Confederate Motorcycles Shocks With Zero Motorcycles Electric Cruiser Collaboration

2 weeks ago by Domenick Yoney 17

BMW iR Concept as sketched by Curtiss designer Jordan Cornille

 

Rebranding as Curtiss Motorcycle Co.

Confederate Motors, a boutique maker of V-twin-powered, mind-bending motorcycles, is about to commit apostasy.  After 26 years of birthing eye-snatching temples to the mechanical processes that transmute gasoline into wind-blown adventures, an aboutface. It will now turn toward a mission of marrying the spiritual essence of electromagnetic propulsion to an emotionally evocative physical form. It will not be easy. It may not be successful.

The FA-13 “R-Code” Combat Bomber

To unburden it from its past, it will shed a brand name that once, for it, romanticized rebellion and the mysteries of the South, but has increasingly become burdened by the worst connotations — treason, doctrines of racial superiority, and hate. Instead, it will embrace the ethos engendered in the name of one Glenn Hammond Curtiss: a one-time bicycle messenger who earned the nickname “Hell Rider” racing motorcycles he designed and built in the early unfolding of the 20th century; a man who, along the way to a storied career in aviation, once set a land speed record riding a bike powered by a V-8 engine he built himself. The Curtiss Motor Co will lean on this legacy of true technological rebellion and innovation as it seeks to create an electric motorcycle that moves the souls and bodies of buyers in an intensely profound way.

The weight of much of this task falls on the young shoulders of Jordan Cornille, designer and acting President of Curtiss. Holder of a recently acquired Bachelor of Fine Arts, Transportation degree from the College for Creative Studies, he is credited with Confederate’s final work, the FA-13 “R-Code” Combat Bomber (right). We can not definitively say how he will approach this new, divergent design brief, but a look at his graduate project BMW iR Concept (top) might yield some clues, though we would caution that the realities of today’s electric technology may not allow for profile quite so lithe. Nor, we would hasten to add, will the first Hercules — the model name stems from the original two-wheeled creations of Curtiss — be quite so “un-cruiser-like.” According to the LA Times, early sketches reveal a Confederate-esque “sleek, streamlined cruising motorcycle.” It will also be very powerful.

To help it turn over this new leaf, the Alabama-based outfit is teaming up with Zero Motorcycles. Using a pair of its air-cooled motors, the Hercules could put out as much as 175 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of asphalt-ripping torque. It may also be built, initially, at least, in the California company’s Scotts Valley complex. Neither of the two companies are talking publicly about the timing or price tag of the joint effort.

We expect, though, work will begin in earnest after Confederate builds and ships the planned production of 13 examples of its “R-Code,” revealed during The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering at Monterey Car Week. As for the price, prepare for a figure in top-spec Tesla territory. The most recent bikes from Confederate start significantly north of $100,000.

While we imagine few of our readers will be in this exclusive high-end cruiser market, there is a way to more affordably support the effort. A limited run of Curtiss branded t-shirts are being offered up on the company’s website for a mere $39.50.

Source: LA Times

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17 responses to "Confederate Motorcycles Shocks With Zero Motorcycles Electric Cruiser Collaboration"

  1. Kdawg says:

    Was one of their bikes orange and called the “General Lee”?

    1. Domenick Yoney says:

      Nope.

      1. Kdawg says:

        Missed opportunity.

  2. G2 says:

    I wish them luck and hope they can (one day) sell a 300km ranged sport tourer for reasonable money.

    1. Albertito says:

      You can build a bike with 300 kms at a speed of 120 kmh.It’s easy , buy a second hand vectrix for 700-1000 euros with bad battery.Then buy 3 or 4 tesla model S modules for 21kwh of battery.Then a BMS and a upgraded charger , all this is about 5000-7000 euros , if you take in account the range and the power is not expensive.

      1. Fred says:

        I have 2007 vectrix with bad batteries. Bought new in 2011. Can you tell me how to go about the charger and bms? Just been saving the bike for better days.

        1. Domenick says:

          Fred, the “V is for Voltage” forum should have lots of info on updating your Vectrix.

  3. Ron M says:

    I don’t understand why there isn’t more electric bikes motorcycles for sale in the US. From what I understand in China and India they sell a million electric bikes and motorcycles a year and I’m sure they don’t cost $20,000.

    1. Devin Serpa says:

      They have average shorter urban commutes and drive a sensible speed without unnecessary acceleration or deceleration.

      They make sense there. Here either we need to change how we drive or wait for cheaper larger batteries.

    2. Steven says:

      Speaking as a rider who’s been riding since the 1980’s, as of now, only one electric motorcycle fulfills all the requirements for a motorcycle. And it’s ungodly expensive.

      As car drivers have experienced range anxiety, so to we. As car drivers demand long range, so do we. As car drivers demand fast charging time, so do we.

      When we ride for pleasure, we want to ride where we want to go, when we want to go there. Sometimes I get on my bike with no planned destination, distance, or duration. But I have to be at work in the morning. As of now, only

      Tesla with their number of Superchargers and time to recharge comes close to fulfilling a riders need.
      What’s that you ask? I want to hop on my bike, and ride until the tank (or stomach) is empty and my bladder is full. I want to then park my bike, take care of what needs to be taken care of, and keep going.
      Of course, I also ride to work, and with a short commute, any electric motorcycle would do.

      So, what’s the solution?
      A Tesla motorcycle that looks like Harley Davidson*.

      *Or whatever your favorite brand of bike is.

      The problem is going to be price.
      Most riders I know, won’t spend more for what they perceive as being “the same thing”.

    3. Jeremiah McKenna says:

      India? You can’t be serious. India doesn’t have enough electricity to power a blender, let alone charge 1 million bikes. They don’t have electricity in a majority of their country either, so I’m not sure where you are getting that info.

      Gas is still King, and will be for a long, long time for come.

      1. An Indian says:

        Your facts are very exaggerated to the point of fiction. Don’t make assumptions for things you do not understand about India. This is not the 19th century.

    4. wavelet says:

      The electric bikes sold in China/India aren’t what you’re used to as motorcycles, more like the electric bicycles sold in the US.

      Think ~30mph top speed, 40mi range. That’s sufficient for (sub)urban commuting in most places, and that’s what they’re used for.

  4. Vinny says:

    So it sounds like they will join Lightening, Energica and Bell Custom Cycles as makers of very small quantity and very pricy electric motorcycles. Looks like the high end market is getting crowded. I wish them the best of luck but they are going after a very tiny market.

  5. Doc says:

    Good luck, the only people that can buy one of these are in the 1% ER club. I’ll take my loud, belching H-D, its affordable.

    1. Steven says:

      Maybe if they cross a Dyna with a Livewire, and price it like a Softail, and make it compatible with Tesla’s Supercharger network?

  6. Jeremiah McKenna says:

    I’m sure these guys will do well with the limited nu.ber of bikes they make and even more limited sell. They are a niche builder that caters to a relatively small market.

    I’m not sure if they care about distance since most of their recent gas powered models are made mostly for riding around town, bar hopping, the beach or the track. Since batteries still suck for reality, the customer that Confederate sells to can afford to buy several bikes and ride the one that fits their riding style for that day.

    These guys will do well regardless of the name on the store. I was actually hoping that they would move back to New Orleans, so that I could work in their shop. But that didn’t happen, and neither did another venture they were working on. Man, that was one of my dream jobs…

    Regardless, unless and until a manufacturer comes up with an interchangeable battery and a network of charging/exchange stations, the electric bike won’t be a huge hit.

    There are a lot of U.S. manufacturers of the electric bike, but all sell in low, low numbers and several have gone out of business, or are on their way out. Thus joint venture will be good for Zero since they are selling the electronics, and Curries since they don’t have to invent their own electronics. This way, they can focus on the rest of the mechanics and aesthetics and produce a great bike in a shorter amount of time and less R & D.

    Again, I wish them all the best in this new venture.

    I just hope they don’t forget where they came from and leave the internal combustion engine on the shelf forever.

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