The market for high-end, bespoke custom motorcycles is tiny. To move beyond bolt-on parts takes hours of craftsmanship, and true artisans don’t come cheap. Walt Siegl is one of those rare craftsmen, and he’s also keenly aware of the dilemma: His bikes, lusted after by so many, are affordable by relatively few.
Siegl has taken a big step to correct the imbalance with his new Leggero Series, a limited run of production machines based on two-valve Ducati 900cc engines. Because it’s a limited run, costs are reduced without affecting quality. This is the prototype: feast your eyes.
‘Timeless’ is a word that gets bandied around too much, but it fits this machine perfectly. It looks modern yet ‘old’, without being faddishly retro. “I wanted to use classic sport/racing design elements that are clearly recognizable,” says Walt, “from exhaust to frame design.”
The exhaust pays homage to the Conti systems that all the big Bevels had. Walt has fashioned his in stainless steel, feeding through a collector unit. The frame is crafted from 4130 chrome moly steel tubing, and its design is a nod to the Verlicchis built for racing. “As a matter of fact, it has exactly the same weight as the Verlicchi TT1 and TT2 frames—19 lbs,” says Walt.
Suspension is via the trusty Showa fork, and rear shocks are Öhlins. The motor, in this case, is fitted with 39mm Keihin FCRs. The bodywork is carbon fiber: “I built the original tank and tail, then Matt Tanner [of Tannermatic], used my prototypes to create molds for this and future builds.”
Walt has had the frame and rearsets reverse-engineered by M&E Design. A Solidworks computer program has been created, which allows him to reproduce the designs. Why? “It allows me to build a superior product,” says Walt. “Solidworks programs allow stress analysis to be done. They take away the guesswork and reduce time spent on research. I can make certain that what I am building is strong enough, and that the pieces will fit well together.”
Over time, Walt has collected a group of smart, talented people to help him build the best possible product, and he’s happy to give them the kudos. As well as Tannermatic and M&E Design, Walt enlists Dave Goddard for painting, Eric Kobalth of Clubhouse Motorsports for engine rebuilds, and seamstress Vivienne Smith for upholstery. Alex Vogel of AVA Restoration helps to design a truly modern, fully electronic wiring harness.
“Although the bikes are still hand-built by me, one at a time, these technologies have shaved off many, many hours in the workshop building one-offs,” says Walt. “It’s always been my desire to build more accessible bikes.”
If this Superlight takes your fancy, you’ll be glad to know that you get plenty of choices when it comes to specifying the bike. You can choose either a mono-shock or dual-shock set-up. There is a half-fairing option as well. Bodywork choices are: full carbon fiber, clear-coated or painted; or painted vacuum-molded fiberglass.
For price and availability, contact Walt through his website at www.waltsiegl.com. Take your place behind me in the queue—and no pushing.