Moto Guzzi Airtail
With a name like "Death Machines of London," one does not expect (or want) a delicate approach to designing custom motorcycles, and their newest creation is no exception. Built out of the remains of a 1981 Moto Guzzi Lemans MK2, the Airtail is as idiosyncratic as a bike can be, yet in its design one can palpably feel the care the team has put into making something its owner can call one of a kind. Working from its factory model, the team began by completely disassembling its engine, gearbox and well the rest of the bike; conducting a complete forensic inspection to make sure all the original parts still were at peak performance. Then, they set about rebuilding it within a new housing, substituting some parts here and there that utilized more recent technology. The Moto Guzzi’s instrumentation is now held within a bespoke dash and gains style points with its articulate inclusion of the warning lights and main switch from a 1940 Merlin Spitfire. The main frame flies with a heightened sense of minimalism, sporting the titular Airtail to let the whole assembly breath. Though this element gives the illusion of showing off all the inner workings of the speedster, in reality the team has taken great care to hide all electrical components for a clean finish. The handlebars are also kept pristine with almost imperceptible switch gear, as the shop’s loom let them build a custom M-Unit control box. This purity is important, as it lets the eye focus on the other star of the Airtail’s show; its 950cc engine with in-house gas flowed cylinder heads and all new valves. To finish it all off, a precision paint job highlights the unusual tail of the bike in bright red, contrasting nicely with the white/black/chrome scheme of the rest of the motorcycle. Overall, the Airtail is able to blend the power of its base model with the sleekness of aviation design into a bike you’d be lucky to call your own.
Text by Nathaniel Barlam