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Halia Racer by AFT Feature

Team of Girls Handles 60 Percent of Build

By Bandit and the AFT Team, with photos by Peter Linney and Jerry Southworth

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Jim, the AFT mastermind.
Jim, the AFT mastermind.

This is maybe the third AFT bike Bikernet featured, mostly because of the quality craftsmanship, unique concepts, and ride-able styling. There’s also a religious counterpart to this strange equation. Jim Giuffra, the boss of AFT, and his wife, came up with a crazy notion to recruit young, hot-looking girls, who might want to learn a trade, and be apart of a world-class team of builders, who build state-of-the-art custom motorcycles, and then go race and ride them.

The only other team of builders I know competing for this conceptual stature is Klockwerks, with Laura Klock and her daughters all riding hot-looking Klockwerks customs into the record books. There’s one distinct difference. I don’t believe the Klock girls build their bikes. But don’t get me wrong. The family mantra is the key, and you know how tough it is to hold any team together.

Jim pulls girls together, and then feeds them his special mixture of green tea, and they are immediately hooked to the AFT mantra of motorcycle nirvana for life--it would seem. They appear normal enough… This time I reached out to all the team members who were involved in this build, and to Jim, just as he was packing for Sturgis. First, let’s get Commander Giuffra’s input on this build:

This is our 2012/2013-show/race bike. It’s our 2012/2013-advertisement tool. The bike name “Halia” means remembrance or in memory of in Hawaiian. Nalani (an AFT girl) named her. Three of our team members lost their fathers recently. Nalani lost her dad days before the start of this build.

All the girls contribute to each build, and this time we all encountered the opportunity to refine our metal-shaping skills. The girls took a sheet metal fabrication class from Cole Foster and Greg Westbury. Since the AFT team is like a family, each build strengthens the family bond by creating something we are extremely proud of through teamwork.

AFT members responsible for 60% of this build: Shelby, Cyndi, Nalani, Sara, Katy, Angela, Kristin.


Then, as a family, we show the bike and travel with it for the next year. This bike will be raced at Bonneville (piloted by Shelby, an AFT team member) and ridden in the streets of Sturgis next week (August 2012). It was built to go fast and handle the Sierra Nevada Mountain curves, where we live. The bike is 415 pounds wet, and fast for a water-cooled V-twin.


I live in Montana full time but had the pleasure of flying out to the shop in Jackson, California for a weekend last December to put my own elbow grease into Halia. It was a pleasure.

I worked on the swing arm, cutting the lightening holes with the plasma cutter, torching out the backside, and then welding the tubing pipe to the swing arm.

I started TIG welding in 2010 with the Kemosabe build. Jim had me practice on scrap pieces of metal, running bead after bead every time I was in the shop. That's when you really learn what it means to be patient! If you blow through the end of the bead, the whole thing can go to hell. More than likely, you won't be happy with the results. Patience is a virtue!

I didn’t get to work on Sentoh and Asumati last year. It was weird to see them in Sturgis and not be apart of the team. I learned more about this building process, and then stepped up to join the team this year.

It was refreshing to be a part of the Halia build.
When I see her at Sturgis, I will know there’s a little piece of me in the bike, just like all the other girls and Jim. We all contributed and put our personal touches into Halia.

There’s a sense of pride when you see the finished product on show, knowing how much work and long hours went into the transformation.


My name is Angela Tardiff. I am the newest addition to the AFT Customs Modeling Team and Halia was my very first build! I can't begin to explain what an amazing experience this has been and how much I've learned throughout the build. Not only have I learned how to TIG weld and shape metal, but I've learned that a woman can truly accomplish anything that she puts her mind and heart into.

Working in a male-dominated industry, it can be extremely intimidating to come in, as a woman and design and build a bike, but at the end of the day, it's a type of satisfaction that you'll never find anywhere else. During this build, I helped with the metal shaping and learned how to TIG weld. I assisted with rebuilding the engine. I handled the brake assembly and laced the wheels. I also helped with a lot of the finishing touches, getting it ready for the LA Calendar Show.

Attached are some photos from our latest photo shoot with Jerry Southworth. Hair was mastered by Bella Capelli Salone. Make-up was my own work with Mary Kay Cosmetics.



It felt great to get back together with Jim and the girls and start the creativity process and building of Halia. To get the wrenches spinning and to build a bike that would not only fully function but also meet all of our riding needs. We've never been fans of adding a lot of fluff to our bikes.

There you have it. The build from the builders. After Sturgis, we will pick up the story from the Black Hills, and then follow the team to Bonneville. Hang on.




Owner: AFT Customs/Jim Giuffra
Location: Jackson, California
Phone: 209 223-3848
Web site:
Make: Honda
Year: 2001, built in 2012
Model: VT750 BR (Bonneville Racer)
Type: Street Tracker
Time: 500 hours
Value: $30,000


Type: V-Twin Honda
Displacement: 750 cc
Year: 2001
Horsepower: 50
Heads: Honda—ported and polished, narrowed top end by 2 inches

Valves: Honda
Valve covers: Custom
Pistons: AFT Custom/JE
Cylinders: Honda
Camshaft: Web cams only through AFT Customs
Lifters: Overhead cams
Pushrods: none
Carburetor/injection: Twin Kehin
Air Cleaner: K&N
Ignition: Dynatek
Exhaust: AFT Customs
Mufflers: Special Construction with Leo Vince
Radiator: Hidden


Make: Honda
Clutch: Barnett


Type: Honda twin shock, twin down tube
Year: 2001
Builder: Honda modified by AFT
Stretch: stock
Rake: stock
Swingarm: AFT modified Honda with lightening holes, Electrical box added to swingarm
Shocks: Custom Race Tech G3-8


Type: Showa
Year: 2001
Builder: Rebuilt by AFT
Finish: Powder coated
Triple Trees: Custom by Kraus Motor Company
Modifications: Race tech springs and gold valve emulators
Handlebars: Clip-on by Driven
Risers: None


Tank: Custom by AFT girls
Fenders: Nine-piece aluminum fab by AFT
Side Panels: Aluminum by AFT team
Oil tank: None


Painter: Kirk Taylor
Colors: Silver/blood orange/gray/black
Anodizing: Pacific Coast
Chrome: Meclec
Powder coating: Dynamic Coatings


Rim: Sun, custom drilled by Buchanan’s
Spokes: Laced and trued by AFT
Size: 3.5 by 19
Hub: Stock—cut down by Kraus
Builder: AFT
Finish: Anodizing
Tire: Avon Cobra 120/70
Brake: Beringer

Rim: Excel
Size: 5.0 by 18
Brake: Stock drum
Finish: Anodized
Tire: Avon Cobra 180/55
Hub: Honda


Headlight: Clear Water LED high/low
Taillight: TPJ Customs
Turn signals: In taillight
Speedometer: Moto Gadget
Tach: Moto Gadget
Gauges: Moto Gadget
Wiring: AFT
Handlebar switches: Grip Ace


Seat: Duane Ballard
Foot pegs: AFT/Kirk Taylor


Miller Welding
Avon Tyres
Avon Grips
Leo Vince
Motion Pro
Grip Ace
Web Cams
K&N filters
Beringer Brakes
Race Tech
Clear Water Lights

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Reader Comments

I was led to your article by the headlight and was pleasantly surprised by the bike, everything flows together well. I would change the front fender the first day, it looks lost, good job!

Willis, VA
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Editor Response I'll pass this along.

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