Pierre Terblanche Joins Confederate Motorcycles

03/12/2013 @ 1:28 am, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS


When we last caught up with Pierre Terblanche, the he had left a frustrating position with the Piaggio Group, that saw the South-African creating several intriguing concepts for the Moto Guzzi brand that never saw the light of day, and he was thus headed to work for Norton.

With work there being a non-starter, rumors pegged Terblanche coming stateside to work for Confederate Motorcycless, but with those rumors over a year old now, we assumed the thought to collaborate with the Southern marques had passed. However, our inbox today tells us that seems not to be the case, as Confederate Motorcycles has announced that Pierre Terblanche is the company’s new head of product development.

Noted for his work with some of Ducati’s most iconic v-twin motorcycles, many may remember Terblanche as the man responsible for the first-generation Ducati Multistrada & Ducati Hypermotard motorcycles, along with the iconic Supermono, MH900e, and Sport Classic. However, it goes without saying Terblanche is best remembered (for better or worse) for the Ducati Superbike 999, a highly polarizing street bike model that followed Massimo Tamburini’s superbike classic, the Ducati Superbike 916, and its progeny.

Love it or hate it, the 999 was undoubtedly a radical departure for the Bologna Brand (perhaps too great of a departure for many Ducatisti at the time), though its popularity with connoisseurs seems to grow with each passing year. Willing to take risks and push the envelope with his designs, we think Terblanche’s talents should be put to good use at Confederate .

“Terblanche is a rebel who by nature is dissatisfied with the status quo, and this is imperative in advancing Confederate’s iconoclastic design preceptsm,” said Confederate Motorcycles Founder & CEO, H. Matthew Chambers. “He’s also intimidatingly intelligent, fiercely courageous, and outspoken to a fault, so as far as Confederate is concerned, what’s not to like?”

The last time we talked to Chambers, he intimated some intriguing thoughts on the future technical and design trends for the motorcycle industry, which can only benefit from the touches of someone like Terblanche, and we are already excited to see what fruit may come from their labors together.

“As a designer, I’ve admired Confederate from afar for a long time, producing a series of motorcycles that have been truly groundbreaking and individual,” explained Terblanche. “It was too good a chance to pass up, to be involved in taking the company further forward, as it expands production but without losing one iota of its unique character. After working for large companies where you have to have a committee meeting before you add another bolt or washer, joining Confederate will bring real creative freedom to do some great design work in an unfettered, unstructured environment.”

“I’m relishing having the man who takes the big decisions being in his office just the other side of the factory floor from where I’ll be working,” he added. “Plus, in doing business, Americans have a refreshing can-do attitude where the glass is always half-full, and people here in the South are also extremely friendly and open, as well as courteous. Working here takes me back to my early beginnings in South Africa, where you just went ahead and got things done – I really believe that in a couple of years we’ll have some great new Confederate products out there, because this is a genuinely creative company focused on smashing the glass ceiling of convention.”

Source: Confederate Motorcycles

  • Gutterslob

    Confederate Supermono does have a nice ring to it, though I’d assume Confederate prefer more rebel-like names. Maybe something like Confederate Ronin.

    Then again, he could create another Multistrada, in which case it’d be called Confederate Shameful.

  • Ceolwulf

    If they can get over the psychological imperative to make everything some variation on a “cruiser” they’ll be fine. Buell has proved it’s possible to make a not-cruiser in the US. A Confederate with a riding position designed for something other than fashion would be very interesting.

  • I am and always have been a big fan of Mr. Terblanche, though unfortunately for him the 999 was too far ahead of its time. That every design of his I can think of has aged well, and are even more striking and beautiful in retrospect, is quite a testament to his vision (even the multistrada). I can’t wait to see what he does at Confederate and I hope that it is in “sporting” categories.

  • Tcrook21

    Wasn’t there about five comments that are suddenly not here?

  • Yup.

  • Andrew

    He’s done a lot of interesting stuff but like many inspired designers he is a hit and miss type. Personally I was very afraid of the things he was doing to Moto Guzzi… I think I will be more comfortable if he is messing with bikes like Confederate that I’d have no chance in hell of ever owning anyway.

  • mudgun

    I love suspense…

  • is there a link to a story about what went wrong at Norton?


  • Colin

    I really liked most of his Ducati work and loved the Sport Classics and 999, beautiful bike in person. I also like Confederate for not following the norm and crafting rolling art. Motorcycles in this price range are not bought purely on their spec sheets but must be driven by emotion and someone like Terblanche may be able to give some good direction. I am looking forward to the results and will buy another lottery ticket just in case.

  • anders eliasson

    Confederate bikes aren’t my cup of tea, but I like what this guy says in the last paragraph :^D …


  • The Wraith is the only iconic machine in Confederate’s stable. The other bikes are machinist masturbations lacking conceptual distinction or design presence IMHO. Very much looking forward to Terblanche take as clearly Confederate management agree future machines will need to much more innovative than the very disappointing Fighter.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    Pierre may want to ring up Erik Buell to find out if he can borrow some notes on how to build a sporty, cutting edge, fun, or interesting bike around a giant hunk-o-crap American V Twin. I’d say it can’t be done…no, I’d say it shouldn’t be done based on what’s already been attempted.

    And could someone explain why it’s now written into law that this has to be the formula for an American bike?

    I went to the confederate motorcycles website. Is this satire? Is this a joke on rich people? $72,000 are you kidding?

    Two nagging questions: who would buy one, and why? I think we all know the answer.

  • outriden

    this can only be good news for confederate. they really need help in the design department.

  • And the list of those who will drink the sweet Southern Kool-Aid continues to grow.