Writing about custom bikes of fellow builders teaches me a lot of things that have apparently nothing to do with motorcycles. So, I wondered, like you are, what is the story behind the name of this new creation? It was built by Jim Giuffra at AFT Customs (and of course his crew of girls) for the Jackson Rancheria Casino Hotel. And this establishment wanted the bike to be a tribute to the Native Americans Miwok tribe (also spelled Mi-wuk) from Northern California. And I learned that there is a tale of young brave of the tribe who fought a long and furious struggle with a grizzly bear, finally killing the huge animal with a tree limb. His accomplishment was so remarkable that his tribe called him Chief Yo Semitee (for a full grown grizzly) and this name was passed to his children and eventually to the entire tribe and even the valley they lived in. Like most Native Americans, the Miwuks had no written language until they came into contact with white men. And when they tried to write down the Indians spoke, they gave to the word Yo Semitee different spelling – usuimati, uzumati, oo-soo-ma-te, and the more familiar yosemite, but the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians prefers to use Asumati…
Your questions about the name Asumeti being answered… Jim Giuffra, the most well known builder for crossing over from metric to v-twin creations and back to metric custom bikes, explained to me that he wanted this Honda VT750ST creation to look and behave like a Street Tracker, meaning keeping emphasis on very good handling. As usual the crew of AFT girls did a lot of the build, Jim stating a percentage around 70% of total labor time. For example, Nalani – only 18 years old – pounded out the side covers, sub fender & removable tail section. As a side story, to reward all his AFT girls who have worked on this project he send them all in February to builders Cole Foster & Greg Westbury where they will follow a class in metal shaping.
It is important to mention that Asumati is a fully street legal motorcycle (horn included!) weighting only 420 pounds wet. The bike is a convertible with a removable tail section if you want to have a passenger or ride solo. A Paugho tank was cut, widened, tunneled & reshaped. If you are looking for the radiator, yes it’s now relocated under the seat. Motor is a naked engine design that AFT Customs pioneered with a VT750 performance kit, top end narrowed 2 inch. high compression pistons & cams and custom exhaust. The Race tech shocks were custom made specifically for this bike. The Yamaha R1 front end uses a custom set of trees & risers sourced from Alan Kraus of Kraus Motor Co. Braking via Beringer hand controls and calipers. Moto gadget instruments. Grip Ace digital switches inside grips & turn signals. License plat rotates from vertical to horizontal. Bars are 1 3/8″ by Easton. Leather by Duane Ballard. Paint by Todd Evans. AFT Customs. (photography Onno Wieringa courtesy AMD Championship for Cyil Huze)
Tech Sheet: Name: Asumati. Builder: Jim Giuffra / AFT Customs Girls. Owner Jackson Rancheria Casino Year. Make/Engine: 2011 Custom Honda VT750 ST. Frame: Honda, no stretch. Rake: Stock. Trail: Stock. Front End: Yamaha R1. Swingarm: Modified. Drivetrain: Honda. Wheels [Front] Custom 19″ Wheels [Rear] Custom 18″. Tires [Front] Avon Cobra 120/70 x 19 Tyres [Rear] Avon Cobra 180/55 x 18. Brakes: Beringer/Moto Master/Honda [Painter: Todd Evans. Chroming / Plating: Meclec