Innovative Design and Virtual Development
For Pratt & Miller Engineering, designing and developing a 2-wheeled vehicle was a new challenge, but one they were well equipped to tackle.
“It was a story of others doing what they do well and us doing what we do well,” says Lynn Bishop, engineering director at Pratt & Miller. “And it’s exciting because Motus is doing something completely new in the motorcycle industry.”
Pratt & Miller’s part involved applying race-proven technologies, like the company’s computer-aided engineering tools, to the design process for the frame and body, and using their sophisticated simulation in developing the suspension and handling systems.
In fact, development in the virtual world has meant that most of the work was done before any prototype construction was started, which greatly compressed the design, development and manufacturing timeline.
Manufacturing and Validation
Seamless transition from engineering and virtual simulation into rapid prototyping and manufacturing is a core strength at Pratt & Miller that helped Motus meet specific time and budgetary goals in developing the MST series of motorcycles. Rather than managing multiple vendors for fabrication, machine work, carbon composite bodywork, and electronics, Motus was able to use Pratt& Miller’s in-house capabilities to get their motorcycles engineered, built, and iterated efficiently.
“We have constant communication with our program managers, engineers and the various manufacturing teams which allows us to pull in various experts and departments as needed in a very effective and timely way,” said Brian Case, Motus VP and Director of Design. “It is hard to imagine how we could have gotten so much done in such a short time without Pratt & Miler’s multi-disciplinary approach.”
Case Study - Motus MST-01 Sport Touring Motorcycle
The Motus MST-01 was conceived as the ultimate sport touring motorcycle – a next-generation machine designed for spirited performance, personal comfort, and extended range. Committed to producing an American-made motorcycle unlike anything currently on the market, Motus Motorcycles turned to Pratt & Miller Engineering to develop and manufacture their innovative design.
Motus Motorcycles’ target customers are discerning enthusiasts who appreciate responsive handling, absolute reliability on extended journeys, premium components, and exceptional design. Pratt & Miller’s advanced engineering tools and high-tech manufacturing capabilities are giving Motus an edge on its competition in performance, safety and durability.
Pratt & Miller Engineering’s 20-year history of success in motorsports was a key factor in Motus Motorcycles’ decision to form the business relationship. “With their vast experience developing high-performance, lightweight vehicles, we quickly identified Pratt & Miller as the perfect partner to engineer our lightweight, high-performance motorcycle,” said Brian Case, VP and Design Director of Motus Motorcycles.
Founded in 2008, Motus Motorcycles is a privately held company entering the market with the first V4-powered American sport touring motorcycle. The MST series motorcycles and accessories will be sold internationally through a network of independent dealers and distributors.
Design and production of the Motus MST series of motorcycles incorporates many of Pratt & Miller’s race-proven technologies. A combination of computer-aided engineering tools such as CAD, finite element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and multi-body simulation are being implemented throughout the design process.
Using sophisticated ADAMS multi-body simulation tools, Pratt & Miller Engineering is developing the suspension and handling systems for the MST-01 in a digital environment. PME will also support the testing and development process for the prototype bikes.
Pratt & Miller Engineering will be responsible for manufacturing the 4130 chromoly steel space frame, transmission, and composite body work. The rolling chassis will be integrated with the Motus KMV4, the world’s first direct-injected V4 developed by Katech Engines of Clinton Township, Michigan. Katech was Pratt & Miller’s longtime technology partner in the GT1 Corvette Racing program.
Pratt & Miller Engineering has led the engineering effort for the Motus MST-01, integrating the chassis with Katech’s unique KMV4 engine and meeting Motus’ stringent design criteria. An accelerated design, development and manufacturing timeline has been made possible using Pratt & Miller’s leading edge virtual development process.
Pratt & Miller Engineering will deliver a world-class sport touring motorcycle to Motus in a compressed10-month period. “We are thrilled about this partnership with Pratt & Miller,” said Motus president Lee Conn. “They have a total commitment to excellence, a world-class staff and proprietary technology that allow small companies like Motus to compete on a global basis. Because their engineering and fabrication teams are all under one roof, they can build complex vehicle packages with very few iterations.”