Form Follows Function? It Does If the Function Is To Go Really Fast. The Confederate P120 Motorcycle
One of the world’s most expensive bikes, the Confederate P120 Fighter Black Flag is also a tour de force of form following function.
With a frame and running gear constructed mostly of aircraft-grade aluminum,the 160 bhp,120-cubic-inch radial twin engine tucked into all that Bauhaus design moves the bike along at alarming speeds. This “minimalist” design takes 120 hours to assemble and includes something like 480 parts bolted together to create the intimidating whole.
Featuring an electrical system package tucked into a dual-sided swing arm, a gas tank encased in the machine’s tubular backbone and decompression valves on each cylinder just to let the rider get this beast started, 63-inch wheelbase on the P120 needs a 240-mm rear tire just to transfer all that power to the road.
The drive belt transmission is entirely exposed and the tiny hinged seat makes it pretty clear that you won’t re riding this bike for a couple hours without some serious discomfort, but long rides aren’t the point here. This thing was made to go very, very fast in a short amount of time.
This thing was made to evoke the bobber’s of the post WWII era, and the hot planes from that period as well. It also costs damn near as much as a WWII vintage fighter plane at a jaw-dropping $80,000. There will only be 63 of these machines produced, and a production run that tight means you’re probably more likely to see a Lockheed P-38 Lightning fly overhead than you are to see a Confederate P120 parked in front of the local bar. Lockheed made 9,923 P-38’s…but only about a dozen of them are ready to fly. Expect that about that many P120’s will ever hit the road as the rest are sure to be bought as investments and tucked away in storage.
Billet aluminum and copper tubing are all over this machine and Brembo 4-piston brakes are fitted to bring it to an abrupt halt.
As for design following function, the one place Confederate deviated from that philosophy is at the front. The fork set is a double wishbone design is pure eye candy, but it harkens back to the spring and leafer front ends of the past as well.
- Air-cooled, naturally aspirated, JIMS radial twin, six-speed, 120 cubic inches, or 1,966 cc
- 135 pound-feet of torque at the rear wheel
- 160 bhp at the rear wheel
- Weight: 460 lbs.
- Seat height: 27 inches