A freshly built Rickman Metisse Triumph Scrambler

This Rickman Metisse Triumph Scrambler was built from new and/or reconditioned parts just a year ago, has not been ridden since it was completed and is now offered for sale.

Rickman Motorcycles was founded in 1960 by brothers Derek and Don Rickman. Their motorcycle frame designs were the best in the world for off-road riding at the time, so much so that Steve McQueen bought one and had it shipped to California for his desert racing endeavors.

Highlights – The Rickman Métisse

  • The Rickman Metisse became one of the most sought after off-road racing motorcycles in the world in the 1960s. It used a proprietary frame and fiberglass or alloy body fitted with an engine, transmission , a suspension and a brake from elsewhere.
  • This assortment of parts that made up each Rickman is the origin of the name “Metisse”, the French word for bastard or half-breed.
  • Brothers Derek and Don Rickman were successful off-road motorcycle racers themselves in the 1950s. They used this first-hand experience to produce their strong, lightweight frames that took the scrambling world by storm.
  • The bike you see here was built in 2021 with an all new nickel plated Mk 3 frame, it is fitted with a period Triumph 500cc engine, Ceriani forks, belt drive and Bob Newby clutch Racing and a custom Holt Works seat.

Rickman Motorcycles

The history of Rickman Motorcycles is a remarkable one, a story of survival, the company started out building frames for racing motorcycles and quickly grew into a giant generating over £1million in sales each year in the 1970s.

Description of the imageMeet Derek and Don Rickman, they were successful dirt bike racers before putting their hands-on experience to work building their own frames.

Early Rickman frames were largely designed for British engines, primarily from Triumph, BSA and Matchless. These early Rickmans were designed for off-road racing, usually scrambles and enduro type events in England.

The company branched out into road racing frames in the mid 1960s, then in the early 1970s when the UK motorcycle industry was in decline, Rickman began to focus much of its efforts on building frames for Japanese engines – like the Honda CB750 and Kawasaki Z1.

Throughout the 1970s, Rickman continued to focus on powerful superbike engines coming out of Japan, creating frames and kits to accommodate engines from the Kawasaki Z1/Z900, Kawasaki Z1000, Suzuki GS1000 and Honda Bol d’Or.

As the 1970s turned into the 1980s, the company pivoted again, this time into automobile production. They started building the fiberglass Rickman Ranger, these were produced in Britain and then later under license in Russia.

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Description of the imageThis Rickman Metisse is powered by a rebuilt Triumph 500cc parallel twin mated to a Norton 4-speed gearbox.

Company founders Derek and Don Rickman were inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2007 and, amazingly, their designs are still in production today – you can buy the frames and off-road racing kits and on the road and build your own Rickman using an assortment of engine options.

The Rickman Metisse Triumph Scrambler pictured here

The bike you see here is a Rickman Metisse Triumph Scrambler, as noted above, it was built just a year ago in 2021 and hasn’t been ridden since – showing 0 miles on the odometer.

Triumph engines have always been common choices for Rickman motorcycle builds, torquey parallel twins also powered the famous Triumph TR6C Desert Sled. Back on the asphalt, it was a Triumph engine that was installed in a Norton Featherbed frame to create the timeless Triton.

The 500cc engine used in this Metisse was a popular choice in the 1960s, this specific engine is a 1956 pre-unit example and it was mated to a 1958 Norton gearbox. an alloy fuel tank, rear cowl and sides, and a bespoke Holt Works seat helps keep things comfortable.

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Description of the imageRickman like this was among the most competitive jammers in the world in the early to mid 1960s, even Steve McQueen had one.

As you’d expect, the bike has drum brakes front and rear along with Ceriani forks and a 19-inch wheel up front with an 18-inch unit at the rear, both fitted with tires with crampons.

When rebuilt the engine was fitted with 9:1 compression ratio pistons in a standard bore, it has high lift camshafts and E-3134 ‘R’ cam followers, a large crankshaft bearing, new bronze valve guides, new British made GS valves and a new Amal Premium carburettor.

The bike is now offered for sale in Worthing, West Sussex, UK on Collecting Cars. If you want to know more about it or place a bid, you can visit the listing here.

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Images courtesy of Collecting Cars

Rickman Metisse Triumph Scrambler

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