Boasting of true American character, Confederate Motorcycle Company redefines the laws of motorcycle building by creating rebellious bikes
Words: Ravi Chandnani
I believe that conventionality has a new challenger in the form of Confederate Motorcycle Company that specializes in building some of the wildest motorcycles in the world. Their one-off creations are scintillatingly awesome and mature enough to give healthy competition to some of the biggest names in the custom bike industry. H. Matthew Chambers, the alpha male who dominates the Confederate jungle, is the mortal who can be held responsible for initiating the company with a vision that was sculpted out of rebellion and carved by individuality. Chambers started off as a lawyer and worked his way up the ladder but after winning a major case, he opted out in order to follow that little rebellion inside him and build motorcycles that were adorned by the true American industrial design character and his love for hot-rods.
He established Confederate Motor Company in 1991, and since then there has not been a single product that has wandered off CMC’s core values. Products like the Hellcat Combat and the Wraith rocketed CMC to new heights in the galaxy. In 2005, the Hellcat Combat made its debut and to the world’s surprise, it took the company global. After that, came the Wraith which needless to say, was the ultimate custom bike that truly portrayed American rebelliousness with elements that shouted industrial designing. The firm’s latest machine, the P120 Fighter is as solid and rugged as American designing can get. Machines built by CMC are more like rock stars with a love me or hate me attitude.
F131 HELLCAT COMBAT
If you think custom bikes are motorcycles that only boast of poser appeal, then I would recommend you reconsider. The F131 Hellcat Combat is an amazing CMC creation that will perish all the images of chrome laden custom bikes with raked out fronts and fascinating paint jobs from your bloody brain. The design of this beastly machine screams American industrial design which forms the base of CMC’s core values. The F131 is loaded with components that surpass the regular benchmark and create a new niche in terms of quality and exploitation of technology. Use of aircraft grade aluminium and carbonfibre along with exclusive and expensive metals make the Hellcat one expensive ride. However, you get a whole lot more bang for every penny you pay starting with the design itself. The marvellous silhouette of the bike presents a perspective that visualizes future custom bikes. High quality Marzocchi racing front forks clamped to the solid triple trees hold the highly durable 18-inch carbonfibre wheel that is shod with 130/60 Metzeler rubber. The sleek and minimalist front with three tiny lamps and a single speedo/tacho unit with a touch enabled switch gear give a futuristic character to the Hellcat. The uniqueness of the bike lies in the frame which is constructed using thick carbon steel tubes enabling the chassis to hold oil inside these tubes. But the biggest feature on the F131 is the handcrafted radial twin engine. It boasts of mammoth proportions of torque which happens to be 203Nm and 151PS of power. All of this is transferred to the huge 9.4-inch wide rear tyre via a five-speed transmission designed by CMC. Massive braking power comes in the form of six piston, monoblock front callipers with semi-floating 300mm rotors and a two piston CNC machined rear calliper with 240mm rotor. The F131 is a pure example of traditional American custom bike designing meeting contemporary technology and materials to create a futuristic machine.
Have you ever wondered how tanks are built? If not, then I would suggest you read on. Comparing a bike to a tank might seem way to much, however, one look at the Wraith and your queries are answered. This is a machine from Confederate that challenges conventionality. Many creative minds would put up an argument on whether this is a bike or some sort of army experiment. However, in my book, this is definitely a motorcycle and that too an intriguing piece of art and technology. Built using some of the most expensive and exclusive materials, this has to be one of the wildest and the most gorgeous bikes ever built. The B120 features a carbonfibre monocoque frame that makes it more agile and lends excellent torsion and bend rigidity. The frame also eliminates the need for body work as it has the capability of storing fuel and oil in carbon tubes. However, the most eye-catching feature of the Wraith has to be the Girder style front forks. Such suspension units were initially seen on examples such as the Brough Superior, the Vincent and a few others. They had units made out of steel, however, the Wraith features a unit built entirely out of carbonfibre. With CMC everything is exclusive and the Wraith is no exception. Breathing fire whilst sitting in the monocoque frame is a 2.0-litre V-twin motor hand built by Jims/CMC to develop a whopping 176Nm of turning force and 126PS of power. All of which is directed to the rear wheels via a five-speed tranny developed by CMC. The Wraith weighs around 176.9kg (dry) which might be on the heavier side, however, the ride is awesomely comfortable thanks to the well calibrated Penske suspension unit at the rear and high end Girder forks up front. The overall ride quality of the B120 is quite sporty as its dimensions are pretty similar to a sports bike. These examples are built in very few numbers with an ultra high price tag, hence it’s best just to dream about the Wraith.
After creating the wild and furious Wraith, many were curious about what the company would introduce next. High-end technology and expensive materials were all utilized in the making of the Wraith and many thought that the next CMC creation would follow similar cues. However, Chambers came up with a unique idea. To an extent, he excused the use of carbonfibre and diverted his attention on utilizing a metal that has been used by CMC since the Hellcat – aircraft grade aluminium. Hence his latest creation, the P120 is a hell of a lot different than the other two bikes. To begin with, the P120 features a frame that is built entirely out of aircraft grade aluminium which eliminates the heavy factor from the equation thus creating an agile frame. At first, the massive backbone tube might appear to be hollow at the beginning. However, a closer inspection reveals that the hollow part is actually an oil reservoir which feeds oil to the engine via copper hoses. The backbone also doubles up as an 18-litre fuel tank with a tiny little seat attached at the rear of the tube. But what steals the spotlight is the radial twin monster nestled in the monocoque frame. This 2.0-litre beast develops some staggering figures for a bike made completely out of aluminium. Turning force is rated at 183Nm at the rear wheel with a maximum power output of 162PS. These figures are transmitted to the massive 8-inch wide carbonfibre wheel fitted with 9.4-inch wide Pirelli via a five-speed close ratio tranny from CMC. The cherry on the cake has to be the Girder front forks, again fabricated using aluminium which makes the front extremely agile just like the frame. The P120 might appear to be a rhinoceros, however, it weighs just over two quintals with dimensions close to a sports bike, thus making the handling butter smooth. The P120 is a classic example of rebelliousness and true individualism that is based on the CMC philosophy.