Outsider's Black Bastard
By Anthony van Someren - 05 Jan 14
Introducing the Outsiders, currently based in Zwolle in the Netherlands - although they tell us they're moving to Groningen soon. The Outsiders are a custom and bike repair shop, who describe themselves as new kids on the block, but Bert & Jene are in it for the long haul. They are happy to take on any scale of project, but whatever the budget they like to give a lot of bang for your buck, in fact they tell us that sometimes having less to work with is a creative bonus. "We like to do with less. It keeps you sharp and inventive. With all the money, anything is possible." The shop came about through simple necessity, as Bert simply couldn't find rewarding work after he graduated, so he took things into his own hands and decided to create his own employment, and he was joined by Jene, his girlfriend - who has learned to TiG weld, amongst many other things. Both are art school graduates, although Bert also worked at Motogadgets, an XT500 specialist shop. Bert and Jene first started building bikes as the Outsiders for friends, but now people come to them, and this is their first real customer commission. (...although the owner is now a friend, of course.) This bike is a 1981 CB650z and they've given it the uncontroversial nickname, Black Bastard. They found the donor in the Dutch version of Craigslist; 'Marktplaats'. It came from a guy who had wanted to do his own build, but divorce got in the way of his finances (don't get me started) and the bike had to go before he even got a spanner to it. Bert did send him pics of the finished build, but it seems he was too gutted to reply. The new owner is based in Amsterdam and wanted a bike that would be "rough & tough", "Mad-Max in a three-piece suit, clean AND raw in a single bike". They also needed it to be bomb-proof as the bike was to be kept outside. Garages in Amsterdam are over €300 a month. The bike was stripped to the bare frame, de-lugged, chopped and looped at the back. The rear fender is actually welded in, as is the battery tray, and tubes that hold the turn-signals. The front end got a brake upgrade with a 320mm rotor, and the carbs were re-jetted to accommodate the free-flowing air filters and new exhaust system. The wheels are from a CB500, which need spacers to sort. All the electrics were re-wired and now run a Motobatt 9ah Glassmatt. Bert prides himself on his electrics, and loves to take the chaotic spaghetti found in most bikes and reduce them to the bare minimum. The lights are all new, and all LED except for the headlamp, plus new bars, grips, seat, tyres, etc, and every bolt from M4 to M10 is now stainless steel. We always ask our builders if they made any mistakes along the way, and Bert did admit to throwing away the 2 into 1 headers before decided he needed to use them after all. Doh. Unique features include the Outsiders logo CNCd into the filler cap, and those turn-signals. If you're thinking of trawling the streets of Amsterdam to pinch this bike, the bad new is that Bert has fitted a secret anti-theft mechanism, which we could tell you all about, but that wouldn't be smart, considering how many people read the Bike Shed every day! And no, it's not matt black paint on a dark night. The bike "rides like a tracker, not too fast or aggressive, but comfortable and predictable handling" - which is essential on the complex Streets of Amsterdam, which range from tiny cobbled canal-side streets to wide roads with lanes for bicycles, buses, cars and trams - all in a single stretch - and all tracing concentric circles around the myriad of canals and bridges. The owner is a photographer for VICE magazine, so you'll probably see the bike in the mag soon. The guys say he is very happy. Thanks to Bert & Jene for sharing their debut pro-build, and we look forward to seeing what the Outsider's send us next.