TRADITIONAL MOTOCROSS IRON: 1971 RICKMAN ZUNDAPP 125 METISSE

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By Tom White

British Grand Prix stars Don and Derek Rickman manufactured eponymous motorcycles from 1960 to 1975. Although the Rickman brothers originally focused on making Reynolds 531 frame kits for BSA, Triumph, Norton and Matchless engines, they knew that to sell motorcycles in large numbers they needed to make comprehensive bikes. Sadly, the British motorbike industry would not sell engines towards the Rickmans, which forced them to search for foreign sources for motor packages.

The Rickmans formed agreements with Hodaka to provide them with 100cc engines, Zundapp with regard to 125cc engines, and originally along with Bultaco (1965) and finally Montesa for 250cc engines. These small-displacement Rickmans, in comparison to the kit bikes along with British four-strokes in them, were mostly destined for the burgeoning American marketplace. At one point, Rickman offered 4000 bikes a year. The United states demand was for small-displacement two-strokes, and the Rickman engine deals were timed perfectly to increase their U. S. market share.

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The 1971 Rickman Zundapp 125 Metisse was a classic example of what was possible. The components were of the highest quality, including baby Ceriani forks, Girling shocks, Magura levers and a potent Zundapp engine. Sadly, the very high $895 asking price limited the bike’ s commercial success. Eventually, production Japanese-built motorcycles improved to the point where there was no market for the Rickman brothers’ kit-style devices. They diversified into garden furniture, medical center beds and Rickman Ranger package cars. The Rickman brothers sold their company in the mid-1980s, yet today Rickman motorcycles are in great demand. There are currently three companies making Rickman replicas.


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1971 RICKMAN ZUNDAPP a hundred and twenty-five METISSE FACTS

WHAT THEY PRICE

A 1971 Rickman 125 cost $895. 00. This machine was donated to the Early Years of Motocross Museum by Jack Martin in honor of Curtis Keller. The repair cost about $6000.

MODELS

You could buy a Rickman frame in 1971 to get a Yamaha, Penton, Sachs or Bultaco 125cc powerplant and build the device yourself. If you wanted a complete 125cc machine, it had to be Zundapp run.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Today, you can still purchase brand new Rickman-replica frame kits, but no one would go through the expense of building a fake Rickman Zundapp 125. Parts are difficult to find for the Zundapp, specifically with the earlier engine that is within this bike.

PARTS SUPPLY

Visit Rickman Motorcycles LTD at www.rickman-motorcycles.com. For Zundapp engine parts, contact www.fmunsters.nl.

For more info on classic bikes go to www.earlyyearsofmx.com

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The post CLASSIC MOTOCROSS IRON: 1971 RICKMAN ZUNDAPP 125 METISSE appeared first on Motocross Action Magazine.

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