Brains and Brawn: 1978 Rickman Kawasaki for Sale

1978 Rickman Kawasaki L Side Front

Vintage bikes often appeal to riders of “a certain age” who grew up with these bikes and have a nostalgic soft-spot for them: vintage bikers naturally relate to vintage bikes. Some are just riders who love to tinker, while others just love the quirky looks and accessible performance of the machines from a simpler times and want the feel of a vintage motorcycle without all the “leaking oil on the floor” and “having to adjust the carburetors while idling at a stoplight” malarkey that sometimes goes along with vintage Triumphs and Nortons, making something like this Kawasaki-powered Rickman the perfect solution.

1978 Rickman Kawasaki R Side Fairing

Don and Derek Rickman created a line of dirt-racing motorcycles in the 1950’s and 1960’s, packaging bespoke frames and suspension packages around engines and transmissions from other manufacturers. Their line eventually expanded to include roadcourse and street machines, and they’re most famous these days for their line of big-displacement four cylinder bikes built around engines from Honda and Kawasaki.

In the 60’s and 70’s, suspension tuning was something of a “black art”, and while Japanese motorcycles were famous for their refined engineering, their handling was generally not on par with the European brands. So companies like Rickman used took that existing engineering and improved it by creating a chassis that could handle the power effectively.

1978 Rickman Kawasaki Front

Bikes were generally sold in kit form: Rickman supplied a new, lightweight nickel-plated frame and aerodynamic bodywork, the buyer supplied engine, electricals, and other assorted bits to put the whole thing together. The results speak for themselves and combine the best of old-world British craftsmanship and racing expertise with powerful, reliable engines from Japan.

1978 Rickman Kawasaki Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Rickman Kawasaki for Sale

You maybe  looking at one of the rarest bikes on the planet.  This bike is titled as a Rickman and not as a Kawasaki. The  bike is titled as a 1978. The  I.D. plate fixed to the steering neck indicates September, 1977 chassis and is the correct id plate for this bike.  

Almost all of the  Rickman CR900’s, of which few were built, were finished in green This bike has the orgiinal gel coat in red. The bike is original in color and I know of no other with this color. This is an original machine in pristine condition and rides like a rocket ship with the responsive and light frames built by Rickman powered by the Kawaski 900 cc motor. This bike performs as good as any modern bike today. 

The  900 cc motor number is Z1E 238xx.

This Rickman chassis was purchased in England by the original owner while vacationing there. 

The milage on this bike is less than 9,000. Most of these miles were accumulated prior to the motor being installed into the Rickman.  Thus this Rickman frame has seen very limited use.  The original rear sprocket shows virtually no wear. The saddle looks near new. The instruments are from the original Kawasaki and show the mileage covered by both the kaw and the Rickman chassis. If you are looking for an original colectable motorcycle that is sure to increase in value look no further. Rickman motorcycles, are extremely rare and  have proven in the past to be highly desirable and with their limited production should continue to increase in value. I have the clear title in hand and can assist with shipping.

1978 Rickman Kawasaki Controls

Although I’d take issue with the seller’s statements that this is “one of the rarest bikes on the planet” and “this bike performs as good as any modern bike today” it is an unusual machine in superlative condition and will definitely handle better than the Z1 from which it borrows its powerplant. I’m not really sure exactly how many Rickman Kawasakis were actually produced: in many cases, these were sold as kits, not complete bikes, and a whole menu of upgrades were available, making history a bit hard to verify. These are very cool and desirable bikes, but I think the seller may be aiming a bit high with this one: there is plenty of time left on the listing with a Buy it Now price of $25,000.

-tad

1978 Rickman Kawasaki R Side

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3 Responses

  1. ilikevelos says:

    I have a Rickman Honda Sport from the same era and think one of the coolest things about riickmans of this era are the wheels which were made by Ronal, better known for making cast wheels for Porshe.

  2. tad says:

    Ronal! I didn’t know that. They were also infamous for making the “Ronal Bear” wheel for cars in the 1990’s…

  3. Steve says:

    Ever since I sold my Velo Rickman last year for $25,000 lots of Rickman’s have come out, many like this one at the same price. Since this website would not take my bike last year as a feature I see there is a change of heart, maybe? I was calling you names then but will stick with, now educated……maybe. Mine was VERY rare with a lot of special period parts. Good luck to the Seller.