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Started by Hank, May 23, 2020, 09:22:53 AM

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I finally donned the mask and flew to Denver on Wednesday to pick up my Motus MST.    Got home in about 24 hours, spent the night in Valentine Nebraska.   Day 1 consisted of 90 mile per hour quartering head winds (the worst angle) and day 2 was modest wind and rain.   Was still fun though!   Stopped and chatted with Ryan in Mitchell on the way home.

Motus, what the hell is a Motus?     In Birmingham Alabama, Lee Conn and Brian Case founded Motus in around 07/08 with the idea of making an American made sport touring bike.   It took until 2015 to get the bike to market, and bikes were sold for 4 years.     They lost their investor in late 2018 and folded up.     Only 200 bikes were made, with some additional crate engines sold for other applications.  There are parties still looking to buy up the rights to keep it going.   I wish Polaris or someone with deep enough pockets and the proper engineering resources would pick up the torch, but I doubt it will happen.

The motor is a blank slate design, and is basically a scaled down and chopped in half Chevy LS1 motor, two valve, push rods, the whole works.   It even uses a few Chevy spec parts.   The gearbox is also a new design, but borrows some off the shelf stuff from other bikes (the clutch is from a Hayabusa, etc).  The end product is a very visceral, and unrefined sounding hot-rod of a motor.   It makes a pretty insane 125 ft-lbs of torque and respectable 165 hp (my MST) and 185 hp in the MST-R.

I test rode one in early 2018 and loved it, but couldn't get over the price tag (31-37K), so put the idea on the back burner, hoping someday I could find a used one for under 15K.
A few months later when they closed up shop, I breathed a sigh of relief that I didn't buy one, and basically quit thinking about it.

Fast forward 18 months and there was still a few dozen sitting at dealers, and the price was dropping drastically.   One dealer in AZ sold two that came with the inventory they bought from a bankrupt dealer, for 10K.   So I thought.. hmmm.. and started asking around.   Made a pretty (very) low offer on one.. held my ground, and two weeks later I had a Motus.  Took me 5 months to get it home, thanks to Covid-19.

Owning one is a bit of a risky proposition as there is no factory support, and limited parts.   On the flip side, the bike uses tons of parts from other bikes and cars.   They also used a lot of after market stuff from the factory.  Akropovic exhaust, Sargent seat, Givi luggage, Ohlins fork, Progressive shock, Yamaha mirrors, KTM headlight and signals, Kawi tail light, alternator from a Honda Prelude, automotive oil filter, etc, etc.   So lots of parts are available, and a shop in New England has gone so far as making pistons and valves and getting set up to do any major engine service.      Things like body work and gauges and other bits that are truly unique to the bike could be a problem though.

The 2018 model year also has its own risk as they had a batch of bad heads.   Valve seats were mis-cut and seat/guide bores not concentric.    This has caused broken valves and catastrophic engine failures if let go for too long.   I didn't know this bit of trivia until after I bought mine.. but I didn't stress about it as you can diagnose the problem with a leak down and compression test and if you catch and fix the issue before anything fails, its not an earth shattering expense (but it is still a giant pain the ass).

The good news for me is, after I got home, I did the break in service, and went ahead with a leak down and compression test and my numbers were nearly perfect.    1-2% leak down and 230-231 psi compression on every hole.   So I guess I got a bit lucky as those numbers are really exceptional.

The bike is a blast to ride.   It makes a bunch of mechanical noise, sounds like a souped up v-8, and wheelies on command in the first 2 gears.    it feels very small and light (like its a 750), but is the perfect riding position for going too fast.. mildly sporty but upright and roomy.   The only thing I really dislike is, at parking lot speeds, it has the turning radius of a dump truck.   I'll adapt to that.  It doesn't have ABS or traction control, which maybe isn't great on a light(er) bike with this much torque and hp, but I guess neither did my Blackbirds and I didn't die.

That's probably all too much information, but I wanted to share.   Here is a pic from the ride home, somewhere west of Platte.


That is a really really cool bike Hank.  I'm thinking you are the perfect owner.  Hope it serves you well for many miles!

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

You live more in five minutes on a bike like this going flat out than some people live in a lifetime - Burt Munro


Cool story, cool bike, and a bit risque.  Thanks for sharing, I am jealous...
Look ahead and you'll shred...


stupid is my middle name, but my first name is Mike