When it comes to crate engines––powerplants sold separately from the vehicle they’re made for––V-twin riders have all the fun, with Harley-clone engines available in many displacements and tune ranging from stock to certifiably nuts. But there are few alternatives for motorcycle enthusiasts who prefer their crates full of higher technology––until now, because Motus Motorcycles is selling its V4 Baby Block as a crate engine.
The 1650cc liquid-cooled Motus mill is based on a cast-aluminum block with steel liners and a 90-degree cylinder angle. Like the V8s that powered generations of American muscle cars, the overhead-valve heads have two valves per hole, and the single camshaft rides low in the block, in the valley between the cylinder banks.
Aluminum cylinder heads splay and cant the valves for the best flow and combustion efficiency, and the valves are actuated by automotive-style, low-mass roller rocker arms and maintenance-free hydraulic lifters––one less job to do at tune-up time. The forged-aluminum pistons are moly-coated and carry three rings each.
Down in the basement of the Baby Block lives a one-piece, investment-cast 4340 crankshaft with automotive-style plain bearings and four-bolt girdles for strength and durability. A gerotor oil pump keeps everything spinning smoothly, and an integrally-cast internal water pump handles cooling duties.
The Baby Block comes with closed-loop fuel injection, a ride-by-wire electronic throttle control, a 12-bolt bell housing with a 9.5-inch bolt circle for a wide variety of adaptation options, and spare bosses for alternate accessory drives and motor mounts.
The price of all this? A mere $10,220. Motus starts shipping them in spring, so reserve yours now. You don’t necessarily have to put it in a motorcycle, either. There could be an ATV, UTV, or dune buggy sitting in your garage right now just waiting for the horsepower stork to deliver a brand-new Baby Block.