Baby Blue Triple: 1974 Rickman CR BSA A75
We don’t normally like to post up unfinished bikes here on CSBFS, but this 1974 Rickman CR BSA A75 is rare enough that it’s worth a second look, and complete enough that I expect many of our readers wouldn’t be put off by the work needed to turn this into a stunning, and very rare British sport bike. Rickman’s of all stripes are relatively rare, and this baby blue machine looks like it will be stunning once finished. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, even major manufacturers were still experimenting with what characteristics made motorcycles handle well, and many production bikes left something to be desired in terms of roadholding, especially when riders started to really push them on track.
Enter Rickman, a typical British “based out of a shed” outfit that stressed the effectiveness of their bikes over pedigree. They sold incomplete frame, suspension, and bodywork kits that could be completed by individuals at home or by shops that supplied engines, transmissions, wheels, and electrics. Early on, they often used British twins, but many bikes that show up on eBay are powered by Japanese four cylinders like the CB750.
This one “keeps it in the family” and is powered by a BSA A75 three cylinder, a package very similar to the one found in the Triumph Trident we featured recently. Designed to allow BSA and Triumph to compete with the CB750, the 740cc overhead-valve triple used pushrods and a four-speed box at first, although a five speed was later added and should be the transmission in this bike. While the architecture of the new triple was primitive, compared to the CB750 against which it was competing, the engine was no slouch, producing a claimed 58hp that made the bike good for a 120mph top speed and was much smoother than the twin on which it was based, while offering plenty of character.
According to the seller, this might be the only BSA triple-powered Rickman in existence, although the kit-nature of Rickmans makes this very hard to verify. Suffice to say, it’s pretty unusual. While the bodywork might look fine as-is with a bit of patina, that nickel-plated frame needs some elbow grease to return to its former glory.
From the original eBay listing: 1974 Rickman CR BSA A75 for Sale
Very rare Rickman BSA Triple CR road racer, built in limited numbers. This bike was brought back from the UK by an Air Force Captain in 1976, but was actually built in 1974. Believed to be a set of service cases ordered and built for the chassis. I really wanted to restore the bike but do not think I will ever find the time so it’s time to pass it along to someone who can.
The bike is mostly complete as shown, But there will be some minor parts missing. What you see is what i have for the bike. I have started to disassemble the bike and have tried polishing the Nickel frame in a few spots and it comes up with a great shine, but wonderful patina, very easily. I have the swing arm professionally polished to see how good a pro could get it and as you can see, it looks great! The fiberglass is in good condition, especially for it’s age. but there are a couple of spots that need minor repair. I did buy a NOS seat in the correct color that is included. I believe the mileage is genuine as the tires on the bike were date code 1974 and had very little wear. Borrani rims are straight and in very nice condition. I have a few sundry new parts for it including a rear master cylinder rebuild kit which had to be bought from the UK.
Very rare and cool project for someone. The Rickman book shows this bike delivered to Rivetts of London Ltd. in Leytonstone. I used to visit this shop on a regular basis in this period so really feel a connection. All the research I have done has not shown another Rickman CR built with a BSA A75 engine so it may just be that this is a 1 of 1 bike.
Sold as is for restoration. Has a clean Missouri title. I have many more pictures that can be sent on request.
According to later updates on the listing, the seller has gotten some flack, claiming that the bike is not original. The whole point of these Rickman bikes was their mix-and-match nature built around customer preferences: based around a new frame that offered improved stiffness and high-spec suspension for tighter handling, the rest of the bike was very “kit-bike” mix-and-match, back before “kit” became a dirty word associated with Fiero-based Lamborghinis and oddly-proportioned “Cobras.” Rickman themselves even poked fun at this with their Metisse, which is French for “mongrel.”
There’s just one day left on the auction and bidding is up a bit north of $6,000, although the Reserve Has Not Yet Been Met. With luck, this bike will find a good home and will soon be returned to its former glory.