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Common Tread

Motus Motorcycles ceases operations effective immediately

Sep 01, 2018

Another American motorcycle company has closed. Motus posted a notice on its Motus Owners Group Facebook page yesterday stating that it "is forced to shut down operations, effective immediately."

Motus now joins Buell, Victory, Brammo and other brands that have disappeared in recent years. Each of those manufacturers had a different story, but Motus' was perhaps the most interesting of all. Lee Conn and Brian Case founded the company a decade ago, building their vision of the ultimate sport-touring bike, built around an interesting and satisfying engine that was sort of half of an automotive V-8. (If you missed it, Lemmy gave you all the details in his review and contributor Loren DeShon, who apparently stopped waffling and bought one just in time, wrote a personal account of riding his new Motus home, from the company's headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama to Washington state.)

Unsurprisingly, for a small motorcycle manufacturer, the issue was maintaining the cash flow needed to keep the operation going.

"This week, Motus' financial backers unexpectedly informed management that they will not provide sufficient capital to maintain operations and grow the business," the founders wrote in the Facebook post.

"We are very grateful to Team Motus, truly the finest group of professionals and people, who have each dedicated so much of their hearts and souls to Motus. We are also thankful to our dealers and the many customers and supporters who have cheered us on and put gas in our tanks along the way."

Lemmy on a Motus
Lemmy and Motus co-founder Lee Conn took a ride on the company's products. Lemmy approved. Motus photo.

The closure interrupts Motus' plans to introduce a naked version of the MST sport-touring bike, as well as work that was underway to add ABS to their models. The statement said the founders "will work to quickly find a new path forward." It's possible the company could continue selling its drivetrains for other applications, even if it can't build complete motorcycles.

Among the reactions to the news was an Instagram post by friend of Common Tread Neale Bayly, who has been around Motus since its inception.

"I have watched two brilliant young men fight and hustle and give and give and when there was nothing left to give, find more and give some more," Bayly wrote. "I think about their heculean efforts, their iron wills and their unswerving insistence that they would make it. They should never have got this far. They did."