Bert Jan & Jene from Outsiders Motorcycles in The Netherlands have been coming to our shows since the early days and each year they bring something more innovative than the last. In 2018 it was their in-house developed wet-sump conversion for Honda’s CB750, and for 2019 they chopped up a brand new Husqvarna Vitpilen 701. And painted it bright pink!
Not only do they build a damn fine motorcycle, but they pen a decent build story too. So rather than chop it up into my words, hear it from Outsiders’ founder Bert Jan.
“The 2019 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 is our first non-client build. New and fresh out of the crate. We’ve always been suckers for the old mx-bikes and the looks of them, so the brand Husqvarna was no stranger for us. The 701 is, completely stock, quite a stunning bike. You can see at first glance that a team of new-wave designers – Kiska from Austria – had their way with it. We chose the 701 because we felt it was the right time to do so. The 701 is one of the first bikes where the design is so much more than functional. The details are crazy good – not only the visual ones, but also the tech parts. All the way up to the brazed-on tabs for the tie-wraps.”
“We really liked working on the Bonneville’s and lets be honest, newer bikes are so much nicer to wrench on. No rusted bolts, thought-through and no bodge jobs. The complete budget can be spent on aesthetics and performance whilst on older builds half will go into making it actually run properly. We got a crazy good deal on one through Mulders Motoren (who also managed to wedge the spoked wheels into the deal) – but it was only three months before the 2019 Bike Shed show in London. A crazy-cool opportunity to grow and expand our brand but not much time to create something truly unique.”
“We got the bike and that same evening we tore it apart. With every build it’s a scary point-of-no-return but with this one it was even wilder as the bike couldn’t even run due to the transport lock still being on it.”
“Now, I want to give some massive props to the designers over at Kiska and Husqvarna, because this machine is an absolute joy to work on for customisers. It looks like it was designed solely to then be taken apart and modified. Everything is SO WELL thought through! The whole subframe is held on with 4 bolts which is ideal because well.. you only have to remove 4 bolts. But, and way more important, the main frame stays intact giving massive design options. 85% of the wiring is routed within the main frame – our subframe only houses battery, starter relays and some tuning/CanBus plugs.”
“The subframe, as good is it is, had to go. It’s lumpy and gives the bike weight it does not need. It also gives the bike a very distinct look and not many viable design options. A tubular structure looks nicer and cleaner with the main frame and is also lighter so that was the first part that we fabricated. We used the stock subframe to make a jig for the new one and went to work.”
“Next part we changed was the swingarm. The milled box-type didn’t fit the look we had in mind, we wanted the swingarm to be tubular, like the frame. Again, a jig was constructed with the original swingarm for reference, with the only big difference being the new one is 30 mm shorter. The stock one is so freaking long, and 30mm might not seem like much, it is. And it’s made for a mega wheelie machine.”
“The tank design is a personal want. I had this idea in my head for so long and finally had the opportunity to do it. A massive undertaking that took 2 weeks to design, cut, weld and pressure test the new angular shape. But it came out pretty good. The stock fuel pump, fuel level sensor and cap were re-used. We like to mix the stock stuff with the new, gives it a prototype vibe if done right.”
“The forks were kept stock, as they’re good quality USDs from WP Suspension with radial mounts for the Brembo brake. That’ll do. Th front fender is custom, made out of 2 pieces of mild steel welded in the middle. That took a whole day designing, another one to cut and 2 more to weld and shave. We wanted a clean straight line along the subframe, tank and fender and although it’s hard to see on the pictures, the line is there.”
“Handlebars and risers are from Neken, because clip-ons suck balls on a 690cc single. The top clamp is made by Scheffers Engineering in Norway.”
“The throttle system is fly-by-wire on the Huskys but the big chuck of plastic on the handlebars is ugly. We relocated the system underneath the tank and made a cable-operated pulley system so a ‘normal’ throttle could be used. Motone buttons on the stock wiring and some Motogadget magic make it all work flawlessly.”
“The exhaust system is completely custom, made out of 42mm 316 stainless with elbows because we wanted the hard corners in the exhaust without sacrificing performance. A full day of grinding the welds make it look like one piece.”
“As with all our builds, we don’t take off with a clear plan but like to see it evolve throughout the build. Massive learning curve for us and we hope everyone likes it as much as we do – Bert Jan”
I certainly like this one and so did the visitors at Bike Shed London 2019. A bold, vibrant and fun build using a donor that’s supposed to already be at the cutting edge of design. Exactly the approach that’ll keep the custom scene in rude health for a long time to come.
And thankfully Bert Jan remembered to take a few snaps during the build process which are worth sharing. Cardboard and masking tape, the basis for all the best bikes.
One last thing from Bert Jan; ” At the show I met Mikey, the owner of Big Trouble Pizza in Toronto, Canada. His logo has the exact same colors as the bike, he already has a 401 and wants a 701. We’re still discussing shipping and such but that’s why the sticker in on it on the back. He happened to have the stickers with him on the show so I slapped one on and shook hands, like SOLD!”
The show should have been called Bike Shed International 2019
Images by Winchester Creatives