To the Power-Mad, With Love: The Hellcat Combat
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because (with apologies to Big Daddy Kane) it’s so fast that its name should be a verb.
By Eugene S. Robinson
As far as we’re concerned, hitting 150 miles an hour on a motorcycle — the fastest we’ve ever been — would warrant a Good Sh*t all its own. At that speed, the slightest bump, pebble or jolt could accelerate your entry into heaven that much faster should you crash. Which only adds to the thrill.
So when we learned Confederate Motorcycles, a 23-year-old boutique American manufacturer of crazily exotic street bikes based in Birmingham, Alabama, that makes references to Oscar Wilde and Caravaggism when it talks about its bikes, we knew it meant one thing and one thing only: whatever they’re selling is going to be one wild-assed ride.
It might still be worth it for the hard-core speed demons among us…
And one of those wild-assed rides? The X132 Hellcat Combat, which left our 150-mile-an-hour mark far behind during last August’s speed trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The new line in the salty sand? A spine-stiffening 177.596 miles per hour. On two wheels.
Now here’s our socially responsible nod to sanity: In many states if you get clocked doing over twice the speed limit you not only get the vehicle you’re driving impounded, you also go to jail. Which might still be worth it for the hard-core speed demons among us who are willing to trade a little time in the cooler for the sheer thrill of it all. But they’d have to be rich hardcore speed demons since, with a $60,000 price tag, losing your Hellcat on a lark, even one as important as a speedy joy ride, might hurt a bit.
What doesn’t hurt at all is the fact that all of these bikes are custom-made — a claim the company burnishes by announcing that no two are alike, with each made to order for riders seduced by the promise of owning something anti-mass-manufactured. In photos, the Hellcats all share a similar styling, with a sort of Mad Max-esque hunch. Which all fits the profile of a person for whom going 177.596 miles an hour satiates their hunger for law-breaking peak experience. So perhaps it’s fitting then that the company was started by H. Matthew Chambers. A trial lawyer.
But the best explanation of why we love it so much is best summed up by Donald Sutherland’s character in Kelly’s Heroes, a World War II Hollywood heist flick, who says his tank is geared to go as fast forward as it does backward, “because we like to be able to get out of trouble just as quickly as we get into it.”
Truer words were never spoken. Speaking of which: if there’s an extra one sitting around? We want.