A Bike Worth Buying Just for the Engine
Yeah, we know. The Motus MST looks like just another sport-touring bike. It’s not.
It’s an American sport-touring bike, built by an Alabama startup and powered by what is, essentially, half a Corvette engine.
The MST and its upscale brother, the MST-R, make their public debut at Daytona Bike Week today. They feature a sweet 1,654cc direct-injection V4 that is by far the coolest thing about the bike. It’s the first direct-injected gasoline-burning V4, and it was designed by the same outfit that builds Corvette racing engines like the Le-Mans winning LS7.R.
It literally is half of an LS7.R, just downsized.
The engine, dubbed the KMV4, is built on the same assembly line as the Vette race motor. Just like the 7.0-liter V8 that powered the Corvette GT1 to victory at Le Mans, the KMV4 has a 90-degree V. The aluminum block uses nickel-silicon-carbide-coated linerless bores. There are two pushrod valves per-cylinder, a chain-driven single cam mounted in the valley between cylinders and hydraulic valve lifters.
The KMV4 — for Katech Motus V4 — makes 160 horsepower at 7,800 RPM and 122 pound-feet at 4,500 RPM.
Motus hails the MST-01 as being all-day comfortable for real humans without sacrificing performance. The engine architecture is a big part of that, providing a huge spread of usable torque to counter the typically sky-high revs experienced on most performance motorcycles.
“We’ve focused on the actual street riding experience and specifically fun, usable power for sport touring,” company co-founder Brian Case told Hell for Leather . “That means high torque over a wide rev range, a sporty wheelbase and suspension, appropriate weather protection for comfort and low fatigue over long distances, all in a 500-pound package.”
Of course, other LS-motor benefits apply too. There’s no need for valve adjustments and the motor remains incredibly simple and easy to work on. Weight — 130 pounds — is on par with much smaller engines, despite nearly doubling the typical motorcycle capacity.
“The engine we’ve designed should spice up the relatively mundane sport-touring market with the torquey characteristics of a big V-twin combined with the smoothness of an inline-four and an engineered sound unlike anything on the market,” Case said.
Race Engine Technology magazine has been highly impressed with the engine, speculating that such architecture could be the ideal basis of a Formula One engine when F1 switches from 2.4-liter V8s to turbo- or supercharged four-bangers. Give the KMV4 forced induction and it could be the perfect 300 horsepower engine for the next-gen Delta Wing Racer Indy Car .
The engine rides in a chassis designed and built by Pratt Miller Engineering. Pratt Miller also built the transmission and bodywork. The transverse-mounted engine provides a unique look with the heads and exhausts poking out. Adding to the awesome factor are four 40mm throttle bodies fed by vertical intake trumpets.
It also is shorter and more rigid than a comparable inline-four, allowing Motus to spec a relatively short wheelbase and make the engine a stressed-member of the chassis. Despite being mounted sideways, the 1,645cc V4 is narrower — by four inches — than the 1,649cc inline-six in the new BMW K1600GT. It measures just 18 inches wide.
And at 130 pounds, it would be the perfect swap for, say, a Mazda Miata.
This post was written by Wes Siler of Hell for Leather; a portion of it also appeared on Jalopnik .
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