Concours d’ Elegance Unveiling
The only modern day machine on display was Confederate Motor’s new P120 Fighter, Combat Edition. Borrowing from their enigmatic Wraith, the Fighter’s design utilizes the massive backbone and parallelogram girder front fork that launched a thousand opinions, both negative and positive, back in 2003 when the company found both die-hard brand loyalists and pessimistic naysayers in one fell swoop.
On the P120, aluminum is the choice of metals as opposed to the Wraith’s carbon fiber, the hefty monocoque backbone constructed of 6061 aircraft grade aluminum and engraved with the bike’s moniker. Say what you will about Confederate, but the machines rolling out of their new Birmingham, Alabama digs (on-site at Barber Motorsports Park – the former New Orleans headquarters having been decimated by Hurricane Katrina) are anything but ordinary. Judging by the attention the bike was garnering from gear heads as well as the simply curious, CEO Matt Chambers seems to have done it again; build an iconic motorcycle that borrows very little from the status quo, representing true autonomy (and a bit of rebelliousness) in both design and philosophy.
Copious billet aluminum marries up to beefy aluminum gusseting in beautiful welds. Copper tubing from the oil cooler contrasts the raw aluminum and draws the eye along the exposed workings of the machine, taker the viewer deeper and deeper into the Fighter’s nooks and crannies where the mind boggles with design cues and functional, albeit original, ways to conquer the concept of putting a rider onto a two-wheel contraption. Seat and rider support look a little on the light side (read: very little padding) but the whole layout flows into the overall concept quite effectively. Nothing seems out of place or stuck on and there are certainly no last minute fixes.
Weight is being claimed at 460 pounds, but to throw a leg over the P120 is a lesson in deception. The bike feels like a 250cc, partially thanks to all the significant weight being carried low in the chassis. Gauges are modern but with a flare for the minimalistic; basically just speed and RPM. A close-ratio five-speed tranny feeds the power to the rear wheel via chain.
Brembo race-derived 4-piston technology brakes are mated to radial pumps to grab carbon, ceramic, aluminum matrix lightweight discs. Wheels are carbon fiber, with a 19" x 3" on the front, and a massive 18" x 8" rim on the back. However, there’s one element on the P120 Fighter that stands as demarcation in the world of motorcycle build and originality; the front fork. A double wishbone design manufactured from 6061 aircraft grade aluminum is linked to aerodynamic dual lightweight tubular wing blades. The intricate yet sanitary design of the front end is wonderful eye candy and provides plenty of speculation on how the whole thing works (evidently quite effectively from the few people who have had the thing on the road).
The Confederate Fighter is powered by a P-120 radial twin. The 1966cc/120 c.i. motor produces a stump pulling 145 ft lbs of torque, with an impressive 160 horsepower at the rear wheel. Only 25 of these machines will be produced, at just two-per month, and then, as the brochure says, "The book will be closed." Thus ensuring exclusivity.