Sentoh. A Neo Cafe Racer

Sweet memories of high school. Not necessary regretting your teachers, but what you were doing at home instead of your homework… In the case of Jim Giuffra, customizing his first bike, a 76 Honda CB750F that he still owns. A lot of fun, he remembers, not surprisingly sparking a successful career in Metric customizing. But what sets Jim and his shop AFT Customs apart from most his fellow Metric custom builders is that he is, through his work, the most accepted builder by the traditional American V-Twin custom motorcycle scene. Of course, the reason being his very radical bodywork fabrications and technical prowesses that you usually find on top American custom bikes. While keeping Japanese engines as his preferred platforms, Jim (and his attractive lady welders and mechanics) has no difficulty being recognized by his American builder peers. Proof is in his  multi wins in top bike show competitions like the Los Angeles Calendar Show and the AMD World Championship Of Bike Building. 

Although difficult to define in terms of style, his latest creation named Sentoh (“The Beginning” in Japanese) could be called a Neo Cafe Racer, a new breed of custom bikes mixing 70’s English motorcycle street performance lines with some irreverent attitude. To get started, Jim sourced a 1975 Honda CB 750F modified with a custom manifold to accommodate a single Mikuni HSR 42 instead of the standard 4-carb setup. This solution resolves the issue of running 4 pipes, 2 on each side joining in pairs before exiting behind the tail section. Added engine performance comes from the addition of a Wiseco 836 kit and of a Dynatek ignition. Kick starter is from a CRF450 with the shaft internally adapted to the 750 mechanism.

Jim’s friend Bryan Schimke at TPJ Customs was in charge of the frame fabrication to emphasize its race pedigree, with the AFT Custom Girls in charge of most of the bodywork fabrication, from forming sheet metal to welding and polishing. So, let’s mention Nalani, only 18 years old, for the beautiful tail piece and, oil tank and helping Jim with the wild gas tank. Cyndi & Kristin, both TIG Certified, for all the welding chores. Front end is provided by a set of R1 forks held in place by a custom triple tree, custom risers and 1 3/8″ bars provided by Kraus Motor Co. and sold exclusively through AFT Customs. Shocks were sourced and custom adapted by Race Tech.

Front & rear hubs are from a CRF450. Brakes & hand controls were provided by French company Beringer (notice the Moto GP front brake remote adjuster prototype.) Moto Gadget instrumentation . Grip Ace digital switches in the left side Avon grip .  License plate rotates from horizontal to vertical and back to adjust to all US States legal requirements. LED lighting by Clear Water Lights & TPJ Customs. Dual Ballard did the seat and Scott Hultquist of Riff Raff Customs applied paint and artwork. Jim told me that Sentoh’s weight is only 415 lbs and is certified street legal. All the AFT Girls worked on the project, lacing wheels, building the engine, doing fabrication and participating to final assembly. AFT Customs. (photography copyright and courtesy of Jerry Southworth for Cyril Huze)

36 Responses to “Sentoh. A Neo Cafe Racer”

  1. 1 alan Oct 3rd, 2011 at 7:32 am

    very nice

  2. 2 Jay Curtis Oct 3rd, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Different and excellent.

  3. 3 P. Broomfield Oct 3rd, 2011 at 7:38 am

    I volunteer to rescue the girl under the bike.

  4. 4 Shifter Oct 3rd, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Very interesting machine. The pictures raise another important question. Who has more lady friends. Jim Giuffra or Cyril Huze? Just kidding.

  5. 5 bigalyts Oct 3rd, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Whay Cool.Looks like a real Piece of Art! Your talent and designs will be recognized very soon. For sure on Cafe Racer TV Show.

  6. 6 GRIP ACE - HIDDEN MOTORCYCLE SWITCH SYSTEM Oct 3rd, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Great CUSTOM build. The Real Thing. Very nice job by the GIRLS at AFT..

  7. 7 luSca custom design Oct 3rd, 2011 at 9:08 am

    very very very nice, as other aft works!

  8. 8 Godffery Oct 3rd, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Humm, definitely different.
    Some nice technical up dates; I would be interested to know how it performs on the street or track.


  9. 9 ROCKSTAR Oct 3rd, 2011 at 10:59 am

    nice bike.

  10. 10 Woody Oct 3rd, 2011 at 11:02 am


  11. 11 Brother T Oct 3rd, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I do not understand why they had to run a woman over with the bike! 😉

  12. 12 jatinder pal Oct 3rd, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    This is outright cool… the clean tight metric customs.This would surely be fun to ride.Good work guys.

  13. 13 Jerry Southworth Oct 3rd, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Excellent as always! Great job jim & Cin!!!
    Photos by Jerry Southworth

  14. 14 Katy Oct 3rd, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Nice work Jim and AFT girls!

  15. 15 J. Bremmer Oct 3rd, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Tight is the word.

  16. 16 Shelby Oct 3rd, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks for the article Cyril H. We had a blast building this bike.

  17. 17 Cyndi Oct 3rd, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I am so proud of this bike Sentoh. This was my biggest and hardest project yet. There was so much hard work put in to this bike by all of us Aft girls and Jim. Defanitly a great family we have thanks to Jim! Jim is one talented man and a lucky guy I must say! 😉 Pictures tured out great once again! Thanks Jerry for the great photo shoot.

  18. 18 Top Cat Oct 3rd, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Call it self-serving but I wanted to mention that the silencers were LeoVince Unlimited Midnight cans (with those big 60mm outlets) that were cut down by Jim and staff to fit the look then laser etched by LeoVince with a calligraphy font to give it an Asian touch. Jim and staff create amazing bikes and his works are truly originals from front to back. I love the way they dropped the tank into the frame essentially lowering mass and adding an interesting touch to the bike. Congrats to Jim and staff for the success they have realized with this bike.

  19. 19 Jim Gianatsis / Oct 3rd, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Best of Show winner at the 2011 LA Calendar Motorcycle Show. Congratulations to Jim Giuffra and the AFT models for another incredible Show or Class winning bike 5 years in a row!. Look for Sentoh in the next Iron & Lace Calendar, and all the AFT winning bikes have appeared in the Calendars since 1996 through to the new 2012 edition Calendar.

  20. 20 Duane Ballard Oct 3rd, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Very cool bike. Its always a pleasure working with Jim and the crew at AFT.

  21. 21 ray c wheeler Oct 3rd, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Great job from one helleva talented crew.

  22. 22 chaos george Oct 3rd, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    awesome bike, keeping very clean yet mechanical. loved the whole bike and there wasnt an thing i would change

  23. 23 TPJ Customs Oct 3rd, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Great job Jim and congrats on first place finish. Well deserved.

  24. 24 sukhee Oct 3rd, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Lovin this bike and u too Jim, you are a SMF! Cindi simply gorgeous!

  25. 25 Motorcycle Marc Oct 4th, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Always on top of their game. Nice. Very nice.

  26. 26 Michael Schacht/ Crocker Motorcycle Co Oct 4th, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Very cool bike! Beautiful work! Congrats!

  27. 27 Renegade Oct 4th, 2011 at 9:53 am

    First place winner at the 6th Annual Renegade Rendezvous. Another kick ass bike Jim. Setting the bar higher and higher. Every year we look forward to what Jim and his girls have up their sleeves.

  28. 28 biker Oct 4th, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    She looks like she’s enjoying her self.

  29. 29 Nalani Oct 4th, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Awesome bike, beautiful model, and cool article. This bike was a great achievement for the myself, the AFT Girls, and of course Jim. I can’t wait to start our new projects and learn more about the world of custom motorcycles.

  30. 30 Three Two Choppers Oct 5th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Congrats Jim. Did you ever find the hot transient up in Sturgis?


  31. 31 AFT Customs Oct 6th, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    JL – No I didn’t. Seriously – I would have paid her to be photographed with with our bike & paid her to write down her story. That would have been priceless. Other people I know saw her as well. I looked for her.Take care

  32. 32 steveb Oct 6th, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    very nice machine

  33. 33 steve Hog Radio producer Johann Oct 6th, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Nice to see a metric done up so nicely.

    Yea Biker I was thinking the same thing. I understand the girl in the picture thing, but the bike doesn’t need her to be in it. Girls are nice to look at on their own, but often as not they distract from the bike they’re supposed to be highlighting.

    Its a fact, my eyes can’t be in two places at once!

    Great job everyone, glad to see someone stiil hard at work creating new things.

  34. 34 nicker Oct 6th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Looks like a hand-fabed scooter.
    Looks good, they way it should….. 🙂


  35. 35 Philippe Danh Oct 7th, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Thank you Cyril for the great article and to Jerry for the outstanding photography. Jerry please call me.
    I had the pleasure of meeting Nalani at the Calendar Show. Amazing what Jim is able to con those gorgeous girls into fabbing and welding. We must all learn from this man.
    Once again Beringer Brakes is very pleased to have been chosen by Jim and AFT Customs to grace “Sentoh”. Thanks for your vote of confidence Jim and we look forward to the next one ! Philippe

  36. 36 Aaron Glenn@Glenndyne INC. Oct 10th, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Great job Jim! DIG IT!

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Cyril Huze