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Sunday, October 30, 2011

1971 Royal Enfield powered Rickman Metisse for sale

Rickman Metisse for sale on CraigsList in California.
Faster than a speeding Bullet — indeed, faster, probably, than any other Royal Enfield powered motorcycle was the Rickman Metisse. One of these rare motorcycles (only 138 made, according to the ad) is for sale on CraigsList in California. Asking price is $13,000.

"OK here is a bike you only see in magazine articles," the ad advises. "Only 1,700 miles! All original, even the tires! Was a barn find. Been sitting since the early '90s. Being sold by second owner. I have a folder full of receipts. Did a carb clean and flushed the tank and the bike fired up and idled on the second kick. You won't find another opportunity like this or even a bike like this unless you go to a museum."

Royal Enfield power in a lightweight frame with disc brakes.
What is a Rickman Metisse?

Royal Enfield in England finally stopped production in the middle of 1970. The last model in production had been the mighty Interceptor, with its improved Series II engine.

Oddly, while the story was over for the Interceptor, its motor still had history to write.

Royal Enfield 736cc twin-cylinder motor with the usual Albion transmission.
Author Roy Bacon tells the story in his book "Royal Enfield, The Postwar Models:"

"During 1969 the Rickman brothers became involved with the Enfield marque and the first result was a Rickman Metisse fitted with the Interceptor engine and first seen at the Sporting Show held in Victoria, London, early in 1970. This combined the tough Enfield engine with the immaculate Rickman chassis to produce a machine with even more punch, thanks to the reduced weight.

"The frame was of all-welded construction with duplex tubes throughout and finished with nickel plating."

The Rickman was considered easily capable of topping 110 mph.
The Metisse also had disc brakes front and rear, very unusual for the time, and a fiberglass tank with quick action filler cap. The forks were Rickman. Handling, Bacon said, was very good.

Bacon calls the Rickman "a big lusty motorcycle for men." It was also the last of the breed.

Motorcycling would enjoy a revival in the 1970s but it would be Japanese machines, with electric start, that would lead the way. Production of the Rickman Metisse ended in 1972 as the supply of Royal Enfield motors was exhausted.

There is a registry of known Rickman Metisse machines at Burton Bike Bits.

Wouldn't you like to find one of these gathering dust somewhere?

By the way: What does "Metisse" mean? The Internet tells me that it's a French word, the feminine for a child of a white person and an American Indian or person of color. Thus, as one site has it, "a woman who is multicultural or multiracial."

The Rickman Metisse certainly marries disparate elements into an attractive whole.

3 comments:

  1. I've never heard that definition of "Metisse" before! I believe that the Rickman Brothers originally intended to call their bikes "Metis" meaning "Mongrel" (since the original ones were assembled from parts from many different makes, Triumph or Matchless engines, Norton forks, etc.) However they decided the word seemed a bit hash so the used the feminine form "Metisse". So strickly speaking it means "Mongrel Bitch".

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  2. I have a 1972 just like this. Only 3500 miles. Needs a little work to get going again. Fiberglass has been painted black. Other than that it's original.
    I plan to sell within the next year or so.
    If interested, I can be reached at 804-212-8427 or dgharing@gmail.com.

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    Replies
    1. Do you still have it?

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