If ever there was a man modest about his talents it’s Tom Simpson of Foundry Motorcycle. Tom is one of the more old school bike builders out there who possesses traditional machining and panel beating skills that make us British Racing Green with envy. A bolt-on shop this ain’t. He’s also not afraid to try new things, like fitting twin choke Weber carbs on Guzzis and Airhead Beemers. To set this Triumph Bonnie tacker project apart from a crowded crowd Tom decided to ditch stock tank and make his own.
Wooden bucks were made for the tank and seat/tail with shapes merging the café racer and tracker styles. Annealed aluminium sheet was formed by spending many hours on the sand bag, planishing hammer and English wheel. The resulting curvy silhouette is more classical than the current trend of super slim and aggressive trackers. The front number board was made in the same way, with the addition of sections of tube welded-in to house a pair of projector headlights. The side panels are also ally and feature neat scoops to direct fresh air to painted throttle bodies. The donor is a 2015 Bonneville so the ‘carbs’ are in fact hiding a full injection system.
The seat has been upholstered in the finest leather, trimmed from a hide destined for a Rolls-Royce and stitched to match the S.Jago Designs paintwork. Strictly a solo machine the pillion peg brackets were ground off and the subframe looped prior to re-finishing in gloss black. An LED stop/tail light has been grafted in leaving the extremely bright barend mounted Motogadget M-blaze indicators to alert other road users – sticking out so far on the extra wide tracker bars nobody will miss them. A Biltwell Whiskey Throttle and Recoil grips complete the cockpit.
A Motogadget motoscope speedo is set into a machined mount leaving the bars free from clutter making the Bonnie look much older than it actually is. Something that is ancient is the workshop lathe which dates back to the 19th century. Tom not only turned the footpegs but also the beehive style oil which looks way better than the original pressed ally heat exchanger. Here in the UK temperatures rarely get high enough even in traffic to trouble the robust old parallel twin.
Trackers rarely look the part on anything less than 19″ wheels so here the original hubs have been mirror polished and relaced to Morad alloy rims. Maxxis DTR-1 tyres are regulation fit for the UK flat track series and handily are road legal, so Tom fitted a pair. The fork is standard but the shocks have been upgraded to an adjustable pair from YSS.
The engine was relatively fresh so it just needed more bark to match the new look. The stainless exhaust, including silencers, was fabricated in house and polished to within an inch of its life. A refreshing change form the pie-cut, multi-weld showing off that seems to be all the rage at the moment. These motors benefit from a tune-up when running more open filters and pipes and this tracker now runs a full race remap.
We’re overdue a trip down to Chichester to see Tom and drink his coffee, hopefully we’ll have the chance to see this tasty tracker closeup and maybe ask for a lesson on the antique lathe. If you like what you see and want to learn some of the tricks of the trade Tom runs friendly workshop training sessions – dates and info on his website.
Images by Conrad Tracy