Rebuilding New Orleans from Within
July 26, 2006 11:36 AM   Subscribe

An Exclusive and Brutally Frank Report by JT Nesbitt, a New Orleans resident and the designer of the radically cool Confederate Motorcycles' B91 Wraith (pictured here), in the wake of the destruction of the company's factory during Hurricane Katrina. via
posted by fenriq (21 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"The angry sphincter moved with almost peaceful silence on the radar"

Gripping narrative.
posted by fleacircus at 11:49 AM on July 26, 2006

Interesting read, thanks fenriq.
posted by rand at 12:41 PM on July 26, 2006

I wonder if that is the same JT Nesbitt written about here; I remember reading his column regularly in Iron Horse Magazine (now The Horse) in the early 90's.
posted by TedW at 1:08 PM on July 26, 2006

that is a really interesting read, thanks!
posted by das_2099 at 1:13 PM on July 26, 2006

That is one ugly motorcycle.
posted by nyxxxx at 1:45 PM on July 26, 2006

There's just nothing radical or cool about yet another "custom" motorcycle wrapped around a vertical V-Twin engine. As a concept, it's incredibly "done," to the point of being bad "reality" television, for a long time now.
posted by paulsc at 1:53 PM on July 26, 2006

paulsc: did you actually look at it? I mean, nyxxxx has a point, it is ugly, but damn, I want one.

Though, the yankee in me gives pause to buying anything with the word confederate in it.
posted by Freen at 2:00 PM on July 26, 2006

"...paulsc: did you actually look at it?..."
posted by Freen at 5:00 PM EST on July 26

Yes, I did. The front forks are bad recreations of 1930's Jawa pressed steel forks, but in carbon fiber, a material that can fail catastrophically from fatigue, crack propagation, and matrix delamination. Old structural ideas executed in new materials does not good design make.
posted by paulsc at 2:16 PM on July 26, 2006

There's just nothing radical or cool about yet another "custom" motorcycle wrapped around a vertical V-Twin engine

Hey, that's not fair, you should let us know what sort of motorcycle you think is radical or cool, so someone can chime in with "your's suck too".
posted by 445supermag at 3:37 PM on July 26, 2006

I think someone working with an inline 4 or V 4 chassis is of far greater interest to me than the V-twins. I'm also quite disappointed that almost every motorcycle manufacturer of late has embraced the V-Twin as the end-all, be all of motorcycling.
posted by bz at 4:01 PM on July 26, 2006

Yeah that bike is pretty bland compared to most of the stuff you see being made on the discovery channel.
posted by delmoi at 4:05 PM on July 26, 2006

paulsc, what bike IS radical to you? The Yamaha Deinonychus? The Dodge Tomahawk? The Robrady rMoto?

Let's hear it.

delmoi, the ones you see on tv are one-off's, the Wraith is a production motorcycle that kicks ass out on the road. But I think its funny that you call it bland!
posted by fenriq at 4:30 PM on July 26, 2006

You're partly right, fenriq. Many of the bikes on the Discovery Channel use bits and pieces of catalog items from various companies. Sure, the seats and fuel tanks may have been hand-crafted. The wheel rims may have been milled out via lazer etching. The frames, however, are often stock pieces inspired by Jesse James' Diabolo design. The headers for the V-twins? Delivered from a supplier. Hell, the belt-drive mechanisms on most of those bikes might as well be identical. Kit forks, kit swingarms - only one or two bikes may have had their own instrument panels.

While the customs are eye-catching, they can run the risk of becoming "tank-slappers", as they're often hastily produced, with pieced literally hammered into place at the last moment. Ride one of those in a tight curve, and it could easily jackknife on you.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:48 PM on July 26, 2006

I don't know anything about motorcycles, but I do know something about New Orleans, and I was really sad to hear JT get it so wrong about our Mayor. It didn't have a damn thing to do with the race card, and in fact a much higher percentage of non-blacks voted for him this time around. Even with the demographics flipped-around, there were still plenty of people, of all races, who remember the good things he's done for the city and voted accordingly. He's our mayor and I'm proud of what he's done.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 5:45 PM on July 26, 2006

Mr. Gunn, might that be due in part to a large percentage of the black population still being dislocated and unable to vote? I don't know, that's why I'm asking.

I thought Nagin was doing a pretty darned good job as well, that's part of the reason this caught my attention.

Smart Dalek, I know I don't want to be wondering if my bike is gonna hold together around a hairpin. There is a local custom shop called Santa Cruz Customs that makes bikes specifically for ripping up our superb mountain roads. They're practical customs (i.e. not with those insanely huge back wheels and no clearance). I don't want one but I like them when I see 'em.
posted by fenriq at 7:24 PM on July 26, 2006

"paulsc, what bike IS radical to you?..."
posted by fenriq at 7:30 PM EST on July 26

Actually, I'm not nearly as impressed by radical concepts, as I am by the long march of evolutionary craft.
posted by paulsc at 8:01 PM on July 26, 2006

meh, exclusive doesn't mean good. Brutal? Not really, unless you mean opinionated. Ugly ugly bike. What is radical about it? Its ugliness?
posted by wilful at 11:28 PM on July 26, 2006

I'm also quite disappointed that almost every motorcycle manufacturer of late has embraced the V-Twin as the end-all, be all of motorcycling.

Buy a Triumph with a triple in it, which is about 75% of all new Triumphs.
posted by vbfg at 2:05 AM on July 27, 2006

paulsc, I can understand your perspective I think. Its starting from a solid design and then evolving it through time and through technological advances. Although, truth be told, I prefer the classic look of the old boxers to the new Bimmers myself. But not for my riding bike. I like my V-Strom.

wilful, well let's see, yes, he's reporting on what he thinks is going on from ground level in New Orleans so its going to be opinionated. The brutal part is that he doesn't pull punches and says exactly what he thinks. As for the bike's radical aspects, its a motorcycle with a 91 cubic inch engine that weighs right around 400 pounds, the engine was made from pulling apart a 7-cylinder radial airplane engine, it has a fuel cell mounted very low on the frame to help keep the center of gravity low, makes ample use of composite materials (which go to keeping the bike light), has the engine mounted forward of the center of the bike and has some pretty decent performance specs too.
posted by fenriq at 9:50 AM on July 27, 2006

Not to nitpick, but a BMW motorcyle is a Beemer (or Beamer); a BMW automobile is called a Bimmer.
posted by saladin at 10:50 AM on July 27, 2006

Ahh, thanks, saladin, I'd not known that, I always thought Bimmer didn't "work" as a nickname. Beamer does though.
posted by fenriq at 8:06 PM on July 27, 2006

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