Monday, February 15, 2010

Rickman Métisse Motorcycles

It was through the brothers' mutual interest in trials competition, scrambles and motocross that they developed their knowledge in chassis design. Beginning in the 1950s, the brothers were modifying standard BSA motorcycles, calling their creations the "Métisse," which is a Gallic expression meaning 'crossbreed' or 'mongrel.'

1968 BSA Rickman Métisse MK3 Scrambler
1968 BSA/Rickman Métisse MK3 Scrambler 650

The Rickmans became known for their custom, dual-cradle frames which were sturdily constructed from Reynolds 531 manganese-molybdenum carbon-steel tubing, that was brazed instead of welded, and then nickel plated.

The Rickman Métisse

Metisse would eventually be the name of the Rickman brothers' famous rolling-chassis kit motorcycles were known as the "Rickman Métisse." The Métisse chassis was built in scrambler and motocross form using power-plants from BSA, Bultaco (Petite Metisse), Matchless, Montesa, Norton, Triumph, and Zundapp.

1969 Rickman Métisse MkIV BSA B44 scrambler
1969 Rickman Métisse MkIV BSA B44 scrambler

After a falling out with the Rickman brothers in 1966, Bultaco built a series of 'Rickman-like' knock-off motorcycles called the Bultaco 'Métisse.'

The Rickman Café Racer

By the late 1960s, the Rickman brothers began to move into the rapidly increasing café racer market. They began with a lengthened twin-loop frame made from their signature Reynolds 531 tubing, mating it with Ceriani racing forks, aluminum laced rims, high-performance drum brakes, and fiberglass bodywork.

Rickman Café Racer
1972 Rickman-Triumph Café Racer

Initially, these rolling café-racer chassis were designed to be married to a variety of British road-going power-plants from BSA, Matchless, Triumph and Velocette.

The Rickman Interceptor

In 1971, Rickman began production of their first complete motorcycle, the 'Rickman Interceptor,' using 200 Series II Interceptor engines from now defunct Royal Enfield. When their supply of Interceptor engines dried up, Rickman went on to produce complete motorcycles using 125cc and 250cc Montesa and Zundapp motors.
By the mid 1970s nearly 90% of the Rickman brothers' business was to the U.S. market, and in 1974 they were awarded the 'Queen's Award to Industry' for their success of their export business.

1972 Rickman Zundapp 125
1972 Rickman Zundapp 125

No comments:

Post a Comment