Rickman Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Rickman Motorcycles

Rickman motorcycles were produced from 1961 to 1976, by brothers Don and Derek Rickman, who started their company in 1957 and formally incorporated Rickman Bros Ltd. in 1962.

The brothers had had many successful years in scrambles but wanted better machines to ride. As a result they combined the Triumph twin engine with BSA frame to form the Tribsa, fitted with Norton forks.

  • 1961-1964 By 1961 their machine, known as the Metisse (French for mixed heritage), had been developed to have their own light and elegant frame, nickel plated with glass-fibre tank, seat base, tail unit and air-filter panels. The brothers then offered their design to the industry who turned it down, so they manufactured complete machines and kits themselves. A choice of engines could be used, the most usual being Triumph, BSA and Matchless. The standard of manufacture and finish was top class, so the machines were highly popular and a competition success.

    1965 Other projects had come the brothers' way, including the Bultaco Metisse scrambler. That year they had their first involvement with road racing and built frames for an AJS 7R and a Matchless G50 and fitted them with disc brakes following the involvment of Lockheed on that aspect.

    1969 The Street Metisse appeared as a very sleek and road-racing-styled machine, usually fitted with a Triumph-twin engine unit.

    1970 There was also a model with a Royal Enfield Interceptor engine. A quantity of those motorcycles were made and sold in the UK as the Rickman Enfield.

    A lightweight was built for the American market, powered by a 125cc Zundapp engine unit. After that came a version with a 250cc Montesa engine. Some machines were also sold to police forces. Further versions of the Street Metisse were designed to carry the larger Japanese engines. Following on from that they produced accessories such as fairings, top boxes and crash bars. The original scrambles design was passed on.

    1976 At about that time, the production of Rickman motorcycle came to a stop, although the other products continued.

    In the 1980's the Rickman enthusiast Pat French created the company MRD Metisse and continued production of Rickman machines until the end of the 20th century.

    The names Adrian Moss entered the Rickman story - his company, Rickman Motorcycles has a site at rickman-motorcycles.com

  • Note:
  • At one time the Rickman brothers built BMX bicycles, and later went into kit cars. Of their accessories, many remain in production.

Source: Graces Guide

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