You really can’t call your company Combat Motors and not have some inspiration from militaries past and present. Therefore, on April 2, 1991, such a company sprung into being in California, and set about both building up the contacts and partners within the motorcycle industry to make their ideas into reality, and also putting those ideas down on paper as designs. It wasn’t until 1994 that an actual prototype was rolled off the shop floor, but it lived up to the expectations of the company.
Fast forward 30 years, and the company is now located in Birmingham, Alabama, and has gained a reputation for building no-holds-barred limited edition motorcycles. These bikes both encompass the military theme that was the concept that started the company, as well as the domination of the thundering American V-twin. Each and every bike that leaves the assembly floor is hand built, and is personalized to each specific owner’s tastes and preferences. As such, despite being limited editions, each bike is, in effect, its own one-off motorcycle.
Many ask, however, except for naming each model after a legendary US military aircraft, what sets Combat Motors apart? What do they do differently that makes their limited edition motorcycles worth the often six-figure prices?
Military Not Just In Name
The first thing that really sets Combat Motors apart is that they don’t just base the names of their bikes on military aircraft, they are also made using military grade materials. Starting with the P-51 Combat Fighter motorcycle, the frame and swingarm of each bike is machined from solid billets of military-grade aluminum. This is the same metal, of the same grade, that is often used in the manufacture of combat aircraft frames and parts.
Also, much like the latest and greatest military fighters, the bikes don’t skimp out on the use of anodizing for both color and heat reflection, nor do they avoid using carbon composite materials where needed. What results are aluminum monocoque frames, single-piece swingarms, and carbon wheels that are literally stronger than even the most robust steel, yet light enough you can lift them with one finger when they do not have a tire mounted.
The Raw Heart Of An American Bike
It can be argued, and often successfully, that if it isn’t powered by a massive V-Twin engine, is it really an American motorcycle? Combat Motors thinks so, which is why the smallest V-Twin that they mount into the F-117 Fighter and the P-51 Combat Fighter is a 117 cubic inch, 56 degree air-cooled V-Twin that punches out a rumbling 120 HP and 120 lb-ft of torque.
The next step up is a 132 cubic inch monster that is the beating, beastly heart of the Combat Bomber and the FA-13 Combat Stealth Bomber. This paragon of raw muscle chucks out 120 HP and 145 lb-ft of tire shredding torque. And it’s not a slouch either, with power across the low and middle revs that will smash your eyeballs to the back of their sockets, if you hook up the clutch and throttle perfectly.
The all-new Combat Wraith, however, has the crown jewel of the model lineup. In cooperation with S&S Motors, the greatest builders of V-Twins in the US of A, for each Wraith, a Combat Motors 132 cubic inch V-Twin is given the full S&S X-Wedge treatment, and has come back to the shop with 145 HP and a nigh-unbelievable 160 lb-ft of torque. Seeing as the bike itself weighs just 560 lbs wet, that gives the bike a power-to-weight ratio of 0.26 HP per pound.
For those that prefer that in metric, that is just about 570 HP per ton. As a reference, a Porsche 918 Spyder hypercar manages a measly 521.8 HP per ton. The Combat Wraith is not waiting around for any German car anyways, it’ll already be heading to the horizon by the time the Porsche driver gets his foot down!
The United States, in the 2021 fiscal year budget, gave the Department of Defense a discretionary allowance of $705.39 billion. That is, in any measurement unit, a hell of a lot of greenbacks. One of the reasons that the budget is so high is that military equipment costs a lot, as it is specialized gear for a specialized use, and those defense partners need to recoup research, design, development, and manufacturing costs, and even then, sometimes they sell the gear to the DoD at a loss.
This is why the least expensive motorcycle from Combat Motors starts at $85,000, the F-117 Fighter. It’s not that it’s a company testing the limits of the American wallet, it costs so much because it is a highly specialized motorcycle that is customized and personalized to each owners’ specifications and preferences. Sure, you can get more powerful motorcycles from Italian and Japanese companies, but they are standard models that sell thousands of units each year.
With Combat Motors, your bike is your bike. You can have it bear your initials, you can specify the seat height within reason, you can have the handlebars rake back a little more, and the like. Within reason, you can do to the bike what you want during the ordering phase, and as each bike’s parts are made only after the order is placed, they can be customized to be your parts.
So if you want a Combat Motors motorcycle, expect to be paying military prices for a highly specialized piece of kit. It will come with exceptional power, hand-crafted quality, no-expenses-spared materials, and be the purest expression of the American custom motorcycle that money can buy.