontiman

            Not hardly. I’m a motorcyclist who gave his opinion on a bike he rode. You need to get that splinter out of your behind.

      • DickRuble

        Ha! Your activity on Disqus all of a sudden went private.. What do you know, when ALL your posts over two years were to support Motus… You couldn’t even keep your story straight.. four months ago you were selling your K1600 to buy a Motus..now you ride a Multistrada?

        • pcontiman

          Do not mess with DickRuble! ;>

    • Born to Ride

      The clunky tranny isn’t an absolute deal breaker for me. It’s definitely a detractor from the overall quality though. Using a comparison to an incredibly overpriced marquee as your justification for your own inflated price is a lame cop out though. Why not just leave it at “we offer a premium quality, hand built in the USA, high performanc e machine, and the price reflects the cost”

      • Chris

        I could go w/the price pretty easily (Believe it, or not.), if all the fundamental riding enjoyment factors were worked out well. The concept is way cool, I think. For that price, though, I need good execution of it, on all fronts. Not perfect, mind you. I’m not living in a dream world. But it’s gotta’ be a really nice ride for that kind of coin. And I’m sure it is. I’d just need the fundamental flaws gone, as well. A demanding lot, ain’t we?

        • Born to Ride

          Yeah, I agree that the fundamentals are essential when marketing a lower tech machine that attempts to win buyers in quality and “cool factor”. The trans on my Triumph is pretty clunky, but it’s the roasted thighs, worthless high beam, and spongy front brake that actually bug me on a daily.

          I’m just saying that if the only thing that Gabe disliked, that was not inherent in the design(ponderous low speed maneuverability), was a notchy gearbox; then I think the bike is a huge victory for this fledgling home grown company.

          • Chris

            And opinions will vary, as they always do. I think it’s a very cool ride, as stated. However, for that kind of money, a clunky gearbox wouldn’t fly w/me. If it’s no biggie for you, buy away. I’d like to ride it when you bring it by. Ha!

        • Thomas Adamo

          Respectfully, how can you “determine” it’s flaws if you haven’t ridden one? If you have, please forgive my remarks. If you haven’t, it sounds to me like you’re making a decision based on what someone else is telling you. What bothers that writer could very well not bother you at all. You could be so surprised you put money down that day.

          • Chris

            As I made clear in a couple of different entries, I have not ridden the bike and I am only going on others’ reports. That is all I have on a lot of different bikes, accessories, clothing, etc. I do a little filtering via reports, as I can’t run out and try everything before I decide if I MAY be interested, or not. I’ve followed these things for a long time and Gabe is usually good for a pretty accurate write-up. In any event, getting a feel for things and, well…enjoying the internet on a rainy day/week. Ride on.

      • DickRuble

        Because the price does not reflect the cost, it only reflects the inflated expectations of the management and investors.

      • John Bennett

        The Motus seems expensive until I think about all the cash I have invested on a Harley, BMW GS, several Ducs to take off all the cheap factory stuff and replace it with the good components. I won’t go as far as calling the Motus a “value buy” but my Motus has all the good bits and in CA it is CARB certified with bad ass exhaust. My bike is over at Motowheels, replacing the blinkers, mirrors, gas cap and license plate bracket which is just for my personal taste. I will post some pics next week.

    • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

      Those were just my initial impressions–a test ride may reveal those issues aren’t as big a deal as they seem to you.

      • Chris

        Understood and I’ve no interest in being a nay-sayer. The bike seems very cool and I love the total concept. Flaws and shortcomings are inevitable, I know. However, the fundamental riding experience has to be really sweet for this kind of build-up and price. In fairness, it sounds like they’re very close to ST (Whatever that really means to different folks…) nirvana. Finish the fundamentals, guys…if they’ve not already done so.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      I think other issues are dealer support within a reasonable distance for the life of the product. That is where the Harley and Ford comparison fails (since that support is everywhere). Also the resale value if the company goes under. There is no track record. Just two guys and some investors. It could go under like EBR. Harley and Ford have a 113 year history of service, support and value. You want to buy from a company that has been around and will be around for a long time.

      • Chris

        There will be other issues, for sure. One just has to decide if the experience, supporting an American company, the prestige, etc. is worth the cost, risk, and/or trouble. Sometimes it’s worth stepping out on faith..or principle, or whatever, to take the plunge. Sometimes it’s not. Ya’ gotta’ make up your own mind.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Lots of enthusiastic, stranded, frustrated EBR riders out there, waiting for the resurrection of the company. I just want to ride. Life is too short.

          • Chris

            I do believe that’s the Honda motto (“I just want to ride.”). I have three of them in the garage…and currently working on a fourth. Trust me, I’m a firm believer in reliability and ease of ownership. The vast, vast majority of folks will come to your same conclusion on a Motus purchase: that being, “No.” And that’s cool. That works to the advantage of those that think it’s worth it: prestige, exclusivity, hand made, small community, perhaps contact/interaction w/the owners of the company, etc. It’ll all work out one way or the other. I’m pretty sure I won’t be buying one, either. Bless those that get one…and I’d love to get a ride; may buy one after all. Who knows? It’s all good. Ride what ya’ got!

          • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

            How are EBR or even Buell riders “stranded”? I own a 2008 Buell 1125R with over 63,000 miles on it and do not feel particularly “stranded” by HD discontinuing the Buell brand nor from EBR’s shut down. I do feel abandoned by HD, but fortunately competent independent mechanics and parts suppliers are sufficiently capable of keeping my machine on the road. I am very much looking forward to future developments of the resurrected EBR as I do still believe in Erik Buell.

            BTW, I did have a chance to ride the MST & MSR-R a few weeks ago and really did enjoy it. The transmission was a noticeable drawback, but not a deal-breaker for me. I personally can’t stop thinking about the MST and desiring one, in spite of the minor drawbacks including lack of ABS (required) or other electronic rider aids such as TC/wheelie control (desired). However, the major factor preventing me from ordering one is the price. It’s simply priced about $10k higher than I’m willing to spend for what is offered.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            And with ABS, the price can only go higher. By the way HD promised to support Buell owners with parts and service. The biggest HD dealerships in this area still have the Buell sign on their buildings.

          • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

            I’m fully aware of the legal requirements (a “promise” makes it sound like their idea) for vehicle manufacturers to continue to make parts available for their retired/discontinued products for 7 years in the USA and 10 years in Europe. However, the reality is that certain parts have and continue to face very long lead times due to HD’s use of “Just-In-Time Manufacturing” which necessitates low sitting inventory of parts and that a certain number of orders for a component come in within a certain amount of time before those components are produced in a small volume run. I’ve heard of lead times being longer than 3 months for injection-molded plastic body parts, for example.

            Furthermore, the reality of being subject to HD’s service is that they tend toward expensive and unnecessary procedures to upcharge customers and pad their profit margins. As a personal example, Glendale HD/Buell wanted to charge me $5,000++ to drop the motor, split the case, and peek inside when I know with absolute certainty that the only thing required was pulling off the stator cover to remove and replace the stator rotor nut with the appropriate Loctite and proper torque applied to correct a previous service performed incorrectly (went by original service manual not realizing it had been revised) in Washington state, prior to moving to SoCal. That and an oil change should have cost far less than $200, especially since I had supplied a brand new stator rotor nut and told them what happened and what needed to be done when I dropped off the bike. Suffice it to say, I declined their ludicrous estimate, retrieved my bike, and took my business elsewhere.

            I also owned a 2007 V-Rod VRSCAW which was in the shop a lot… Here are a couple ridiculous incidents:
            1. The ultrasonic fuel level sending unit failed due to the glue used to secure it within the tank being insufficient for use within a fuel system. This is a known issue that HD refuses to properly correct by using an appropriate adhesive, so the part must be continuously replaced when the adhesive inevitably fails, allowing fuel to corrode the electronics. I was advised that the service had been completed and my bike was ready to be picked up. I took the bus (with my riding gear) to work, then from work to the shop, started to ride the bike home, then it just died half-way home (in the rain). They felt so bad about it that they simultaneously picked up my bike from the side of the road and delivered to me a brand new V-Rod Muscle to use as a loaner which I did appreciate, though it shocked me because they flatly refused to provide service loaners when I asked about them in the past. Anyway, apparently something was wrong with the new fuel level sending unit because it was reporting plenty of fuel, but the shop discovered that it had in fact run out of gas.
            2. In another instance, a plastic part within the transmission in the shift mechanism failed, distributing plastic and metal shrapnel throughout the shared case, destroying both the transmission and motor at only 10,000 miles on the odometer (and 2 months left on the warranty, thank God). They took 3 months to rebuilt the transmission and engine (rather than replace them). One positive thing I will say is that the servicing dealer did help me negotiate a 5-year extended warranty for peace of mind. However, unfortunately only 8,000 miles later it started acting funny again with the shift lever reach moving around, just as it had prior to the earlier incident… Suffice it to say, I divested myself of that money pit in short order. Bought a Yamaha and have literally only had to change the consumables (oil, tires, chain, brakes, plugs).

            I purchased 3 brand new motorcycles through Harley-Davidson and spent significant amounts of time and money on maintenance service and non-warranty repairs of those machines. However, after the experiences I had with the V-Rod, and their final treatment of Erik Buell and Buell motorcycle owners, I personally will NEVER patronize or support Harley-Davidson again and will continue to take every opportunity to tell of my experiences in order to help others avoid wasting their time and money.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I am sorry about your experience with the 2007 V-Rod. It seems the dealership bent over backwards to help you. You mentioned the V-Rod, but didn’t say anything about the other two new bikes you bought from HD. Did you have a better experience? As I mentioned elsewhere, I have 200,000 miles on two Harleys. My 2007 Softail Custom with 141,000 miles has been dealer maintained since I bought it (every 2500 miles the first few years, then every 5000 miles). It is my daily ride. No complaints with the bike or the dealer.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          And I do support an American company. Been riding Harleys for 30 years, a company that has been around 113 years.

      • DickRuble

        The EBR reminder and comparison is appropriate..

      • pcontiman

        I get the ‘reliability/value’ argument but even without MOTUS’s promise of both, once you ride the bike, that criteria may go up in flames. It’s a unique bike and t’aint too many folks on the road gonna have one like yours in look and definitely not in feel. Saddle up that V4 and I believe you’ll see what I mean.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Sadly the only way to ‘saddle up the V4’ is to put out 30,000 big ones, and I am not a gambling man. I don’t mind putting out big money (I have two bikes to show for it) but it has to be a carefully thought out long term investment, not the 4th of July fireworks.

          • TheFantasticG

            I didn’t know motorcycles (a.k.a. toys) were meant as an investment… I certainly didn’t think that when I purchased my last one.

    • John Bennett

      My Motus had the same issue and the shifting has been fixed under warranty and great factory support. Now it is smooth and easy to find neutral. Motus 005.

  • gjw1992

    Good review and have to disagree with the general sentiment here – this bike does make sense. I’m sure that gearbox will be improved with a little time.

    And sounds like a realistic business plan – going for big growth of a cheaper product however well it sold would break them with cash flow difficulties in no time.

    That ST moniker should be dropped – in general, not just for the Motus. GT would be far better. An ST is an R1 with a rucksack.

    • Ian Parkes

      Yep.

  • Thomas Adamo

    Just some food for thought. When you spend $30k on an American made motorcycle, you paying your American brothers and sisters to make that bike for you. Until Harley, Victory or Indian bring something similar to market, we may want to give Motus a second look. As a BMW owner, I can assure you that the Motus isn’t far off the mark when you consider maintenance costs. Compared to the Japanese alternatives, the Motus is still a tough justification.

    • DickRuble

      The VFR1200F is a direct competitor. V-four, 589lbs wet.. 170hp, 95ft*lb $17,500 with DCT and traction control.

      • Goose

        And no chain drive.

      • Thomas Adamo

        And that bike is still available? As noted above, it’s tough to justify a Motus to any of its Japanese competition. And like the article says, the Motus isn’t really out there for the masses. It’s targeted to a small group of folks that can both afford, and justify, owning one. After I ride one I’ll consider whether I’d want to own one.

        • DickRuble
          • Thomas Adamo

            1) That’s a 2013 so, no, it’s not still available. 2) I’m not saying the VFR isn’t a worthy choice for someone interested in that particular motorcycle. What I’m trying to get across is that comparing a Motus to any of its Japanese competition isn’t going to justify purchasing the Motus. You’re talking about a niche motorcycle versus a mass market, made in Japan, motorcycle. The Motus buyer likely knows exactly what they’re looking for and can easily justify the cost of it. Whether the Motus is a good value or not is up to the buyer to decide. If your purchase decision is based solely on price than you’re not likely a viable Motus customer. You have to remember, right or wrong, the USA is at a disadvantage when it comes to building motorcycles, especially on a small scale. Our higher pay scales make it difficult for American companies to build things inexpensively compared to our Asian competition.

          • DickRuble

            It’s on Honda’s official website.. therefore available.

          • Thomas Adamo

            There’s a reason a 2013 model is still sitting in Honda’s warehouse. Nitpick all you want, there is no comparing a mass market motorcycle to a handmade Motus and then saying it’s not worthy of consideration because it’s too expensive.

          • DickRuble

            Do you realize that you express yourself in a string of bombastic, vacuous statements? In plain language, you don’t make any sense. “there is no comparing a mass market motorcycle to a handmade Motus” — really? Why not? I can compare the price. I can compare the finish, I can compare the performance. At least Honda doesn’t pay a couple o stooges (most likely Motus employees or affiliates) to pollute discussion groups with illiterate ramblings.

          • Thomas Adamo

            Sir, you really need to take a look at your responses in this very thread. You’re constantly arguing with nearly every comment in the thread. You’re looking back through years of people’s responses on Disqus. What’s wrong with you? Is your need to be right so strong you have to denigrate others? Seriously, I think you need to reconsider your approach.

            All that being said, I hope Honda has paid you as well to sell their remaining stock of 2013 VFR1200 motorcycles as Motus has to get people to say nice things about them. I have every confidence the number of VFR’s they have on hand today will be the number they have on hand on this date in 2016.

          • Old MOron

            There’s this thing called credibility. And looking through someone’s post history is a legitimate way to assess it. In fact on internet chat boards, it’s about the only way to assess it.

            Don’t be offended. Your claims get scrutinized like everyone else’s.

          • Thomas Adamo

            Sir, if anyone is going to go out of their way to look through someone’s history to validate their credibility, I would say that individual has a little too much time on their hands. Seriously, you guys need to wise up. It’s a forum and people are here to “discuss” whatever topic they’re following. Not have every comment they make scrutinized by a couple of individuals that need to feel that they’re right on everything by tearing other people down. Again, you guys need to wise up and find something to do.

      • Born to Ride

        While I agree with you that the VFR is the direct performance and market segment competitor to this bike, it really doesn’t appeal to the same audience. This bike is pointed at the well-heeled buyers that believe “made in USA” still means something. The same guys that buy the $40k Harleys and $60-80k corvettes. You may think that their nationalistic mentality is stupid, but this is still a free country(in some states…) and they can buy whatever the hell they want, and they will.

        • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

          Go ride the Honda, then ride the Motus and tell me they are even in the same class. 95 ftlbs….thats cute. This bikes components are far superior and is far more comfortable than the Honda.

      • halfnelson_73

        You can buy leftover 2013 vfr1200’s all day long for $12,000. They’re not hard to find.

  • Dave Cooper

    Great write up, Gabe. I rode the MST and MSTR in North Georgia and San Diego and found them both incredible. The sound, that torque, that incredible chassis…the whole package just works. Very, very satisfying and I’ll be getting mine (Speed Silver MST) as soon as I sell this damn Multistrada. All 4 machines I rode shifted fine, no trouble finding neutral, comparable to various Ducati’s I’ve owned.

    • Chris

      Very good to hear. Again, can’t help but wonder: Is it just different rider’s experience, perspective, takes, or is it a lack of consistency in the bikes? I hope to hear more good reports on the tranny down the road.

    • DickRuble

      Interesting, four months ago you were riding a K1600 (according to your postin on RideApart) and couldn’t figure out how to sell it.. Now you can’t figure out how to sell your Multistrada 1200? Also interesting, ALL 7 (seven) of your comments over the past two years with Disqus were supporting Motus….

  • Born to Ride

    I fall into the category of ‘Love it but can’t afford it’. I think the performance and style are perfect. If they could figure out a way to offer a base spec model in the $20k range I would be proud to park one in my garage.

    Products like the MST make me believe that America can still be the land of opportunity. These guys took a wonderful idea and made it a reality. That fact alone makes me want to give them my money, and submit an application to join their design team.

  • Craig Hoffman

    The Motus has held my attention for a long time now. So impressed by the motor, which may be “low tech” but performs like no other. The Corvette is also “low tech” but it has a helluva motor too. A high powered torque laden V4 sound like the most fun one can have on 2 wheels. The sound out of those twin Akras has gotta be sweet indeed.

    I do which it had belt drive though. Shaft is heavy, chain is a pain, belt is the way to go. Going to keep my eye on these. Who knows. Maybe someday…

    • ‘Mike Smith

      Sounds like you’re the one that doesn’t understand financing. Dropping 30 grand on a depreciating asset is delusional. If you financed, you’d start by paying around 3,000 down and then monthly payments (depending on your credit) of around 350-400 a month. So the first month, you’ve still got around 26,500 (don’t forget taxes and tag) in the bank to use on investments which will actually increase wealth. That’s a basic version of it, I’m sure someone else could explain it better than I.

      • Craig Hoffman

        And add interest payments to a steep depreciation curve? Doing as you propose is in effect borrowing money (margin) to invest, which is a risky strategy that can magnify gains or, very easily, magnify losses. People tend to overlook the possibility of losing when they invest when they make the argument you propose. I am all for investing, but not with borrowed money.

        Buying expensive cars/toys with financing/leasing exacerbates an already losing depreciation situation. Never had an interest bearing payment in my life except for a home mortgage, and that is gone now too, along with it’s front end loaded interest up front amortization curve. Proud to be a Dave Ramsey freak, flying his debt free flag…

        In my view, if you can’t afford to drop 30K cash on this bike, you can’t afford this bike. Go buy a far more effective VFR1200 and at least minimize the damage to finances. It is a free country of course, and we are all free to be slaves to the lender. I choose not to.

        • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

          Considering money right now cost next to nothing to borrow I am not sure it makes sense to buy anything expensive with cash. If you can use someone else’s money for free or close to free why wouldn’t you do that?

          • Craig Hoffman

            Even at a low 3.5% interest rate, not using cash and taking the loan, one would have to make “guaranteed” over 6% investing before taxes to break even, given a typical tax bracket. There are no CDs that pay 6%, so any type of investing to make that kind of return carries risk. Add the risk to the “sure thing” 6% (or greater) after tax interest cost and sure thing steep depreciation and the whole idea of borrowing to buy an expensive toy of any kind and investing the cash instead is not appealing to me at all. It is not just about low monthly payments. That is how they suck us in.

            When one buys any toy that costs 30K, it is going to be a terrible “investment”. That is OK if the buyer is financially bulletproof and the loss of 15K in depreciation in fairly short order is not a concern. There are folks for whom money is not rare but really cool things that move them to buy with it are. These are the folks who should buy a Motus or any exotic/cool and expensive toy. Some pay insane sums for art. Whatever floats one’s boat, but one has to have enough water to float in.

            Everyone is free to do what they like, but incurring debt for luxury purchases seems silly to me. I am admittedly fairly alone in this view. I have friends who make 215K a year HH income who are deep in debt. That just blows my mind. That scenario involves a lack of discipline on his part. Part of the problem too at that income level and above via W2 earnings is those folks are taxed to death, but that is a whole different rant :)

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Money is not everything. Enjoying life has some value too. I see people working all their life saving money for retirement, and when they finally do retire, they cannot enjoy anything because they are too old. If you are healthy and young and can afford the payment for a bike you like, buy it now and enjoy it. I can assure you it will be much more enjoyable than a ‘high net worth’. One only gets one chance to live.

          • Craig Hoffman

            I get your point but I am living. I ride dirt bikes in Colorado and Utah. The 6 hour demo ’10 Husaberg FE450 I own was bought, for 5.5K in cash during the depths of the recession. My FZ1 was bought for cash at a steep discount too. Having assets to deploy when opportunity presents itself is a good thing. I see the right Motus for sale for 14 grand in a few years, I will grab it with, you guessed it, cash :)

          • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

            That’s exactly my plan, too. Thanks for your posts; they’ve bolstered my resolve.

  • Ducati Kid

    Motus Management,

    Why no ‘Cruiser’ sporting a Belt final drive?

    Love that ‘Baby Block’ …

    “Cruise today, Tour tomorrow!”

    • Old MOron

      Kid, I don’t know if you’re joking. But please, not another goddamned cruiser.

      • Ducati Kid

        OM,

        Consider ‘Cruisers’ are the largest Global motorcycle market!

        A Baby Block ‘Cruiser’ (with forward facing exhaust) is missing in today’s stalwart Cruising world.

        MOTUS is intentionally absent from this obvious marketplace.

    • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

      No belt because the motor produces so much torque they rear pulley would need to be about the size of the rear wheel. So a belt was a no go. Brian Case considered it but it just would not work out. Ride the bike. Then you won’t care about a belt or shaft or chain.

      • Ducati Kid

        Spdwy,

        Try reading Gates claim their H-D final drive Belts are good for 1,000 Ft. Lbs. TORQUE at 6,600 R.P.M..

        Gates works prevailing over installation problems – ask Milwaukee.

        I too care about Belt Drive as do GLOBAL customers – 98% efficent!

        • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

          The strength of a belt was never in question. In fact they tried it.
          However when the rear pulley would have to be near the same diameter as the rear wheel it’s a no go for obvious reasons.
          Just ride the damn thing then tell me how much you care about the chain drive.
          If the bikes not for you then it’s not for you. There are plenty of bikes to choose from.
          I just don’t get all the hate on a bike that people have not even ridden because of the price or it doesn’t tick 100% of their boxes. You know what, it only ticks about 90% of my boxes. However the handling and motor are just that good.
          Try one, try mine. All of us owners on Motus Manics ride our bikes. They are not museum pieces.
          Not all bikes are for everyone, there are bikes that I don’t care for but I don’t go on a forum and talk about it especially if I have not even ridden the bike.

          • Ducati Kid

            Spdwy,

            Considering Pratt & Miller would require a Final Drive choice seems Gates Co. was dismissed early.

            Been building, revising and selling cycles since the 70’s – HOKUM!

            Are you trying to sell me a MOTUS motorcycle?

            Reasoning? Comparing a ’boutique’ cycle to HONDA’S?

            Recall in 2014 H.M.C. assembled and vended near 15 MILLION Motorcycles and Scooters!

            See you at Daytona 2016 for a demo …

  • kenneth_moore

    I was intrigued by Motus’ presence at the AIM Expo last October. I saw their engine displayed on almost every aisle, at booths for all kinds of products. An interesting marketing strategy to say the least; are they selling the engine alone in any volume?

    Unfortunately I didn’t see a Motus bike demo opportunity. Indian demos the crap out of their bikes, and I think that’s had a lot to do with their rapid growth in a very difficult market segment. Maybe Motus doesn’t see the need with their low-volume sales strategy.

    • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

      According to the dealer rep I talked with, Motus REQUIRES their dealers to offer demo rides.

  • dougie_s

    “…I think the ire from the Internet peanut gallery is because the Motus is just the kind of bike most of these guys want, and they resent having to pay an extra $10,000 or $15,000 to get it. “They want that bike but they can’t afford it,” photographer Bob Stokstad told me…”

    yes, it’s expensive. yes, you can get the honda vfr1200 that specs out similarly, for about half the price. but, it is not the price that is irking this internet gallery peanut. it is the weight. there’s simply no way (weigh?) i will ever spend my money on a bike that’s more than 529.1lbs, road-ready. (the wet weight of my ’78 ducati darmah, haha!)

    i remember when the vfr1200 first came out, years ago – i was excited to check it out, as i was an owner of the original ’83 750 interceptor. well, i never rode the new 1200 – just sitting on it was enough to turn me off.

    i don’t care what the motus’ purpose or cost is – it needs to go on a serious diet. imo of course! ;~)

    • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

      Having ridden the Motus MST & MST-R myself, I didn’t notice the weight at all after leaving the parking lot. It felt a bit lighter and more nimble than my 2005 FJR which I have no problem leaving other riders on more capable machines in the dust such as my friend on a Ducati Panigale 1199. I also did fine keeping up with some other friends riding an EBR 1190RX and Ducati Desmosedici on Angeles Crest & Upper Big Tujunga Rd. They said they were only waiting about 15-20 seconds for me at the Angeles Forest stop sign if you’re familiar with the area.

  • http://motopumps.com MotoPumps

    I am looking forward to riding one. I think it looks sharp, but agree that they need to fix the major issues that are a problem every time you ride the bike. A slick transmission is a must. Without it, it is a deal breaker. The restrictive turning radius I could forgive if the bike were killer everywhere else. Get that trans squared away, Motus!

  • J R Jones

    I would not evaluate a purchase like this based upon a road test by someone that I do not know. Ride it and make a decision. Some people are commenting to save others? Maybe they want to be perceived as a buyer with an excuse.

  • Tommy Johnson

    My MST shifts great, but you can’t adjust the hand control in too far. If you do, you will find what Gabe found- you just have to back the lever out a click or two and find the sweet spot. Like many things on the MST, it is adjustable and you need to use a bit of common sense. The gearbox does not require a lot of toe effort like on many v-twins. and after the first couple of rides, is not something I even think about. Likewise, the HeliBars can be adjusted too far and will hit the windscreen, but when you get them right, there isn’t a more comfortable bike out there. There are faster bikes, but I’ve never ridden one that suits me better. The power is intoxicating and the sound of the Baby Block is nuts. Gotta hand it to these guys, they build a great bike and have been extremely responsive to my questions after the sale. Go Motus!

    • DickRuble

      We’d love to see a pic of your bike, because you see.. this is your only post with Disqus.. Call me skeptical, but I find it odd when new posters appear all of a sudden, as if they were here just to prop up the story.

  • Luke

    Everything about this bike I like (story, tech-level, etc…), but the bike just does’t look good to me. I know that probably puts me in the minority, but for that kind of coin, I’d want something more… striking?

    • Derek Jones

      Totally agree with the looks part of your post. At $30k it shouldn’t look conventional.

      • Ian Parkes

        It doesn’t look conventional. Sports tourers are the exception and ones with a transverse V4 poking out either side could hardly be more exclusive.The most common and conventional bikes by far are the cruisers. If you really want to stand out from the crowd, the last thing you should buy is a Harley.

        • Derek Jones

          Moto Guzzi has V-twins with the heads poking out the sides, but they don’t charge $30k for their motorcycles.

          “The most common and conventional bikes by far are the cruisers” In America. So any other motorcycle by your definition would be be “exclusive”. Can’t wait to bring my GSA to America so I can be exclusive!

          “If you really want to stand out from the crowd, the last thing you should buy is a Harley.” Who said anything about buying a Harley? I don’t ride a motorcycle to stand out from the crowd or to be “exclusive”. If you want to spend money on a motorcycle simply because there aren’t many of them around then go ahead.

  • TalonMech

    I find all the whinging about the price ironic in a country where people buy 30k Harleys as fast as they hit the showroom floors.
    Strange how folks don’t blink spending that sort of money on a chrome festooned land barge, with what amounts to a tractor engine. But an all American company builds a much more capable, and practical bike, and you folks bitch and moan about price.
    Sure a VFR is cheaper. But any Japanese cruiser is also cheaper than a Harley or Indian.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      So you think all those people who buy 30k Harleys as fast as they hit the showroom floors are stupid? They don’t know what they are buying, but you do? Have you checked the resale price of a Harley lately? Have you checked the resale price of a Japanese bike?

      • Bruce Steever

        Yes, actually, i have. Across the board, equivalent Japanese machines are within 5% of depreciation rates of H-D after both 5 and 10 years.

        If you want to talk smack about resale values, check out Victory… ewww. (Sub-50% values after 5 years or less!)

        • Lynchenstein

          Sounds like I may be in the market for a used Victory then. I’m a cheap bastard.

          • DickRuble

            Good luck with that! I did a brief search on the biggest bike market place online and there are some interesting trends. While you can find Victory bikes for less than $5K, most of them have very high mileage (one had 75,000 miles). At the same time there are many HD bikes below $5k with very low mileage. They are mostly Sportsters. Draw your own conclusions..

          • Sayyed Bashir

            It is hard to find a full size Harley below $10K. The 883 Sportster is only $8K brand new, so the used price will obviously be below that. The original comment was about buying 30K Harleys off the showroom floor. Those bikes will retain their resale value for a long time.

          • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

            I would conclude from that information that the majority of Victory owners actually enjoy riding their machines and that they are reliable. Conversely, the HDs are unreliable shop queens and expensive toys for folks to “keep up with the Jones’.” Regarding the Sportys, I thought everyone knew that Sportsters are primarily sold to women who barely ride or as training bikes before their owners are expected to upgrade to the big boy toys…

          • Sayyed Bashir

            You are obviously prejudiced against Harleys, but none of your comments are based on facts. Most people who can’t afford one are like that. You are riding a 11 year old used bike that you bought for $5K, but feel qualified to comment on why people buy $30K Harleys. As I mentioned elsewhere, I have 141,000 miles on my 2007 Harley so it is definitely not a “shop queen”, and I have no idea who ‘Jones’ is. Women primarily buy full size Harleys, because they have a low seat height and are powerful enough to keep up with the other riders. You based all your comments on the previous commenters brief search, but didn’t bother doing any of your own. As I have explained below, the 883 Sportster sells for only $8K new, so the used price will be below that. And as you said, if they are stepping-stone bikes, the owners upgrade to full size bikes after riding them only a short time. It has nothing to do with the reliability of the bikes. By the way, many people love Sportsters and will not ride anything else. It is the only ‘sport bike’ Harley makes.

      • Cecil-T

        I’m guessing you haven’t checked resale prices of Harley’s lately. They’re through the floor. Dealers can’t get rid of used ones.
        Not that resale value is ever a reason to buy anything. You want it, but you’re already concerned about getting rid of it? If you want an investment, buy an actual investment, not a depreciating asset.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          I do check the prices of used bikes at my local HD dealer and I don’t find them to be very low. They are obviously less than the new bikes, but the ones with premium upgrades are almost the same price as new ones. It also depends on the mileage and condition of the bike. Resale value doesn’t mean you want to sell the bike but how long it is expected to last. A disposable bike will not have much resale value. People that buy 30K Harleys as soon as they hit the showroom floors can obviously see the value in them.

          • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

            People buying $30K Harleys have very different values… They value other people’s perceptions of their status rather than a quality, well-engineered, reliable machine. I really don’t think it’s equitable to compare HD buyers with buyers of other brands as the goals and considerations are not the same. It’s apples to oranges.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            How do you know why people buy $30K Harleys? Are you a psychiatrist or a psychic? People buy $30K Harleys because they like them and they last a long time. I have a $22K Harley so I am stupid? Why impugn other people when no one is questioning why you buy your bikes?

          • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

            People buying $30K Harleys have very different values… They value other people’s perceptions of their status rather than a quality, well-engineered, reliable machine. I really don’t think it’s equitable to compare HD buyers with buyers of other brands as the goals and considerations are not the same. It’s apples to oranges.

  • sgray44444

    If I had the money, I’d own one. That’s all I really need to say about it.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Most people who want it, don’t have the money. The people who have the money, don’t want it. Therein lies the conundrum.

  • allworld

    I have met both Lee and Brian and had a chance to test ride the Motus. Both Brian and Lee give good reasons to consider buying a Motus. The test ride was short, but the bike is impressive, and is on my short list. The cost of ownership is where this bike shines. Compare it to a BMW for a 100K mile cost of ownership, and difference in purchase price flips in favor of the Motus.

    • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

      How about compared to a Yamaha FJR?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      How are you calculating the cost of ownership, or are you just repeating what Lee and Brian told you? You have to ride 100,000 miles on a Motus before the cost of ownership matches that of a BMW? How long does that take? 10 to 15 years? What kind of a ridiculous statement is this?

      • allworld

        Well I ride about 25K a year so …….. 5 years max. The cost of valve checks on a BMW vs. $0.0 for the Motus is just a start. With BMW, parts are not generic and labor is pricey at most dealerships. Just changing the spark plugs is pricey.
        Many people wrench it themselves so for them the big cost of labor is eliminated, but for those who don’t it adds up quickley.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          So how does the Motus cost of ownership compare to a Harley? Same hydraulic lifters (no valve checks), parts can be OEM or generic, but still cheap, many people do their own work. Not fair comparing a German bike to a U.S. bike (apples and oranges). On the negative side: Motus chain drive vs Harley belt drive (maintenance free). How far to the nearest Motus dealership? HD dealers are everywhere. Is the cost of riding back and forth to the Motus dealer accounted for in the cost of ownership? Which bike are you doing 25K miles on?

  • allworld

    I have met both Brain and Lee and had a chance to ride the Motus. Both Brian and Lee give good argument to consider the Motus. The test ride was short, but the bike is impressive, and is on my short list. Cost of ownership is where this bike shines, compare it with a BMW over 100K miles and the Motus is a bargain.

  • Vrooom

    Yup, I want the bike but can’t afford it.

  • Reid

    I want to put this engine in a Datsun 510.

    • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

      Crate engines are available. Start at around $10k

  • Michael Mccormick

    DOA. I don’t even understand how the company could have thought it could be successful. Alabama dreamin’. Sounds harsh but those who think the bikes are great need to buy one rather than test ride them and buy another brand. Enough empty compliments.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      They are aiming for a niche market. That is why the price is so high. They can only make a few bikes, and they only need to sell a few bikes to be profitable. There are only a total of 14 people in the company. Most parts are made by others. They just assemble them. It is not a mass market product. Somewhat like the Boss Hoss. Bigger is better. American Iron.

  • James Stewart

    Gabe – you need to be more specific for us Motor-heads. “Half a small block V8” doesn’t tell us enough. Is this thing based on the “old” Gen I Chevy small block or the 97 and newer vintage Gen III/IV/V V8 small block? Hopefully the latter – and I suspect it is based on a Gen III/IV because of the valve cover bolt pattern. Want to make the cost of this thing reasonable? Have GM make these V4s in volume – sell the rest to a hybrid car program or something… I also have issues with the induction system – do they really need 4 throttle bodies? How about a Corvette-like thermoplastic intake and ONE throttle body. Simpler and cheaper. And why is the engine mounted East/West instead of North/South like a Honda V4? Somewhere in that clunky transmission they have to turn the crank rotation 90 degrees before the gearbox input – so there’s a big heavy expensive bevel drive gear set in there somewhere… Mount the engine turned 90 and get rid of it. And belt drive please – but that’s a minor issue. And finally for 30K, hire some whiz kids to develop some ABS and traction control for it – the components won’t cost much – it’s just engineering development time & money upfront. Hint – go hire some Formula SAE whiz kids – they work cheap !

  • James Stewart

    Gabe – you need to be more specific for us Motor-heads. “Half a small block V8” doesn’t tell us enough. Is this thing based on the “old” Gen I Chevy small block or the 97 and newer vintage Gen III/IV/V V8 small block? Hopefully the latter – and I suspect it is based on a Gen III/IV because of the valve cover bolt pattern. Want to make the cost of this thing reasonable? Have GM make these V4s in volume – sell the rest to a hybrid car program or something… I also have issues with the induction system – do they really need 4 throttle bodies? How about a Corvette-like thermoplastic intake and ONE throttle body. Simpler and cheaper. And why is the engine mounted East/West instead of North/South like a Honda V4? Somewhere in that clunky transmission they have to turn the crank rotation 90 degrees before the gearbox input – so there’s a big heavy expensive bevel drive gear set in there somewhere… Mount the engine turned 90 and get rid of it. And belt drive please – but that’s a minor issue. And finally for 30K, hire some whiz kids to develop some ABS and traction control for it – the components won’t cost much – it’s just engineering development time & money upfront. Hint – go hire some Formula SAE whiz kids – they work cheap !

    • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

      With the amount of torque this motor puts out the rear drive pulley would have to be near the same diameter as the rear wheel. Therefore Brian Case dropped the belt drive.
      I like the idea of a single throttle body.
      At least they did not put a dry automotive type clutch on it like BMW and Guzzi. That will also lower your cost of ownership if you ever need a clutch.

      • James Stewart

        I guess I’m missing your point on the rear driven pulley – this thing could probably run the same size drive and driven pulley in a belt system. With the torque curve it has, it really doesn’t need any gear reduction from the final belt drive – and it probably needs all the top speed it can get with only an 8K redline.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        If the bike currently uses chain drive with normal sized sprockets, why would the rear pulley have to be any larger with belt drive?

        • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

          That’s a good question to ask Brian Case. I am not an engineer. That was Brian’s response when I asked him about a belt drive.

  • Lee Conn

    As president of Motus, it’s great to see so many passionate comments. Keep ’em coming! We’re usually busy building bikes, not reading comment boards, but here’s the deal on Motus. We’re hard working, dedicated motorcycle nuts/entrepreneurs building our vision of the future of American sportbikes. We love all types of bikes and always cheer on the guys building them- the more, the merrier. Electric dirtbikes from Alta? Cool! Custom bikes from Revival or Fuller? Go, y’all! The latest whiz-bang racy-replicas from Honda or BMW? Gimme those keys. Luckily, it’s a huge industry with niches for most applications/budgets.

    Since 2008, our goal at Motus is to build durable, charismatic machines that are fun, fast, simple, comfortable and capable of eating up many street miles at high speeds. Our customers tell us we’ve achieved that and we’ll never stop seeking ways to improve.

    The MSTs may not check all your boxes- no problem! We hope you’ll simply share our passion for the sport and cheer us on as we seek to employ talented craftsmen and make other enthusiasts happy by building them machines that turn them on. Capiche?

    There’s not time to read/respond to comments on even the most popular of the motorcycle websites/blogs, but if you have questions, comments, or intelligent critique, I’d be happy to talk- my office line is 205.208.9966, ext 104. C’mon all you brave keyboard warriors, I’m all ears! Or, even better, our factory is at 500 28th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35233. Schedule a visit to Motus HQ and make sure to bring your bike. Who knows, I may throw you the keys to an MST in exchange for the chance to ride your machine.

    Ride safely (and fast),

    Lee Conn

    • DickRuble

      Capiche???.. Capisco che il tuo italiano fa schifo. Capisci? Watching too many cheap mob movies?

  • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

    I was going to buy something in the $20k range….unitl I rode it. Then you won’t care about any of the “negatives” You can keyboard jocky all the reviews and specs you want. Until you ride one, you really don’t get this bike. It is a greater sum than it’s parts. If electronic doo dads and shaft drive are more important to you than engine and handling then there are bikes for you. This one is not it.
    2015 MST #15

    • DickRuble

      Had you ridden a donkey you would’ve bought one too.. You stopped by just to tell us that or did someone prompt you?

      • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

        Nice reply.
        Ride it. Then maybe your opinion will matter. Until you ride it your just speculating.
        Enjoy your donkey.

    • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

      Having rode the Motus MST & MST-R myself, I do agree that it is more than the sum of its parts. However, it’s not $10K more.

      I got back on my 2005 Yamaha FJR1300ATC w/over 89,000 miles which I bought used for $5k and felt that my bike was about 85% as capable at only 1/6th the price. Therefore, I’m clearly not their target customer demographic.

      I do and will continue to wish Motus well from afar.

  • Jaime Cruz

    Too much money for a chain driven bike without ABS. I don’t need (nor want) mappable riding modes, linked brakes, traction control or any of that other nonsense but I DO want ABS, and I DON’T want chain drive. It’s a non-starter for me. Considering the longitudinally mounted engine is PERFECT for a drive shaft, I can’t understand why they’d opt for a chain. When I’m on tour doing 600-700 miles a day, I can’t be bothered with lubing and adjusting a chain. At least a BELT??

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Nothing wrong with a good chain drive. Much lighter and less complicated than a shaft drive. Lubing every 600 miles takes a few minutes if you have a center stand. Belt drive could have been a good option but maybe too much torque for a belt.

      • Jaime Cruz

        The Motus engine doesn’t make as much torque as an actual small block Chevy V-8, which is exactly what the Boss Hoss uses, and the Boss Hoss has a belt drive.

        • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

          The Boss Hoss also has a 2-speed transmission. Gear slap would be a factor in torque stress on a belt. I’m on my 5th belt on my 2008 Buell 1125R which is rated at 82 FtLbs torque.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Must be a alignment issue. I have never had to replace a belt on a Harley, which puts out 92 ft-lbs. My 1986 Harley had 56,000 miles. My 2007 Harley has 141,000 miles. I would suspect gear slap would only be an issue if you shifted gears without using the clutch.

          • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

            Clutchless shifting is standard operating procedure when riding sportbikes as they’re intended to be ridden. This reality is further evidenced by the fact that many supersport bikes now come equipped with quickshifters fitted from the factory. Road debris, stretching over time, and mis-shifts* are all factors that have been complicit in my belt issues.

            *I hit Neutral when aggressively downshifting from 4th, 3rd, 2nd to 1st (using the clutch) while using engine braking with slipper clutch action to help slow bike rapidly. I then tried to quickly bang it into 1st, thinking that the internals were still rotating at roughly the same ratios, but I was wrong and sheared 5 teeth off the belt. Rode a bit more gingerly to my friend’s house several towns over and then to the shop where I got a new belt put on. Still managed to chew up a few more teeth when passing a few slowpokes before I got to the shop. Amazingly, the belt kept working with 8 teeth in a row missing.

            Suggesting that it’s not an issue since it doesn’t happen on your Harleys is an invalid argument. While you may be among most Harley riders who don’t flog their bikes vigorously enough to put much stress on the belts, some apparently do… A Google search for “harley broken|snapped belt” results in nearly half-a-million hits.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Yes, I ride fast, but I don’t abuse my bikes, or anything else I own. If the bike came with a quickshifter, I would use it, otherwise I would use the clutch. Haven’t had any issues with road debris, stretching, or mis-shifts. The above story explains one belt, but what about the other four? Are you riding like this on the track, or on public highways?

  • bob2

    back to the drawing board boys.

  • John B.

    Neophyte question: What factors determine whether a motorcycle has a “smooth shifting” transmission? Is that something that can be difficult to achieve?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      It is more of a personal preference. Some manufacturers like to have a solid shifting transmission. Harley calls it the “clunk of confidence”. Sport riders like to click through the gears. Motus has a big V-4 engine with pushrods and hydraulic lifters so it probably has a transmission like a Harley. Nothing wrong with a solid shifting transmission. It will last forever.

      • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

        To me, the Motus transmission falls somewhere between the clunky lumps from HD and the silky smooth transmission from more modern and better engineered machines. It did NOT feel “clunky” but definitely felt SOLID, robust, and well-engineered, if not silky smooth.

        I do personally prefer the feeling of transmissions on more modern sportbikes which are so smooth that using the clutch is completely optional except from a dead stop. However, I’m sure I could get used to the Motus transmission, especially since you could probably just leave the damn thing in 3rd gear all day from dead stops to ludicrous speeds.

  • pcontiman

    Really an accurate picture of the bike and the ride. Get on one of these if you can folks. Thank you MOTUS for making this bike a reality. One nitpick with the article though….I don’t at all resent those who can buy this bike, might be a little jealous though….

  • Bmwclay

    Wouldn’t a low mile K1200S or K1300S have better power, ESA, TC, assisted shifting, heated grips, SHAFT DRIVE and ABS for around 7000.00-10000.00? Could see a lot on country and stay in a lot high end hotels with the extra 26 grand in your wallet.

  • Wavshrdr

    Its not just about the numbers a bike puts down or the features it has. I seriously thought about one of these but bought the K1600GT since I was a bit concerned about how the Motus dealer network would expand over time. I wouldn’t mind a few more features such as ABS, heated grips and cruise.

    Should I tire of the K16 (not likely any time soon) I’ll seriously consider one of these. They sound incredible and seemed pretty fast when I was riding in the N. Georgia mountains. I am seriously thinking about a test ride in the near future. If the R model would come down to about the price of the base, I’d probably find a way to put on in the garage. About $30k before taxes, fees, etc. is about all I want to spend on a bike.

    One thing I learned a long time ago, the quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.

  • Stephen Bogert

    I dont own a Motus yet, but hope too, finally I did get to see and sit on one at Hamlin cycles in Connecticut. I am one expecting to see ABS , I do feel it is the one very useful electronic modern addition.

    When I read the comments here, many are focusing on the writer’s mention of rough shifting.. and I am forced to remember back when the BMW airheads were current and every magazine then commented the gearbox shifting was clunky, crude etc. They also commented on the torque reaction to the longtitudinal crank engine, the odd turn signal switch. Thousands of bikes were sold, many to persons with no other bike to compare to, and of course many to multibike homes, like mine. Owners get used to the peculiarities of each and they largely become invisible-non issues.

    Porsche, Ferrari and classic Jags all had peculiar feels to shifting, the 911 steering wheel is offset from the centerline of the drivers seat- their owners dont care! It is the writers job to make observations ,comparisons to the industry norms- if the bike handled weird I would be worried, some how this less than smooth shifting is not a concern.

    An area that I give Motus great credit for is making the bike styling so good, first time out. I realize that is my preference, but BMW has been making ST bikes the longest and their current models are quite unattractive to me, the Japanese are typically over done, not clean and smooth like the Motus. The new GT KTM has a freaking beak and comes in gray only, sad to me, as I love my several KTM twins.

    To those that like the layout but need a lower price and the security of buying from a major company, I have an idea. I think we can agree this bike sets new standards for ST design and performance! Certain Asian companies have been known to be ‘inspired’ by Western design…Can one of them fail to update their ST offering to a Motii replica? at less cost, all the bells and whistles and a hundred extra pounds weight. My bet is on either Kawasaki -they love to be the fastest- or Honda- the old ST 1300 is the closest to this in layout. A Kawasaki would add a turbo model…

  • TheFantasticG

    Hoping they are still around and doing well when I feel it’s time to move on from my ’14 ZX10R. The older I get the more I desire a more long ride friendly bike… that being said I’ll probably still be riding my 10R for another 10-15 years.