What do you get if you blend Lakeview’s industrial heritage, its crop of automotive shops, and the craftsman spirit of Pepper Place? You get Motus Motorcycles. You also get a local product with a big league fan.
He may have made the requisite Alabama joke, but Jay Leno showed some serious love for the Lakeview-based firm on his YouTube show, Jay’s Garage. The celebrity auto enthusiast featured the Motus MSTR model, along with company officials Brian Case and Lee Conn. The Birmingham Business Journal reported on the episode in July.
Much of Leno’s praise focused on Motus’s innovative motor. It’s “an engine unique to this motorcycle,” he said. “And it’s an engine we haven’t really seen before.”
It’s commonplace to hang a new body design around a standard engine, according to Leno, but the real art is in the motor. At Motus, he noted, “it’s a bespoke motor.”
“That’s the real sign of dedication to me,” he said. “Because you use somebody else’s motor, the rest of it is not easy, but it’s easier.”
That Motus has created something new and found a way to build it here also earned Leno’s praise:
“I love to see people building something in America. It’s so hard with all these automobile manufacturers and some motorcycle manufacturers going out of business, it’s nice to see these guys coming up with something.”
And to put these motorcycles into perspective, Leno said there are three American-made options: Harley, Indian, and Motus. Just let that sink in for a minute.
We say it’s telling that Motus is located in Lakeview. The neighborhood that revels in rescuing artifacts of an earlier era and bringing them back to life. From family farm stalls to craft beers, this is an artisanal neighborhood. It’s a Maker’s Village well beyond the Saturday market.
“It’s easy to get into lots of gimmicks,” Conn told Leno. “We just really wanted to build something that it was just about the feeling we used to get on bikes, where it was just the throttle and the engine and the road.”