Pencil sketches are good, CAD drawings an important step and 3D renders show what a project should look like, but there's nothing like throwing your leg over a real motorcycle to see if all of the talk has amounted to anything, and that's exactly what I had the chance to do yesterday as Motus rolled out their all new Motus MST at Pratt and Miller Engineering giving the world its first look at what Lee Conn and Brian Case are bringing to life.
To the applause of everyone, Brian Case rode in on the bike many of us have been hoping would become real, but given the obstacles any small team would face trying to build an entirely new American motorcycle in an uncooperative economy, more than a few doubted it would see the light of day. Well, it's real, it runs, it looks and sounds great and it's apparent Motus is more interested in building motorcycles than hyping what might be.
Motus had two bikes on hand, the MST and the R version, differentiated from the standard model by top of the line Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes. All of the bodywork, including the fuel tank, is carbon fiber. The top two gears of the six speed transmission actually serve as overdrive, keeping the Katech KMV4 gasoline direct injection engine in a relaxed rev range while cruising though still able to give great performance and acceleration due to loads of torque.
The Katech KMV4 is very impressive up close. When people think half of a V8 they envision a cut down Chevy small block, however, this engine is compact, it's a V4 that's small and light, the engine itself weighs only 130 pounds and with the transmission attached not far over 200 pounds. Lee told me there has been a lot of interest from many quarters outside of motorcycling as potential applications for this little bruiser keep popping up in everyone's mind. There have been a few comments about pushrods being old and low tech, a comment that's particularly interesting when you see the bike surrounded by the winning Corvettes of Pratt and Miller Engineering that soundly thrashed some of those high tech engine designs from around the world at places like LeMans.
Brian also explained how the bike was designed with maintenance in mind, the six speed transmission is a cassette design that can be easily extracted from the left while the wet, multiplate clutch is directly under the cover on the right, no major disassembly necessary as might be expected when a V4 is placed with a longitudinal crank orientation. He also pointed out the multiple power plugs for all of the gear sport touring riders often take along. Overall, a very well thought out design.
It's important to note that when Motus partnered with Pratt and Miller Engineering they were able to access engineering expertise unavailable to most any builders outside of the major manufacturers. The Pratt and Miller resources are second to none. I commented when leaving last night, walking around their operation is like browsing in a candy store, for gearheads, there's just amazing stuff everywhere.
Lee and Brian will be at Daytona with the MST to give everyone a close up look. If you're going to bike week, be sure to look them up.
We'll be bringing you much more about the Motus MST very soon. Stay tuned.