Trigger Warning

August 31, 2017

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Trigger Warning

Confederate Motors, the Birmingham, Alabama company that makes exquisite motorcycles for bar hopping millionaires is going out of business and reopening on the other side of the country as Curtiss Motorcycles.

“I think we lost a lot a business with that name,” Confederate President Matt Chambers told Charles Fleming of the Los Angeles Times earlier this month. “We’ve missed out on branding opportunities. So, it’s time to retire it.”

Promotional materials for the Confederate P120 Fighter (inspired by the outlaw motorcycle clubs of the ‘60s) explained that Chambers “has always designed custom motorcycles representing the antithesis of mass production. His bespoke creations embody the credo ‘Art of Rebellion,’ where as he states ‘preconceptions are purposefully rejected and innovation embraced in our uncompromising approach to excellence.’”

Earlier this summer, the boutique bike maker issued a press release that proclaimed: “Confederate Motors, Inc. is a rebel think tank 100 percent focused on creating the best and finest motorcycles with no compromise. Each motorcycle is handcrafted to be an heirloom work of art that looks and rides like rebellion itself. The enterprise is traded on the OTC Market under the symbol “CFED.”

Buy Low

Parenthetically, in case you have always wanted to own a couple of shares of a motorcycle company, Confederate’s stock was trading this morning at nine cents a share. Who knows? Fifty years from now some guy on Antiques Roadshow might tell you those shares are worth a lot more. The wonder is that, two weeks after Confederate Motors announced it was going out of business, the shares are worth anything

Chambers claims his company has built and sold 1,300 motorcycles since it opened for business in Baton Rouge in 1991. The current Confederate – or more romantically, the last of the Confederates – is called the R-Code Combat Bomber. It makes 150 horsepower, and 165 pound-feet of torque and you can have one for $155,000.

“We can’t go any further than this,” Chambers confessed to the Times. “We’ve hit the ceiling. This is it.” Confederate has nine complete motorcycles left in stock, and will make 13 more.

Curtiss And Tom Swift

Chambers new motorcycle company will probably be on the West Coast. Curtiss Motorcycles “will partner” with Zero Motorcycles of Santa Cruz to build a “Confederate styled” electric motorcycle with twin motors that will produce 175 horsepower and 290 foot pounds of torque.

The new company is named after Glenn Curtiss, and therein, if you dig a little, lies a tale.

Curtiss, like the Wright brothers, built bicycles for a living. In 1907, a year before he built his own airplane, Curtiss built his own motorcycle. He became “the fastest man in the world” riding an air cooled, 269 cubic inch V-8 dirigible engine crammed into a very frail looking frame. He broke 136 miles per hour on a sand course in Ormond Beach, Florida on January 23, 1907. Nobody went faster until 1930. He went on the found the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company in 1916.

A couple of months after he set his speed record, a ghost writer working under the name Victor Appleton published Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle, or, Fun and Adventure on the Road. There were many Victor Appletons. The first was an ink-stained wretch named Howard Garis. A publisher named Edward Stratemeyer decided to create a character based on Curtiss and hired Garis to write the first book. Eventually more than 100 Tom Swift books were published.

The books were written for boys and encouraged those readers to educate themselves, have adventures and work with their hands. Numerous American innovators, including Steve Wozniak, have claimed to have been inspired by the character Curtiss inspired. Probably, although not provably, the TASER was inspired by Tom Swift’s Electric Rifle.

In recent years, insensitive references to persons of color in the Tom Swift series have inspired accusations that the books are racist, But those accusations have never stained Curtiss. And now an electric motorcycle company that used to be called Confederate has named itself after him.

 

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24 Responses to “Trigger Warning”

  1. slycechyx Says:

    Had to google the bikes, never heard of them. The images look like kinda like shiny sport rat bikes, kinda cool looking, but looks uncomfortable as hell.

  2. Dutchboy Says:

    So, is the Confederate Cycles name up for grabs now? Our first bike could be a hardtail rocking a S&S motor and a Stars and Bars paint theme. Call it the General Lee. Stone Wall Jackson would be our take on the Dyna… Any requests?

  3. Gandalf Says:

    @ A Better Bad Idea. LOL As a pure caged, Unbiased observer it appears to me that East Coast Bikers look cut out of Steal Workers and Coal Miners… While the West Coast Bikers look Cut out of Hippy’s, Hollywood and surfers. LOL Clean…Nice Tan ect. East Coast bikers always look like they just rebuilt their bike or came out of the coal mine. West coast like they just came off a Movie set. Both have my respects.

  4. jay Says:

    i’ll grant that the bikes are interesting to look at… and i could see that someone might create ONE to attract some attention… but i just don’t see a huge market ever popping up for a steampunk wet-dream that (according to the la times video above) starts at 72k…

    respect to them that earn it…

  5. Wino Enzed Says:

    You cannot judge History with todays ethics. Washington had slaves and Lincoln did not believe that the slaves were equal with the whites. Pull down their statues.
    This shit is going down all over the White English speaking world.
    happening in Australia and here.. Romans had slaves better obliterate their history too. Did the tribes in Africa have slaves. Of course. Cannibalism was rife in some cultures only one or two generations past but one cannot mention it for fear of causing angst.
    Confederate means an alliance.. simple
    Ignore history at your peril.

  6. BMW Says:

    Nice engineering, some deep thinking went into the design, but at a 155K price, nobody that I hang with will be buying one! It probably is worth the money, to someone who has the money,but… I really like the front fork setup, and the two tiny headlights. Somebody there is keeping the old biker ethic of personal design alive.

    WHY DOES THE ACLU REMAIN SILENT ABOUT 177 CASES OF JUDICIAL KIDNAPPING, RIGGED GRAND JURY AND DENIAL OF DUE PROCESS AT WACO?

    BMW

  7. rollinnorth Says:

    Thanks, Sieg. Now when I’m mumbling (or yelling) at some moron, or just generally in a goofy mood, the word YAPASUKI will definitely come to mind.

    Respect.

  8. Sieg Says:

    To paraphrase a tee-shirt I have somewhere:

    God Created Hondas to Keep Niggers Off Of Confederates

    Naaah…just doesn’t have the same ring.

    Might be superbly engineered, with a light, pleasing note of filthy excess, but it looks like a Yapasuki, and at 155 Large, smells like one too.

    FTF/FTP
    TOSIAR

  9. FREQUENT FLYER Says:

    The current Confederate – or more romantically, the last of the Confederates – is called the R-Code Combat Bomber. It makes 150 horsepower, and 165 pound-feet of torque and you can have one for $155,000.

    LOL

    Rename that bike the “transgender abortion” and I’m sure a few yuppies on the upper east side of Manhattan will buy one

  10. Rekklss Says:

    Don Richardson invented the monoshock back in the 70’s.
    Suzuki stole that idea – not Harley.
    Get your facts straight.

  11. LenGoveia Says:

    The engineering,the finish work is second to none..it’s not my style of bike,but long story short it’s one hell of a piece of machinery..wish them luck with their new company…

  12. L-Frame S&W Says:

    Funny, but I don’t think it is the name quite so much as these motorcycles are butt-ugly. They may have some innovative design elements, but most people who ride seem to like a motorcycle with some attractive qualities.

  13. Desdicado Says:

    These guys started in the Houston area in the previous century when you could call something “confederate” and not have all the loons and weenies running to their “safe spaces”. Never more than a novelty or kind of one off maker a time when the market was overflowing with those kind of companies. Like almost all of them, when the RUBS, lost interest down the tubes! The American way, only the strong survive….

  14. A Better Bad Idea Says:

    @ Rotten
    Hey man take it easy on the West Coast. We ain’t all hippies. LOL

  15. Filburt Says:

    “No compromise”… bullshit.

  16. Iron Rider Says:

    Looking at the couple of bikes that are in photos in the story by Rebel, my first impression is looks like it was something they hoped the sport bike crowd would have an appeal to, my opinion is uh.. no..just no I would be an owner of one.

    Is the name the problem, no I think it is really the design, It seems like they were hoping that it would appeal to the sport bike crowd and with a few older bike looks added on.

    Paladin mentioned that the about the machine work being impressive, so maybe this is a case of the aesthetics not appealing to the masses and the one ride being $155k is going to be out of reach for most people.

    Will a name change help? That would be dependent on if they are staying with the same bike designs and trying to appeal to a niche market

  17. Rotten Says:

    Shitbag sell outs. Sounds like they belong on the west coast…with the rest of the hippies.

  18. Danish Says:

    Paladin
    Thanks for the education on those bikes from a civilian who does not have or ride a bke.

  19. Dino Says:

    Sell out pussies

  20. Gandalf Says:

    As a Civilian I think it would be cool if I saw 10-20 “Big 5” 3 piece patch holders come flying by me on some Sport bikes. FAST…… :)

  21. FF Says:

    Glenn Curtiss sounds like a cool dude. Great article, Rebel.

  22. Hangaround Says:

    Guess they are going out of business now that Harley stole their monoshock idea.

  23. Road Hog Tom Says:

    There is a Glenn Curtiss museum in Bath New York. great place with vintage bikes, cars, planes and history of how he came to be such a prolific creator of all things mechanical. If you are ever in the southern tier of NYS, check it out.

  24. Paladin Says:

    A couple of these motorcycles, suffering from various ills had come through my friends shop. The fit, finish and machine work is truly impressive. However, the reality is that these motorcycles are more at home displayed as works of industrial art rather than ridden as actual road going machines. Take a ride on one and you’ll understand why.

    Paladin

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