Harley Shovelhead by Walt Siegl

Harley Shovelhead 'Speed Glide' built by Walt Siegl
Walt Siegl is one of those increasingly rare guys who can build a motorcycle from scratch. He was born in Austria but now lives in idyllic rural New Hampshire, USA. And when word gets out that Walt’s built a new bike, I’m all ears. Walt’s latest creation is the ‘Speed Glide’, a very unusual Shovelhead-powered machine commissioned by a collector of British and American motorcycles.

The brief was very specific: Walt’s customer wanted a hybrid of the two types, with styling influenced by the 60s and 70s. And without the shortcomings of the originals. (Oh, and there had to be Z-bars too. Hmm.) No expense was spared on the Harley motor: it’s a 93-inch ‘stroker’, blueprinted and balanced with a lightened flywheel and pistons, ported and flowed cylinder heads, and a high performance cam. (The work was done by Harley engine guru Andrew Rosa of Rosa’s Motorcycle Shop.)

Harley Shovelhead 'Speed Glide' built by Walt Siegl
The power feeds through a Baker six-speed transmission with custom gears, and it’s all kept under control by custom-built Works Performance rear shocks. At the front are 1960s Ceriani road-racing forks, updated with Progressive Suspension springs. Four-pot Brembo calipers handle the braking duties; the wheels are 19” and 18” powder coated stainless Dunlops shod with Avon tires.

Harley Shovelhead 'Speed Glide' built by Walt Siegl
Siegl hand-built the frame “to create a visual connection to European styling, and to provide a ride height of 30 inches for good balance.” He also built the tank, the exhaust system and the seat, with the upholstery being finished by local New Hampshire artisan Vivian Smith. The final touch was the lustrous, sparkling paint, courtesy of Brooklyn artist Vincent Scarek.

Top marks to Walt Siegl for craftmanship and originality: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Shovelhead motor in a bike looking anything like this.

Harley Shovelhead 'Speed Glide' built by Walt Siegl
Harley Shovelhead 'Speed Glide' built by Walt Siegl