There’s always an inherent problem being in a “scene” like the current boom for cafe racers, and that is that you are so bombarded with cool bikes that your eyes become a little shuttered to the possibilities you have when you set out to make a bike for yourself. In many ways the eyes of someone outside the “scene” are more fresh and therefore able to really create something new, like this all-original take on a cafe racer by Jim Guiffra and the guys girls at his AFT Customs shop in Jackson, CA. More used to a Californian chopper style of customising, it’s really refreshing to see a racer with a new approach. Based on a 1976 CB750 Four, It’s definitely channelling the spirit of cafe racers but with a healthy shot of west coast ‘tood, a pinch of track gear and (seemingly) a few left-over parts from a giant Japanese robot. It’s one of those rare bikes that makes you do a double-take with it’s deft, effortless mix of genres yet coherent overall look.
Instead of the usual four-carb set-up you’d expect on a Honda like this, Jim has opted to use a single Mikuni HSR 42 with a custom intake manifold. The engine has been modded with a Wiseco 836 piston and gasket kit and a well-regarded Dynatek ignition system. The guys at TPJ Customs were drafted in to fabricate a bespoke frame, with the rest of the metal work done in-house. Need we point out the unique way the tank and frame work together? No – didn’t think so… The kick-starter is a CRF450 unit that been rebuilt internally to suit the 750 input.
There’s a set of Race Tech tweaked Yamaha R1 forks up front held in place by hand-made triple trees, and crowned by hand-made risers hugging a set of bars from Kraus Motor Co.
The hubs are from the same CRF450 that supplied the kick-starter, and check out the MotoGP-style remote front brake adjuster. While you’re there you may also take note of the cool switches build into the left-hand side rubber grip. Not sure we’ve seen that before and it sure looks like a great way to maintain the bike’s functionality while still keeping a clean set of bars.
As with all AFT’s work, the details are immaculate. And small golf clap for the unique choice of colours. Where most of us would just default to a generic red and white, or gold and black, Jim has made a bold choice with bronze and “sage” (the wife told me that’s what it’s called) and if the photos don’t lie, they’ve come off a treat.
According to Jim the Sentoh’s weight is a pretty comfortable 415 lbs/188 kgs and it’s legal to be ridden on the street, which is something that always gets our goat as a bike like this would be about as easy to get registered over here as it would be getting Lady Gaga to appear in public dressed in sensible clothes. Damn you free-living Yankies!