When he’s not building the world’s most desirable Ducati road bikes, Walt Siegl likes to head for the racetrack on his 916 or 1098. But he’s a hard rider, and his two regular mounts are now looking a little battered. So Walt’s built himself this new racer, based on his successful Leggero series of road-going bikes.
The idea came over dinner with friend Bruce Meyers, who ran the legendary Ducati shop BCM Racing until five years ago. “Bruce said that there are folks in Ducati circles who’d like to see me at the track on a bike that doesn’t bear battle scars,” says Walt.
Bruce agreed to rebuild a 1992 900 SS engine for Walt, and upgrade it without using hyper-exotic parts. The motor is now running lightweight pistons and better cams, and Bruce also reworked the head. The flywheel has been shaved to half the weight of the stock unit.
The base Leggero is light and strong, with a 4130 chrome moly steel tube frame, so Walt has left that alone. But there’s now an Öhlins monoshock arrangement, and the Conti-style custom exhaust system kicks up higher at the back.
The bodywork is vacuum-molded urethane, which is nearly as light as the carbon fiber normally used on a Leggero. And the paint, much brighter than most Walt Siegl bikes, is entirely appropriate for the purpose. “I’ve always been very attracted to the youthfulness of small race bikes,” says Walt, “and since the Leggero has the feel of a gazelle, I decided on paint that reflects that attitude.”
Last month, Walt took the Ducati to the Collective .1 Design Fair in New York; its next destination is the racetrack. If it goes as fast as it looks, it’s going to make Walt a formidable competitor.
Images by Dino Petrocelli.