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2013 Motus Motorcycles MST First Impressions

5-27-2012

by Pascal Bastien , moto123.com

A new American brand has arrived against all odds. During the 2012 Bike Week in Daytona, the team at Motus Motorcycles unveiled two new V4-powered bikes, the MST and MST-R.

Motus Motorcycles MST 2013

''We designed and built these two GT models from a clean sheet,'' said Brian Case, one of the company's founders. ''Development has been underway for three years, and we're confident that it will all be completed by the end of 2012.''

Moto123.com had the opportunity to get up close and personal with these authentic American sports tourers while in Florida. The result is impressive with what looks like very high-quality components and intoxicating sound effects. And honestly, it takes balls to develop a GT motorcycle in a land where cruisers are king.

Unique powerplant
Barely two years removed from the drawing board, the Alabama-built Motus MST is powered by a unique 1,650cc 90-degree V4 engine with electronic fuel injection that cranks out 161 hp at 7,800 rpm, not to mention a solid 122 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. It's all managed through a 6-speed sequential transmission with chain final drive.

This exotic powerplant comes from Katech, a Michigan company that's been involved in high levels of racing for several years and boasts more than 50 victories on its résumé. Using the latest R&D advancements and technology, Katech also won the tuning rights for the V8 engine of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

2013 Motus Motorcycles MST engine
The Alabama-built Motus MST is powered by a unique 1,650cc 90-degree V4 engine with electronic fuel injection that cranks out 161 hp at 7,800 rpm. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour)

Shifting priorities
Engineers paid special attention to efficiency and the overall riding experience instead of simply focusing on full-throttle performance. That's why you won't find an overhead camshaft but rather a single cam-in-block design with pushrods - just like a good old American V8. There are many known benefits including a healthy dose of torque over a wide range, superior smoothness and efficiency at ultra-low revs, minimum vibrations, and a longer life cycle.

Remarkable chassis
This magnificent piece of mechanics rests in a trellis-type frame with a classic suspension that consists of an adjustable Öhlins upside-down fork up front and a progressive monoshock with piggyback reservoir in the back. Braking is taken care of by a pair of 320mm floating discs and 4-piston Brembo callipers.

The short 1,460mm wheelbase and tight 26-degree rake (similar to a standard sport bike) should provide all the agility and precision you'd expect from a GT bike. At 250 kg, the MST is lighter than the average competitor but slightly heavier than the segment-leading BMW R1200RT. It also posts roughly the same weight as the Moto Guzzi Norge GT, another bike with a V-shaped engine and longitudinal crankshaft.

2013 Motus Motorcycles MST left side view
The short 1,460mm wheelbase and tight 26-degree rake (similar to a standard sport bike) should provide all the agility and precision you'd expect from a GT bike. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour)

The racy, half-naked looks make the MST a definite head-turner, yet it's not too garish nor flamboyant. Designers seem to have borrowed a number of stylish elements from the competition such as the headlight (KTM), mirrors (Yamaha), and saddlebags (Givi). Still, the result so far is nothing short of amazing, and promises a bright future for this company that started from scratch in 2009. We are very anxious to try it out!

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