Baby Blue: 1975 Rickman-Metisse Triumph 650 CR
Although I’m not a huge fan of the hazy edges of the photos, this blue Rickman Metisse Triumph 650CR looks gorgeous. Rickman started out making frames for offroad race bikes and later expanded into roadracing, and their distinctive nickel-plated tubular frames improved handling of the often floppy factory bikes of the era. These frames were designed to save weight and significantly improve stiffness, with the hollow frame tubes functioning to both store and cool engine oil on some models. Rickman’s bikes were generally sold in kit-form, with the customer supplying engines, transmissions, and wiring to complete the bike.
The company had a sense of humor as well: the name “Metisse” translates to “mongrel.” But, like most mongrels, the resulting creature is often healthier than the purebred animals that donated their DNA, and the Rickman Metisse attempted to combine the engineering of established manufacturers with the handling of a racebike, often with striking results.
While later machines were often based around bikes from Japan, there was still room in their lineup for British machines, as this example shows. While a Triumph-powered sportbike may have been a bit moribund in 1975, this would still have turned serious heads. A Honda-powered Metisse probably would have been faster, but with a torquey parallel-twin and great looks, this combines the best of the era, wrapped up in bluer-than-blue bodywork.
From the original eBay listing: 1975 Rickman Metisse Triumph 650CR
This is the last of 52 genuine Rickman-Metisse CR (Competition Replica) built by the Rickman factory in England. Rickman produced these as street-legal versions of their Isle of Man Production TT winning machine. Actual date of manufacture is September 1974. Registered as 1975 model. It is not a cobbled-together kit. Correct Rickman hubs, brakes, 41mm racing forks, all original hardware. Powered by a balanced and blueprinted Triumph T120R 650cc motor. Only 2700 original miles.
Original, unrestored, stunning. Nickel plating on frame showing some fading in some places, as expected over 40 years. Tiny ding on top of R/H silencer. A few minor chips in edges of fiberglass but not readily visible. Fuel tank showing some surface bumps/texturing in places, but was Caswell-coated inside by previous owner. I run VP110 ethanol-free gasoline in the bike. Starts first kick and runs/shifts perfectly. Handles incredibly well with new modern Avon tyres.
Please do not ask me my reserve. You find that out by bidding. You either hit it or you don’t. Clear California title in my name. Currently on non-op. No DMV back fees due. Blue California plate for display only and not associated with machine. I’ve described this beautiful bike to the best of my knowledge and ability. Sold as-is. Potential bidders welcome to make appointment to view in person, but no test rides. You will not be disappointed with its performance! The crown jewel to any British bike collection.
The bidding is currently at $12,600 with active interest and a couple days left on the auction. This is a great-looking, well cared for machine. About the only gripe I have is with the obviously not-period-correct grips, although they are at least color-matched… A set of Tomaselli grips would be an inexpensive way to fix that and stay with a period look and brand.