The Secret Life Of Jim Nasi

Detroit, Michigan. Motor City, metonym for the American automobile industry, with the Big Three automobile companies, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, calling it home. It’s where Jim Nasi and his 2 older brothers were born, and with the added influence of a father working for GM,  not surprisingly, all 3 boys were very young surrounded by cool muscle cars. In age to work, Jim acquired his first experience with machinery and welding techniques while working in New Mexico for a Greyhound R&D facility. He completed his experience working for several “hole in the wall” shops in Arizona and ended up to be the 1st employee being hired for the Titan Motorcycles startup. Eventually he became Titan’s production manager and the bike builders trainer,  then leaving Titan just before the company landslide and demise to start his own motorcycle shop Jim Nasi Customs originally located in Scottsdale AZ.

Already 13 years that he builds custom bikes under his own name. They are unmistakably Jim Nasi, most of them both low and long, with a “muscle car” attitude provided by big motors and intricate beefy metalwork. Jim Nasi became a household name in 2000 when he was accepted as a member of the Camel Roadhouse and toured the US during 3 years with other well known Custom Builders. About 8 years ago he developed his own line of Nasi Parts, first for Harley Softails and more recently extending it to bolt-on parts for Baggers. For those who don’t know, his older brothers also belong to the automative industry: John is director of dealer development at Big Dog MC and Jeff is the publisher of Petersen’s 4Wheel & Off Road Magazines. Although reserved and usually not talking very much, Jim answered my questions and reveals a few details about himself. (photography by Ken Howie)

Cyril. In High School, what your teachers said about you?  Jim. That kid can’t hear a damn thing…

Cyril. Who were your childhood heroes?  Jim. Rick Mears, Gordie Howe, Big Daddy Don Garlits, Luke Duke.

Cyril. When you were a little boy you wanted to become a?  Jim. A race car driver, then I got really big, and well… that wasn’t going to work out.

Cyril. What was your 1st vehicle?  Jim. 78′ Olds Cutlass, my two older brothers had this car before me, by time I got it , it was trashed….thanks!

Cyril. If you were not working in the motorcycle industry, what would you do?  Jim. I would wash and maintain Eddie Trotta’s Ferraris and Boats.

Cyril. What is your favorite way to relax?  Jim. My son and daughter… believe it or not (what? screaming kids?) when I sit down with them and listen to them talk it makes me forget about any thing that sucks in life, they are an inspiration to me.

Cyril. What are you afraid of?  Jim. Not working in the motorcycle industry and washing and maintaining Eddie Trotta’s Ferraris and Boats.

Cyril. Which film made you cry?  Jim. Casino (when Pesci got the baseball bat in the corn field, why did they whack the cool guy?)

Cyril. Name five things you hate.  Jim. People that copy a cool idea you came up with, and make more money on it than you. Fluorescent lights. Dog fighting rappers. Dishes clanging together. Curry.

Cyril. What was the last book you read? Jim. “I Rant, Therefore I Am.” – Dennis Miller.

Cyril. Do you have any guilty pleasures?  Jim. Yes…

Cyril. Do you collect anything?  Jim. Mid 60’s suicide door Lincolns.  Addicted to them.  Everything else my wife threw out when I was at work.

Cyril. What was the last music you downloaded in your iPod?  Jim. Mudvayne’s “Scream With Me”

Cyril. What was your worst buy?  Jim. Nothing, I find value in everything…

Cyril. Who you would like to meet? Jim. I would like to take a road trip with Danny McBride and Will Ferrell.

Cyril. How do you take your coffee?  Jim. I hate coffee.. I take it and throw it away.

Cyril. What was the most embarrassing thing you have ever made?  Jim. A custom bike I made for the Prince of Malaysia.  Leopard skin paint , 4ft. arm beaters , lotsa neon, he wanted the seat shaped for the crack of his ass… should I continue?

Cyril. Preferred place for vacation? Jim. New York City during Christmas time.

Cyril. What is the best thing you can cook?  Jim. Microwave Burrito.

Cyril. When was the time you were really angry?  Jim. When I found out one of my employees was stealing from me. (think: baseball bat in the corn field)

Cyril. What is your perfect weekend when you are at home?  Jim. Just being with my wife and  two kids, working in the garage, showing the kids how to use grinders to make sparks.

Cyril. What is your preferred rally?  Jim. Sturgis.  Lots of friends there, good memories, good times…

Cyril. What is the worst question a journalist asked you? Jim. If my son Cory was going to run the business now..    He uh, confused the NASI with the NESS thing, I have some grey hair but…not that much!

Zipper's

24 Responses to “The Secret Life Of Jim Nasi”


  1. 1 Brian Hamilton Dec 22nd, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Nice to hear from the discreet Jim Nasi. I preferred his first bikes, like on top picture. Now they look too beefy for my taste.

  2. 2 Jeez Dec 22nd, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Hey, Jim. You were supposed to conceive a bagger model for Saxon? What’s up with it?

  3. 3 2Low Dec 22nd, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Seems to me that like all custom builders, Jim is at idle speed for custom building, making a living selling parts. Was interesting to read his background.

  4. 4 Jeremy Dec 22nd, 2010 at 11:59 am

    3 brothers in the automotive business! A lot to talk about during family reunions…

  5. 5 Brandon Dec 22nd, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Want to see the leopard skin custom made for the Prince Of Malaysia. Must be something. But at least, Jim took some of his money 🙂

  6. 6 Dotty Dec 22nd, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I really like jims work. And he sounds like a good guy

  7. 7 Rider Dec 22nd, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Amazing sheetmetal wizard. It’s almost a shame to put paint on a bike after he’s done. ZERO filler – it’s all perfect. He’s working on two insane bikes right now – so he’s building like a mad man. Parts are cool – but bikes are his mainstay…

  8. 8 John Nasi Dec 22nd, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Can’t point out which response was the best… “I hate coffee.. I take it and throw it away.” – Ha!

    Jimmy has always been a creative person that is well respected by his colleagues, and his modest efforts in this industry have not gone unnoticed.

    Congratulations to your well-merited 13 years.

  9. 9 Robert Dec 22nd, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Great bike designs by a great guy.
    Is “Nasi” French?

  10. 10 John Nasi Dec 22nd, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Nasi is Finnish. Our grandfather is from Pyhäjoki, Finland – south of Oulu.

  11. 11 David Dec 22nd, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Jim is currently working on a bike for myself that he’s doing a fine job on. His attention to detail and his commitment to building something properly is something very rare. The build is coming close to completion and I’m excited about getting to ride my Nasi bike.

  12. 12 1550tc Dec 22nd, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Loved all his low life chassis bikes……..most down to earth non ego maniacal builder….always nice to see you in Sturgis 🙂

    Finnish…always thought you were italian

  13. 13 Sparky Dec 22nd, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Summary. Low bikes. Low key.

  14. 14 Quint w/HogRadio.net Dec 23rd, 2010 at 12:19 am

    I’m lovin it, Cyril.

  15. 15 Dave Blevins Dec 23rd, 2010 at 2:00 am

    Always liked Nasi’s stuff, powerful style with extraordinary fit and finish. Definitely one of the better builders around.

  16. 16 Bigalyts@aol.com Dec 23rd, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Cyrill, I was waiting for you to ask the question that defines the Nasi Boys……………Who is the Baddest?

  17. 17 Jeff Nicklus Dec 23rd, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Jim is one of the few in this industry who has not allowed success to go to his head …. he is a ton of fun and an all around good guy. Many more years of success, Jim.

    Over & Out,

    Jeff

  18. 18 Larry R Dec 24th, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Thanks Cyril and Mr. Nasi for the article.

  19. 19 martin Twofeather Dec 25th, 2010 at 10:55 am

    One of the best builders around,Thanks Jim and ,Thanks to you Cyril for the article

  20. 20 Tom keller Dec 25th, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Badass bikes… And a REAL builder!!! Great job 🙂

  21. 21 Bart Langley -Cateye Customs Dec 27th, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Always loved Jim’s work, the bike”Sangre Azul ” he built, was one of the baddest bikes I have ever seen, that thing would just looking mean sitting on the stand. Thought Jim got robbed at the world bike buildoff that year in Sturgis.

  22. 22 aaron Dec 27th, 2010 at 10:32 am

    One of the best men in the business. The real deal. Humble, yet loveable. very talented.rock on Jim

  23. 23 Jason Dec 27th, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    The most under rated builder in the business! Actually has class and talent.

  24. 24 jatinder pal Dec 30th, 2010 at 5:30 am

    My one of the favourite builder,always loved his bikes,the low gangster look. The lowlife series was amazing.One person i go to build bike for me.

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