2014 Motus MST and MST-R- First Look Review- Photos- Pricing

15 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2014 Motus MST and MST-R- First Look Review- Photos- Pricing
Motus MST

2014 Motus MST and MST-R – First Look Powered by a pushrod V-Four, the American-made Moti are the motorcycle equivalent of a Cadillac CTS-V. Production begins soon.

Two years have passed since Senior Editor Blake Conner had an exclusive opportunity to ride a prototype Motus MST-R . an American-made sport-tourer powered by a pushrod 90-degree V-Four. In short, Conner came away impressed with the bike, which was developed in conjunction with Pratt Miller, the folks who build the Corvette race cars that have been so successful at Le Mans and elsewhere. At the end of his report, Conner stated that Motus planned to start making production motorcycles in 2012.

Well, here we are in 2013, and although Motus missed that date, the Alabama-based company recently unveiled two 2014 production models, the MST and the MST-R, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. There, in the vendor area during MotoGP weekend, I had a chance to speak with company founders Lee Conn and Brian Case about the company and these intriguing sport-tourers, which are being built in the same downtown Birmingham building that once housed the Barber motorcycle collection.

Conn, company president, says 16 dealers are now in place and a “good number” of bikes have already been pre-sold. What’s more, he says plans call for Motus to build 300 bikes in its first year of production, and perhaps double that in the second year. As for the bikes themselves, Conn says “just about everything, apart from the wheelbase and overall look,” has changed since Conner rode the prototype.

Naturally, the MST models have been in constant development since then, and Conn says testing has taken Motus to 29 states. “We did everything we could to break the motorcycles,” explains Conn, who says the 1650cc, longitudinal-crank V-Four—what the company calls the “baby block”—has been significantly revised with 22 new castings. Refinements focused on improved long-term durability, cooling and oiling, while new porting and splayed exhaust valves improved power.

The liquid-cooled, pushrod engines are cast, machined and assembled in East Texas, then shipped to Birmingham for installation in the bespoke 4130 chrome-moly chassis. By itself, the aluminum-block engine, says Motus, weighs 140 pounds. When the stacked gearbox (with transverse input shaft) is attached to it, the compact powertrain (which measures 24 inches front to rear) tips the scales at a claimed 225 lb.

The whole bike, says Conn, weighs about 500 lb. wet.

In a significant change, Motus has decided to forgo the direct injection fitted to the bike Conner rode two years ago and switched to a more conventional EFI unit with a ride-by-wire throttle. Case, the head of design for Motus, says the company opted for standard multiport EFI for a practical reason: It worked just fine. Moreover, he suspects dealers might have difficulty servicing a high-pressure GDI system. “Everybody knows EFI,” says Case. “It’s tried and true.”

Also new on the production MST is a sleek, multi-functional Thin Film Transistor LCD color instrument panel. Besides offering a main screen that displays a tachometer, digital speedometer, odometer and gear position, there’s an engine screen featuring information such as throttle position, engine load, coolant temp, oil pressure and the usual warning lights. Best of all, there’s a USB port for a thumb drive that allows the owner, for instance, to upload an updated engine map or do some diagnostic work by analyzing any fault codes. “It’s much more than flashy graphics,” explains Case, who says that even though Motus spent a lot of time and resources on electronics, the MST doesn’t kill you with an abundance of technology. “It’s not a spaceship,” says Case. “It’s just a motorcycle with massive amounts of character.”

Two Motus models are available, the $30,975 MST (with a claimed 160 horsepower and 125 foot-pounds of torque) and the $36,975 MST-R (180, 120). As sport-tourers, both are designed for the long haul, thanks to what the company calls a “sensible” riding position, an adjustable windscreen and standard sidecases. Yet at the same time, Conn says the chassis and suspension make for a bike that won’t get embarrassed in the twisty bits.

Motus MST

“You can’t buy a comfortable sportbike that’s built here in the U.S.,” explains Conn emphatically. “When I’m out street riding, I just want to have a ton of torque. I don’t want to be riding at 8000 rpm all day; I’d rather be at 4000 and not having to shift all the time.” To that point, Conn says 80 percent of peak torque is available right above idle, and the MST’s six-speed transmission (also developed by Pratt Miller) features overdrive gearing in fifth and sixth gears. At 65 mph in sixth, the V-Four, redlined at 8000 rpm, hums along at a relaxed 2500 rpm.

Although it could be considered a base model, the MST is far from that; it’s a well-equipped bike with the aforementioned TFT instrument panel, Öhlins NIX adjustable front suspension, a Progressive shock (with a remote preload adjuster), Brembo brakes, forged OZ aluminum wheels, a 720-watt alternator, removable side cases and a centerstand as standard equipment. A 30-liter top case is optional, as are a mid- and full-tour windscreen, dual rear power ports, heated grips, a heated seat and a low seat.

What do you get for the extra $6000 the R commands? Beyond the high-lift cam and fancy red valve covers, it’s top-notch suspension, brakes and wheels. The MST-R boasts Öhlins front and rear, with a NIX cartridge fork complemented by a TTX shock with remote preload adjuster.

Brembo M4 Monobloc calipers handle braking, while the wheels are lightweight carbon-fiber hardware from BST. The R also has three standard power ports.

To understate the task, creating a new motorcycle from scratch, and selling it, is a massive, multifaceted undertaking. And thus far, Motus, a private company with several good partners (including Pratt Miller), appears to be on the right track, filling a unique niche—torquey American sport-tourer with some GM racing DNA coursing through its oil passages—with a bike that clearly has enormous appeal, based on the crowds swarming it at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Deliveries of production bikes are scheduled for this fall, pending U.S. government certification after all calibration and homologation tests have been completed. This is expected soon, says Conn, who adds that all bikes will be fitted with catalytic converters and carbon canisters. We look forward to throwing a leg over a 2014 Motus ST-R soon, and subjecting this new American sport-tourer to a full Cycle World test.

Motus MST
Motus MST
Motus MST
Motus MST
Motus MST
Motus MST

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