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Details about  1953 Other Makes Rickman Metisse MkIV

Rickman Metisse MkIV Triumph 500cc street legal dirt racer

Steve McQueen's "best handling rig."

1953 Other Makes Rickman Metisse MkIV

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Item Information

Item condition:
Apr 08, 2014
Current bid:
US $12,000.00
Approximately C $14,661.00(including shipping)
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1 bid ]
US $20,000.00
Approximately C $24,435.00(including shipping)
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Item location:
Woodland Hills, California, United States
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United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan
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Item specifics

New: A vehicle is considered new if it is purchased directly from a new car franchise dealer and has not ... Read moreabout the condition
VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): R4192
Year: 1953 Mileage: 50
Make: Other Makes Exterior Color: British racing green
Model: Rickman Metisse MkIV Engine Size (cc): 500
Sub Model (Optional): Triumph Vehicle Title: Clear
Type: street legal offroad racing bike For Sale By: Owner/builder

Rickman Metisse Mk IV


This unique, California street legal Rickman motorcycle is powered by Triumph 500cc twin. 

The MKIV iteration of Rickman frames is an oil–in-frame design.

As Steve McQueen said of his Rickman:  ‘This rig is the best handling bike I’ve ever owned.”  Granted, he was speaking of his Triumph 650 Tiger powered bike, but the frame, suspension and many other components were identical to this one.  Those items that aren’t, are upgrades.

The bike is running original Rickman magnesium hubs front and rear.  The hubs are laced with Buchanan’s stainless steel spokes to rare Dunlop spring steel rims.

The front forks are Rickman modified Arces (Ceriani) 35mm units that were considered the best of the best at the time when these bikes were winning races.  The aluminum triple clamps swivel in Timken tapered roller bearings in the headstock.

The rear shocks are modern nitrogen charged Works Performance units.

The engine was completely rebuilt by Bruce Holland Motorcycles in Boise ID, the serial number on the engine cases, 5T 46269 indicates the engine’s original manufacture date was 1953.  Bruce was a successful Triumph pro racer and dealer for many years, so he built it right.

The receipt for the engine work totals $2,551.99, a copy of which is available.

The engine is fitted with a “new old stock” Amal 386 Monoblock carb.

Updated with Megacycle cams and a Lucas competition magneto rebuild by Mainely Mags of Portland, ME the engine has about 4 hours of running time since the bike’s completion.  It starts first kick and does not leak oil.

The engine is mated to a rebuilt BSA SCR 4 speed gearbox which is generally acknowledged as being superior to the Triumph units of that era due to its better shifting properties and use of roller bearings instead of bushings.

The BSA primary case has been machined to mate to the Triumph crankcase.   The recess in the case along the upper chain path was removed and reprofiled to provide better clearance and a cleaner look.  The primary drive has a cush drive unit on the crankshaft which connects via a new, single row chain to a super light weight Pearson aluminum clutch utilizing late model Suzuki clutch plates.

The main shaft of the gearbox is made oil tight with a modern metal/rubber spring loaded rubber oil seal housed in an adjustable panel to facilitate primary chain adjustment.

The kickstart lever is a Sammy Miller unit that folds in closer to the frame.

All fiberglass components, tank, seat, side covers and front fender are new gel coat finished in British racing green.  The inside of the tank was sealed with Caswell epoxy sealant before a drop of gas ever hit it.  The sealant was allowed to cure for 4 weeks before being filled with 100 octane VP Racing fuel.

The bike was assembled using stainless steel fasteners wherever possible.  Virtually all exposed fasteners utilize button-head allen screws that look super sano and protect the rider’s clothing from getting caught in the event of a get-off.

The rear axle was fabricated of high strength 7068 aerospace grade aluminum for weight savings.  It is 1/3 the weight of 4140 chrome moly steel, yet has a yield strength of 95,000 psi versus 60,000 psi for 4140.

The satin black ceramic coated exhaust system consists of custom fabricated TT style pipes that curve directly under the engine and terminate under the frame on either side of the rear tire.  They are fitted with internal, removable baffles.  The baffles reduce some of the bark, but are not too stealthy.

The handlebars, levers, twist grip, grips and cables are all new.  Dual free flowing Uni filters are used in the Rickman fiberglass airbox.

Since the bike is street legal, DOT approved Pirelli dual sport tires are fitted – MT 90 Scorpion A/T.  With an aggressive tread pattern, yet in a soft compound, they work brilliantly on the pavement, but should work well off-road, too.

The new Rickman nickel-plated frame, serial number R4192 has a Certificate of Authenticity that states it was built specifically for this engine and is thus allowed the bike to be titled as a 1953 model.

In order to pass the California CHP and DMV inspections, this bike has been fitted with lights and a horn that operate off a sealed lead/acid battery fitted under the seat.  The headlight has both high and low beams, a high beam indicator light and horn button controlled with a bar mounted switch.  Only the rear brake lever actuates the rear brake light, yet meets the requirements for a motorcycle of this vintage.

Using the lights requires connecting the battery to the custom wiring harness – a simple matter of slipping a push-on connector onto the negative battery lead.  The bike runs a total loss 12V system since there is no room to run a rotor and stator.  This is only a concern for extended night riding.  The taillight is made of modern LED’s so the battery drain is negligible and due to the vintage status of the registration, no headlight is required during daylight hours.

A word of caution – There is no lockable ignition switch nor fork lock on this bike.  The magneto is ready to spark at all times.  The running engine must be stopped with the handlebar mounted kill switch, but can be restarted once the kill switch is released.  If you ride to places where you can’t keep an eye on it, you’ll have to lock this spectacular puppy up.

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Item Location:Woodland Hills, California, United States
Shipping to: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan

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