The US$105,000 Curtiss Warhawk
Many hardcore bike enthusiasts would have definitely heard of the motorcycle company called Confederate Motors. Founded by trial lawyer Matthew Chambers in 1991 Birmingham, Alabama, the company embodied radical innovation with its V-twin-powered boutique bikes. The bikes are dream motorcycles that attract worldwide acclaim and admiration from all levels of the two-wheel industry. Celebrities like Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, David Beckham and Bruce Springsteen have mounted these glorious steeds. Even Ralph Lauren has used them to adorn the windows of his company’s flagship New York clothing store.
Earlier this year, the company decided to rename itself to Curtiss Motorcycles due to the old name being associated with the U.S. Confederacy, which impacted business and increasingly became burdened by the worst connotations: treason, doctrines of racial superiority, and hate. Well, if you look at it that way, the name change makes sense.
And the reason “Curtiss” was chosen, well, that was to be associated and to honour the East Coast motorcycle speed demon, inventor, aviation and one-time “fastest man in the world”, Glenn Curtiss. Before he made his name with aircraft engines, Curtiss was a serious motorcycle builder and the first American to put a V-twin in a motorcycle.
But here’s the kicker—Curtiss Motorcycles is moving into the electric realm from now on. The company who gave us the B120 Wraith, C2 P-51 Fighter and F131 Hellcat is going electric. It recently teamed up with Zero Motorcycles to produce an all-electric model called Curtiss Hercules, which is due to be out sometime in the middle of this year.
But before that, the newly rebranded company has launched its last internal-combustion-powered motorcycle, the Warhawk. Only a limited run of 35 units will be built with prices starting at a staggering US$105,000. It is named after the World War II fighter flown by the famous Flying Tigers in China, and is an air- and oil-cooled 2,163 cc V-twin with two-valves per cylinder that produces 150 rear-wheel horsepower at 5,100 rpm and 217 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm.
“We’ve spent the past 27 years working to optimize and perfect Mr. Curtiss’s V-Twin invention. Everything we know is built into this machine. Because the Warhawk is based on our acclaimed P51 Fighter, the engine, powertrain, and chassis are as solid as a bank vault. But now, we’ve cranked it to 11,” said Curtiss CEO, Matt Chambers.
“There are no more rabbits we can pull out of the proverbial hat. There’s simply no way to make a more explosive hot-rod American V-twin than the Curtiss Warhawk,” he added.
Three camshafts actuate the overhead valves, with fuel fed into the engine by EFI, via twin 51 mm S&S throttle bodies. A Curtiss five-speed stacked gearbox with Andrews gears, driven by a primary belt drive and chain final drive gets power to the ground.
With a claimed top speed of 265 km per hour, this machine can certainly fly and you do it with style.
It weighs 258.5 kg with a modular frame machined out of 6061-T6 aluminium. The Warhawk uses a double-wishbone parallelogram fork with Racetech monoshock in front, and cantilever Racetech monoshock at the back. Brakes are by Beringer, with twin 230 mm Aeronal cast iron floating discs at the front wheel and a single stainless steel 240 mm disc at the back.
Get your chequebooks out…err…wait…even if you do have the money to buy it, you’ll be vying for the 35 coveted unit with a whole battalion of other motorcycle enthusiasts.
Images – via Highsnobiety