When Matt Chambers, owner and president of Confederate Motorcycles in Abita Springs, La., unveiled the new Hellcat G2 at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota last August, he surprised himself with his reaction. “I couldn’t look at it. It made me want to cry,” says Chambers, who had toyed and tinkered with the bike’s design and construction for nearly 12 years. “There’s so much passion in it. It was a wonderful moment.” While Chambers was turning away from the G2, thousands of Sturgis attendees gaped, and several went a step further, placing orders on the spot for the $52,000 second-generation street-fighting Hellcat.
The current trend among cruiser enthusiasts, says Chambers, is to ride custom Harley-Davidson choppers that sport graphics, reflective surfacing, and aggressive paint jobs. In defiance of this trend, the Hellcat G2 is more compact and rider-friendly than a chopper, and isn’t adorned with the brash ornamentation of its custom counterparts. “The ride is really smooth, and it has a very smooth and fluid design,” says Chambers. “It’s very easy to ride. It’s what we think is the most appropriate balance of luxury, ride, and sporting high performance. It has a soft look. It’s more Aston Martin or Jaguar than Mercedes or BMW.”
Chambers compares the G2 to the Brough Superior, a classic high-end British motorcycle of the 1920s and 1930s that enticed admirers such as Lawrence of Arabia, who owned seven of the bikes. Like the Brough, the Hellcat has a V-twin engine, albeit with more brawn than its classic counterpart’s block. The 45-degree, 144-inch V-twin cranks out 140 hp at 6,700 rpm, and has over 100 ft lbs of torque from 1,400 rpm to 7,000 rpm. “The Brough was considered the Rolls-Royce of motorcycles,” says Chambers. “I consider our brand to be the Bentley of motorcycles.”
One of the unique design aspects of the Hellcat is its swingarm, which is not only 30 percent stiffer than the previous Hellcat’s version, but also contains the exhaust system. Pipes snake through the swingarm, eliminating the need for a 4-inch exhaust can on the side of the motorcycle.
The exhaust system is neatly hidden, but the rest of the motorcycle’s innards are exposed. “We never visually obstruct the owner from seeing the workmanship of the machine,” Chambers says. “We’re gifted with really good welders here in the southernmost part of Louisiana. With a mass-produced product like a Honda that’s machine-welded, they may want to put on plastic panels to cover that stuff. We never want to do that with our machine.”
Confederate plans to build 100 G2s this year. To make each Hellcat unique, the company will stamp a brass plate, engraved with the bike’s serial number, on the neck of the motorcycle. Owners can also carve their names or initials onto a piece of sinker cypress—a tree that is native to Louisiana—which will be screwed onto the dashboard. “We’re making a machine that has an heirloom quality to it,” Chambers says. “In 50 years, an owner’s great-grandson will have an absolutely stunning machine.”
Confederate Motorcycle Co., 985.893.3370, www.confederate.com