Exclusive image of the Motus MST-01 – Click above for high-res image gallery
America has quite a heritage of classic motorcycles. Interestingly enough, though, just about all of America's great motorcycles share a remarkably similar ethos. From Harley-Davidson, undoubtedly the standard bearer of American motorcycle design, to Indian and even to new players like Victory, bikes coming from The Land of the Free have historically been designed to cruise along in a straight line in style.
There have been exceptions to the rule – most notably being the recently deceased Buell – and another new motorcycle manufacturer is looking to add its name to America's storied past on two wheels: Motus Motorcycles. Motus is doing things drastically different from all other American motorcycle brands currently in existence by starting out with a completely new and innovative engine design... except that it's not entirely new at all.
In fact, the powerplant currently going through the finishing stages of its development was designed by Katech and Pratt and Miller of Corvette Racing fame and would look much more familiar inside the engine bay of an American muscle car than a motorcycle. Intriguing, to say the least. As is the wrapper for this exciting powerplant, a sport tourer unlike anything else seen on American roads.
And there's more. Lots more. Hit the jump to find out what else Motus has in store for its new engine and motorcycle platform and to see the KMV4 engine in action.
Let's focus in on that engine for a moment. Think of the KMV4 powerplant as half of an LS3 V8 from General Motors and you won't be too far off from the truth. Of course, there's more to it than that, but the basic specifications sound remarkably familiar to anyone well versed in modern Corvette speak.
For instance, there will be two valves per cylinder, operated by pushrods actuated by a camshaft buried deep inside the aluminum engine block. The cylinders are arranged in a 90-degree V, just as you would expect. Delving a wee bit deeper, we find that many of the engine's internal bits and pieces (hydraulic lifters, fuel injectors etc) can be located at any GM dealer (or Pep Boys, etc) in the country.
It's also worth noting that the KMV4 engine will sport gasoline direct injection, which not only increases horsepower and torque, but also reduces emissions and improves fuel efficiency. Motus tells us that ethanol capability can be fairly easily baked in if it's deemed desirable at the time of the bike's release.
At its current displacement of around 1650cc and its redline of 8000 RPM, Motus' KMV4 engine puts out over 160 horsepower and about 120 pound-feet of torque. Needless to say, those are very respectable figures. For the sake of comparison, BMW's new inline-six, as seen in the upcoming new K1600 series, will put out 160 horsepower and about 130 lb-ft.
Keeping that comparison going a bit reveals some surprises. Motus' KMV4 engine will weight less than BMW's and have smaller dimensions for easier packaging considerations. The V4 will also be much simpler in design with fewer moving parts and will have plenty of room to make even more power – future versions may see more displacement, solid lifters and possibly even forced induction. Basically, anything that can be done to make a Corvette go fast – and going fast is exactly what the Corvette is good at – can also be done to the KMV4 engine.
We'll get back to the engine in a moment, but let's look at the wrappings Motus plans to place around its exciting mill, starting with a chromoly steel space frame that uses the engine as a stressed member. A six-speed gearbox will send power to the rear wheel via a sportbike-esque O-ring chain. Up front, a 43-mm USD fork will prop up a 17-inch wheel, while a tubular swingarm at the rear will actuate a rising-rate monoshock.
Expect to see a full spate of composite bodywork that leaves a nice view of the engine along with both side cases and unique top case design for luggage carrying capabilities. A large six-gallon fuel tank and reasonable fuel efficiency should add up to plenty of range for touring duty. So, what we have here is an awfully exciting new motorcycle that Motus says was designed from the ground up for American sport touring tastes. Just be sure to put the emphasis on the sport side of the equation.
Now, getting back to the KMV4 powerplant. While the first production use this engine will be as the heart of the MST-01 sport tourer, you can expect to see the V4 engine used in a number of differing applications. Motus plans to offer different versions of the KMV4 engine for use however a builder sees fit, whether that's for a motorcycle, automobile or even lightweight airplane.
Can you see this engine powering your own garage project? Maybe in a Lotus Seven-style platform? Perfect. That's exactly what Motus wants to hear. We can even imagine the Motus V4 engine being used as the spec engine for racing applications. The possibilities are just about endless. Check out the video of the KMV4 proving itself on an engine dyno below.