Confederate Hellcat X132 Review & Ratings
- 17 February 2018
- Author: Nikolas Perseputto
You’ve probably heard of Confederate, the American motorcycle manufacturer producing very limited models, which have been snapped up by the rich, famous and influential alike. Founded in 1991 by Matthew Chambers in Louisiana the business faced its fair share of hurdles, going bankrupt in 2001 after producing 500 of the first generation Hellcat model in the proceeding five-years. Confederate would return in 2003, to start producing the second generation Hellcat, of which 75 were made prior to the factory being hit by Hurricane Katrina, causing serious damage and leading to a relocation to Birmingham Alabama.
The GFC hit Confederate despite being such an elite luxury product, with founder Matthew admitting those who could or would be purchasing their motorcycles were less inclined to in a political and economic climate where so many suffered and spending was under the public spotlight. This Hellcat X132 was proceeded by the Hellcat X131, with slightly more mainstream styling, where the X132 has taken a slightly different approach, with its bench like single-seat, double beam swingarm, and even more stripped back and beefy style. Gone are the three separate front lights, reminiscent of something out of Terminator, instead replaced by a more traditionally styled headlight, but not without a twist – more on that later though. The X132 Hellcat also came to renown in the hands of collector James Hoegh who piloted his Combat Prototype to a new land speed record for an unfaired, naturally aspirated pushrod V-twin over 2000cc, with an average top speed of over 170mph at Bonneville.
The Combat edition has boosted power over the regular edition you see gracing these pages, which benefits from the same X132 Copperhead engine, a 2163cc (132 cubic inch) 56° V-twin. Adding to the exclusivity, innovative and ‘avant-garde design’ as Confederate put it, is the fact the cases are machined from two pieces of 6061 aircraft-grade aluminium. The V-twin is a square design, with the bore and stroke both measuring 111.8mm, with a singlepiece forged crank and journal bearing design, while Confederate’s patented five-speed close ratio gearbox uses their output shaft bearing support system, with a chain final drive providing power to the rear wheel.
The belt-driven cams are visible through trick engine covers, which incorporate machined polycarbonate windows, while the dry clutch is protected by honey-comb mesh to stop debris from getting inside. The chassis is equally trick, consisting of a 3in 120-wall hard steel backbone with downtube of the same material, hand TIG welded together. The X132 Copperhead engine was developed with the help of S&S Cycle, a legendary American motorcycle engine manufacturer which was founded in 1958 and continues to create high performance replacement engines, often used in Harley-Davidsons or by custom motorcycle builders. S&S developed their own X-Wedge push-rod V-twin engine, with the same 56° cylinder angle of Confederate’s X132, while the X-Vault system was developed to allow the X132 engine to mount onto the frame with bushings, becoming a stressed member and offering more rigidity, ensuring better power delivery to the rear wheel and more agile handling.
The 3in backbone segment of the frame also offers the benefit of storing oil, while the tank is a deep drawn steel item with exceptional lines and quality of finish, that is necessary with so much of the tank itself on display, rather than hidden below the frame as on many other bikes. This is no show pony though, as the current steep asking price of $79,990 for the basic Hellcat suggests, everything is top shelf. Front forks are a set of Combatspec WP (White Power) 48mm items with rebound and compression adjustability for high and low speed actuation, with 81mm of travel. On the rear a single custom Race Tech Coil-Over shock controls the swingarm and rear wheel, with an external reservoir and offering rebound and compression adjustability, again for low and high speed actuation.
The dual-beam two-sided swingarm is beefy to cope with the X132’s power and even more impressive torque, with the pivot point machined into the cases and heavily over engineered for strength and durability, like most of this machine. The swingarm design is a proprietary Confederate design, with its length assisting in handling and putting power to the ground and contributing to the bike’s lauded agility. Front brakes had to match the bike’s impressive donk, with dual Beringer AERONAL floating stainless steel rotors matched to powerful Beringer four-piston AEROTEC radial calipers. The rear on the other hand boasts the more commonplace Brembo items, with a single cross-drilled stainless steel rotor, with two-piston Monobloc caliper.
Where the rear Brembo item is a typical drilled rotor, with a lightened rear sprocket on the other side of the wheel to match, the front rotors are solid five-button items. Assisting in keeping the X132’s weight to a minimum – an impressive 226kg in fact, are an awesome set of BST carbon-fibre wheels, with a 6 x 17in on the rear and a 3.5 x 17in on the front, with this particular Hellcat fitted with Pirelli Diablo Rosso IIs. Of course while all the larger items are impressive, it’s the smaller details that add to this amazing motorcycle, with minimalist carbon-fibre front and rear guards sitting close to the wheels and helping to set off the carbon-fibre sections of the wheels which haven’t been painted over. The hand-stitched leather single-seat perches on a tiny billet aluminum subframe, well clear of the rear wheel, while the foot controls are Rizoma billet items with stainless steel fixings, offering good clearance and setting off the large areas of polished cases.
Where the frame doesn’t hold oil it instead hides the wiring loom, ensuring a very clean overall effect, with individual touches like the chain guard, billet air-filter plate and bike controls are top notch. Billet grips come standard, as do the Rizoma ‘bar-end mirrors and Beringer adjustable matched levers and machined billet switch blocks. Lighting includes an LED headlight with integrated indicators, LED brake and tail light built into the subframe under the seat and indicators mounted off the rear swingarm. A Motogadget instrument panel is integrated into the Confederate upper triple-clamp and on some Hellcats clip-ons include top of fork brake and clutch reservoirs. The owner of this bike, Troy chose to go with the taller and more comfortable Combat-spec riser and ‘bar setup.
Of course there’s more to a bike than it’s components with the X132 boasting some incredible figures, as suggested by the land speed record, with a massive 150ftlbs of torque on tap, which is approaching 30 per cent more torque than a Yamaha VMAX. Power is a more reasonable 132hp, advertised as 132hp for the 132 cubes. For owner Troy, as a long time bike afficianado the Confederate Hellcat X132 caught his eye after Brad from Bike Craft pointed it out to him, for being so different – in a good way! He purchased this bike with a few modifications at his request, waiting over a year for it to arrive and pass ADRs. Troy also admitted when we talked about the torque available that on his second ride when he opened the bike up he was left holding onto the ‘bars by his finger tips – it’s that insane. It’s a very unique motorcycle, which is exactly what Troy was after.