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Monday, October 20, 2008

The $110,000 Confederate Renaissance Fighter- A Bargain for a Work of Art


We know Confederate Motor Company can design sweet motorcycles because its first bike, the Wraith, is all kinds of awesome. But we've gotta wonder what the company's designer was smoking when he penned the new Renaissance Fighter and whether he'll share it with the people Neiman Marcus thinks will drop $110,000 to buy one.

The Renaissance takes the board-track racer aesthetic of the too-cool-for-words B91 Wraith and projects it well into the next century. The result is a bike that, although technically impressive, is as ugly as it is overpriced. That isn't keeping Neiman Marcus from offering the Renaissance in its Christmas Big Book, that annual repository of all things garish, gaudy and gauche.

What's sad is the Renaissance offers some amazing specs, including a 1,966 cc engine in an aluminum and titanium frame, a close-ratio 5-speed billet aluminum transmission and a four-piston front brake clamping down on a ceramic rotor. And, of course it's got that funky, but very effective, girder fork that Confederate is known for, and incorporating the LED headlights into the fork legs was a nice touch. The whole package weighs a very reasonable 430 pounds.

But there's no two ways about it — the bike is ugly as sin. Wes Siller Siler at Hell For Leather offers a succinct rundown of the bike's many transgressions and calls it, among other things, "uncohesive and, in places, tacky." We'd add pretentious after reading the description Confederate offers on its website:

"The Fighter clarifies opaqueness and nullifies hype with straight-forward true to concept certitude. At the source is a classic right triangle. Proportion is classically derived. Scale is middle way. Bearing exudes structural permanence. Human integration deploys yang energy, vitality and power in the most simple, pure and direct form."

We're still laughing. Confederate makes some mighty big performance claims, including a top speed of 190 mph. That seems unlikely, given that a Wraith using the same engine hit 166.459 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats last month, setting a new record for an unfaired pushrod 2,000 cc motorcycle. Of course, maximum velocity isn't the point with a bike like the Renaissance, and neither is handling — with a 64-inch wheelbase, 19-inch front wheel and that gumball of a back tire, it's only good for straight-line cruising.

Confederate is building just 45 Renaissance Fighters, and every one of them will be available only through Neiman Marcus. According to Confederate's website, three already are spoken for, further proving wealth cannot buy taste.

Photos by Confederate Motor Co.