British brothers Don and Derek Rickman were motocross champions and great innovators in the world of motorcycling. Their excellent-handling Metisse scrambler frames, designed to fit a multitude of powerplants, would outshine factory efforts in the 1960s. Crafted from Reynolds 531 tubing, the frames were artfully welded and strikingly nickel-plated; weight was saved by using the frame as the principal oil reservoir, offering the added benefit of all that exposed surface area to keep the lubricant cool. An up-and-coming desert racer by the name of Steve McQueen was a fan: “A revolutionary piece of equipment that does away with the oil tank,” he said of his Triumph 650 Rickman. “The rig is the best handling bike I’ve ever owned.”
Looking to expand their business, it was natural that the brothers turn their attention to road racing frames for street or track use. The CR, or Club Racer, frame followed the same mantra of the hugely successful scrambler frames, the beautifully presented nickel-plated frames were stiff and light.
The exceptional bike offered here has been built up using the very best components and artisans with an in-depth knowledge. Most CRs were built as a Café Racer, a spectacular looking machine that is beyond uncomfortable to ride, but this wears Roadster bodywork, a far rarer option. It has a shorter fuel tank, dual seat, forward-mounted footpegs and higher handlebars for far greater comfort. Hanging in the frame is a TR6SR engine, of 1966 vintage the last year of SR manufacture. Only 1,631 SRs were built in 1966 and a total of just over 3,000 in the 3-year run. At the top-end resides a very care Chantland 750cc kit. A highly collectible and rare part if you can find one, the Chantland kit is well-renowned as about the best upgrade available. To this, Amal Mk.II carburetors with alloy velocity stacks were installed, and the engine exhales via Dunstall-replica mufflers.
The bike was built for a prominent Florida collector and without regard for expense. The machinist’s expertise can be seen in the artfully rendered rear motor mounts, muffler hangers, headlight ears, speedo/tach bracket and rear caliper carrier. Borrani alloy rims are a nice period touch, and the Dunstall fork lowers with finned, integral brake calipers are a super-rare find. The bike was recently liberated from the climate-controlled care and we have now finished the bike off. Completing the wiring and giving the bike a thorough recommissioning and service, it is now ready to be ridden anywhere. It starts easily, regularly on the first or second kick, and idles strong. The engine feels very tight and responsive and it shows great power. Brakes are excellent. Like, really, really surprisingly good! Suspension feels taut and now, the entire electrical system works perfectly.
Cosmetically, the bike is generally excellent. It was obviously built some time ago and there is a very minor surface rust evident if you look closely at a few components. Seat is perfect, as is bodywork. There is a small scuff in the tank’s front edge, pictured.
The bike would make a worthy addition to any collection, ticking all the collector boxes: great rarity, exceptional condition, and desirability. And, of course, it runs perfectly. It is a blast to ride. And fast. And really loud!