Rickman was an after-market motorcycle frame and body kit manufacturer that was founded by the Rickman brothers in 1960. Derek (born 1933) and Don Rickman (born 1935) were influenced by their father who was a speedway racer, and both had a passion for off-road racing, known at the time as "scrambling," beginning in the 1940s.
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 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
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.
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
After the demise of BSA and Triumph in the mid 70s, Rickman began focusing on the ever-increasing market share of the Japanese, and started building the "Rickman Honda CR" which was a cafe racer 'race replica' that used a CB 750 engine. Rickman later designed frame kits for the Honda CB 900, known as the 'Predator.'
Rickman ceases motorcycle production in 1975, and the Métisse name was loaned to MRD (now 'MRD Freemore') in 1984, when MRD's replica motorcycle frame-builder Pat French revived the Métisse frame. The Métisse was finally discontinued in 2000, after producing over 1,000 frames. Métisse frames are now produced by Métisse Motorcycles Ltd.
Rickman Motorcycle Links
Métisse Motorcycles Ltd.
Vintage Rickman Fibreglass Replica Parts
MRD Freemore and the Rickman Brothers
Derek and Don Rickman - Motorcycle Hall of Fame
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