Confederate Motorcycles hand-manufactures super high-end motorcycles in New Orleans. These are not bespoke; the company designs a cycle and then hand-manufactures a limited run (usually less than 100) of the design. Customers pay anywhere from £50,000 - £100,000 for a Confederate motorcycle, depending on design and run.
It should be obvious that Confederate’s target customers are ultra-wealthy collectors. Many store them indoors and treat them like museum pieces. Some ride them, but they certainly do not race them. Yet, every year, Confederate takes a motorcycle out to the salt flats in Utah and attempts to set a land speed record for their engine class. Why?
Going out to the salt flats adds no direct value to the motorcycles themselves. The modifications required to race on the salt flats are not directly applied to Confederate’s manufacturing process. Ultimately the motorcycles have to stand on their own, regardless of the results of racing on the salt flats. The product (or service) needs to be good enough to meet the SHARP resource requirements.
But the process leverages and extends Confederate’s resource base. First, the design and manufacturing teams extend their general knowledge about high performance motorcycles. This is a rare commodity outside a racing team. Given that Confederate motorcycles are manufactured from exotic materials (titatnium, carbon fiber, etc), there are few exemplars to copy or learn from about on-the-road performance. Second, the documentation from the racing effort provides valuable content for distribution to existing customers. Why is this important? Because the person most likely to buy a Confederate motorcycle already owns one. Chasing a land speed record helps to demonstrate to owners the company’s commitment to a vision of unconventional design, rebellion, and unmatched quality.