Throwing that formula out the window is Confederate's P120 Fighter, a limited production bike that uses aircraft grade aluminum, novel construction, and unusual proportions that merge to create a wildly styled ride that looks like nothing else on the road.
With production limited to 50 units, the $72,000 P120 Fighter is rare. But even harder to come by is the $80,000 Black Flag, 13 of which are slated for production.
The Goods: A blacked-out vision of carbon fiber and aircraft-grade aluminum
Carbon fiber wheels wrapped in carbon fenders are slowed by industrial strength, 4-piston carbon/ceramic/aluminum Brembos up front, with a rear rim wrapped in thick, 240mm rubber. Though many of the Black Flag's components are proprietary, the suspension is sourced and tuned by Race Tech, with the rear monoshock offering low and high speed compression adjustability.
Novel design extends beyond the Black Flag's unusual silhouette; not only does the frame hide four gallons of fuel, it also displays the bike's 4.5 quarts of oil in a window that sits just ahead of the internal gas tank.
On an aesthetic note, the Black Flag's brake light and turn signals tuck discreetly into the bike's minimalistic body, and even the kickstand is artfully welded into an unusual form. Is this handmade exotic a pavement scorcher or a lazy boulevard cruiser? I spent a day behind the handlebars to find out.
Swing a Leg Over: Prepare for the unexpected
The Black Flag's startup ritual is nearly as alien as the bike's looks: after a top-off with racing fuel, I was instructed to push the decompression buttons atop the cylinder heads, turn the key to the ignition position (one click to the right), switch on the fuel pump (using the toggle switch on the right hand controls), make sure the bike is in neutral (since there's no interlock mechanism to ensure it won't start in gear), and fire up the carbureted twin by hitting the starter button and gassing it just a bit-- at which point it's safe to switch on the lights by turning the key again. Forget to press the valves, and the engine's internal components won't build enough momentum to overcome its 12:1 compression ratio. Crank too long, and you could kill the battery. No pressure at all, really.
Once the big twin kicks to life, the blast of hot air spitting from the downward facing exhaust tips becomes perceptible at your left boot, and the roar from the unbaffled exhaust (as ordered by this bike's future owner) is a seismic, wake-the-dead flavor of loud.
It's best to gingerly settle your butt onto the tiny seat and find your most comfortable spot while you commit those unlabled right and left controls to memory, since commanding this 460 lb animal demands every ounce of your attention.
On the Road: Wallflowers need not apply
However, there are also plenty of feral edges to the Black Flag's personality, including engine oil which sloshes in a frame window, front suspension components which visibly bounce up and down in accordance to road irregularity, and-- last but not least-- an exposed primary belt which tried to eat my jeans. No joke.
As unrefined as the Black Flag may seem (and as indisputably uncomfortable as its vestigial saddle is), this bike's personality comes across so strongly that you'll either fall in lust, or hate it so much you'll never want to set eyes on it again.
Conclusion: A bike not intended most (sane or reasonable) riders
Unlike by-the-books power cruisers, the Confederate Black Flag takes a single-minded approach to design and executes it without taking any shortcuts. It's a potent performer with train-like acceleration, solid handling, and extremely effective brakes. It also harbors trying ergonomics, an exposed belt that's a menace to loose bits of clothing, and a cylinder head intent on frying the inside of your right thigh.
Most level headed motorcyclists will scoff at this high-priced, low production volume cruiser. But if you're looking for one of the most extreme (and expensive) motorcycles on the market, Confederate's Black Flag will fill a need few other bikes can satisfy.