Retro Custom B120 Wraith
Confederate could have just cut to the chase with the Wraith and called it “The Question”. Taking the Confederate B120 Wraith out in public is both an act of exhibitionism and an invitation to nearly endless interrogation. If you are the type of motorcyclist who likes to ride under the radar, look elsewhere-this motorcycle sets off alarms.
Never before in my motorcycling life have I had a stranger take my photograph while I was cruising down the freeway. It’s almost dangerous-drivers constantly jockey for position to get next to the bike for a closer look. It is not simply that they don’t know what kind of motorcycle it is; rather, they cannot believe that what you are riding is actually a motorcycle, so outlandish is the Confederate B120 Wraith appearance.
My favorite question when parked for a break is, “Did you ride that here?” Yes, indeed, I did, and that’s really what the Wraith is about. For all the technology permeating the bike, as well as its striking appearance, the most important thing to know about the B120 Wraith is this: Confederate has built a motorcycle that is meant to be ridden.
Like everyone else, I was a bit uncertain when presented with the B120 Wraith. The thin bicycle-like seat floats on a cantilevered pedestal, and there is no fuel tank for your knees to grab. The Jims/CM engine is immense-120 cubic inches-and you wonder if the muscular carbon fiber front suspension is simply a showpiece, or a functional design.
Once aboard the Confederate B120 Wraith, the concerns diminish. The positioning of the bars and pegs is intuitive, and the seat provides surprising support. Thumb the unmarked starter button and the motor bursts to life; a rumble pours out of the short side-firing exhaust and there is a marvelously organized mechanical clatter radiating from the air-cooled cylinders.
The Confederate B120 Wraith clutch pull is firm, but not daunting; the transmission easily clicks into first. With a staggering 130 ft/lbs of torque available, the expectation is that the B120 Wraith is a hard-hitting beast. Nothing could be further from the truth. The flywheel modulates the power delivery, and the Wraith is off with nary an effort.
That is not to say the B120 Wraith is slow. If you are generous with the throttle, you are rewarded with extremely quick, yet easily managed, acceleration. The bike’s geometry is shockingly effective. With its low cg, wheelies are virtually impossible, yet the rear wheel is also glued to the ground. The transfer of power to the 190mm Pirelli Diablo Corsa III is flawless. From 0 to 60 mph, it is difficult to imagine getting bested. If you have an addictive personality, prepare to go into rehab at the local traffic school.
The lack of traditional fuel tank does have an unusual feel, initially. It’s as if you are riding a large bicycle, and the Wraith’s seat reinforces the sense that there is not much bike below you, other than the engine, and that is true from the rider’s perspective. Over 6-footers may have some occasional knee issues with the motor and its accoutrements, but the rest of us adapt quickly to the open-air cockpit of the Confederate B120 Wraith.
As an in-town cruiser, the Wraith is comfortable for all-day rides. I put in a couple hundred miles in a long day on city streets without fatigue. The vibration is subdued just enough to stop it from sapping your endurance, but there are plenty of good V-twin tremors. The handling, the weight, the ergonomics, the controls-they all work together to ensure an enjoyable ride. The overly firm suspension is the singular flaw in an otherwise purely pleasurable experience.
One may not think of the solitude of the canyons when considering such a strikingly visual motorcycle, but the Wraith is as much at home in the twisties as it is turning heads in front of the Whisky A-Go-Go. Admittedly, I did not push the Wraith to 100%, as I did not want to return a ball of twisted aluminum and splintered carbon fiber to Confederate, but the bike’s handling inspired me to ride it quite a bit harder than I had anticipated.
With its broad range of power, shifting is almost optional on the Wraith. The action of the transmission was shockingly slick, though downshifts must be carefully considered. There is quite a bit of engine compression braking, and more than once I locked up the rear wheel going into a corner. The Wraith took care of me, fortunately, and I never got the heart-in-the-throat feeling that I was going down. An aggressive slipper clutch would be a nice option for this bike. The carbon fiber disc brakes work well, even when not warmed up.
Turn-ins are unforced; the Wraith holds its line effortlessly, and the Corsa IIIs gave me all the traction I could ask for. Changing lines in corners is not encouraged, but the low CG makes it a viable option when necessary. Ground clearance is excellent, and taut suspension keeps things stable. The handling has nothing approaching bad manners; the bike is astoundingly predictable.
On one of my urban adventures, I stopped for a delicious lunch at Tasty Q Bar-B-Que on south Crenshaw Blvd. in Los Angeles. A gentleman swerved his Escalade into the parking lot to check out the B120 Wraith. He was stunned. He pulled his cell phone out, and I offered to take a photograph of him sitting on the bike. He demurred, saying, “I don’t even want to dream.” I countered, “This motorcycle is here because someone dared to dream. Hop on.”
Confederate B120 Wraith Specs
Torque ≥ 130 ft. lbs.
Horsepower ≥ 125
Weight : 390lbs.; Wheelbase : 62″; Length : 82″;
Seat Height : 30.5 “; Trail : 4″; Rake: 27 degrees
Jims/Confederate B120 counter balanced twin cam 45 degree
radial twin; 4.125″ bore X 4.5″ stroke. .
Confederate design triple load path carbon fiber monocoque;
aircraft grade CNC billet bulkhead, fuselage; oil in frame. .
Single sided aircraft grade aluminum.
Confederate proprietary design; double wishbone, machined
from aircraft grade billet aluminum linked to aerodynamically
designed carbon fiber wing blades.
Confederate proprietary design; machined from
aircraft grade aluminum; belt drive.
Confederate proprietary design; five speed, close ratio..
Front and rear: Penske coil over shock; multi adjustable; titanium spring
FD dual mechanical CNC billet high output 4piston front; 320 mm rotors; Brembo
2-piston caliper rear; 220 mm rotor.
Forged magnesium Marchesini; Front: 3.5″ X 17″; Rear: 5.75 x 17
Integral LED headlamp, tail lamp, brake, running lights, blinker system
Confederate proprietary design; aircraft grade aluminum; 3.5 gallons
Precision integrated analogue meter; warning, speed, RPM
Very limited edition; each example is one of 250; fuselage, Bulkhead, engine VIN
Photography by Don Williams