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2016 Motus MST Review

There is almost no comparison to hitting your comfort canyon roads or familiar trails on a weekday, when the weekend warrior traffic is off into the distance. And that’s exactly what I did, weaving through the tight corners of Mulholland Highway, test riding a dashing red 2016 Motus MST. It has all of the raw qualities that you’d expect in an American motorcycle but with a refinement that makes it approachable, comfortable and inviting.

2016-Motus-MST-First-Ride-Review- 7The Motus MST isn’t a sport bike or a dreary touring machine; when approached with the question of where the MST falls categorically, perhaps we should do what Motus has done — break the rules and do what you want to do; what you need to do. Trying to categorize something unique as the MST cheapens what this bike stands for — a motorcycle that offers a feel that has no contemporary.

Initially, I felt that the Motus MST was a bit cumbersome at low speeds — this is a sizable machine. I found its slightly wider foot controls to be a bit hard to navigate when getting my feet down, though I was able to flatfoot at a stop. Once I began to trust the bike and feel how balanced it is due to its ample 58 inch wheelbase, that fear of tipping over at low speeds washed away.

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In tight corners the Motus MST leans over effortlessly. Its heavy stature of a claimed 585 pounds (wet, fully loaded with luggage) didn’t cross my mind, as I was able to flick it into a handful of switchbacks. The Pirelli Angel GT tires gripped a tepid Southern California tarmac with ease.

When I was able to open the throttle up on the Motus MST and use the V4’s 165 horsepower peak at 7600 rpm (just 200 rpm below the redline), the bike handled beautifully, carving long sweepers is what this bike wants to do. Barreling down Mulholland Highway, the bike was planted.

The torque from the liquid-cooled pushrod 1650cc motor is massive. It has such grunt — 123 ft/lbs @ 5000 rpm —2016-Motus-MST-First-Ride-Review- 5 that it is easy to chirp the rear tire upon takeoff, something that I did more than a handful of times. That isn’t to say it’s unmanageable by any means. The Motus’ power delivery is linear and utterly predictable but far different than your average screamer engine.

That beautiful cast-aluminum V4 sends signals of life through every inch of that bike; it reminds the rider that the two, for the time being, are one. It’s visceral, organic and yet, no comfort is sacrificed while riding the Motus MST. If you happen to have had the pleasure of operating a classic American muscle car, every fiber of its being can be felt. From vibration of the engine through the throttle and floorboards, to the comforting, masculine thrum of the engine, the Motus MST embodies those qualities.

Adjustable Ohlins NIX30 forks and a Progressive Suspension shock support the 2016 Motus MST, with a remote preload adjuster, giving the bike a sublime ride. There is no under or over-steer, terrifying headshake, or unpredictability when riding this machine. As long as I point it in the right direction, it serves me well.

Despite its weight, the Motus MST stops incredibly well with the help of wave rotors by Braking and Brembo calipers mounted on forged aluminum OZ Racing wheels. The front brake is gracious, having plenty of power; it’s progressive, requiring no more than a single finger pull and, best of all, there is no shocking initial bite.

2016-Motus-MST-First-Ride-Review- 4In the parking lot of the Rock Store on Mulholland Highway, where my ride began and ended, my gaze would always return to the centerpiece, the MV4 engine that has become affectionately known as The Baby-Block” according to President and Co-founder of Motus Motorcycles Lee Conn. “We build high-end American hotrods,” Conn told me with a bit of a chuckle, “We just took the heart of American car culture DNA – the small block Chevrolet and we just tried to cook it into a motorcycle.”

The evidence couldn’t be clearer. The Motus is built around the all-important power plant that looks as if it has been ripped out of any red-white-and-blue born muscle car. Stainless steel headers flourish to the rear in a 2-into-1 dual exhaust system that roars with a raw tone, thanks in part by Akrapovic mufflers, rivaling any built-up twin engine out there.

A prominent 4130 chromoly trellis frame, long sweeping contour lines allow your eyes to follow unimpeded from one end to the other.

The MST also features a tall, adjustable windscreen that works wonderfully to reduce wind and noise. This allows you to focus on the ride, and let you connect with the bike. HeliBars and a perfectly plush Sargent saddle screams of long distance riding more than pure sport. A gorgeous, full color TFT LCD display sits comfortably in your peripheral vision. With many different settings and a plethora of diagnostic information at the rider’s disposal, it is a very welcome addition to the bike. It has the characteristics of a machine built to rack up miles.

It was a pleasure to see the Motus MST sitting in the Rock Store’s parking lot but taking the leap was a completely unique experience. The Motus MST starts at roughly $30,000 and is available in Speed Silver Metallic, Flame Red Metallic, and Appalachia Blue Metallic.

Location photography by Shaun Lang / Shaun Lang Photography

2016 Motus MST Specifications
MOTOR
Engine: Motus MV4 liquid-cooled pushrod V4
Bore x stroke: 88 x 67.8mm
Displacement: 1650cc (110 cubic inches)
Fuel delivery: Closed loop electronic fuel injection
Throttle control: Ride-by-wire with cruise control
Maximum power: 165 horsepower at 7600 rpm
Maximum torque: 123 ft/lbs at 5000 rpm
Redline: 7800 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed w/ overdrive
Final Drive: XW-ring chain
CHASSIS
Suspension
Front: Öhlins NIX30 adjustable forks
Rear: Progressive mono-shock w/ remote spring preload adjuster
Wheels: Forged aluminum by OZ racing
Brakes: Brembo calipers and Braking discs
OTHER
Dash: High color, TFT LCD instrument panel
Alternator: 720 watts
Power port: Standard
Seat: Sargent for Motus
Centerstand: Standard
Handlebars: Fully adjustable HeliBars
Windscreen: Hand-adjustable
Warranty: 24-months, unlimited miles
Hard sidebags: Standard
Options: 30-liter top box, touring or tinted-sport windscreen, rear power port, heated seat, heated grips, Low seat by Sargent
2016 Motus MST MSRP: Approximately $30,000

2016 Motus MST Review – Photo Gallery

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Its a very nice machine. I have been following its development for years now. The finished bike really turned out nice. Too bad about the price. It turns out to be the nicest bike I’ll never be able to afford. Shame that. I really wanted one too.

  2. I’m extremely happy with my 2015 MST, the first one in Texas. Have about 5,000 miles on it now, including riding from Dallas to Birmingham and back for the Barber Museum Vintage Expo in October. Ride it almost every day to work (100 miles round trip). And for a big girl, she loves to run. Smooth, powerful, responsive, confidence-inspiring and in a word, “beautiful”.

    Like some others, I was a little intimidated by the price at first, but I put my deposit down anyway about three and half years ago, and I’m glad I did. I don’t think any one bike is for everybody – that’s why we have big garages: to house our many motos. I don’t think the Motus is for everyone, but it is, by far, the best bike I’ve ever owned.

    At some point in life, if one is fortunate, money becomes less important than the experiences, the memories it buys. Here’s a gorgeous, well-engineered, hand-built machine – dreamed up from the ground up by brother motorcyclists and made right here in the USA. Minimal maintenance by design (what a relief after my Ducati ST3!). Maximum adjustability by design. Maximum “Gasp Factor” by design.

    The Motus doesn’t come with ABS, traction-control and a bunch of other doo-dads. I’ve never had them, and can’t think of a time when I would have needed them. This is a bike with performance WAY beyond my riding abilities and the patience to tolerate me. It’s not peaky, fussy or expensive to maintain.

    As I said, so far it’s the best bike I’ve ever owned in almost 50 years. Take one for a ride sometime – see what you think after that.

    George. In Dallas.

    (no, I’m not connected to anyone at Motus, I’m not being paid to write this – just one happy owner trying to spread the joy.)

  3. A properly adjusted clutch will disconnect the engine from the gearbox so torque will not affect shifting.

  4. I was hoping for a little more in depth review. Everything has cons, didn’t read any. Sure would like to know what they are no matter how trivial.
    A 350 mile round trip (09, 2016) just for a test ride is not gonna happen unless I get some fuel reimbursement.
    This $30K price tag is a little over priced, comparable bikes this is a $18K machine TOPS. Just now looked, V-Max $18K. Wanna sell more, drop the price to something reasonable, say $22K.
    .

  5. Jules Lupowitz, that great patriot of American-made sport bikes followed Eric Buell, loving most of his machines. What he did with HD engine is miraculous. The 1125R, while far from perfect, with Rotax power spoke volumes of Lupowitz’s passion for Made In USA. Only 390 LBS dry. Hoping his 1190’s might survive. While the Motus may also survive it won’t be from that racing heritage but from its pure American-ness from ground up. Kind of a Big + Fat + Inefficient in its sportiness with raw power in its “very American looking” V-4. While I can see Motus hitting the mark with general riders, even some sport touring folks its disturbing to Jules. Why? It reminds me of our sports cars of the 70’s & 80’s or even 90’s as compared to foreign machinery which was lighter, more powerful & classier fit & finish. That may be its foundation. Competive bikes are actually “racy” or from truer racing heritage vs driving a gas guzzler with your middle finger pointed stubbornly at the comp. Kind of wasteful with meaning. That honestly always bothered me. Its likely just Jules who hates wasteful items I guess. In similar or same category is my 2006 Hayabusa with Power Commander & less restricted exhaust. The used Busa Beats the new Motus in HP & Torque, is much lighter, quite comfortable, (mine) has full luggage, & tops 40 MPG (if ridden normally). We should assume that Busa will destroy Motus in any form of handling… It’s very easy to maintain. I paid $5,400.00 with about 10k miles on it. True it’s not American however; for you more pure patriots you got me there.

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