Boutique motorcycle outfit Confederate Motorcycles is changing its name and making the switch from building bikes powered by big V-twin engines to ones with electric motors, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The Alabama-based company was founded in 1991 and is known for high-end, handcrafted motorcycles with a signature naked industrial style that cost upwards of $155,000 and have been owned by celebrities like Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.
Confederate president Matt Chambers told the newspaper that he thinks the company has started to lose business because of the name.
“We’ve missed out on branding opportunities. So, it’s time to retire it,” Chambers said.
The company doesn’t use any ‘Stars and Bars’ or Confederate battle flag imagery, and Chambers recently told Jalopnik that he’s glad the South lost the Civil War. He said the name was a salute to the good Southern principles, and that the company’s motto, “The Art of Rebellion,” is a reference to a cerebral and spiritual one.
Moving forward, the company will be known as Curtiss Motorcycle Co., after aviation pioneer Glenn H. Curtiss. Confederate’s bikes are all named after airplanes, and the company owns the rights to use the Curtiss name and is already selling merchandise featuring it on its website.
Chambers also told the Times that the company has taken its current bikes as far as it can, so its next cruiser will be battery-powered and feature twin electric motors developed by California’s Zero Motorcycles.
A Confederate representative would not confirm the details in the Los Angeles Times report to Fox News, but said an official announcement on the company’s future would be coming in a few weeks.