It really does appear to be a rough life for Jim Giuffra and the AFT Customs crew up there in the Sierra foothills in bucolic Jackson, California. An equal-opportunity employer who believes in paying it forward, Giuffra thinks women should do more than drape themselves across his custom bikes at shows. He thinks they should know how to build them, and so they do. The ’78 Honda CB750-based custom before you is called Sentoh, meaning “beginning” in Japanese. A CB like this one was Giuffra’s first bike, and it’s also almost the beginning of a learning experience for some of the women of AFT who built most of it. For others, it’s their fifth build.
That classic four-cylinder’s exhaust pipes dictated the direction the bike would take. Says Giuffra, “Every one I’ve ever seen has those four pipes going under the engine. I really wanted to do something different.”
Ditching the CB’s bank of four carbs and mounting a single 42mm Mikuni on a very custom manifold allowed the AFT crew to sweep their one-off pipes back and within the TPJ Customs frame; and the frame’s single-downtube design further accentuates the bike’s distinctive exhaustion. In keeping with AFT’s style of combining old with new, though, Giuffra calls this one a “perimeter frame,” albeit one made out of old-school steel tubing.
Giuffra handmade the fuel tank out of sheet steel; 18-year-old AFT protégé Nalani Pacheco made the oil tank/tailsection for the dry-sump CB engine.
Meanwhile, inside the old CB Four, all seals, gaskets, bearings and chains were replaced, and then it was topped off with an 836cc Wiseco piston kit and a Web Cam racing camshaft. Cases and head were left stock, but modified clutch and generator covers update the look while getting rid of the bike’s heavy, old starter. From now on, she’s kick-only—but the kicker will be happy every time he deploys the custom CRF450R-derived kickee, which Giuffra mated internally to the old 750 mechanism. “A ridiculous amount of work went into that detail,” he says. Not to mention the hidden four-button controls in the grips (lights, horn, turnsignals, ignition), the multifunction LED taillights, the CRF450R steering damper and all the other things that make this one a fully functional street-going motorcycle. It was all worth it in the end, with Sentoh taking Best in Show at the 2011 Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show, along with a slew of other trophies elsewhere.
AFT does nice work, and they look better doing it than just about anybody. Why not?