Confederate Motorcycles Lives on Under New Ownership
Confederate has a new general.
Last year, Confederate Motorcycles announced it was changing its name in the midst of controversy surrounding flags and statues commemorating the Confederate States of America. The new name is Curtiss in honor of Glens Curtiss who famously set an unofficial motorcycle speed record of 136.36 mph in 1907 on a V8-powered motorcycle of his own design.
The original Confederate Motorcycles has rebranded, but that doesn’t mean the old brand is dead. Venture capital fund Ernest Lee Capital has bought the intellectual property for Confederate Motors and will continue producing bespoke, high-end motorcycles under the name Confederate Motorcycles LLC as a new company. Curtiss is no longer affiliated with the "Confederate" name and the new Confederate Motorcycles is under new ownership.
“We are currently designing the next run of bikes that will each be available with a number of customer-selectable options,” said Lee in an email to The Drive. “We personally did not want to see the Confederate brand disappear into the ether.”
Lee was very open about discussing the potential controversy involved with keeping the Confederate name alive. Lee believes the Confederate name is “no more synonymous with racism than is ‘Rebel’ or the Confederate Flag itself. We acknowledge that there are some that disagree with our viewpoint but felt that allowing individuals to discuss their differences of opinion is paramount to the democracy in which we all live.”
“We felt that it was sad that recent politics resulted in the death of a twenty-five-year-old brand,” continued Lee. Lee is the proud owner of a Confederate motorcycle himself which is part of the reason it was so important to him to keep the brand going in its original form. “I have personally taken my Confederate P51 Combat Fighter to shows and rides and feel that the brand, although sometimes met with skepticism, is overwhelmingly accepted by admirers of my own bike,” said Lee.
In other words, Lee believes people care more about the bikes themselves than the name they carry. That being said, the name still carries weight, but Lee sees that as a positive thing. “The Confederate brand has everything to do with innovation and originality,” said Lee. “We want to continue that tradition at Confederate; building innovative and original bikes that draw crowds everywhere they ride.”
Love or hate the name, Confederate has made some incredible bikes in its 25-year history. While we’re excited to see what Curtiss has in store with a future in electric bikes, we’ll be watching the new Confederate closely to see what it comes up with.