Motus Motorcycles makes track in Birmingham.
By Jesse Chambers
The early days of the recession in 2008 may not have seemed like an auspicious time for two Birmingham entrepreneurs, Lee Conn and Brian Case, to start their own company and hand-craft the motorcycle of their dreams. But they were undeterred, founding Motus Motorcycles and setting out to design and build a versatile sport-touring motorcycle unlike any other American-made bike, one that could rival high-end machines from Italy and Germany.
They wanted a comfortable touring bike with features like cruise control and a large wind screen that would be great for long stretches on the interstate. But the motorcycle would also offer great handling, allowing a rider to unleash his or her wild child and carve up some curvy mountain roads—“the twisties,” in biker lingo. “When you get to the great roads where you want to ride a little more aggressively, it’s all business,” Conn says. Conn and Case—Case was formerly a designer with Birmingham-based Confederate Motorcycles—fulfilled this dream.
The Motus MST and the premium model MSTR have been praised effusively in the motorcycle press and more than justified the effort to make what Case, on the Motus website, calls a “sport-touring motorcycle with the soul of an American muscle car.” To get the bike, and the American muscle, they wanted, they had to design their own engine, the new Baby Block MV4. Motus created the Baby Block—“The first V4 ever built in the U.S. for a production vehicle,” Conn says—with the help of Pratt & Miller Engineering in Michigan. It was inspired by the durable, popular small-block Chevrolet engine used in many cars and trucks, according to Conn. “We’re starting an American motorcycle company, and we needed something to tap into the DNA of American gearheads,” he says. It’s a 180-hp engine and has 125 foot pounds of torque at 5,000 rpm, according to Conn. “It’s a cool combination of the torque of a V-twin—the torque-ness that people like in motorcycles—but the smoothness of a multi-cylinder engine,” he says.
“It’s a badass road warrior, with a presence and character completely unique to a motorcycle with such a modern, polished appearance,”
says a reviewer at motorcycle.com.
“This motorcycle is magic,”
says a reviewer at ultimatemotorcycling.com.
For more information, including all the specs on the MST and MSTR, go to motusmotorcycles.com.