Common Tread

Is this the last gas for Confederate Motorcycles?

Aug 24, 2017

Confederate Motorcycles recently unveiled an extremely limited-edition, 150-horsepower motorcycle costing $155,000, but even that news was trumped by a report that the company may abandon its entire business model, change its name and begin producing solely electric motorcycles.

An article by Charles Flemming in the Los Angeles Times quoted Confederate's founder and CEO Matt Chambers as saying that the very limited-edition FA-13 Combat Bomber (13 to be built) would be the last gasoline-powered motorcycle released by the Alabama firm. Instead, the company will focus on creating a new electric bike with the help of Zero motorcycles.

The article also quoted Chambers as saying the company would change its name to Curtiss Motorcycles. In today's politically charged climate, it doesn’t take much contemplation to figure out why the Confederate name may cost the company some sales.

When I reached out to Confederate for comment, they immediately clammed up. They told me that any information concerning the changes would be addressed in an official press release by Chambers in the coming weeks. Zero was equally as hushed, stating that there is no formal relationship between the two companies at this time.

Confederate FA-13 Combat Bomber
The FA-13 Combat Bomber. Photo by Confederate Motorcycles.

If all of this turns out to be true, it would be one of the largest shifts in direction we’ve ever seen from a motorcycle manufacturer, completely abandoning the internal combustion engine in favor of electric power. However, Confederate’s current business plan is built around handbuilt marvels that exemplify the excessive perception of brutality, via both power and style. Just because the new machines won’t smell of burning gasoline and emit an raucous exhaust note, doesn’t mean they won’t be steeped in excess. According to Flemming’s article, the proposed new electric bike, called Hercules, will produce about 175 horsepower and 290 foot-pounds of torque. If you’re doing the math, that’s nearly double the amount of torque as the FA-13 Combat Bomber the company just released.

With so much happening in the world of electric vehicles, it's possible to imagine this as a smart business move for the brand. There is only so much room at the top in the world of ultra-premium V-twin power cruisers and lately it has become a bit crowded, with brands such as Arch, Ronin, and Vanguard sharing the segment with Confederate. If Confederate does in fact make the jump to excessively premium electric motorcycles, they will pretty much have that market to themselves.