By Gareth Charlton - 08 Sep 14
"The wood I got from my grandfather, I have been making stuff with it for the last couple of years, it is oak and almost a hundred years old." When glancing through the parts and modifications list of customised motorcycles it is not often you come across the use of inherited ancient oak, but when you do it is most certainly something to be celebrated. It is the unique features and eccentric choices made by men in their sheds that keep stalwart platforms such as the Honda Nx650 intriguing, despite their prevalence. Meet Maarten from Amsterdam, a doctor by trade and a self confessed motorhead at heart, throughout his journey building his own Dominator Maarten has seen many different versions, but of course like a proud parent, he loves his the most. "I have been riding motorcycles since a young age and driving road bikes for 12 years now. I have always been interested in building my own bike and I guess last winter it finally just had to happen." He chose the Honda because it was a bike that spoke to his imagination. He set about disassembling everything and seeing how it all fit back together, learning as he went. His previous mechanical experience had began when he took apart a Thompson 40 outboard motor as a nine year old boy, he was hooked and tinkering became a lifelong habit. Maarten had the bike down to the bare frame and then took his time in selecting the perfect petrol tank, eventually settling on a 1975 Honda CB350 unit, "After I found that I build everything around it. I had a general idea of what the bike had to look like because of the research I did on the internet but I noticed it was kind of building itself. Every time I hit a snag I found on old part from a different bike or a part from the NX650 that I could change or fabricate so that it would fit perfectly on the new bike and solve the problem.". Maarten spent a long time refining the wiring and electrics to keep the finished bike as clean as possible, he hid many bits and bobs under the tank but made sure to mount them using the original rubber mounts on his freshly fabricated brackets to maintain their anti-vibrational qualities, "I ended up with loads of excess wiring that I could take off and ended up with a sleek new artery.". A sleek new subframe with a kicked loop was then constructed and welded into place, once Maarten was happy with the frame he set to work on the seat. He made the seat pan and battery box so that everything was easily accessible beneath the seat. The next step was shaping the comfy stuff before taking it to the upholsterers, "I was really proud because I had never done this before and the guys at the upholstery asked if I came from a professional shop." They clearly echoed Maarten's high standards themselves when finishing the seat in a rich brown/burgundy leather. "The rebuild was fairly straight forward when I got everything back from paint. But I took forever redoing little things, like gas lines because I wanted them just the right length or shape or whatever. And when I finished I took it all off because I would see something even cooler online." With the build coming along nicely Maarten got stuck into the Bikes most unique feature, those side panels. He modelled the shape he wanted in cardboard before cutting and shaving his prize wood to shape. They are mounted utilising some parts from an old door locking mechanism he had lying around the workshop that fit as if they had always been intended for the purpose. The lustrous shine is achieved with 8 coats of varnish. The deep green tank, the leaves to the side panels trunk, was prepped and painted to Maartens design by a pro shop. Maarten found the most challenging element of the build was sourcing the correct parts and materials, he claims that with the knowledge he gained in the process he could make the same bike again in half the time, "At one point I drove for 4 hours just to get materials for the frame. I now have a small garage with friends in my hometown of Amsterdam and my neighbor has the same materials lying in the corner… somewhat frustrating as you can imagine.". "I had a great time building the bike and even more fun driving it and working out the kinks but I really want to do another build. So she has to go." It looks like the garage and that new found knowledge are going to be seeing some serious use. Expect to see Maarten's Wingnut on the Bike Shed Classifieds shortly and we will be sure to share whatever he creates next, fingers crossed it will feature some more of grandad's oak.