Anyone with an email address knows that the internet is rife with scammers. It’s easy to get hoodwinked if you’re not vigilant—but luckily this particular story has a happy ending. It starts with a scam, and ends with a stunning Moto Guzzi street tracker from one of the UK’s best custom builders.
Before this Guzzi’s owner commissioned it, he was trawling eBay for a new whip, and stumbled upon a Moto Guzzi V65 that Tom Simpson at Foundry Motorcycle had built. But something felt off, so he reached out to Tom to verify that the advert was legit. It wasn’t.
The phone call wasn’t a total waste, and the guys ended up connecting. “I let him know that I had a number of the ingredients to make a very similar bike waiting in the donor bike-slash-parts cupboard,” says Tom. “A few calls later and the build was signed off.”
Tom used the older Foundry build from the fraudulent ad as a template, but took this bike in a fresher direction. He used a different donor for starters: a 1994 Moto Guzzi 750 XPA. If you don’t know it, it’s a modified version of Moto Guzzi’s NTX 750 adventure bike, used by the Italian police.
Working from his workshop in West Sussex, Tom tore the bike down to its rolling chassis, and removed “all traces of Italian wiring.” He stripped the wheels down too, then had the hubs painted in Midnight Blue, before sending them off to Wheel in Motion. They came back laced to a pair of 18” Morad rims, and wrapped in dual-sport Heidenau K60 tires.
The frame was de-tabbed before Tom built a set of custom mounts to relocate the bike’s vital electronics to under the tank. Out back, he fabricated a kicked-up subframe, with a Frenched LED taillight and new shock mounts.
Then it was time to dive into the parts bin. “It’s rare that I don’t have a set of Biltwell Inc. Tracker bars on the shelf,” says Tom, “and I’d not long previously bought a Kawasaki KH250 fuel tank for exactly this purpose.”
A new front end was cobbled together from a combination of leftover Guzzi parts. “It allowed me to run a single 320mm Brembo disc and caliper combination, while being a bit shorter than the original Marzocchi setup.” New YSS shocks do duty out back.
Next, Tom built an aluminum electrics box to sit under the custom seat. It houses a Magnetti Marelli Lithium battery, an Electronik Sasche digital ignition module, and a Motogadget mo.unit blue controller and mo.lock keyless ignition. It also doubles up as a support for a two-into-one air intake of his own design.
Up front, the yokes were cleaned up and modded to house a tiny Motogadget speedo. Tom fitted the Biltwell bars with Honda CBR600RR controls, Motone push buttons and Kellerman bar-end turn signals.
A lot of thought went into the exhaust system too. “Even though the pipes I’d made for the previous V65 were a hit, I needed to do something to ensure the bikes remained individual,” he explains. The answer was a stainless steel two-into-one system, with a silencer under the transmission that exits via a slotted aluminum cover.
“I also fitted a lambda boss for more effective tuning. This setup also gives a fantastic sound—rather than a small block Guzzi, the way this sounds you’d expect to see a V8 supercar coming down the road. I pride myself on trying to create exhausts that sound great rather than just being loud.”
Tom’s background is in blacksmithing, so Foundry builds tend to feature at least one sand cast aluminum part. He tried something new this time around though, by using a 3D-printed mold to cast a new front engine cover. It turned out great—so Tom is likely to offer these for sale soon.
The seat was also created using a new technique—Tom used a two-part pourable foam that he says is remarkably comfortable, but also tedious to work with. Trim Deluxe took care of the upholstery.
Tom finished the Guzzi off with adjustable rear-sets and removable pillion pegs, then tore everything down for final prep. The engine, transmission and drive shaft housing were blasted and Cerakote-painted in Burnt Bronze, before Moto Euro helped rebuild them with new sundries.
S Jago Designs handled the Midnight Blue paint, while Tom put some hours into making the aluminum bits shine. “I thought, for therapeutic reasons, I’d do all the polishing myself this time,” he says. “Never again. It may be super satisfying but it’s way too messy for me.”
As usual, Tom’s created something compact and unfussy, while still adding a handful of truly artful touches. And it reportedly rides as good as it looks too.
“The Guzzi is a huge amount of fun to ride,” he confirms. “With its trials-style gearing it’s definitely a bike for the urban environment and windy roads rather than the motorways, but with a well-sorted 750 cc motor and weighing in at only 148 kg [326 lbs] wet, it is very capable of delivering a big smile.”
What could have ended up as a cautionary tale of an empty bank account and an empty garage, turned out as a custom motorcycle fairy tale instead. And if you’d like a slice of that happiness for yourself, there’s good news: Tom is currently collecting small block Guzzis to build a few more customs in this style.