Confederate P120 Fighter Combat | First Ride

Combat sport

By Alan Cathcart, Photography by Steve Bohn

During repeated runs up and down the twisting, 18-mile "driveway" to the Circle-X Ranch, I was impressed by the unexpectedly good ride quality. The combination of top-drawer components and low unsprung weight delivers excellent suspension compliance and feedback, though the footpegs drag a bit too easily in turns. The Fighter doesn't especially like cornering under power, either. That fat rear tire and massive power will push the front noticeably under anything more than partial throttle. Understeering tendencies aside, the only other negative point was the brakes. Even after accounting for brake pads that were incompatible with the metal-matrix rotors (an oversight that has since been corrected), the single front disc still lacks enough bite to stop this machine from the high velocities it can achieve.

Though the fat rear tire fouls the handling in the curves, it sure can lay down the power on the straights, and this is where the Fighter is most at home. The dual-counterbalanced JIMS motor is remarkably smooth, and provides plenty of grunt and very satisfying acceleration. The bike surges forward irresistibly in any gear and at any speed, and it's not uncommon to find yourself well in excess of 100 mph before you realize it.

Confederate will produce just 50 examples of the limited-edition P120 Fighter Combat, which like all Confederates is expensive at $72,000-roughly the same price as a Ducati Desmosedici RR. Compared to the previous Hellcat and Wraith models, however, the Fighter feels less raw and more refined without sacrificing any of the thrills when you twist your wrist and thunder off toward the horizon.

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