BMW Motorrad Spezial

AFT Customs Kemosabe

Honda VT750 custom
The world of US custom bike building can be pretty strange at times. So I only raised half an eyebrow when I heard that AFT Customs operates as a cross between a modeling agency and a custom bike builder. Not surprisingly, AFT owner Jim Giuffra has a high profile in the ‘metric’ scene, but the really extraordinary thing is that his model-built bikes are show-winners—such as Er Hed, a Yamaha XVS-powered machine that we featured almost a year ago. Giuffra’s latest creation is Kemosabe, the machine you see here. It started life as a 2002 Honda VT750 and Giuffra reports “We almost doubled the horsepower over stock: most all parts are custom made or modified stock parts. Kemosabe means ‘faithful friend’ and AFT is like a family. Keeping the friendship theme, we gave five of our Northern Californian builder friends creative freedom to each make a part for the bike.” (The fairing came from Cole Foster, and the handlebar risers from Kraus Motor Co., to name a couple of those friends.) Honda’s VT750 motor is a V-twin that puts out 45hp in stock form, and with new 11.5:1 high compression JE pistons, a port-and-polish and a custom AFT exhaust, I’m guessing AFT gets around 80hp from this bike. It was ridden at the Bonneville BUB Speed Trials, and Jim has just sent in the shots below to prove it. [Originally spotted on BikeBolt.]

Honda VT750 custom
Honda VT750 custom
Honda VT750 custom

  • Pamberjack

    Christ – that paint ain’t doing it for me. Not even a little bit.

  • Now I like the Jr. vs Sr. show but I’m much rather watch a show about these ladies building bikes… 24/7 actually!

  • John T.

    If there are bikes that want to make you become a builder like there are bands that give the desire to pick up a guitar, this is surely one. I can’t believe how well all the details on this machine fit together. I’m sure it will be copied many times. Very Nice.

  • Leo

    Utter effing nonsense.

  • Oddly, i can understand both the love and hate comments. I rather like this one. Even the bizarre paint. It’s not what i’d choose as my own, but it’s a cool bike.

    Where is the radiator though? The VT750 is water cooled, right? Is it under the engine?

    Also, steering damper seems surprising on such a raked out bike, is it necessary or just cosmetic?

  • tom

    not as pretty as the girls, not pretty at all :(

  • Ben

    Is that license plate legal?

  • Dan

    VT750’s are water cooled — AFT runs a custom radiator under the seat behind those venturi vents. I’m a fan of the moto-style they took with this bike, however, it’s very busy visually for me not to mention drilling it all up.

  • vince

    The paint job just looks unfinished; but the blue highlights are great.The seat is stupid, the front wheel is too naked, and the engine will just overheat, rapidly. Love the shape of the tank and the whole bike. Put in your earplugs.

  • mingh

    although it seems more rideable than some specials posted here this is by far the ugliest bike ever published here. If there’d be raspberry awards for bad bike building, this one surely gets my vote.

  • arjunkul


  • Looks like it was designed by a child.

  • Gorgeous! Very steam punkish

  • madvillan

    this is a rendering.

  • This paint job is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it… i like it! Punkish ideed…

  • mack-o-matik

    … well, I’ll have a cigarette now…

  • evilgiles

    Do I like vt750s?
    Do I like bobbers?
    Do I like funny cream paint with even funnier blue paint worn into it and children’s crayon writing on the rear fender?
    Do I like this bike?
    Three cheers for doing something different!

  • Simon Godden

    Take one very dull MOR bike and turn it into something brilliant – except perhaps with a paint job that is a little less play school.
    There are plenty of other very dull (Japanese) bikes that could be transformed with this kind of imagination.

  • Kim of Copenhagen

    Yo, Simon! You’re right – even the most ‘orrible Jap factory customs (save maybe for the Virago 535, this ugly poodle of all motorcycles, for which there just is no hope) can be made interesting, once all the odd covers, the bodywork and the fenders are scrapped.

  • The Heretic

    Hmm. *headscratch* Okay, so the basic bike mechanicals make reasonable sense, though it needs a real muffler. Not that I don’t understand those willing to go deaf as they ride, or are the reason there’s a bill ready to be signed in California which will ban non-stock mufflers due to noisy bikes like this one, but still, c’mon.

    The paint? Hmm. Ugly, rubbed off from blue plastic, but with solid blue highlights, solid gold colored components mixed in. Begs the question: why leave the frame and seat black? Could have gone with a more creative paint job, blue and gold or perhaps less rubbed off like a fake antique. Usually, cafe’s and bobbers are more detailed, more 1930’s-60’s racing stripes and the Orange County Customs joke bikes are left for rich guys in NYC and Jersey and Hollywood. More tasteful. It would be nice to see more bikes that look like they’re both road legal and look comfortable to ride. This might be, but bobber tail, not so sure it can deal with real roads. Perhaps for a first effort by gearhead model girls this should be taken as what it is, an exercise. In future they’ll pick up the details and be less fashion, more function. Particularly since it seems that Standard bikes are ending up being modified from Dual Sports as semi-customs, thanks to the big bike companies not making them anymore. (W800, Bonneville, Enfield and TU250 notwithstanding). Creating standards and bobtails like this are legitimate targets of custom builders. Only in America. Hah.

  • Michael Pandzik

    Gosh. Yikes! Don’t know what to say. Like the hubs and wheels, though.

  • johnny

    guys, where are the last two pictures taken? what place?

  • Johnny, they were taken at Bonneville a few days ago.

  • twins

    um….that’s done?

  • CA

    Wow. That is one hideous bike….

  • JWelsh

    Fun to go away for a long weekend and see everyone so at odds over a new bikexif posting. Lovely bike. Nicely done. Thanks for the lovely pictures…


  • cap’n

    Holy lord that is the ugliest thing ever featured here. I may not be able to eat lunch now.

  • mfg

    The first thing that jumped into my head was that someone barfed on a smurf, on closer inspection it seems it was a shapely smurf.

  • Daniel Volkmann

    What type of Avon tires are those?

    i want those for my DRZ400sm. i’m always looking for tires with big slanted blocks to be sticky enough on the road but just big enough chunky gaps in between to catch a little in the occasional dirt romp.
    Anyone know?

  • klabbers

    I visit this site every day but this is one nice bike, not something i would go and buy but something i would definitely build, you’ve done a very nice job.

  • Ron Mason

    Interesting build but the color selection must have been left up to a chimp…color blind at that.

  • haggeo

    @volkmann those look like like avon distanzia tires, i used those on a oakland, copper canyon, baja, oakland trip and they never let me down. i sold the KLR650 with the tires because the still looked very meaty. might put them on a CB750 i’m building now.

  • Daniel Volkmann

    thanks, haggeo.
    avon distanzia, that’s what i had discovered, too. i think i’ll be gettin’ a set for my DRZ.