Engine number5T 0834
'Rickman Métisse' Triumph 499cc Special
Frame no. 101L (see text)
Engine no. 5T 0834
The Rickman brothers - Don and Derek - were already established moto-cross stars when they built the first Métisse in 1959 and within a decade their company would grow to become one of the biggest and best-known independent motorcycle frame-makers. Both commenced their scrambles careers riding BSA Gold Stars, and the brothers' first 'special' consisted of a BSA frame, Triumph T100 engine, BSA gearbox and Norton forks. It was given the French name 'Métisse': roughly translatable as 'hybrid'. For the 1960 season two Métisse MkII machines were constructed along broadly similar lines, before being superseded by the first Rickman-framed model, the Metisse MkIII, for 1961. An enormous success, the MkIII frame was produced in substantial quantities, proving a popular basis for large-capacity roadsters as well scrambles use. It was followed by the more compact MkIV, which was intended for the unitary construction Triumph T100 and BSA Victor engines, while there were also a frame for two-stroke singles (the 'Petite Métisse') and a road racing chassis. The Rickmans gave up frame making in the early 1980s, selling the rights to Pat French's firm, MRD Métisse, which continued to cater for the increasing 'classic' market.
Powered by a modified Triumph 5T engine, this Rickman Métisse was purchased by Karl-Heinz Kalbfell in 1986 and comes with the relevant receipt. The latter records the frame number as 'R642' (genuine Rickman), indicating that it has at some time been changed for a replica.