7 October 2015
TWO - G2 P51 Combat Fighter by Confederate Motorcycles
Confederate Motorcycles started out 24 years ago in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with the aim of producing the most exclusive, small-batch handcrafted thoroughbred motorcycles ever produced. Right from the start it was determined that the company would be design driven and product focused, with an engineering first approach to motorcycle design. Of the small run of models that they’ve produced over the years the G2 P51 Fighter by is possibly the epitome of that ethos; a bike that’s beautiful possibly because form follows function.
The original P120 Fighter debuted in 2009, a limited production all-aluminum 'streetfighter' motorcycle with a unique monocoque frame design and a powerful big inch V-twin that used the desig to its fullest. Now 6 years later, the P51 Combat Fighter is the second generation evolution (hence G2), and a lot has changed while retaining the original concept.
We see the first sign of Confederate's mindset in the frame; an in-house designed aluminum monocoque that they describe it as "the stiffest, most fatigue-resistant and lightest chassis capable of housing the greatest amount of torque as a percentage of weight ever achieved in all of motordom."
It has some innovative features too: the strongest part of the frame, at the headstock area, incorporates an intake box that leads the air through a structural downdraft manifold – an industry first, according to Confederate. At its highest point, the air filter element is housed in a canister-shaped box with transparent sides. The same see-through design is used for the petrol tank, which is located under the seat and is embodied in the rear part of the central beam of the frame.
The frame on it own would be a conversation piece, but the dialogue is only just starting. That front end is also designed and built in-house; the forks are double wishbones machined from 6061 aircraft-grade aluminium, with the outer supports designed to be aerodynamic, tubular wing blades. Bellcranks and a single coilover provide the suspension. That eyecatching rear swingarm is (again machined from 6061) and the rear suspension is fully adjustable; wheelbase for the whole ensemble is 64 inches.
The CX4 transmission is also designed by Confederate; a patented close-ratio 5-speed transmission derived from a drag racing-derived design; its a stress-bearing part of the chassis, putting the power down through an 18 inch BlackStone Tek solid carbonfibre rear wheel, with a 3.5 inch five spoke front wheel keeping it company.
French brake company Beringer takes much of the responsibility of stopping the bike; four-pot Aerotec radial calipers clamp Aeronal iron rotors at the front while a matching caliper is alllied to a cross-drilled Brembo stainless steel rotor at the rear.
The 57-degree V-twin has grown from 120 to 132 ci (1,966 to 2,163 cc) and the horsepower catapulted from 160 to 200 bhp. The torque output has made a huge leap forward as well, from 135 to 170 lb/ft . An prodigious power output from an air-cooled pushrod bike engine, and was achieved through the increased displacement and new cylinder heads,
This level of excellence does not come cheap though; they cost a smidge over $100,000 a piece. But with only 10 of each colour (black or blonde) being made, you're not likely to run across another one down the Ace café.
- Mr Fablulous
Original concept sketches; the reality seems to follows it very closely: