• Jun 24, 2010
Confederate Motorcycles P120 Black Flag – Click above for high-res image gallery

Confederate Motorcycles has been through a lot in the last couple of years. Through it all, though, the company seems to have embodied the time-honored approach of survival. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, as they say. And it certainly has been tough for Confederate.

First founded back in 1991 by Matt Chambers in San Francisco, California, Confederate soon picked up shop and moved on down to New Orleans, Louisiana. It was here that Confederate birthed its first motorcycle, the Hellcat, in 1996. Things seemed to be progressing rather well at the company, with a second model called the Wraith ready to be launched in late 2005.

The Wraith was a motorcycle unlike anything ever seen. "From its inception it was seen as a work of kinetic sculpture," said designer J.T. Nesbitt. "I took the basic shapes of ellipse, circle and arch." These basic shapes were parlayed into a motorcycle powered by a massive V-twin engine that appeared equal parts custom cruiser and turn-of-the-century board track racer.



Sadly, the Wraith project was put on indefinite hold just months before full-scale production was set to begin. The cause: Nothing less than an act of God known as Hurricane Katrina. Confederate's New Orleans headquarters was all but wiped out, with just a shell of a building and a slew of half-finished motorcycles in the warehouse, all wrecked from the rushing onslaught of water and debris.




You might think this would be the inglorious end to a gloriously unique motorcycle company, but fate intervened due to the help of George Barber, owner of Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Barber made an offer to Confederate that it simply could not refuse, including the rent-free use of a new warehouse near his motorcycle museum where the company could pick up the pieces and once again begin building its production motorcycles.

"We knew about George Barber and his consummate passion for motorcycling," said Confederate's founder and managing director Matt Chambers. "But we didn't expect to find such an incredible level of professionalism coupled with such incredible hospitality," he added. "Mr. Barber and his team are dedicated to making things happen in Alabama in economic development and it's not just talk – they have a strong background and solid proof that their efforts are working."

Birmingham opened its arms up to Confederate. Governor Bob Riley went so far as to celebrate the first production motorcycle to roll out of the company's new Alabama operations by riding the F131 Hellcat motorcycle around the racetrack at the Barber Museum. That's him on the right.

Finally, the Wraith went into production and was met with almost entirely positive reviews, from the motorcycle press and shoppers alike. That success led Confederate to design and build its third production motorcycle, the P120 Fighter.

The latest machine to roll through the warehouse at Confederate is a new, darker take on the production P120 Fighter. Using a similar frame of 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum monocoque backbone, bulkhead and fuselage side plate construction along with the marque's double-wishbone front end, the new P120 Black Flag adds a healthy dose of all-black style.

Power for the Black Flag comes from the same 120-cubic-inch V-twin engine with 160 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque as used in the standard Fighter. Pricing has yet to be set, but you can rest assured knowing it won't be cheap and that there will be a limited number of Black Flags available.




All seemed to be moving forward for the battle-tested company, and it seemed to have taken root in its new home of Alabama. Fate once again had new plans in store for Confederate and the Black Flag will be the last production motorcycle from Confederate to roll out the doors in Birmingham.

In April of 2010 at the New York Auto Show, Confederate announced plans for a Harley-Davidson buyers (think CVO models) will be able to afford it.

This new bike will be produced in Confederate's original home of New Orleans. The company reports that it received an offer it could not refuse – namely a low-interest loan for $750,000 from the City of New Orleans, contingent on a move back home – and it needs additional space to build the new X132.

As you might expect, not everyone is pleased with the decision to return to New Orleans. In any case, the tale of Confederate Motorcycles – from barely surviving Hurricane Katrina to a new home in Alabama to now finally getting some much-needed new funding and likely moving back to Louisiana – is far from over. We look forward to seeing what comes next.



[Source: Confederate Motorcycles I Image: Robin Cooper, Alabama Governor's office]


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  • 57 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Needs moar black.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'll take one in natural aluminum, maybe with milling machine marks showing and/or brushed/anodized bits.

      • 4 Years Ago
      It's encouraging to see American ingenuity and our,"never say die" spirit at work in these trying times. It's EXACTLY what we need. And as they say, "business is business", but one hates to see such an ALL AMERICAN COMPANY, bite the hand thats been feeding it (so to speak) I wouldn't blame the Alabama folks if they felt betrayed, STILL one wonders WHY they didn't meet or exceed New Orleans' offer, with one of their own. At any rate, I hope these guys succeed beyond their wildest dreams. If given the chance, I'll be buying one of their bikes in the "not too distant" future.
      • 4 Years Ago
      NOW HEAR THIS!!! YOU POOR GIRLS, TALKING ABOUT SINGING SOPRANO, AAAAAH CRYBABIES!!! BAK IN THE 40'S MY OLD MAN USED TO TELL ME ABOUT THE HARDCORE GUYS TURNING THEIR FORKS AROUND(BACKWARDS) @ LACONIA & LOUDEN FOR BETTER PERFORMANCE AND THEY WERE AHEAD OF THEIR TIMES THEN!!! I LIKE THE IDEA!! OR WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE THAT RADICAL FOWARD SWINGARM?? HUH??? OR ARE YOU AFRAID YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE MUCH IMPROVED, SHORTENED TURN RADIUS??? AND WHAT ELSE ARE YOU WUSSES WORRIED ABOUT??? YOUR RECTUMS OR YOUR JEWELS??? PERSONALLY IF I HAD THE MONEY I WOULD BUY 1 OF THESE 1 OFF LOOKING BIKES AND WOULDN'T BE AFRAID TO RIDE IT AND THAT REVERSED FORK IS ABOUT 60 YEARS LATE, HAHAHAHAHA!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      THE 'TRUE' BIKER WILL, AN STILL, ALWAYS WANT A HARLEY.....
      • 4 Years Ago
      I actually visited their shop on Carondelet Street in New Orleans the day before Katrina hit ... asked the guy "aren't you worried about this hurricane?" He told me, "nah, we've been through lots of these ... we'll probably just get an inch or two of water on the floor and that's about it."
      • 4 Years Ago
      Too fast over a speed bump and it's instant castration.
      • 4 Years Ago
      V twin is great,it fits between your legs better,its narrow and has lots of low end,it has a great sound..........I have 3 bikes at this point,well 4 with the 1970 vespa but thats a scooter......I have a sport bike which I ride the most,Im converting a royal enfield with WAS a 500 single to diesel and I am building a v twin bobber......the unpainted bike on this story just gave me some better ideas than I had already.........I walked a busa for 100 feet in traffic on this VTX 1800 I had,then the busa finally got moving and shot past but thats the low end the inlines dont have.....I had a power commander on it too jacked all the way up.
      Draconian
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is one HOT! bike. A Klansman riding this one better 'tie' his hood on. Any Afro crossing the road in the middle of the night better put a 'bright' smile on his face if he hears this bike approaching.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Only folks in the south can ride these....while dressed up as confederates.
      Debbie
      • 4 Years Ago
      hot hot hot!
      • 4 Years Ago
      This bike is so ugly. Die-hard bikers don't ride motorcycles like this. How many guys can or will shell out that kind of money for a bike they have to sneak up on in the dark so they don't have to be reminded out hideous this thing is? I would point and laugh if I ever saw one on the street. Harley-Davidson still rules.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I am the die-hardest rider in this blog....Im 44 years old and I got my first mini when I was 6,Ive always owned a bike since then.I LOVE THIS BIKE but I like old school bikes....I like pre-school bikes.Im currently building a modern vtwin bike into a modern boardtracker.Nobody will have any idea what year this bike is when Im done,I get the way old look but Ill have a modern engine and electronics.....long skinny tank and that tank is from a peterbuilt transfer truck believe it or not and Im a skinny tire kinda guy,240 is as wide as I like them and thats really almost too wide.....I think this bike is a beautiful thing and Id trade all three of my bikes for one of these and throw some money in the pot as well.Its raw,you can see the mechanicals and it has NO CHROME like a harley.DONT GET ME WRONG,Im proud as hell of harley and I do think so many of them are great to look at,I love the designs of most harleys,that is pure americana in my mind but for some reason I just never ever wanted one.This Confederate bike is exactly what I like,Ill take it.
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