Writing for the motorcyle industry has a few perks along the way. When I entered a motorcycle show recently, we ran into two exceptionally beautiful, articulate and engaging young ladies. We realized instantly that they actually knew quite a bit about the motorcycle they were standing in front of. Quickly we learned that the two models, Shelby and Sara, actually work on bikes themselves and it is surely no joke. Both of them are learning to become certified TIG welders and they know how to do more than basic service on a wide range of motorcycles.
Gorgeous women who can also fix bikes? It’s a male motorcyclist’s dream, and it’s the brainchild of Jim Giuffra, the owner of AFT Customs, a full-service motorcycle/ATV shop in Jackson, California.
How did AFT Customs Girls Modeling Agency become a reality? “Almost seven years ago, we had a couple of my female friends working at shows for us in our AFT booth,” Giuffra said. “Everyone was really impressed and we got a lot of positive response right off the bat, because people could see that these ladies were very professional and classy.”
“I realized after that show that this industry needed to rise above the ‘stripper booth babe’ stereotype. Right away, we started getting calls from companies who wanted to hire our models. The two ladies we were working with went out and got some of their friends together and we formed the AFT Customs Girls Modeling Agency for the power sports industry.”
Giuffra then took the concept even further, he explained, by educating his models about the ins and outs of working on motorcycles. “I realized that it’s important for them to learn how to familiarize themselves with the bikes, so they can possess the proper product knowledge, and be able to talk about them in an educated fashion. And to my surprise they loved it. It exploded from there.”
When new members join the agency, Giuffra trains them and they can then decide how much they want to learn about working on bikes, he said. “I show them what to do and then they can decide how involved they want to get. Some of our models can do everything from building engines, valve jobs, lacing wheels, carb work, suspension work, welding ( TIG & MIG) and fabrication. They have a lot of fun and they’re super proud of the work they do. People don’t believe us but we have many non-staged pictures on my Web site (www.aftcustoms.com) to prove it. Miller Welding sponsors the girls and they’re currently working with them to get them certified.”
Giuffra believes that the efforts of his modeling agency have helped to give the industry a shot of class, he said. “We wanted to raise the bar for spokes models in this industry. We carefully chose women with intelligence, good work ethic, a sense of humor, strong family values and a solid family support system. The cool factor is they all help build world-class customs in their spare time. These girls are in a league of their own and they can walk the walk and talk the talk."
Giuffra’s AFT Custom’s models are busy during bike show season, but they also get a lot of other modeling opportunities, he said. “We’re focused primarily in show promotion and print modeling. Our girls are available to promote and advertise a company or organization’s products, service or business. They get hired for commercial print shoots, editorial, fashion, casual, swimwear, artistic, lingerie, glamour, lifestyle and beauty ads that appear in many major magazines and other forms of media.”
Giuffra, 50, has been working on motorcycles for more than three decades, he said, and AFT Customs does full-service, builds bikes (at least 20 that have own awards), sells parts and accessories (including Harley and V-Twin) and does metric conversions on motorcycles, he said. Jim entered the business officially in 1977 when he worked at Spinetti’s Bike Shop in Jackson, Calif.
“Spinetti’s was one of the largest multi-line dealers in the nation at that time. During that time, I became factory-trained by Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. In 1987, I started Amador Fine Tune where we repaired all makes of motorcycles and did custom work. Eventually AFT Customs became a division of Amador Fine Tune,” Giuffra said.
Giuffra runs AFT Customs with Ron Abel, a motorcycle service veteran who is a lot more than just able at fabrication and design, Giuffra said. “Ron comes from a diverse background in cars, trucks, boats and motorcycles. He’s a true craftsman and a certified welder with huge talent in every aspect of fixing and building bikes.”
Giuffra’s shop can fix or build any type of motorcycle and emphasizes quality at a reasonable price, he said. “At AFT Customs no job is too small or too large. We get our ideas from all areas of motorcycling: Cruiser, sport bike and motocross. We are the home of the 8” headlight. AFT Customs was the first and only shop to put a headlight this large on a cruiser.”
“We can help you to create your bike while tapping into our experience and knowledge. The first step is to see what the big picture is. We can then decide to do it a little at a time or all at once. This is important, because you can save money on the project if everything is planned out and in order. We work fast and efficiently and our labor rate is a very competitive $55 per hour. AFT Customs is a dealer for over 50 different suppliers and will ship parts anywhere at competitive prices.”
So next time you see a pretty woman on a motorcycle show floor, don’t assume that’s she clueless about the bike she’s standing next to. She might just be a highly-educated, super knowledgeable lady who knows more about bikes than you do. And if she’s by chance an AFT Customs Girl, she might also be able to fix your motorcycle in a pinch!