2012 Confederate X132 Hellcat Preview - Motorcycle.com

Tom Roderick
by Tom Roderick

Hellcat, the most affordable motorcycle in Confederate’s portfolio, enters 2012 as a new model with different nomenclature, reduced complexity and increased performance. Underpinning the Hellcat’s upgrades is a new V-Twin engine of unit construction, with cases milled from billet aluminum.

The X132 is the third generation of the Hellcat model from boutique manufacturer, Confederate Motorcycles. According to Confederate founder and CEO, Matt Chambers, it’s the most significant Hellcat to date.

“This is our 911 moment,” Chambers says referring to Porsche’s iconic and eternal 911 sports car. “We have achieved with the X132 Hellcat a foundation that isn’t simply this year’s girl.”

Forty-five large buys a lot of intimidation. Confederate serves it up in industrial style.

Chambers’ statement implies that from the Hellcat’s new powerplant an assortment of models can be produced which gives the engine design a lengthy shelf life. Sharing this common format also creates a familial line of models, instead of one-off designs with no recognizable indication of Confederate heritage.

“You may want strawberry or vanilla, and we’ll give you strawberry or vanilla, but it’s all still ice-cream,” says Chambers.

Components and attention to detail on all Confederate bikes are top notch.

Proof of this new concept is found in the three iterations of the 2012 Hellcat; the current Speedster and forthcoming Roadster and GT models. Chambers likens the Hellcat Speedster to Ducati’s Monster whereas the Roadster will be more akin to the Diavel. Footpeg placement will be relocated from its current position beneath the swingarm pivot to below the output shaft. The wheelbase will be longer and the chassis closer to the ground. Rake is relaxed from 23.5 degrees on the Speedster to 30 degrees on the Roadster.

The Hellcat GT is more of a styling exercise wherein it will retain the Speedster’s configuration but will be a modern interpretation of a 1950’s Grand Prix racer (can’t wait to see that!). The Roadster should be available as soon as April with the GT coming sometime this summer. All three models will carry the same $45,000 MSRP.

Confederate’s Unit V-Twin

For the unfamiliar, unit construction refers to a motorcycle’s engine and transmission sharing a common casing. Prior to becoming the standard by which most motorcycle engines are constructed — ushered in by the Japanese manufacturers during the ’60s and ’70s — motorcycle engines featured separate (non-unit) engine and transmission cases. Harley-Davidson and the custom cruiser crowd still largely abide by the non-unit format.

The new unit engine is the center point of strength in the 2012 Hellcat’s chassis.

A unit engine is structurally stronger, less flexible and is more tightly packaged. With enough strength and the right design, the frame becomes nearly superfluous — a’ la Ducati Panigale. Confederate is breaking from the custom cruiser mainstay by using a new unit V-Twin engine co-developed by S&S and has taken the design a step further by incorporating the swingarm pivot into the rear of the case.

For two years, Confederate, in conjunction with aftermarket engine fabricator, S&S Cycle, tweaked the S&S’s X-Wedge engine, creating the X132 engine powering the Hellcat. The cases of the unit-construction engine are machined from two blocks of 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum and house the engine’s bottom-end as well as Confederate’s proprietary, 5-speed cassette-type transmission.

“Although this is the most expensive material selection and craft methodology, it is simply the best approach for maximizing strength and guaranteeing permanence,” says Chambers.

The 132-c.i. (2,163cc), 56-degree, air-cooled, fuel-injected Twin (a base S&S X-Wedge with an S&S big bore kit) produces a claimed 132 hp and 150 ft.-lb. of torque. Designing the unit construction Twin in-concert with S&S allows tolerances, such as the crankshaft to output shaft distance, to be minimized, effectively reducing the wheelbase. It also trims the amount of parts to construct the new Hellcat by 40%. Confederate’s influence is also apparent on the right side of the engine where the stock metal cover was replaced with a window displaying the triple belt-driven cam configuration.

While the unit engine cases incorporate the swingarm support, the Hellcat’s three-inch-diameter aluminum frame ties everything else together.

“We've always dreamed of designing the core of the machine,” says Confederate's lead designer, Edward Jacobs. “For the first time in our 21-year history, we've been able to do that with the unitized case of this new Hellcat. The result is the first pure and undiluted Confederate.”

Confederate’s not Bogarting the X132 unit V-Twin. Customizers and bike builders interested in using the unit engine are welcome to contact Confederate and discuss purchasing the engine. Chambers also mentioned the availability for purchase of other Confederate parts such as wiring harnesses, etc.

Beyond the Hellcat, which Chambers considers a “riders” model, Confederate is looking toward its next motorcycle d’elegance. In the manner of the B120 Wraith and R131 Fighter before it, the Renovatio is set to claim the vanguard of innovative motorcycle design.

World’s largest Thumper? An 1100cc single would require some serious counter-balancing.

Like the Hellcat, the Renovatio is set to be a modular design allowing for various seat and tank configurations, such as the differing versions of the Hellcat. Reported earlier to utilize a V-Twin engine, Chambers is now saying the Renovatio will be powered by a 66 cu. in. (1,081cc) Single, possibly equipped with a turbocharger.

When or if the Renovatio comes to fruition remains to be seen. In the meantime, Confederate promised us a Hellcat press bike by early March — a motorcycle we’re looking forward riding and evaluating. Stay tuned!

Related Reading
Confederate Motors P120 Fighter Review [Video]
Confederate Motors teams with S&S Cycle

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