Foundry's Matchless Bobber
By Anthony van Someren - 09 Jul 14
Coming into the scene from modern bikes and sports-nakeds, old school brands like Matchless have never really been on my personal radar. I appreciate the heritage and the die-hard classic following, but I wasn't expecting to fall in love with one, and certainly not a bobber. But that's exactly what happened when I saw this bike in the flesh at the BSMC III exhibition, built by Foundry Motorcycles. The lucky owner of this bike is Mick, a Buell-riding paramedic who actually wanted to by "Old '56", Foundry's T110 bobber, but with old T110's being hard to get hold of, and unable to wrench Old '56 away from it's owner, he had to 'settle' for something else. ...I think he got an upgrade. After plenty of Foundry coffee and a number of Saturday deliberations, plan T110 morphed into a sweet running Matchless G9 and the challenge of creating a similar look and feel was on. Tom & Simon tell it from here... "Mick wanted the option of ‘returning to standard’, which is always a challenge, but not an uncommon request and the Matchless having a bolt on subframe is perfect for that. The 500cc G9 has a good looking pre-unit engine and when well set up, has plenty of grunt for the type of bike Mick was after, an early 50’s period style hard tail bobber." "The frame’s not as good looking or inconspicuous as the Triumph with a dubious looking cast centre section, but removing the rear sub fame and springs and replacing with a Foundry built hard tail cleaned the look of the frame considerably. ... Mick tracked the build pretty closely and as suggestions were made, produced his own Photoshop renderings to check out our ideas, ...pretty good for a paramedic." "The colour was probably the area of greatest debate. It’s so tempting on a bike of this type to stick with a black frame and just colour the tanks, but we wanted to give it a different feel altogether. We moved away from Mick’s original idea to keep the Matchless chrome, maroon and gold tank and the light grey frame and darker grey tanks worked out really well. The only nod to the original Maroon and gold scheme is the tank badge and the Foundry Brand on the oil tank courtesy of Dennis at D-Lucks, he matched the ‘worn’ look of the tank badges perfectly." "Originally, the pipes were to be wrapped like ‘Old ‘56”, but Tom produced such a neat pair of short twin pipes with double flared ends that they were left unwrapped. They’re un-baffled and sound great, not too loud, but with a perfect crackle." Simon built the seat cantilevered seat from scratch, starting off with a long nose tucked into the cut out at the back of the tank and on coil springs, but it looked contrived and all wrong. Version two shortened the seat and moved it back and onto scissor springs. The balance of the bike was restored again and the riding position’s now really comfortable. The tank ‘cut out’ now houses most of the electrics. "We feel that with all good custom machines, the art is in getting the balance and attitude of the machine correct and with the ‘old school’ bikes our aim is to give the impression that the bike could have come out of the factory looking as it does now. There’s a lot of work to give the impression that nothing has changed!" Other Modifications include:- Handmade oil tank and battery box, Custom rear fender, 12 volt conversion, LED Rear light, 7 inch ‘hot rod’ headlamp with machined mounts, Modified Teledraulic forks with exposed springs, Custom bars with Amal levers and grips, Side mounted original Smiths speedo, Skateboard wheel chain guide, Rebuilt 19 inch wheels with painted rims S/S spokes and Avon Tyres, Rebuilt Magneto and customer overhauled engine and gearbox., Canister type remote oil filter "The bike’s probably lost about 50 kilo’s and is a hoot to ride, with the usual reservation about 60 year old drum brakes. After numerous visits and total emersion into the custom bike world, his Missus still can’t see what all the fuss is about, but Mick’s got his dream bike." We think this bike strikes the perfect balance between a classic motorcycle and a timeless build. The components and silhouette may be classic, but the bobber stance and finish suggest something a little fresher and completely relevant in the modern retro custom scene. But sod all the justification and opinion. It's just beautifully put together, extremely pretty, and I want one. Check out Tom & Simon's shop & cafe in Chichester and see more from them online on The Bike Shed’s Foundry MC pages and on their Facebook and Website.