1962 Rickman Metisse Scrambler

John Whitby gets a second chance at restoring a Rickman Metisse Scrambler.

| November/December 2014

  • 1962 Rickman Metisse Scrambler
    Photo by Kurtis Kristianson
  • 1962 Rickman Metisse Scrambler
    Photo by Kurtis Kristianson
  • 1962 Rickman Metisse Scrambler
    Photo by Kurtis Kristianson
  • The lovely nickel-plated dual downtube frame is made of 531 Reynolds manganese molybdenum steel tubing.
    Photo by Kurtis Kristianson
  • All the red body components, including the seat, seat pan and tail section were sourced new from Rickman Motorcycles Limited.
    Photo by Kurtis Kristianson
  • All the red body components, including the seat, seat pan and tail section were sourced new from Rickman Motorcycles Limited.
    Photo by Kurtis Kristianson
  • The Ceriani front fork holds a 21-inch rim. The top three frame tubes carry the oil, with the cap in front of the fuel tank.
    Photo by Kurtis Kristianson
  • The Ceriani front fork holds a 21-inch rim. The top three frame tubes carry the oil, with the cap in front of the fuel tank.
    Photo by Kurtis Kristianson
  • The Ceriani front fork holds a 21-inch rim. The top three frame tubes carry the oil, with the cap in front of the fuel tank.
    Photo by Kurtis Kristianson
  • All the red body components, including the seat, seat pan and tail section were sourced new from Rickman Motorcycles Limited.
    Photo by Kurtis Kristianson
  • John Whitby was far more successful in finding the needed parts to build his Rickman the second time around.
    Photo by Kurtis Kristianson
  • John Whitby was far more successful in finding the needed parts to build his Rickman the second time around.
    Photo by Kurtis Kristianson

1962 Rickman Metisse
Engine: 497cc air-cooled OHV single, 86mm x 85.5mm bore and stroke, 9.5:1 compression ratio, 35hp (est.)
Weight (dry): 300lb (136kg)
Fuel capacity: 2 gal (7.5ltr)

Remember the one that got away? That one tired old motorcycle that you had to sell because there wasn’t enough time or money to see it through?

There are probably more than a few of you reading this right now who can recall at least one such project you wish you had kept. Most everyone would appreciate a second chance if they could do it all over again, and John Whitby of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, was given just such an opportunity with this AJS/Matchless-powered Rickman Metisse scrambler.

The first time around

John first bought the Rickman in 1983. The bike, a circa 1962 model, was in pieces. At the time he got a frame and swingarm, seat pan, gas tank, engine mounting plates, a gearbox and empty single-cylinder 497cc AJS 18CS cases. “I started collecting bits and pieces for it,” John explains. He recalls paying $250 for a brand new Ceriani fork, and he picked up front and rear magnesium hubs from a CZ motorcycle at a local bike-wrecking yard. “That’s pretty much how it sat, and I stored it in my parents’ basement. It collected dust while I tried to find engine parts for it.”



John is actually a pretty focused bike-builder and restorer. On top of working a full-time day job, he’ll often turn out four or five bike projects in a year, from start to finish. No moss growing on him, then. But he had the Rickman project in the days before the Internet, and he just hit a wall trying to find salvageable engine pieces.

That’s when a friend’s father learned about the bike, and made John an offer he couldn’t refuse. In 1989 the project changed hands, and eventually the Rickman found its way to Vancouver Island, Canada. John lost contact with the father, but the father’s son still knew how to find John.

dusty
2/6/2018 9:48:26 AM

The Rickman Metisse MK111 are a blast to ride & own, truly a thing of beauty. I ride my 1969 Rickman Metisse MK111 fitted with the unit Triumph 650 whenever I can. Shifting up through the gears hard on the gas its cranky staccato bark rising to a load roar of the Triumph 650 twin firing out through straight through pipes in the forest fire trails on a crisp Sunday morning is something that no other machine can create. The vintage Ceriani forks do an amazingly good job of keeping it upright & soaking up the bumps. The best part about the Rickman MK111 is that they are still available in kit form or high quality complete bikes with a variety of power-plants from Adrian Moss at Rickman Motorcycles.




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