Talk about stealing the show. This stunning 2002 Hayabusa blew away all 90,000 attendees at last year's International Motorcycle Show at the Javits Convention Center in New York City, where it first debuted to the public. Forget waiting two hours to see the Orange County Choppers exhibit; the real buzz on the show floor surrounded J. Jesses "JJ" Smith's beastly 'Busa, built by North Bergen, New Jersey's Pit Stop Motorsports. In every aisle the comments were the same: "Did you see the monster Hayabusa with the mouth on it? You gotta check that out!" Choppers? What choppers?
In other words, everything at the Javits Convention Center went just as Pit Stop owner Dennis Vazquez planned. His goal was to step up the quality of his shop's custom bikes to show the motorcycling public that sportbike artisans like himself are capable of creating high-concept customs every bit as impressive as the overwrought theme bikes paraded out by the Teutuls and crew at O.C.C. The bike Vazquez built for Smith, appropriately dubbed the Hayabeasta, proved this point and then some.
Like every bike Pit Stop creates, the Hayabeasta was designed by Vazquez to express Smith's personality and lifestyle. But Smith had little input into the project other than selecting the base paint color--everything else was left up to Vazquez. "He said he had this wild idea and I told him, `Go for it!'" Smith says. "I took the bike there and handed him a handful of money, and this is what I got back."
Vazquez's goal with Smith's Hayabusa was to stick with the creative nature of Smith's professional life. Smith is the owner of Sandstone Films and has directed and/or produced more than 120 music videos, mostly with high-profile hip-hop artists. It was Smith, for instance, who directed rapper DMX's breakthrough Ruff Ryder Anthem video, which featured stunt rider Wink 1100 and introduced street stunting to the mainstream. In addition to DMX, Smith has also worked with Lil' Kim, Wu-Tang Clan, Master P and The Ghetto Commission, Redman and many artists on the rap label Murder Inc.
"As a director and video producer, JJ is always dealing with visual imagery in his work," Vazquez says. "So with his bike, I wanted to do something very graphic. I wanted to drop people's jaws."
It's fitting, then, that the main focal point of the Hayabeasta is an actual jawbone (plus fangs and a tongue) that forms the 3D sculpture filling the Hayabusa's original headlight opening. The teeth, tongue and other bits were cut out of a lifelike saber-toothed tiger head Vazquez bought from a theatrical prop store and then carefully molded into the upper fairing. Recessed eye sockets located above the gaping orifice hold a pair of HID driving lights that complete the facial illusion and give the Hayabeasta an utterly original (and slightly terrifying) visage. Sequential LED lighting from Signal Dynamics lines the inside of the maw to make it glow after dark for maximum visual impact.
"The Hayabusa is a serious bike--I wanted to take the beast out of the bike and project it outward for everyone to see," Vazquez says by way of explanation.The custom bodywork was covered with equally mind-blowing images created by Pit Stop collaborators Neso Graphics. Done in purple, silver and black over a metallic blue basecoat, the graphics evoke a sci-fi/underworld feel and reinforce the beast theme with sinewy, tendonlike patterns that occasionally morph into curvaceous female forms.
The immaculate paintwork is accented with plenty of polished aluminum (done in-house by the Pit Stop crew) and show-quality chrome (farmed out to Globe Plating in Newark, New Jersey). Beneath the brightwork Vazquez kept things pretty mild. Twin-tip slip-on exhausts from Blue Flame are the only modifications to the 'Beasta's 1300cc four-cylinder motor. Other big-ticket appearance mods include a set of Performance Machine's Gatlin forged wheels carrying Braking Wave rotors and blue-colored tires from Tomahawk. Pro-Tek rearsets and frame sliders were both bolted up upon reassembly, and the stock controls were chromed out and paired with a set of chopper-builder Eddie Trotta's Thunder Cycle Design handgrips to add a bit more bling and improve feel and feedback at Smith's contact points. The undertail area was cleaned with the addition of Pit Stop's own swingarm-mounted license-plate carrier, plus an aftermarket rear hugger fender from ART.
Smith was so impressed with Vazquez's work he made a place for him in his latest business venture--a motorcycle-based heist film called 305 Outlaws (named for the area code in Miami, Florida, where the story is set). Smith calls the film a modern-day Western featuring stunters on sportbikes in place of cowboys on horseback, holding up Brinks armored trucks instead of stagecoaches.
What will Vazquez's role in the film be? He's the hold-up gang's go-to bike builder, of course. "His character builds the bikes," Smith says. "His shop looks like a dive from the outside, but you go through a trapdoor and it leads to a state-of-the-art workshop with all this high-tech shit--it's just like the Bat Cave. He makes bikes specifically for the job, fast and quiet so you can't hear them coming, with modified cowls to hold the money and special holsters to hold the guns."
Sounds cool. Maybe not as cool as a snarling, saber-toothed Hayabeasta, but cool nonetheless. And who knows--perhaps Smith will write in a cameo for his own ride, maybe in the final scene. He tells us the movie is going to have a happy ending, where a sexy, bike-riding female FBI agent pinches the bad guys. Maybe she can swoop down on the crew, straddling the fearsome Hayabeasta. It's just the sort of bike, we think, that would scare a group of stick-up artists straight.