American Story: The Fuller Moto x Motus MST-R

Motus MST-R street fighter by Fuller Moto
Motus is one of the most interesting stories in the motorcycle industry right now. In a factory at the old Barber museum location in Birmingham, Alabama, Motus builds just two models: the MST and the up-spec’d MST-R, the only American-made sport-touring motorcycles on the market.

The bikes are powered by Motus’ own 1,650 cc ‘Baby Block’ engine, a 90° V4 that delivers massive torque. The MST range is now in its third model year, and with a growing number of fans, it was only a matter a time before an MST went under the grinder. And who better to do the job than Bryan Fuller, a man steeped in the ways of the American custom scene?

Motus MST-R street fighter by Fuller Moto
“We really wanted to tap into the style and hot rod culture that Bryan has become known for,” says Brian Case, the Motus design director. “We’re huge fans of Fuller’s vision and skills—so the project was a natural fit for Motus, with its American hot rod roots.”

The 2015-spec bike belongs to Californian moto enthusiast John Bennett, and arrived at the Fuller Moto workshop severely damaged. (Not from a riding accident, we’re happy to say, but from a transportation mishap.)

Motus MST-R street fighter by Fuller Moto
Rather than repair the MST-R to factory spec, John decided to turn his bike into a ‘naked street fighter.’ And Motus quickly saw an opportunity—a chance to get stylistic inspiration, by observing how Bryan Fuller works. So Motus designer Brian Case worked alongside Fuller, providing technical guidance without restricting the creative process.

This is one seriously fast bike: with 180 bhp at the crank, the stock MST-R holds the world land speed record for a production pushrod-engined motorcycle, at 165.81 mph. That’s plenty fast for most folks, so Fuller has focused mostly on reducing weight and the aesthetics.

Motus MST-R street fighter by Fuller Moto
He’s installed a new lightweight exhaust system though—made from 1.75″ stainless steel and compact ARP 12-point fasteners. The collectors and mufflers are custom made with Cone Engineering parts.

A dyno run to check the tune of the engine confirmed a mighty 156 rear wheel horsepower. Wet weight has dropped from 565 pounds to 435, giving the Fuller Motus almost identical vital stats to Buell’s blazing fast EBR 1190RX superbike.

Motus MST-R street fighter by Fuller Moto
The ride height and spring rates have been decreased due to the reduction in weight. The stock forks are already exceptionally good—being Öhlins NIX30 adjustables—but they’ve been black anodized for visual impact. BST 17-inch carbon fiber wheels shod with Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsas help to keep the show on the road.

The heavy lifting from a custom point of view is at the back of this bike. The long subframe of the standard machine, designed to carry heavy panniers, is gone. In its place is a stubby new structure, crafted from .065 Chromoly tubing to match the trellis main frame.

Motus MST-R street fighter by Fuller Moto
The custom seat flows into a short tail unit: unlike the standard MST-R, it’s well inside the circumference of the back tire. The shape was hand formed in clay, and then replicated using 3003-H14 alloy. The neat little rear diffuser grille was CNC machined, and the main taillight has been lifted from a Victory Octane.

Underneath are painstakingly matched LEDs made by Johnathan Patten of JP Customs, hooked up to a pared-down wiring loom. Motogadget supplied the main gauge, switches and blinkers.

Motus MST-R street fighter by Fuller Moto
The MST was originally designed to avoid the retro cues that are so prevalent in the moto world today, so a simple round headlight wouldn’t cut it on this machine.

Instead, we have a one-off aluminum fabrication by Fuller Moto’s Bryan Heidt, with a steel bezel and LED lights from The RetroFit Source inside. The acrylic glass cover is a cut-up helmet shield, believe it or not.

Motus MST-R street fighter by Fuller Moto
The icing on the cake is the classic American color palette—an asymmetrical design by Fuller himself, applied by Painter Mike and pinstriped by Chastin Brand.

For owner John Bennett, it’s proof that every cloud has a silver lining. His Motus may have been wrecked, but he’s now got a pristine, one-of-a-kind custom—and it’ll show a clean pair of heels to almost every other bike on the road.

Motus Motorcycles | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Angelica Rubalcaba

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