2020 Shannons Spring Timed Online Auction
1965 Rickman Métisse-Matchless 500cc Scrambler Motorcycle
This lot is no longer available
Established by brothers Don and Derek Rickman, the motorcyle firm bearing their name was a low-volume manufacturer of bespoke frames designed to suit a range of different proprietory engines, initially for motocross and later developed for road racing using AJS 7R power. Reflecting the mixed parentage of the componentry used, the equisite nickel-plated frames were nicknamed Métisse (French for mongrel) and normally powered by Matchless, BSA or Triumph engines before Japanese motors became the norm in the 1970s. Aimed at the burgeoning off road market in America, Rickman even built complete motocross motorcycles from 1971 before production ceased in 1975. The parts and tooling were eventually acquired by a company run by Pat French and his MRD Métisse outfit began selling frames based on the original Rickman designs until the late 1990s when a new company, Métisse Motorcycles Ltd, took over the rights. French initially offered the more compact Mark 4 frame from 1982 before reverting to the classis Mark 3 as seen in the television series “The Man from UNCLE”. The Mark 3’s superb geometry made it arguably the most competitive dirt bike of its generation, ideally suited to Triumph or Matchless power. “The King of Cool” Steve McQueen famously owned one in the 1960s, describing the bike as “The best-handling bike I’ve ever owned”, celebrated by Métisse’s release of a limited edition copy dubbed the Desert Racer. One of the most famous names in the dirt bike racing world, the Rickman (and Métisse successors) enjoy a cult following around the world.