In an effort to make sense out of the end of Victory Motorcycles, Motus founders Brian Case and Lee Conn posted a blog entry that looks not only at Polaris’ decision but all the way back to 2007 to the end of Pontiac. While this is a valid comparison regarding tough business decisions, the posting gains power when it describes the ways in which Victory didn’t adapt to the changing market and points to how those changes may tend to favor the type of bike Motus is building. As proponents of motorcycling at large, we hope that Motus has the opportunity to capitalize on this space that will be opening at some dealerships. The more successful manufacturers there are, especially ones manufacturing motorcycles in the USA, the better it is for motorcycling as a whole.

While we’ve quoted the entire post below, you can read it on the Motus site, here.

The Victory and Pontiac Effect

“This Motus rides like a dream, but will they be around in 5 years?”

We hear that a lot. And, it’s a fair question. Customers buying a Victory in 2016 or a Pontiac in 2007 probably didn’t consider their purchase risky from those brands. But, why not?

As entrepreneurs/patriots/motorcycle nuts, we are saddened by the demise of Victory Motorcycles, but not surprised. Polaris is an incredible American company making the best business decisions for shareholders, as they should. Maybe similar to decisions General Motors made with Pontiac.

Conceived in Polaris’ boardrooms to grab some of the (then growing) v-twin market, Victory remained target fixated as demand for heavy cruisers shrank by half. At the same time, the European brands grew like wildfire by offering appealing bikes in other segments – and there was no American competition. While Victory marketing showed intriguing sportbike concepts under the fuzzy brand promise of an “inextinguishable passion for American performance”, Victory dealers only offered 800 pound/90hp cruisers.

So, what does any of this have to do with Motus? The Motus customer seeks a comfortable American sportbike and values attention to detail, premium quality, and character. For riders with a Motus already in their garage, the test ride sealed the deal. As long as we remain laser focused on providing an incredible customer experience, we will continue to grow and launch additional models in segments that complement our brand promise.

With Victory gone, some great motorcycle dealers are starting to look for alternative lines to represent. We hope that Motus – with our V4-powered, comfortable American sportbikes – will make sense for them and their customers.

Motorcyclists gladly accept more risk than “regular” people as we pursue the magic that is only experienced on two wheels. Every week, riders join the growing Motus family and we are deeply grateful they share our vision.

-Brian Case and Lee Conn, Motus co-founders

Facebook: @motusmotorcycles @ridemotus @AmericanV4

Instagram: @motus_motorcycles

Web: www.motusmotorcycles.com

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Victory Communities

  • Dootin

    I hope that Motus does move into these empty dealers, sells a shitload of them resulting in a lower MSRP. This is the bike that I want the most, but could never afford to buy one. Maybe one day soon, used ones will sell for under $20k.

    • Born to Ride

      Ain’t that the truth.

    • Derek Jones

      They aren’t interested in expanding.

  • SteveSweetz

    “Victory died because they only offered one kind of non-competitive bike, now please, buy our unproven $30,000 sport tourer with body work on par with a $4000 Honda.”

    Actually, I rescind that statement — it’s unkind to the Honda.

    • Born to Ride

      4000$ Hondas have full carbon fiber fairings? Man, I need to start paying attention.

      • DickRuble

        Let’s compare the Motus to the VFR1200, the K1300s, and the K1600. For the price of the Motus you can get one VFR1200 and a K1300.

        • allworld

          The cost over the long haul is where they shine.
          The Motus is a 1650, and a BMW K1600 GT cost $22K. Then you want options? and what does a valve check cost or how much will is set you back to change the spark plugs…
          The Motus comes with a Sargent seat, Helibars, Ohlins front forks…, basically it is fully loaded right out the box….
          Do the math………

          • DickRuble

            You better check the website.. the Helibars, the Sargent seat are options. Are you saying the Motus doesn’t need spark plugs? Don’t know about valve checks but I think you don’t have enough reliability data on Motus to know what the costs are going to be over 100k.

          • allworld

            Their website clearly list the specifications, so perhaps you misread the specs. Yes it is an internal combustion engine so spark plugs are required, 4 of them right there with easy access to switch them out. It’s a pushrod not valve adjustments required..
            http://motusmotorcycles.com/mst

          • DickRuble

            On the MSTR the Helibars are options.

            http://motusmotorcycles.com/files/Spec-sheets_MSTR15.pdf

            Don’t you still need to adjust the pushrods? You may not need the feeler gauge and taking the cover down but still.. most people would still need to go the the shop for that.

            Regardless, the VFR 1200 is at least as good, if not better and Motus will be out of business before any three of their bikes hit 100K miles.

          • TheMarvelous1310

            Why do you hate America so much? Not even being sarcastic this time.

            Motus hasn’t done anything but make a premium American sport-tourer for a premium American price. Would you be happier if the bike was 10 grand, with cheapo shocks and binders and a me-too S&S cheese wedge? What if they dropped the price two thirds, took a loss on every sale and went out of business a month later, would that be better for you? I would love to see you try and do half of what Lee Cohn and Brian Case are doing right now. I know, I’m trying to build a company and it’s already Hell, and I don’t even have petty jerks like you casually brushing off all my hard work yet, let alone a working prototype!

            We already lost one American bike company this year, the last thing we need is another shop closing. Wish ill on somebody who deserves it, like your online persona. And no, the pushrods don’t need adjustment, ever.

          • DickRuble

            Tell us more about that business of yours..what is it? We may be able to save you time and heartache. Give yourself an upvote for effort..

          • TheMarvelous1310

            Why would I tell a downer like you about anything? You are to motorcycle websites what Joan Rivers was to fashion-a fountain of hollow complaints, incapable of any actual innovation but ready to disparage anything coming out that doesn’t fit your narrow definition of right. At least TJ Martin and Old MOron have a decent idea or a positive sentiment sometimes, you’re just a troll. You can see what I’m building when it’s on the front page, being reviewed.

            You don’t upvote yourself because you have a low self-opinion, same reason you’re always bagging on somebody’s hard work.

          • Derek Jones

            A consumer has every right to comment on a company’s products.

          • JT Klein

            It really doesn’t matter where it’s made, America or on the moon. I’m very familiar with the engineering that went into it and as such should offer great reliability. The simple fact remains it is not competitively priced.

          • Brent

            I own a VFR1200 and have put a solid 10k miles on mine and will put another 20k on it before selling it. No the VFR is garbage in itself… Shaft Drive robs a solid 20hp from you while kicking the weight up. Powerband is a solid 4 out of 10 without a Guhl Reflash or Z bomb…

            There was no option for heated seats … There was no adjustable windscreen or helibars.

            The suspension was/is garbage unless modified or outright replaced… No power outlets. 589lbs with only ABS with a 4 1/2 gallon tank with suspension not capable of supporting 2 up… GTFO here guy.. My SV650 had more capable suspension than my VFR1200.

            I love my VFR, but negatives on this bike far outweigh the positives.

            Will I buy a Motus Probably… it’s between it, the S1000XR, or Superduke GT…. but the VFR1200 as good it not better?? Man what pot you smoking….

        • TheMarvelous1310

          But you’ll have more fun, get more looks and get more on resale for the Motus, plus be keeping American profits in-country and fighting the oppressive notion that all Americans buy or want are cruisers and boutique bikes. Value isn’t always measured in a math problem.

        • Born to Ride

          Pretty sure the VFR 1200 is discontinued, as is the K1300, and this is a couple hundred pounds lighter (565 wet vs 731 wet) and more powerful than the K16(180hp vs 160hp). 30-37 grand is an astronomical price for a sport touring bike, but when you consider you are getting carbon fiber wheels, ohlins, brembo monoblocs, Givi bags, and a sergeant saddle from the factory, you realize that the $16000 Honda with none of these things would cost 25 grand to be similarly equipped. The reason I don’t own one of these bikes is the price. On that count you are right, and if the price doesn’t come down before their business folds up I will never own one, but that doesn’t take away from its lust worthiness in my book.

          • DickRuble

            You can still buy the VFR and the K1300s from their manufacturers/dealers. A pile of carbon fiber trinkets superbike don’t make. Maybe they can sell them to law enforcement, who, if I remember correctly were, replacing HDs with BMWs on concerns of reliability and high maintenance costs. The taxpayer is unlikely to find out and complain about price…

      • SteveSweetz

        Who cares what it’s made from, it still looks old and cheap. Also is there any *real* reason to make it out of carbon fiber, or does it just let them inflate the price that much more? What does it save, like a whole 2 lbs?

        • Born to Ride

          I have seen the bike in person and the word “cheap” is a far cry from an appropriate description. Also not everyone wants their bike to look like a transformer with fake intakes and LED eyeballs. This bike has great lines and wonderful fit and finish. Overpriced? Sure, by about ten grand at least. But they are building them here in small volume and have not only the cost of production to consider but the massive cost of development and building something new from scratch to overcome.

        • Derek Jones

          I went to their “factory” last week and their motorcycles do not look at all cheap in person. They look very well made and not as if they were made in a shed or by people that were unskilled. They did look like a quality product. The tour around the factory was really cool and it was nice seeing bare frames and parts sitting in bins.

          However, my interactions with Lee Conn, the president of Motus, were not all positive. I brought up ABS and he said if you “need” ABS you aren’t skilled enough and shouldn’t buy a Motus. I then told him having ABS would let them sell their motorcycles in Europe and Lee said they sell all the motorcycles they make (2 – 3 a week) and they’ve no need to sell them in Europe. In Jay Leno’s Garage Motus episode they say they attached LED accessory lights for safety. So ABS isn’t necessary and LED accessory lights are. I was gobsmacked with his condescending attitude. They claim to be riders building a rider’s motorcycle, but I didn’t see any motorcycles besides the ones they had on their show floor: the speed record motorcycle, a customer motorcycle and another on display.

  • allworld

    Truly Polaris, sank the ship that could have propelled them into other motorcycle segments. Motus is wise to offer the Victory dealers an alternative and to offer the motorcycle community an alternative American designed and built motorcycle.
    I test rode the Motus and it is fantastic, a bit pricey to buy, but it’s cost of ownership over 100K miles is where it shines. Do the math with a BMW R1600 vs the Motus for cost of ownership…………
    I look forward to more models from Motus, ……… like a streetfighter/naked …….

    • Derek Jones

      They aren’t interested in expanding or making other motorcycles. What’s the cost of ownership for a Motus? How would you know? How can you say it’s more expensive when you don’t actually know and when the K1600 in thousands cheaper with much more standard features? How much would it cost if your brakes locked up on your Motus in the rain and you went down?

  • DickRuble

    There’s nothing like brewing your own Alabama Kool aid.

    • Brent

      Neither EBR or Motus have to ability to price their products that low. You are drinking the Kool Aid Expecting a Small company to hit similar pricing as Big hitters who can strike deals at much lower price points.

      They aren’t Mispricing their product.. They don’t have that luxury.

  • edbob

    Polaris cut the fat and concentrated efforts on the winner, and is as healthy as ever. Pontiac was panned by the federal government (not by GM) because it hadn’t shown a profit in a few years. GM was NOT going to kill it until the Fed made it a condition of their bail out plan. Again, GM is now healthier than ever. As for Motus, they don’t have a major parent company to bail them out if things get rough. They either make it or be vaporised… I hope they make it and will get one when I can afford it. Godspeed Motus!

    • DickRuble

      ” as healthy as ever. ” — not so sure about that.. They had many, many recalls in their other lines of business. Word on financial sites is they are hurting.

  • blansky

    “As entrepreneurs/PATRIOTS/motorcycle nuts, we are saddened by….” (caps mine)

    They lost me at patriots. Whenever someone hauls out that tired old patriotism card I”m always reminded line, “patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels”.

    • Starmag

      Yeah, I remember the name calling and worse from”patriots” at the Iraq war protests all too well.

      “Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of
      the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter
      to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist
      dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no
      voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.
      That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked,
      and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the
      country to greater danger.”

      — Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

      • SerSamsquamsh

        I don’t know that Herman entirely understood the concept of democracy.

    • TheMarvelous1310

      There’s a difference between patriotism and zealotry. Lee and Brian are patriots. To be fair though, most people claiming to be patriots ARE, in fact, zealots… But they’re usually not dogged American builders producing dream bikes.

    • JT Klein

      LMAO too cause how many of these keyboard commandos (read poseur patriots) actually are vets or did anything for this country except contribute to global warming with the hot air that pours from their mouths?

      • blansky

        My problem is the divisiveness of the term. Because whenever it’s spewed is always in the context of: “I am, but you may or not be”.

        Veteran or not, making an issues of whether a person “loves” their country or not is just a way to divide people.

        And really, would a real patriot want to divide a country or unite it?

        I’m really surprised that ANYONE would have the lack of manners to question whether a fellow citizen is patriotic or not, even when, and especially when they disagree with you and/or your tribe about the direction of the country

        I see this tribalism as a part of our lower self, remnants of our reptilian brain, and one would hope that our higher selves would have overcome those urges by now.

        But I guess people that spew patriotism still live in that dark place.

        • JT Klein

          They just lost me at “patriots” as well.

      • CraigK

        I am a patriot, and not ashamed to admit it. I served 26 years in uniform, and one of the selling points on my 2016 Gunner is the instant, $1,000 price reduction because I am a veteran. That, and the great bike I bought for less than 2/3 the price of a comparable Harley.

    • SerSamsquamsh

      The nation-state guarantees the continuance of war as an instituation. On the other hand their motor is pretty sweet. 0_o

  • TheMarvelous1310

    Motus should make an ADV model with a smaller engine. Maybe a transverse Twin?

  • TheMarvelous1310

    I really wish Victory had made themselves an American Triumph instead of a Modern Harley-Davidson, they had the name and everything! They were just a few steps away-cut the Kingpin and Jackpot, give the Hammer a smaller rear tire, more power for the Judge and available rear-set pegs and taller rear shocks for all models and they’d have been there! They even could have kept the baggers if they’d made a smoother trans.

  • Craig Hoffman

    Dunno when exactly, but one day I am going to own a Motus, because they are awesome and we only go around once. This decision may not make sense, but that is OK. We are talking motorcycles here, not toasters.

    • Tim Lobb

      Who do you work for?

  • Larry W

    We need a good sized American company to build bikes in other segments at competitive prices, especially if some kind of tariff is imposed on imported bikes. I’d buy used before suffering the performance and comfort downgrades of a cruiser. Victory could have done very nice modern standards and sport tourers; Indian would be ideal for a retro-standard and scrambler from the same platform. This segment has been a huge success for Triumph and BMW; I’d pay a grand more for a well executed Indian competitor.

  • SRMark

    Motus is WAY too upscale. Come up with something priced in the low range of Victory and you might get those dealers to carry Motus. Otherwise this is just crap.

  • Brian Clasby

    I, apparently like a lot of people, was hoping that the Victory line would eventually include some non-cruiser bikes. They wouldn’t even have to go full sportbike but perhaps retro, standard, whatever maybe even bobber and scrambler variants. Now that they are gone do you think Indian will offer any such thing?

  • Anyone else spot the irony of Motus criticizing Polaris for failing to keep up with trends in the European market? You know, that place where ABS is required by law?

  • Tod Rafferty

    Cool. How about a v-twin?

    • Derek Jones

      There are already plenty of V-twins.

  • Barry_Allen

    The question is, will Polaris be kicking themselves in ten years like GM is over giving up the Pontiac brand. There is no Bonneville, GTO, or Trans Am available from GM anymore despite demand for them, even if they were just a break-even business.
    The Cross Country Tour is a beautiful and well loved bike, but I don’t see the Indian name ever decorating the side of one. Divvying up the books to show one brand making money and the other losing it just disguises whether or not money is being made in making motorcycles. Polaris should have just slapped a Victory badge on some snowmobiles and declared the brand profitable.

  • Jim Demestihas

    i just dont get killing Victory and keeping the once again resurrected Dinosaur Indian.
    Didnt Indian already die a few ugly deaths? That Gilroy Calif attempt was sad………a rigid? Really?

    • Derek Jones

      It’s because Victory was costing Polaris millions every year and Indian was making millions every year.

  • SportRider

    Reader discretion is advised!!! Objective comment!!!
    Motus will, 100% fail. There is no ifs and butts about that. As someone who works in the industry I have seen this over and over again. It is almost and exact replication of EBR from a business standpoint. They got nothing going on for them to be relevant to the current market. Just like EBR’s “fuel in the frame” feature didn’t matter, their V4 matters no more. Cool engine? Absolutely! Cool bike? For sure! But as the old saying goes “The fastest way to make a million bucks in the motorcycle industry is… to start with two million”.
    The business model is non existent here to make any profit. Thus I am led to believe they have very little investment right now and the way things are going they won’t be getting any new ones. Look at Triumphs comeback. For ten years they were loosing money. This was because they were backed by private investment that was in it out of pure joy and not a way to make a profit. That is the only way one can resurrect or erect a new motorcycle company. If you know damn well, that you will not see a penny from the business for well over 10 years and loose massive amounts of dough for the first 5. EBR’s sold rather well at $13,999.00 ($5K off the MSRP) which is common sense really. It’s between the mass produced Japanese brands and the premier European bikes. EBR had no luxury of financial support and was forced to be a profitable company right away, thus creating the sense of desperation to make a profit on bike sales from the get-go thus overpricing their bikes for the market and ultimately failing. Motus is in the exact same boat right now.

    • SportRider

      Tell me something? What incentive, a regular rider, has to purchase this (now or in 2 years time for that matter)? Competitive price? Nope! Dealer network? Nada! Brand recognition? Uh-Uh! Unique model? Not quite! There is absolutely nothing that makes the Motus stand out especially if you factor in the price. Those carbon fiber wheels? NEWSFLASH!!! You can get them for a KTM Superduke GT!!! Motus is milking the whole “American made” story. It is a value added but as soon as you charge a whopping premium for that, it back fires on you. American made is generally considered a plus and is synonyms with good quality. But everyone who touches it in the moto world, seems to want to use it as a way to justify the abnormal price thus making it a non-genuine statement of “American Made”.
      On a personal note, from what I see, the market for bikes in the 1000cc plus class is cooling down very fast. The manufacturers are throwing more power and more “paper features” on all the new models that in reality do not do anything for the rider. Bikes are waaaayyyy to powerful, big, tall and heavy. There is a huge demand for a smaller version with all the bells and whistles.
      To summarize, Motus was a very cool garage build. Congrats Lee and Brian, you have done it! But this is it. A one time wonder. Unless they put this MST4 on a back burner and make a cafe, a basic standard, a sport/streetfighter versions in the next year (which is unrealistic) they will be gone with the wind.

      • Brent

        With no major backers how are they going to make an affordable small build? Use common sense… If the majority of the bike is built in house even a more budget friendly bike would still be thousands above the rest.

        Remember the KTM RC8 … yeah it sat right up there with the EBR1190RX . Japanese offered the same for cheaper and by time the EBR was at a decent price the Competition had gotten better. KTM just outright said F it and discontinued the RC8. You’re saying they are following EBR, but that in itself is wrong.

        EBR aimed for the High end of the market, but the genre of bikes he was selling are mainly bought by the younger Generation. Yes, Motus bikes are up there in price, but you know what… They are aiming for the market of people who pay 20k+ on the regular for Sport/Touring bikes. These bikes are the biggest slice of the market.

        Your comment makes even less sense simply due to Polaris Dropping Victory over Indian. Instead of focusing on making Cheaper bikes like according to your glorious Knowledge… Polaris( the Company that’s been in it for awhile) chose to stay in the High end and focus purely on Indian. Yeah, because Drizzling in two cheap bikes are going to outweigh the rest of it’s 17k+ line up….

        • SportRider

          “EBR aimed for the High end of the market, but the genre of bikes he was selling are mainly bought by the younger Generation” – FALSE.

          Generally, the spupersport market is for the younger crowed. But the cheaper middleweight ones. Tell me what youngster can afford the note on a 1299S and than the insurance that is often-times more that the bike payment itself!?

          The BIG sport bikes (EBR would be one) are bought by older folks. In fact PSN data suggests average age for a 900cc and bigger sport bike rider is 38 years of age!

          The dealer I used to work at ordered 2, yes two, Motus bikes when they signed up to be a dealer, guess how many are left in inventory?

  • Derek Jones

    “As long as we remain laser focused on providing an incredible customer
    experience, we will continue to grow and launch additional models in
    segments that complement our brand promise.” My “incredible customer experience” included being called an unskilled rider for wanting to know if ABS was ever going to be an option.