MotoBE by walt siegl
Hand-Fabricated Frame and Bodywork, Rebuilt Motor, Like New Condition, Featured on BikeExif and Silodrome
After Walt Siegl moved from Austria to New York in 1985, he built motorcycles as a hobby. Three years ago, he moved his workshop and his family to an old mill town in southern New Hampshire to build motorcycles full time, and he’s quickly made a name for himself as an old-school craftsman. (After all, how many builders have made it into both the Wall Street Journal and DicE magazine?) For his latest bike, Walt has mixed his retro influences with a very contemporary custom look. The MotoBe XLX Harley Sportster is minimal and monochromatic, built around the 60 ci motor from an ’83 Harley Sportster.
The Sportster also donated the frame downtubes, motor mounts and neck—on which the VIN number is mounted—but Walt has used chromoly steel tubing for the rest of the frame, making it much lighter than stock. He’s also lowered the front forks 35 mm, hooked them up to a custom-made upper tree, and fitted Progressive springs. The bars are custom clip-ons, fitted with Magura controls and sitting behind a custom headlight assembly. And that striking bodywork—including the gas tank, oil tank, fenders and seat—was all crafted by Walt himself, to his usual superlative standards. Check out the Walt Siegl Motorcycles website for more pictures of the MotoBe XLX and a gallery of his delectable earlier creations. [Images by myself and Eric Ahlquist Photography.]
This bike was commissioned by private collector in 2010. Walt says “The customer wanted a Sportster unlike any other. I tried to make a small cafe bike that was a visual marriage of the British and Italian styles.”
The bike was featured also featured on Silodrome. Here's what they said about it:
"It occurred to me last week that we haven’t featured a Walt Siegl bike in quite a while, there’s no excuse for that really and so I apologise. This bike, a cafe racer called “Motobe”, was built by Walt in 2010. It’s based on a 1983 Harley-Davidson Sportster but as with all Siegl builds, not much of the original bike remains.
After rebuilding the 60 cubic inch, v-twin engine he set to work on the frame. It was decided that the original frame down tubes, motor mounts and neck would be kept but the rest of the frame would be junked in favour of a custom chrome-moly (chromium and molybdenum) frame, handmade in-house.
The stunning bodywork was all built by hand over a period of weeks, the beautiful design looks almost like a late-70s semi-stock cafe racer, making me (and many others) wish that Walt had been working with H-D as director of design in the 70s or 80s. Or any point in history really.
Other interesting items on the build are the progressive springs, lowered front forks, clip-ons with Magura controls and a custom headlight assembly."
Opportunities to buy a Walt Siegl bike to not come up very often. His current wait list is two years. His least expensive build starts at $30,000 for his "production" Leggeros and prices just go up from there. I think this bike is one of his most interesting works. It has been ridden approximately 500 miles since completion. The engine was rebuilt by Rosa Cycles, one of the top Harley engine builders on the east coast. The bike runs interesting Japanese racing shocks in the rear, with an oil reservoir at the bottom. The front forks have progressive springs and Tarozzi cartridges in them. The bike also has an interesting HPC coated exhaust for heat dissipation.
The bike had been in the collection of the original owner for the last few years. We had the carbs cleaned and the oil changed and the bike fires up eagerly and runs and rides extremely well. The bike is in outstanding condition and basically looks just as it did when Walt finished it in 2010. The name Motobe was inspired by the Italian company Motobi, which built small mopeds and small displacement racing motorcycles.
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