Let's face it, a lot of us started riding motorcycles for one reason-to get girls and look cool to our buddies. Sportbikes tend to make even the ugliest guys more appealing to the opposite sex without costing us hundreds of thousands of dollars like the car dicks dish out for the same effect. So what happens when one of People magazine's most beautiful people rides a custom stretched Hayabusa? Game over for the rest of us.
Tyson Beckford had no plans of becoming one of the most successful male models ever when growing up in Jamaica and New York. Born in 1971, Beckford was actually ridiculed by classmates for his exotic looks from a Jamaican-Panamanian-Chinese heritage. After being discovered by hip-hop magazine The Source in 1991, his life was forever changed and he landed a starring role in a fragrance campaign for designer Ralph Lauren.
Since then, Beckford has appeared in numerous movies, magazines and TV shows. The cool part is that he's managed to bring his love of two wheels into a few of his acting roles, including playing the part of Donny in Biker Boyz, where he raced for lids. Following that he went on to cart around dirty girl Britney Spears in her music video for "Toxic" on a Ducati 999. Most recently, Beckford was named as the host of Fine Tuned on SPEED Channel.
It turns out that Beckford isn't just a face behind the camera, but is a true bike enthusiast. He's been riding for over 20 years and got his start in the dirt. He explained what made him want to ride a streetbike: "Back in the day, dirt riding was cool, and the streetbikes were just coming up. I wanted to ride after watching that movie Black Rain with Kirk Douglas."
After hanging out in Florida and watching all the fat-tire bikes rolling through the streets of Daytona and Miami, Beckford saw the potential of the trend and decided to help bring it out west. "The fat tires are an East Coast thing. I would see the bikes out in Daytona Beach but they had a bit too much stretch. I knew I wanted to do the same thing, just a bit shorter."
Beckford purchased his 2006 Hayabusa and immediately had it torn apart. Anything that was shiny was sent out for powdercoating by Star Motoring in Englewood, New Jersey. "I did chrome back in the '90s," Beckford explained of his decision to use powdercoat.
Pit Stop Motorsports added a bit of mesh and other accessories to help transform Beckford's ideas into reality. Pit Stop owner Dennis "D-Man" Vazquez helped tune the bike for Beckford, for which he was truly grateful and expressed his admiration of D-Man: "I've never met anyone with such a big heart and big-ass balls. He's not scared of anything."
Although Beckford is famous for modeling, he is far from the stereotype when it comes to getting dirty on his bike. He assembled much of the bike himself in his garage and regularly maintains and works on it when on the West Coast. SSB met up with him on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, and we found him elbow deep in oil trying to track down a small leak that was getting onto the rear tire. After roasting off the excess for the camera, Beckford was right back at it removing body panels to locate the leak.
The next time you see a stretched out 'Busa hauling ass down Sunset Boulevard, don't assume it's just some schmo under that helmet. Great, just what we need-a cool dude who rides a phat bike and just happens to be a male model. Hide your women.
2006 Suzuki Hayabusa
Front end: Galfer rotors, Kevlar brake lines, Altered Chrome spikes
Rear end: Kosman Specialties widened stock wheel, Tricked Out Custom Cycles extended swingarm, 300mm Avon Venom tire, air-ride rear shock
Motor: Yoshimura cams,
BMC filter, Dynojet Power Commander, Hindle Sidewinder exhaust
Polish/chrome: Powdercoating by Star Motoring
Accessories: RK chains, Vortex rearsets
Other: Scotts stabilizer, custom seats by Star Motoring, LED turn signals
Builder: Tyson Beckford, Pit Stop Motorsports
Owner: Tyson Beckford