Tagged: Metisse

Rare Mongrel: 1953 Rickman Metisse Triumph/BSA Mark III

1953 Rickman Metisse R Side

The famous, sophisticated-sounding Metisse actually translates to “mongrel” in French, a testament to British humor, as well as ingenuity. This bike is different than our usual offerings: built for offroad use, it is powered by a Triumph engine with a BSA gearbox.

1953 Rickman Metisse R Side Engine

In the 60’s and 70’s, motorcycle design was still as much art as science: many innovative new designs came and went, and the physics that went into making a bike really handle were still not well understood, and many production motorcycles handled pretty poorly straight from the factory. Much of the problem was the primitive suspension available at the time, but a lack of frame stiffness and correct geometry played a huge role as well.

1953 Rickman Metisse Dash

Many small shops catering to serious riders created their own frames designed to work with existing engines to create sporting hybrids for road, track, and dirt use. Among these, Rickman was one of the most successful, offering first off-road and then road-going packages based around British twins and singles, and later Japanese four cylinder bikes. Their frames were constructed from distinctive lightweight, nickel-plated tubes and many featured internal oil-passages that replaced oil tanks and coolers.

1953 Rickman Metisse L Side Detail

From the original CraigsList posting: 1953 Rickman Metisse Triumph/BSA Mark III for sale

We have a unique, STREET LEGAL Rickman Metisse Triumph Mark III for sale! This is an oil-in-frame bike, powered by a 500cc Triumph twin. The engine also features an AMAL 386 Monoblock carb, Megacycle Cams, and a Lucas competition magneto that was recently rebuilt. For better shifting, the engine has also been mated with a rebuilt BSA SCR 4-speed gearbox, and the BSA primary case was machined to fit perfectly with the Triumph Crankcase. Bruce Holland Motorcycles in Boise, ID has rebuilt the motor & there is paperwork showing the details of the rebuild. This Rickman has original magnesium hubs in the front and rear, and are laced by Buchanan’s in Azusa to rare Dunlop spring steel rims. DOT approved Pirelli dual sport tires are currently installed on the wheels. A Sammy Miller kickstart lever unit is on the bike, which allows the lever to fold in closer to the frame, along with all new cables, grips, twist grip, levers & handlebars. The Rickman frame is nickel-plated & new, plus comes with a Certificate of Authenticity that states it was built specifically for the engine – allowing it to be titled as a 1953 model, instead of a special construction!

1953 Rickman Metisse Rear Wheel

The listed asking price is $17,000 for this rare bit of kit. True production numbers are a bit difficult to discern, as Rickman generally sold their bikes in kit form to be finished by the owners or local shops. But this looks to be in excellent shape and is definitely unusual. That the sellers are a specialist classic motorcyle shop in Orange, California to me only increases confidence.

-tad

1953 Rickman Metisse R Side Tank

Baby Blue: 1975 Rickman-Metisse Triumph 650 CR

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR L Side Front

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.

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR R Cockpit

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.

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR Dash

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.

1965 Rickman Metisse 650CR R Front

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.

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR R Engine Detail

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.

-tad

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR L Side

 

Marvelous Mutt: 1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph for Sale

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph L w Fairing

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, if you weren’t happy with the handling of your stock motorcycle, you could contact a number of different specialist frame companies for your racebike or road-legal custom. Among these, the name “Rickman” ranks among the very best, right up with Spondon and Egli, producing frames and bodywork for buyers who wanted something truly exotic.

Early on, they focused on offroad racing, but their catalog eventually encompassed roadracing and street bikes as well, starting with the engine and transmission from the Triumph Bonneville like this particular example.

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph R Rear

Rickman’s signature frames were constructed from lightweight, nickel-plated tubes that provided a stiff foundation for improved suspension, and many featured internal oil-passages that replaced oil tanks and coolers. The completed hybrids were amusingly named “Metisse,” French for “mongrel.”

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph L Front

For the most part, the company produced kits instead of complete motorcycles, supplying frames and bodywork: engines, transmissions, wheels, and electrics not included. A wide variety of engines were fitted snuggly into Rickman frames over the years, but Japanese big-bore machines featured heavily in their later output. Like Bimota, they recognized that the handling of these machines could be improved, and the resulting bikes featured the best of both worlds: Japanese engineering and reliability combined with British innovation to create fast, nimble, and rare bikes that could compete on road or track.

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1968 Rickman Metisse Road Racer for Sale

The condition of this machine is highly original, un-restored, and preserved, having covered 828 miles since new. All of the numbers are factory correct and original. It is the 650 cc engine. The gearbox is also original to the machine. This Norton is completely original and has never been apart. I am the third owner from new, the first long-time owner being the legendary female motorcycle trailblazer Barbara Lee Weber of Chicago. It is in preserved, original, and almost showroom new condition.

The paint is the original red and is nearly flawless. The original decals are still applied to the gas tank. The plastic sidecovers are in excellent condition and are not in need of any type of repair.  

All of the original accessories, including the headlight and very hard to find tail light, are in operational condition and in excellent original condition.

The Rickman Triumph on the road is very easy to handle, and rides down the road very tight, with no shakes, shimmies, or rattles. It shifts and accelerates smoothly and holds the road as it should.  

There is absolutely NOTHING that needs to be done to this machine to ride it occasionally and enjoy it as a showpiece. Unlike other machines for sale on the internet, this one is ready to ride and not in need of any expensive service once you get it home.  

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph Engine Detail

There’s a ton of additional information, original documentation, and photographs over on eBay, so pop on over for a look. Bidding is pretty active on this one, with five days left and the Reserve Not Met at $9,100. If you’re looking for a Rickman, this is a very nice, unrestored example of their original road bike with as detailed a history as you’re ever likely to find.

-tad

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph R No Fairing

1968 Rickman Metisse Roadracer for Sale

1968 Rickman Metisse L Side Dark

This 1968 Rickman Metisse caught my eye last week.  The Rickman brothers began their bike-building business in the 50’s and 60’s by designing frames to cradle the typically ill-handling bikes of the era. Early machines were built for offroad racing, but their designs expanded to include roadracing and even streetbikes.

Their innovative frames were stiff and light, constructed of distinctive nickel-plated tubing that, on some machines, even contained the engine oil to improve cooling and save the weight of a separate oil tank. The bikes were typically sold as kits that included Rickman’s signature frame and any bodywork: builders needed their own donor bike to supply engine and electrical.

1968 Rickman Metisse R Side

A pretty wide variety of engines found their way into Rickmans over the years, including the Norton twin found here. The finished machines were light and handled well.  And the Rickman brothers clearly had a sense of humor: while “Metisse” sounds very exotic and sophisticated, it actually translates roughly to “mongrel.”

1968 Rickman Metisse L Side

From the original eBay listing: 1968 Rickman Metisse Road Racer for Sale

I have a 1968 Rickman Metisse Road Racer with certificate of authenticity issued by MRD Rickman.

The motorcycle is a genuine Rickman MK111 oil bearing Road Race frame, not to be confused with lower specification frames made for general street use. Manufactured in 1968 by Rickman Bros , during the period of brothers Derek and Don’s ownership of the company.

In 1982 the motorcycle underwent a total rebuild with the intention of returning it to the track for the upcoming season. Like many things the rebuild took longer than was originally planned and consequently the motorcycle was ultimately outdated by the time it was completed and as such never raced in its current form.

It has a Norton Commando 750cc motor with matching numbers to frame that was built and fitted to the frame by Norman White at his Thruxton shop in England. The motor uses twin Amal Mk11 carburetors along with Lucas electronic ignition. Belt Drive primary to AMC gearbox. Marzocchi suspension front and rear with CMA 4 leading shoe front brake and Yamaha TZ rear.18” Akkront aluminum rims with stainless steel spokes and fitted out with Yokohama race tires. Cuppini controls

The motorcycle is in fantastic condition, having spent most of its life since 1982 on display.

The listing refers to this as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and, while sellers typically overstate the value and rarity of their wares on offer, this machine might be one worthy of the phrase with the oil-bearing frame and relatively unusual Norton powerplant. But the bidders seem to be thinking otherwise: there’s only one day left and bidding is only up to $9,100 with the reserve not yet met.

-tad

1968 Rickman Metisse R Side Rear