Greatest hits: The best of Walt Siegl Motorcycles

Top 5 Walt Siegl custom Motorcycles
Walt Siegl’s work has graced the pages of Bike EXIF since the publication’s early days. Based in New Hampshire, USA, the Austrian-born designer and custom motorcycle builder specializes in high-end Ducati customs that exemplify good taste and expert craftsmanship.

With over a decade of Walt Siegl Motorcycles content to sift through, narrowing his portfolio down to just five motorcycles is no easy task. We could fill a book with our favorite WSM bikes—and we could wax lyrical for hours about what makes them so appealing. From one-off specials, to ‘series’ models that are built in limited numbers, Walt’s machines typically leave our jaws on the floor.

Custom Ducati Leggero by Walt Siegl Motorcycles
WSM Ducati Leggero If there’s one thing that Walt Siegl is known for above anything else, it’s his made-to-order ‘Leggero’ Ducatis. Few custom motorcycles strike the balance between form and function as well as a Walt Siegl Motorcycles Leggero, and few are as instantly recognizable.

Effortlessly blending vintage looks with modern performance, and finished to Walt’s typical exacting standards, the Leggero is the stuff of dreams. What’s better than a WSM Leggero then? How about four Leggeros, each built according to Walt’s own specifications, to store as inventory for potential buyers?

Custom Ducati Leggero by Walt Siegl Motorcycles
Walt built these four bikes with the same template he uses for all of his Leggero Ducatis. Each features a chromoly WSM frame, fitted with Öhlins suspension, forged OZ Racing wheels, and Brembo brakes. It then gets a special Ducati motor built by Bruce Meyer—a known Ducati specialist, and Walt’s go-to engine guy.

Two of the bikes built in this production run sport Ducati 900 SuperSport engines, while the other two use GT1000 mills. As is customary, they boast a laundry list of upgrades and are aided by modern custom-specced electronics packages.

Custom Ducati Leggero by Walt Siegl Motorcycles
Visually, Walt’s Leggeros are love letters to the late 70s and early 80s Ducatis that he loves. The signature bodywork is equal parts muscular and flowing, tracing a graceful line from the fairing through to the tail. The finishes are well-considered, serving to accentuate the craftsmanship at work here.

Building four motorcycles at once presented a unique set of challenges for Walt, but he overcame them. If there’s one motorcycle that effortlessly embodies performance and style, it’s the WSM Leggero. [More]

Ducati SBK custom superbike by Walt Siegl
WSM Ducati SBK Series Most modern superbikes leave us cold, but Walt’s idea of a superbike warms our hearts. His ‘SBK’ series builds are made-to-order Ducati superbikes that combine modern performance and timeless style. Pictured here is Walt’s fourth SBK build, and one of the best.

The SBK philosophy is not unlike the Leggero’s. Each WSM SBK starts with an aircraft-grade chromoly frame, powered by a bespoke engine built by Bruce Meyers. It then gets carbon fiber bodywork and a bunch of components that operate at (or above) the level you’d expect from a high-end performance motorcycle.

Ducati SBK custom superbike by Walt Siegl
This SBK’s motor is particularly special, featuring a Ducati 848 crankcase and a 1,040 cc big bore kit with Pistal race pistons. Ported and flowed heads, titanium connecting rods, and a lightened and balanced crank; the motor’s spec sheet is exhaustive. Other performance mods include a WSM airbox, a custom-programmed ECU, and a quick-shifter.

The wheels are carbon fiber items from BST, the suspension is Öhlins and the brakes are Brembo. Finished in a Ferrari-inspired livery, SBK #4 is an absolute beast. If only all superbikes looked this good. [More]

Square case Ducati bevel engine custom by Walt Siegl
1980 Ducati 900 SS ‘Bedeveled’ When the late Bobby Haas commissioned a custom bike from Walt for the Haas Moto Museum in Texas, Walt hit back with an ambitious idea. He wanted to use the oft-maligned ‘square case’ bevel Ducati engine, “to prove that one can still build a sexy machine around that engine design.” And he succeeded.

Walt started with a 1980-model Ducati 900 SuperSport and turned it into a pure track machine. Even though the bike was destined for a museum, he wanted to know that it could perform if it ever needed to, so the engine went off to Bruce Meyers for a smorgasbord of upgrades. It now makes between 85 and 90 hp, running with 40 mm Dell’Ortos and a free-flowing stainless steel exhaust system.

Square case Ducati bevel engine custom by Walt Siegl
The sculpted bodywork feels vintage, but it was all made using very modern materials; namely carbon fiber. Everything is assembled around a custom-built chromoly frame, with upside-down forks, a mono-shock rear end, and MV Agusta wheels rounding out the chassis package.

Finished in a Paul Smart-inspired silver with a pop of red on the frame, this square case would surely look just as good on the track as it would in the Haas Museum. [More]

The Walt Siegl Bol d'Or: a modern MV Agusta with a dash of retro style.
MV Agusta Brutale 800 ‘Bol d’Or’ Walt might be best known for his Ducati customs, but he’s no one-trick pony. On this project, he applied his signature style to the MV Agusta Brutale 800—proving that he’s as versatile as he is talented.

Named ‘Bol d’Or,’ the bike was heavily inspired by vintage endurance racers. To nail the aesthetic, Walt used a mix of shaping foam and automotive clay to form the MV Agusta’s new bodywork, then had a third party build the final parts out of Kevlar composite. The weight saving was considerable; the 5-gallon fuel tank, for example, weighs just 3.5 lbs.

The Walt Siegl Bol d'Or: a modern MV Agusta with a dash of retro style.
Even though a new chassis is standard issue on a WSM Leggero build, Walt left the Brutale’s frame alone, citing that he “didn’t want to undo something that’s so good.” Small performance mods included an ECU flash and a new SC-Project exhaust, with an aluminum subframe and WSM rear-sets adding further weight savings.

Walt nailed the design, finishing the fairing off with an offset headlight and ram air vents that aren’t just for show. The vibe is part endurance racer, part track bike, with a livery that is both simple and impactful. And according to Walt, it’s a ferocious animal out on the track too. [More]

PACT: A custom Alta Redshift by Walt Siegl Motorcycles
Alta Redshift ‘PACT’ If you think that all electric motorcycles are sterile, soulless machines, this alluring custom offers evidence to the contrary. Walt partnered up with industrial designer Mike Mayberry, one of the co-founders of Ronin Motorworks, to build it. They started with the drivetrain from an Alta Redshift—the now-defunct company’s lauded electric dirt bike.

Almost everything else was built from scratch, including a new chromoly frame with street-biased geometry. The swingarm is custom too, and the bike rolls on custom-machined 17” wheels, with Öhlins suspension and Brembo brakes.

PACT: A custom Alta Redshift by Walt Siegl Motorcycles
Then there’s the PACT’s tantalizing bodywork. Walt prototyped it all using cardboard and paper rather than a computer so that he could get a sense of its real-world dimensions. Prototype parts were shaped out of carbon fiber sheeting, but the final parts were made using forged carbon fiber and compression molds.

Complete with more tasty goodies, like a carbon fiber subframe, PACT looks like no other motorcycle out there—electric or otherwise. [More]

Walt Siegl Motorcycles | Facebook | Instagram | Images by  Douglas MacRae (MV Agusta) and Gregory George Moore (others)

Walt Siegl and the WSM Leggero

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