Walt Siegl Ducati

Posted: 22 Oct 2009

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 Walter 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 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.

In August, they tested the limits. Walt took the Ducati out on a Super Bike course and recalls, “I did 12 really hot laps with her in the open class. We were running against 160-170 horsepower Super Bikes and we were performing really well. I pulled into our pits to talk to Fritz about the bike, the track, the racing conditions, to give him advice on when and where to short-shift, entry and exit points … We talked just long enough for the tires to cool a bit too much and when Fritz jumped on and took off he really hit the hammer. The tires didn’t bite and in the second turn he went down.”

Of course it’s never easy to see your racing buddy go down on a track. And it has to be even worse if you built the bike yourself. But Walt laughs and waves it off: “It just needs to be repainted, a new fairing, new tail section and one side of the exhaust … it could have been worse.”

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.]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
American (Dave Cook) wins Custom Bike Building World Championship
For the first time since its inception in 2004, an American custom motorcycle engineer has won the Official World Championship of Custom Bike Building.

The winner, Dave Cook of Cook Custom Choppers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was voted World Champion by his fellow competitors at an event that defied motorcycle industry downturn expectations. With an increased field totalling 83 custom motorcycles from around the world (compared to 67 in 2008), this year’s event is being widely hailed as showcasing the most advanced display of custom motorcycle design and engineering yet seen.

The 51 year old Cook is an internationally recognized engineer and creative genius whose passion for design and engineering excellence had seen him be the winningest American in the past two years, having been fourth and highest placed American competitor behind an international top-three in both 2007 and 2008.

“This is a dream come true”, said Cook, minutes after receiving the acclaim of the large crowd of motorcycle enthusiasts and fellow industry professionals who crowded into the downtown City of Sturgis Champions Park venue.

During the build-up to the contest Cook’s highly anticipated, exquisite, hand-crafted “Rambler” was among the early favorites to become the first American built World Championship winning custom motorcycle.

However, as competitors pulled their bikes in for competition run-checks and registration at the weekend, it became apparent that competition for top-honors was going to be fierce, with dozens of stunning machines in contention in the ‘FreeStyle’ Class from which the World Champion is chosen.

“I have dedicated the best part of three years to trying to win the World Championship, and finally I have achieved the ultimate recognition of my fellow professionals. It is very humbling”, Cook went on to say.

Once described as motorcycling’s “Pulitzers, Nobels and Olympics all rolled into one”, the Official World Championship of Custom Bike Building is staged annually during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, every August, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

It is the culmination of a year-long series of worldwide events, including an annual European Championship, that sees hundreds of custom motorcycle design and engineering hopefuls embark on a quest for the opportunity to compete in USA against many of America’s finest motorcycle industry brains.

Dominated by engineers from Canada, Japan and Europe for the first five years, American motorcycle customizing has now convincingly broken through on its industry’s biggest global stage with seven of the top ten competitors being bike builders based in USA.

Second place was scooped by another American, Kris Krome, of Freeland, Michigan. Third place went Freddie “Krugger” Bertrand from Belgium (Freddie had scored third place twice before, 2004 and 2005). Fourth place went to 2007 World Champion Stellan Egeland from Sweden, with Satya Kraus of Cazedero, California fifth.

About The Championships

The Official World Championship of Custom Bike Building program encompasses some 18 events in total, in 16 different countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, The Netherlands, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Russia, Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Total public attendances at events involved in the program regularly top 1 million motorcycle enthusiasts a year, in markets worth some 20 million motorcyclists and nearly 1 billion consumers in general.

The World Championship of Custom Bike Building is supported for the long-term benefit of the custom motorcycle industry by a consortium of Official Partners. World Championship Partnership is only available to selected potential sponsors. The Program’s organizers issue invitations to be associated with the World Championship to custom motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle parts, accessory and service component manufacturers, distributors and brand owners based on their perceived suitability for association with the aims and values of the program. The current Partner line-up is: Custom Chrome, Kustomwerks, Rivera Primo, Harley-Davidson, BUB Enterprises, Helmet City, Ride Wright Wheels, Big Dog Motorcycles, Motorcycle Storehouse, Kibblewhite Precision Machining, J&P Cycles and Hot Bike Magazine.

The World Championship of Custom Bike Building exists to showcase and promote international custom motorcycle design and engineering quality, craftsmanship and innovation; and to promote the evolution of custom motorcycling in ways that will help secure the unique enjoyment of custom motorcycles for future generations of riders.

The World Championship of Custom Bike Building is an Official Sponsor of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and is endorsed by the City of Sturgis as the sole official custom bike event of the world famous 69 year-old rally.

The World Championship supports the work of Kids & Chrome as its Official Charity ( Kids and Chrome raises funds and awareness for the Children’s Home Society and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame.

The World Championship is a free-public-admission four-day event that opens on the first Sunday of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, culminating in an awards ceremony at 3:00 pm MST on the Wednesday of the Rally. The whole event, including the awards ceremony, is broadcast on the internet at

The Champions Park facility, downtown at the heart of the Rally experience on Sturgis’s famous Lazelle Street, features the world’s only ‘remote-location’ public hospitality facility staged by the legendary ACE Cafe London, and a selected event and program relevant line-up of vendors from the custom motorcycle industry.

The results of all European and World Championships since the program’s inception appear in the event website registry, along with details of the motorcycle builders, photo gallery, and technical specifications.

Cook Custom Choppers wins AMD World Championship of Bike Building

by Jeremy Korzeniewski Aug 12th 2009

Cook Custom Choppers Rambler – Click above for high-res image gallery

Considering America’s well-known love affair with custom motorcycles, you might think that the Official World Championship of Custom Bike Building would be dominated by U.S.-based builders. Interestingly, though, this year marks the first time the top prize has been won by an American, in this case Dave Cook of Cook Custom Choppers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The winning bike is called Rambler, and it’s definitely not the typical custom Harley. In fact, it’s not even powered by a V-twin engine. Instead, an air-cooled 550cc four-cylinder engine from International sends power through a modified BMW gearbox and shaft drive to the 21-inch rear wheel. See for yourself in our gallery below.

Second place went to another non-Harley-based custom built by Kris Krome Customs of Freeland, Michigan. Called the Re-flex-tion, the machine is powered by the mill from a Triumph T120. Bronze went to Krugger Speedshop from Belgium for its S&S-powered Overmile. Hit the jump for the official press release and click here for a complete rundown of winners.

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