Thursday, June 9, 2011

Imported from Detroit with a Twist

I was running errands last Saturday and noticed a van with the logo and name, "Motus" printed on the side. For those of you who don't know, Motus is a ground up motorcycle venture, designed and made in the US. A little farther on, I saw the Motus motorcycle sitting on the side of the road waiting for the truck and found it parked next my Fiat when I came out of the store. This time, I had my camera with me.

Of note, this bike had an Alabama license plate, which may indicate where the Motus will be made. That said, it was clearly an engineering development bike, from the uncovered and hand shaved seat foam to the support van following it around.

The van also said Pratt and Miller, which is the Detroit area engineering company hired to do the development of the Motus motorcycle. This is what I mean by "Imported from Detroit with a Twist". Detroit has gone through a lot of transformation over the years, but it is still has a lot of engineering expertise, like Pratt and Miller, and is still the place in the US that new "vehicles" are likely to be developed.

Isn't that tank shape delicious?

First of all, the sound. Honestly speaking, I thought it sounded a little thrashy to me. That is, too much mechanical noise and not enough music from the intake and exhaust. Maybe we need to give it the benefit of the doubt, however, since it was clearly a development bike and may not be representative. More than that, I only heard it from a distance and at idle or near idle. It may sound wonderful "on the pipe." The engine is an interesting concept, a V-4 pushrod gasoline direct injection engine, longitudinal in the bike, and with the crank axis tilted down at the front. It looks really good and aggressive. Of course, at 1645 cc, it's going to have some grunt.

The thing you can't see is how compact this bike looks. Maybe, the next time you see a Fiat 500, you can think back to how much shorter the bike looks than my little car. That is probably one of the big benefits of the pushrod V-4, it is very small for it's displacement and power.

With the test rider just taking a break for lunch, I had a chance to take a close look. Although this is just a development bike, the quality of the bike was very high. This is probably too much bike and too much money for a cheapskate like me, but I'm happy to see someone doing it right and doing it right here in Detroit. I don't know if I would ever need a high end bike like this. Then again, it is a touring bike. Maybe it would make sense someday.

1 comment:

  1. Jac, you're only young once and not for much longer. Buy what tickles your fancy. To paraphrase and old saying: When you are old you'll regret more the bike you didn't buy than the one you did.