Find out why Confederate Motorcycles is going the way of the Confederacy, and what will take its place.
Confederate Motorcycles owner Matt Chambers has announced that the company will henceforth be called the Curtiss Motorcycle Co., and use electric motors instead of big V-twins.
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He made the announcement at the recent Quail Motorsports Gathering in California, where he also offered a discount on the last 22 gas-engine Confederates. Attendees at The Quail could pick one up for the rock-bottom price of $150,000 – down from the standard MSRP of $155,000. The deal was only good last Friday. Boogers.
Founded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1991, and in production five years later, Confederate has reportedly sold 1,300 of the bobber-style cruisers, powered by various big-bore S+S V-twins. The original Hellcat sold for $26,000.
The bikes attracted a number of celebrity buyers - including Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise - and various descriptions by members of the motorcycle media: “Bold, Aggressive… Industrial-Style Muscularity… Naked Form and Raw Power.”
Less charitable impressions were not uncommon, and more than a few notes on the riding position included the words "monkey" and "football."
Chambers told the Los Angeles Times that the company was losing business because of the name.
“We’ve missed out on branding opportunities,” he said. “So, it’s time to retire it.”
The company didn’t use the Confederate battle flag in any of its imagery, and Chambers claimed the name was a salute to good Southern principles.
“We can’t go any further than this,” he told The Times. “We’ve hit the ceiling. This is it.”
The new Curtiss Motorcycles, named for Glenn Curtiss, the father of American aviation (who also happened to build motorcycles), will be powered by electric motors supplied by Zero Motorcycles of Santa Cruz, California. The initial dual-motor model will reportedly produce 175 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque. The first model will be called the Hercules, the name originally used for Curtiss’ motorcycles when he moved into the aviation business full time.
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The company is now selling Curtiss T-shirts on its website for $39.50.