Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Walt Seigle

This is what Walt Seigle was up to in issue 163, Nov. '98 of Iron Horse magazine, with the photo shoot and story done by English Don. This bike has always been there in my mental "most favorite bikes" list over the years.

What always appealed to me about this bike is the overall Frisco look of it, mixed with that hard-edged New York City style of lane-splitter. You can see that Walt took a lot of his styling cues from Sonny Barger's "Sweet Cocaine" bike, and added his own typically NYC twist on the project. The stance is perfect, and it looks to be charging thru Manhattan traffic just sitting there in the photo.

Originally, this photo was printed backwards, and was really muddy in print. I tried my best to trick it up a little so you could see the '64 (w/S&S internals) bottom end, Shovel top, Morris mag, and routing of the front pipe. Note the unusual location of the voltage regulator, on the bottom of the gas tank.

Speaking of the gas tank, Walt sculpted and extended the steel Sporty tank's tail in fiberglass, then mounted it Frisco style. But, he didn't drop the tunnel or move the filler neck up to increase his gas capacity. He did, however, relocate the petcock to the Lt. rear of the tank. Strange setup.

The other thing I've always noticed on most NYC bikes from the likes of Seigle, SD, Psycho, and Indian Larry, vs. the Frisco bikes, was the use of forward foot controls, over mid pegs/controls. Both the NYC and Frisco styles of bikes developed from a need to cut a fast trip thru heavy traffic and splitting lanes. Just another regional preference, I guess.

Picking up any ideas? Again, this auxiliary automotive transmission cooler (doubling as the license plate/tail light mount) pressed into service as an oil cooler, reminds me of the later version of Richmond Rooster's bike, where he used a Trans-Go cooler for the same application. Walt's seat was an early Paul Cox piece.

Here we get a good shot of the trees Walt made for the 35mm front end, and the again typical NYC use of a steering dampener on a chopper- in this case a pair. Note the use of a FXWG front fender, to accommodate the 21" front wheel. And, Walt chose to mount his headlight to the lower tree, in leiu of using the headlight hood.

Too bad that the photo reproduction in IH was so crappy. This bike is a stone killer, or as Jesse would say "So angry....."


Vilmino said...

Frisco look mixed with New York City style.... a perfect cocktail!

Chuck said...

Thanks for sharing these picturea! English Don is on the Jockey Journal sharing old photos too..I asked him the same thing about hi-mids vs. forwards and he said personal preference as well..although it does seem strange that a whole coast would have the same personal preference..A couple posts back you had IL's grease monkey, any ideas on why he ran a final belt drive? Seems most run chain but I figure he had a reason for doing it just wondering what that reason is..

Irish Rich said...

Chuck, It never occured to me to ask Larry why he ran final belt drives, but he ran them on every one of his his Build Off bikes (and bikes he built for others,like Timothy White's Rolex for example), with the Chain Of Mystery bike being the exception. I guess he ran the chain final drive to mesh with the chain frame.

From my experience, chain final drives are way easier to set up and align than belt final drives are. Chains will tolerate .050-.075 runout in the alignment, and still live a long life, where belts will tear themselves up with the same runout. You have to have everything aligned just perfect to get "0" runout on the rear pulleys.

Maybe Larry did them because not many people used them and they were a challange to set up right, or maybe it was the no maintainence aspect, or maybe he just didn't like to clean off chain lube from his bikes all the time....I dunno. Maybe when I see Paul Cox again, I'll ask him, or Keino.

Anonymous said...

He told me it was the lube thing(although I'm sure he liked showing off that perfect alignment). Are those brackets from the tranny to the frame for keeping alignment due to not running a primary plate or did it have one and those are for fun? Thanks for all the great info, it's awesome.

Irish Rich said...

English Don said in the article that the motor would pull the tranny out of the frame, so Seigle added the additional brackets on the kicker side, and some other reinforcement brackets under the tranny. He also said he ran w/o a bearing support or motor plate w/a 3" belt drive.

I kinda figured Larry wouldn't make his motors oil tight, and then run a chain he'd have to clean up after. Thanks.

Chuck said...

Hey Rich, thanks again for all the are great but the stories behind the pictures are always amazing, brings everything into focus, thanks!!

Roadside Marty said...

I remember that article as well Rich, my favorite was the pic of the plywood sign telling the working girls not to throw the used scumbags on the ground but in the dumpster or we expect some ass!!! Classic!!! Roadside Marty

Unknown said...

I have the tank and seat for this bike sitting on one of my shelves. I painted the replacement tank that was put on by Indian Larry when Andrea of east side ink bought the bike from Walter. The bike was later raffled off by 3rd street if memory serves.