Walt Siegl Ducati

Ducati racer by Walt Siegl
We have our first feature-length post today, thanks to Milwaukee photographer and Cycle Source contributor Colleen Swartz—who provides not only the words, but also the image.

Fritz Dietl started his adventure with Walt Siegl’s custom bikes with a Knucklehead that Walt built for him back in 2006. Impressed with the styling and performance of this build, Fritz came back to Walt in 2008—and asked for an air-cooled Ducati that would not only turn heads, but also be competitive on the race track.

The project began with a heavily-modified and overbored Monster engine, breathing through twin 41mm flat slide racing carbs. Walt hand-fabricated the frame, hooking it up to a stock Monster steering neck and using the geometry measurements from his own 916 Ducati. Suzuki provided the GSXR forks and radial brakes, and the forged aluminum wheels are from Carrozzeria: they’re lighter than traditional magnesium racing wheels, and just as strong.

Wishing to conjure the look and feel of late 60s/early 70s race bikes, Walt Siegl then applied original Maserati paints in French Blue and white. Classic colors from the Italian flag highlight Walt’s logo on the custom tank, embossed in brown leather.

Burns provided the glass-packed reverse cone ends to Walt’s custom exhaust. The tank, which was designed to accommodate the battery and the coil in the fore-section, is hinged to provide easy access to the top of the engine.

A GFTP faring was installed, with a custom fairing stay for increased rigidity. And Walt also created the fiberglass tail section upholstered with a Backdrop seat. The removable tail lamp is a CEV Italian original from the 70s. The details on this bike are all Walt: The front fender, the foot controls, the removable racing plate over the headlamp, the bars, the dash … you can see the attention to detail in all of them.

Believe it or not, Fritz hasn’t cured his bug for Walt Siegl customs yet. He has placed another order, for another Ducati—this one to be fuel injected. Walt hopes to start Fritz’s third bike by the end of this winter, and have Fritz back on the track next season.

[With thanks to Colleen Swartz/Digital Magic BigShots.]

  • Andrew

    Do we have some specs on this? I would assume a lower weight than a Ducati SportClassic1000S but similar power

  • Incredible!

  • Tackett

    Brilliant and beautiful.

    I really like the extended writeup.

    The vast majority of the bikes presented here would be better served with additional pictures and description. Love the site.

  • Spats MacGee

    I agree with tackett, although the lack of info leads me to do my own research, which tends to be an interesting journey. Also, sometimes the bite sized posts make it easier to follow daily, and when I send a friend a link, it’s nice that they don’t have to wade through too much to get the point of the post, it’s all laid out right there. Colleen seem to have found a good middle ground.

    • When I got Colleen’s original post, I was unsure what to do with it: it was a great picture and a great article, but print-magazine-length rather than the 150 words or so that I usually post. I thought about cutting it down to the usual format, but it was such a well-written article that I decided to experiment. So I edited it down a little, and the response (and hits) have been good.

      The bite-sized posts are our signature: not only because they’re easily digestible, but also because they fit the amount of time I have to spend working on the site. But if high quality longer pieces come in from outside contributors, and the quality of the writing and photography is up to our usual standards, then I’m happy to run them occasionally.

  • Tackett

    Your explanation about article length is quite logical.

    In any case, thanks for putting together this site, and taking the time to give me something to drool about every day.

  • Kyle

    Help: Anyone know about the grips on this bike? Trivial, but I like/want them.

  • Billy Harvey

    Its a work of fine art!!!….