By Graham Collins: As a motorcyclist and bike lover my attention is always drawn to that standout custom machine shining jewel-like amongst the stock bikes. Don’t get me wrong, the stock bikes are trick and drool-worthy (and what I own) but there’s always an air of excited anticipation when you approach a custom bike. A feast for the eyes and senses as you assimilate the styling with the technical. What was the donor bike; engine; suspension; carburation; dials; tank; paint; polish; etc etc….

Harley Davidson, Foundry Motorcycles, garage talk, Zero West wacthes
Foundry custom motorcycle, Cafe Racer, Zero West
Workshop Foundry motorcycles, Tom working on electrics, Zero West

Arriving at Foundry Motorcycles on a chilly and damp January morning it soon became apparent there wasn’t a stock bike in sight. Tom Simpson, owner, designer, craftsman and all round great bloke greeted us with coffee and kitkats (always a good start) and opened his workshop to us. Andrew was there on a mission to get some promo shots and we’d commissioned our friend and pro-photographer Chris Ison to take them. I was there to look at bikes and understand the process of creating a custom bike masterpiece. I’m sure I was supposed to be concentrating on the shoot but it was soon apparent that that was going to be secondary!

Foundry Motorcycles Workshop, Zero West

“What makes Foundry Motorcycle machinery stand out is Tom’s philosophy to incorporate new ideas with every build. By not formalising what he does means he keeps everything unique.”

Custom castings on a Harley Davidson, taken by Zero West

Talking to Tom it was immediately apparent that his bikes and our watches have a similar ethos, i.e. stylised and engineered designs created around a stock core. In his case it’s the engine and in ours it’s the movement. The parallels don’t end there though because although Tom’s bikes look “out-there” they are designed to be ridden, which is a skilful balance born out of a deep understanding and passion for his craft.

Cafe Racer drawing at Foundry Motorcycles
Custom Foundry Motorcycle helmet with cool illustration in black and white
Rev Counter, Foundry Motorcycles

From concept to reality – One of Foundry’s other iconic builds…The mashed-up Norton featherbed frame with Triumph twin motor…the ultimate café racer?

Cafe Racer illustration of a Triton, Foundry Motorcycles,
Triton custom motorcycle build by Foundry Motorcycles

Another chord that struck us too was that Tom knows every square millimetre of everything he makes, as we do at Zero West. His skills are multi-faceted and in a former career he was a blacksmith. He casts his own parts, machines components, welds frames, forms his own panels, rebuilds engines and even configures keyless app based ignition and strategically conceals cameras!

Garage talk at Foundry Motorcycles with Zero West Watches, Harley Davidson and Cafe Racers.

We spent a thoroughly fascinating morning with Tom. He was gracious with his time and allowed us free run of his workshop emporium. I was in my element and blown away by his creations, each one a totally unique work of art. Tom is Foundry Motorcycles and his energy and enthusiasm is infectious and I saw many parallels between him and us. Check them out at foundry motorcycles

LS1- Landspeed bullhead watch from Zero West on leather motorcycle seat

LS-1 Landspeed bullshead (1927)

RAF-C aviation watch form Zero West Watches on metal motorcycle footplate

RAF-C (1940)

CR-1 Cafe Racer Chronograph from Zero West, on cafe racer motorbike

CR-1 Café Racer (1950s)