More than a year has passed since Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing split between Confederate Motorcycles and some of their previous employees. One well known name often associated with Confederate is that of designer J.T. Nesbitt, especially well known for the Wraith, a model that caught everyone a bit off guard with its very unique look and refreshing ideas about what an American motorcycle should be. The development of the Wraith has since been carried on by Confederate Motorcycles at their new home in Birmingham, Alabama and it has every indication of carrying the Confederate name forward as an American company building truly world class machines.
J.T. Nesbitt and former Confederate employee Dave Hargreaves, have since moved on and they’ve begun a new design company located in the French Quarter of New Orleans called Bienville Studios. It’s a lot of work getting a new company started and both J.T. and Dave divide their time between regular jobs and the studio. The studio helps focus their efforts and applies their talents designing motorcycles with ideas that could work well for a variety of motorcycle companies worldwide and as you look through their web site you can see some of the work they’ve been doing for the past eight months along with many concepts strictly developed as Bienville designs with nothing else in mind other than the creation of world class motorcycles in their own right.
One of their ideas that I believe has a lot of potential is the Bienville Motorbike, a modular motorcycle where the buyer has the ability to choose from five different body-styling kits, Café Racer, Touring, Dual-Sport, Bobber, and Standard. All body pieces are interchangeable which reduces production costs and yet allows maximum flexibility, even after purchase, the customer could have an entirely new motorcycle with the purchase of a new kit. Nice.
The Benelli Concept is firmly rooted in the big twin, great handling muscle bike idea we like so much around The Kneeslider. It combines a multitude of international design elements into a bike with a distinctly American flavor.
But the most interesting design from Bienville Studios is the Ghost (seen above), an inline 4 cylinder, supercharged, high speed, luxury touring machine. It will never be confused with a Japanese or European design, it has, as they describe, a fiercely American look. A weld free carbon fiber frame, LED lighting, multi link front and rear suspension; another concept that will most likely knock a few designers off balance. This bike needs to be built and I sincerely hope someone with similar thoughts can help Bienville Studios bring the concept to life.
It’s great to see industrial design is once again alive and breathing in the city of New Orleans and it’s also nice to know the design ideas of J.T. Nesbitt are flowing again. Welcome back, J.T.
Link: Bienville Studios
More designs after the jump: