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Confederate becomes Curtiss | Manufacture News | News

Some 26 years after Matt Chambers founded Confederate Motorcycles, he has confirmed that the brand is to stop making petrol-powered machines altogether and will be renamed ‘Curtiss’ to reflect its new direction.

The rebrand also comes as the brand’s connotations to the Confederate army in the American Civil War becomes increasingly sensitive. With dozens of American towns and cities tearing down statues of Confederate generals, and the Confederate flag increasingly seen as a racist banner rather than a symbol of Southern culture or rebellion, the name Confederate isn’t as suitable for a bike firm in 2017 as it was in 1991 when the company emerged.

The Curtiss name – chosen as a tribute to Glenn Curtiss, the aviation and motorcycle engineering pioneer who is remembered particularly for his 1907 land speed record V8 bike – steers the company in a new direction.

The first bike to bear the title is to be the Hercules, an electric cruiser with 130kW and 258Nm thanks to twin motors from established electric-bike firm Zero Motorcycles. It’s yet to be revealed, but the bike is expected to be just as wildly styled as previous Confederates, with the design coming from the pen of Jordan Cornille, who styled Confederate’s final machine, the newly launched $US155,000 FA-13 Combat Bomber (pictured). When the limited run of FA-13s is completed, Confederate will cease to be. 

By Ben Purvis