Motorcycles

Confederate partners with Zero Motorcycles and goes electric

Confederate partners with Zero...
With this digital render, Confederate offers a glimpse at the upcoming Hercules electric cruiser it is planning to build in co-operation with Zero
With this digital render, Confederate offers a glimpse at the upcoming Hercules electric cruiser it is planning to build in co-operation with Zero
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With this digital render, Confederate offers a glimpse at the upcoming Hercules electric cruiser it is planning to build in co-operation with Zero
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With this digital render, Confederate offers a glimpse at the upcoming Hercules electric cruiser it is planning to build in co-operation with Zero
Confederate Motors will build only 13 FA-13 Combat Bombers
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Confederate Motors will build only 13 FA-13 Combat Bombers
The Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber will be very rarely seen in the streets
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The Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber will be very rarely seen in the streets
The Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber is an even more exclusive take on the P51 Combat Fighter
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The Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber is an even more exclusive take on the P51 Combat Fighter
The new air filter structure of the Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber can be retro-fitted to the P51 Combat Fighter
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The new air filter structure of the Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber can be retro-fitted to the P51 Combat Fighter
Blacked out with red details, the Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber
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Blacked out with red details, the Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber
Engraving on the central frame beam depicts the uniqueness of the Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber
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Engraving on the central frame beam depicts the uniqueness of the Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber
The adjustable rear monoshock of the Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber is positioned in a cantilever setup
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The adjustable rear monoshock of the Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber is positioned in a cantilever setup

After 23 years of creating unique high-end customs, Confederate Motors will rebrand as Curtiss Motor Company and turn its focus to building electric motorcycles in co-operation with Zero. At the same time, Confederate unveiled what might be its last petrol-powered bike, the FA-13 Combat Bomber.

Confederate Motors made its name by designing and hand-building impressive and quite expensive custom motorcycles in limited quantities. Since the 1994 F131 Hellcat, the first model to roll out of its workshop in New Orleans, the company managed to stay afloat through all kinds of hardship. Bankruptcy in 2001, damaged facilities by hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the ensuing relocation a year later to Birmingham in the neighboring state of Alabama didn't stop Confederate from selling out its limited annual production, despite the fact that its cheapest model cost more than US$50,000.

During the unveiling of its latest custom at the Quail Motorsports Gathering, Matt Chambers, Confederate's founder and president, revealed that his company's future lies in electric motorcycles.

"We can't go any further than this, we've hit the ceiling," Chambers said to the Los Angeles Times. The next motorcycle to come from Confederate will be called Hercules, it will run on two electric motors from Zero Motorcycles, and will be reportedly produced in the latter's facility in California.

It won't even bear Confederate's logo, as the name will also change to Curtiss Motor Company. Apart from paying an obvious tribute to Glenn Curtiss, the American aviation pioneer and holder of the first ever land speed record, the rebranding echoes Chambers' marketing woes.

"I think we lost a lot a business with that name. We've missed out on branding opportunities. So, it's time to retire it," explained Chambers.

Instead of an appellation that can easily be misinterpreted as endorsing a certain part of the political spectrum, the new branding refers to a legendary man who is undisputedly recognized in USA, and mirrors ideally the kind of craftsmanship and technology that Confederate describes as the "art of rebellion."

Blacked out with red details, the Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber
Blacked out with red details, the Confederate Motors FA-13 Combat Bomber

In view of this news, the newly unveiled FA-13 Combat Bomber might be a bit more than just another take on Confederate's luxury power cruiser, the P51 Combat Fighter. As the name suggests, the new model will be built in only 13 examples, each priced at a jaw-dropping $155,000.

The almost 40 grand it costs over the P51 buys a series of cosmetic changes, such as drilled and carved frame elements, leather seat, red exhausts and matte black finish, as well as the limited status of its very small production run. It also includes a brand new air filter structure that will be available to retro-fit on the P51 as well.

Although Confederate hasn't released any technical details of the FA-13, the main running gear of the P51 is probably unchanged, including the main frame that is carved form a solid block of aerospace-grade 6061 aluminum. The engine also appears to be the same, a 132 ci (2,163 cc) 56-degree air-cooled V-twin that evolved over the years from an S&S X-Wedge unit, putting out some 200 hp (149 kW) and 170 lb-ft (230.5 Nm) in the latest P51 version via Confederate's proprietary CX4 transmission.

Above all though, the dizzying price tag reflects the mere fact that this is probably the last gas-powered motorcycle from Confederate's workshop, and the last one to bear its current logo.

Source: Confederate Motors

7 comments
LordInsidious
Smart of them to recognize the change in the industry and in marketing. I always thought that the best way to get electric options in a market is to have the high end brands start and show how cool they can be.
Joshua Tulberg
This thing is an abomination for gasoline AND electric motorcycles. Fake exhaust pipes? Fake V-Twin resemblance? This thing has so much cringe that I can barely see what I'm typing any more.
Joshua Tulberg
MY BAD. I read the headline and neglected to read the article before commenting like a noob. Please delete both comments (previous and this) if possible, or at least throw this one up so fellow readers know that I'm sorry.
Paulinator
yep...heavy cringe-factor
ljaques
Don't sweat it, Josh. I got the same cringe factor, but I _had_ read the article first. Oh my Buddha. Only in America could someone put out something so ugly (looking like it has horribly bent forks right from the factory) and charge the price of a small house for it. Let's hope their electric models are a bit prettier. Orange, grey, and red just don't do it for me, even if I had a spare $150k. The good thing about this merger is that they're moving into the electric realm and away from smokers. I hope the added production brings lower prices to Zero motorcycles in the near future. And I wonder if the GigaFactory might lower prices even more when it opens, if they source from Elon.
JimFox
Plaudits to you, Joshua. Perhaps the MOST disappointing facet of human behaviour is the inability to admit one's mistakes.
Daishi
Confederate made interesting designs. I like the elegant simplicity of what's possible with electrics like Yamaha's PES1 concept http://newatlas.com/yamaha-electric-bikes-release-2015/31983/ Voltra is an interesting ebike design (https://i.imgur.com/xaMFXip.jpg ) and there are a few others. I suppose there could be worse news than learning that Confederate is just going to make electrics from now on. I'm looking forward to see the designs they come up with.