Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Rick Rolled: 1968 Rickman BSA Metisse

There is a tradition of the little guy in the shed beating the big guy with corporate level resources.  The Wright brothers building 82% efficient propellers in the back of their bicycle shop.  Woz and Jobs designing Apples in their garage.  Colin Chapman and his modified Austin 7's in his garden shed.  And the Rickman brothers building off road frames that beat the UK factories.  Find this 1968 Rickman BSA Metisse for sale in SimiValley, CA for $8,000 via craigslist.

The Rickman bothers, Derek and Don began building their own frames in order to complete with the Swede's that dominated motocross in the 1960's with their custom frames.  The frames of the British industry were much too heavy; a Rickman frame weighed in at over 30 to 40 lbs lighter than stock.  They called their first creations "Metisse" which is French for mongrel.   This bike is powered by a BSA B44 four stroke engine from a BSA Victor, displacing 441cc, producing 30 hp.  The 441 engine is known for its light weight and good power.

In the late 60's the Rickman's also manufactured their own hubs, brakes and wheels.  This bike still has its original Rickman wheels and magnesium Rickman drum brakes.  Disc brakes put drums to shame, but how cool is having drums made of magnesium?

The Rickman here also came with a fiberglass tank.  Our current corn liquor-infused gasoline seems to not play well with vintage fiberglass from the 60's, so you will want to find yourself a source of E0.  Wonder if that is why there is an in-line fuel filter?

See a better bike built in a shed? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com

Gianni is Daily Turismo's Pacific Northwest correspondent.  His bikes usually end up in a shed.


  1. Magnesium drum brakes...uh, let's look up the Cf of magnesium...it's a bloody soft metal, did they use a steel or iron ring to line the drums?...what was the shoe material?...at what temperature does the drum go POOF! or is it a less-flammable alloy?

    Frankly, 'magnesium' ain't much above 'Kal Kan' in the "what would I make a brake drum from?" chart.

    1. Magnesium drum brakes are pretty much like aluminum drum brakes, except with magnesium instead of aluminum and a iron liner. POOFing is about as common as magnesium VW engines POOFing , maybe less. I think most Bugattis had aluminum drum brakes, along with a lot of Buicks and a few Pontics.
      Magnesium POOFing is of a little more concern when used for thin bodywork.

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  3. Way cool! Replaced blown Girlings with Curnutts, so this was probably last run in anger back in ~'73.

    I thought all Rickman's had nickel plated frames too, guess I was wrong.


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