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Cycle Business

Passion, craftsmanship, and function over form are the cornerstones of Confederate Motor Co.'s design ethic. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll find three more elements.

1. No Compromise.

Confederate racked up "huge" cost overruns developing the Hellcat. But the company's founder, Matt Chambers, refused to tamp down expenses on parts and prototyping. "There's no way to achieve perfection at half the price," he says.

2. Risk It.

Many in the industry encouraged Chambers to build the Hellcat with Harley-Davidson parts, reasoning that if the bikes bombed, he could gut them and sell the parts to Harley owners. Chambers refused; the Hellcat's design is based on a unique, proprietary platform.

3. Beyond Style.

At Confederate, "style" is a four-letter word — and a killer when the goal is to build bikes that will last for generations. Says Confederate design chief J.T. Nesbitt: "Our bikes aren't styled, so potentially, they'll never be dated."

A version of this article appeared in the August 2005 issue of Fast Company magazine.