Foundry MC The Pipeline
By Ross Sharp - 20 Oct 14
Foundry Motorcyles have delivered yet again. Not just a lovely looking bike with some nice detailed finishing touches but something with a genuine wow factor, a result that is becoming more elusive as the custom scene grows and standards are set stratospherically high. Breaking the mould, experimentation and plain old fashioned balls in a wheelbarrow bike building is what fuels the creative fire, keeping sheds warm across the land. After a succession of boxer BMW projects and a couple of Harley Sportster’s Tom & Simon of Foundry were looking for a new ‘shop project and a fresh direction. Moto Guzzis have always been appealing with their charismatic ‘aero’ style engine that, like the BMW’s, is a gradual development of a really old school machine. Not being Guzz-istas, they bought a 1998 Moto Guzzi 1100i Sport from a couple of photos and assumed that under it’s extensive panel work would be some form of lattice frame as on the Le Mans, lending itself to a café racer update. Once in the shop, they realized that it’s a different beast altogether and quite some beast at that! The guys tell a good story, so here it is, in their words. I'm going to sit back and stare at those exhaust pipes; for a long time. "Pretty much everything hangs from a single box section with the headstock at one end and the swing arm at the other. The more we removed from the frame, the better it looked. The simplicity of the structure gives a ‘blank canvas’ for new designs, but there lay a problem, after a couple of mock ups, we found ourselves doing styling concepts for what might be a new generation of production Guzzi’s, which wasn’t what we wanted". "Grumpy fuel injection and mega wiring looms are not really café racer attributes so the whole lot was pulled off. It just kept getting better and better! A discussion with an old buddy Richard Oakes of Blackjack Cars seeded the idea of a single twin-choke Weber carb, but our 44 IDF is ‘down draught’, straddling the main frame (well it’s got to go somewhere!). Carb balancing was eliminated, but a big hole in the fuel tank was needed. The pipe work for the inlet and the desire to run the exhaust over the ‘heads, started to give the look we were after and The Pipeline’ was christened. There was only one way forward – mega industrial". "Bare stainless tank, inlet duct, 2 inch exhaust with heat shields and high level end box and inlet manifolds are all fabricated and finished in house. As you can imagine, our stainless TIG skills have come on leaps and bounds. Stainless is great stuff to weld, but hell does it move about a lot!" "Right from the outset we wanted to keep the back end of the bike clean looking and the seat to seem like it’s supported by the ‘Pipeline’ exhaust. In there’s actually a narrow monocoque sub-frame buried between the twin pipes, which holds the seat and also carries the power to the hand made tail light". "We’ve recently discovered Moto Gadget, the German manufacturer of electrical components for motorcycles. It’s really tasteful stuff and beautifully engineered. After using their bar end indicators on a couple of projects, we decided that The Pipeline deserved ‘the full system’ and so, M-Switches (handle bar switches), M-Unit (main electronic controls/relays etc), M-Blaze (bar end indicators), M-Button (signal transmitter)and M-Lock (it had to have keyless ignition!) are all linked together with Moto Gadgets micro wiring system. Not a task for the ‘chubby fingered’ mechanic". "The headlight cowl houses a Silent Hectic ignition, a Ducati SS headlamp, the keyless ignition and a Daytona digital/analogue speedo, which is driven electronically from the gearbox". "As usual with our builds, it’s been stripped back to basics, all blasted and powder coated, the engine’s had a top end rebuild and all bearings and bushes replaced. The process was pretty straight forward. Si did a couple of scribbles on the back of an envelope and sat back, then Tom spent several hundred hours getting very, very hot and swearing a lot, easy eh! This one’s not for the feint hearted, but the seating position is original and the bar positions are comfortable. It first turned a wheel for the Distinguished Gent’s Ride in London and is great to ride. The throttle’s smooth and responsive with ‘bags’ of grunt. The end cans are decorative, so even though the exhaust’s been ‘choked’ to get the right back-pressure, it barks like a very big dog. We thought it’d be a Marmite bike, but so far it seems like most people like Marmite"! Having seen The Pipeline at Goodwood Revival Meeting a few weeks ago I can confirm the extreme, yeasty flavour of this Marmite machine, but my god, put the toaster on and start racking up the sliced white. For me, this is bike building at its finest; rulebook torn up, creativity to the fore, stomping down an untrodden path. If the chaps could take an angle grinder to the decimal point on the price tag I'd be writing a cheque right now, unless they take rubbery ones! If you're interesting in owning a truly individual Moto Guzzi and have a grown up cheque book, give Tom & Simon a call on +44 (0) 1243 532 888 or send them an email.