Posts by Category: Rickman

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Kawasaki April 14, 2022 posted by

Built, Not Bought: 1976 Kawasaki Powered Rickman CR900

Many of us are spoiled by the overwhelming availability of top tier performance motorcycles.  It is a simple stop into your local dealer and one can purchase a bike remarkably similar to ones actively being raced by the Factory.  These bikes come with much of the needed hardware to be competitive already installed.  Sure there is a price tag associated with them, but speed has never been a cheap hobby.  The 70s were a very different time for performance motorcycles.  The Japanese four were producing engines that produced unheard of power, but the frame technology was lagging behind.  In order to extract the most from these engines, upgraded frames were needed.  In stepped the Rickman brothers.

Offered mainly in kit form, Rickman would sell all of the needed components to build a very special machine.  A machine that was lighter, faster and to many, much better looking.  These must have been a sight to see on the road in period as it was not something that someone would casually own.  The bar was higher because the owner needed to be passionate about performance and have the knowledge of how to get all the part to work together.  On top of that they needed the funds to build the bike because none of this was referred to as “affordable” at the time.  That process has helped to cement these into the collector space.

The example today is a beautiful shade of red and the nickel plated frame is sure to pop in the sunlight.  The seller lists a fair amount of recent freshening.  It appears to be a bike that the new owner can throw a leg over and start enjoying out on the road day one.  Listing makes mention of a period correct exhaust system, but leaves out the upgraded smoothbore carburetors.

From The Seller’s eBay Listing:

Rickman chassis kits were the go-to for all street and track racing motorcycles. Powered by the revered Kawasaki KZ900 motor — this frame, fairing, and engine combination is the pinnacle of any Kawasaki machine of the era.

This build has utilized the original wiring, gauges, tail light, battery box, etc. that would have been swapped over by the original donor bike in 1976.

This is a fresh and full cosmetic restoration. The body work, decals, wheels, trim, windscreen, and seat cover have all been refinished. The original ‘76 nickel plated frame shines nice and bright. We have installed a period correct Yoshimura exhaust system. The rear master brake cylinder, both of the front calipers, and the rear caliper have been rebuilt with fresh seals and fluid. We’ve also installed stainless steel brake lines. The clutch cable has been replaced. The motor now breathes through K&N pod filters. The tires are brand new Avon Roadriders. We’ve installed new handlebar switches for full functionality.

This bike would look great in any collection, and is a blast to ride.

Video prior to being put on display: https://youtu.be/G9GAgLRgPlw

Odometer: 7,965 miles

VIN: Z1F06458

The Buy It Now price of just under $16,000 is very attractive in the current market.  Interest is still strong in this era and specials like this rise to the top of the must have list of many collectors.  Service parts are inexpensive and available.  Both Rickman and Kawasaki have strong owners communities to lean on should there ever be an issue.  If you have any in period stories of these bikes, please feel free to share them in the comments section.

Built, Not Bought:  1976 Kawasaki Powered Rickman CR900
Rickman March 7, 2022 posted by

Totally Tubular: 1977 Rickman Kawasaki CR900

Brothers Don and Derek were definitely on to something. Starting in the 1960s with off road pursuits, their chassis building exploits brought them into the realm of road racers. By the early 1970s they were offering frame kits for British bikes (Triumph & BSA primarily), but it was the Kawasaki and Honda powered models that really put them on the map. Today’s example is a wonderful nickel-plated Metisse tube frame housing a Kawasaki Z1 engine and transmission, which was sold through a dealer in the United States.

1977 Rickman Kawasaki CR900 for sale on eBay

In the 1970s the Japanese firms had a pretty good handle on powerplant design and manufacturing. Bigger was better. More cylinders were even better yet. And the British twin – and English motorcycling industry as a whole – was unable to compete. But what they Japanese had in engine technology they lacked in frame design. Relatively little was understood regarding the importance of rigidity, packaging and balance – which opened the door for a number of boutique kit bike builders by the names of Harris, Spondon, Bimota and Rickman, to name a few. Using parts from a donor bike, a “new” motorcycle could be built that utilized the same engine and transmission and electrical components, but had vast performance improvements in the way of frame geometry, suspension, brakes and aerodynamics. The Rickman CR900 was such a kit, and by numbers the most successful of the Rickman models.

From the seller:
Very rare Rickman CR900! This motorcycle was ordered new through Yamaha of Cleveland in 1977 and has had 1 owner its whole life. Originally it was fitted with a Turbo engine but that engine didn’t even last 1,000 miles and a new engine was installed. I do have a set of uncut side covers that I will include in the sale, they are a slightly lighter red though. The whole bike has 4,895 miles and was only ridden a few time a year up until 1994 when it was parked in the garage. Recently I have put in a new battery, changed the oil, cleaned the carburetors and flushed the brakes. The bike does run and ride but will need some more love before its roadworthy, the tires are from the 80’s. Buyer is ultimately responsible for shipping but I will assist in anyway I can. I do have a commercial location and normally that makes it a little cheaper. If you’re local and would like to come see the bike in person that can be arranged. Please feel free to reach out with any questions. Motorcycle is located in Felton California

Interestingly enough, today’s bike started life out as a Turbo. When that failed to survive (not surprising as this was before much was known about forced-induction motorcycle engines), a normally aspirated unit was fit in its place. Since these were kit bikes from the start, the concept of “numbers matching” is irrelevant. Each of these bikes were built by different shops, different owners, and with a different concept of what the finished product should be. They are a far cry from the identically mass-produced Japanese models that donated their guts to build these one-offs. Today’s bike looks to be a clean find, relatively unmolested after all of these years. A limited number of owners definitely helps here, as overall the bike looks quite well preserved. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Totally Tubular: 1977 Rickman Kawasaki CR900
Rickman February 15, 2022 posted by

Café Society – 1982 Kawasaki-Rickman CR1000

Often sold as kits to accompany the builder’s donor engine, Rickman cafe racers could be ordered with premium British components.  This one looks to have been more than a hobbyist’s build and has weathered the years beautifully.

1982 Kawasaki-Rickman CR1000 ( Australia ) for sale on eBay

Starting with dirtbikes in the 1960’s the Rickman brothers were always on the lookout for great engines for their artistically crafted chassis, and got it in Kawasaki’s 100 hp four.  The finished kit was generally nickel plated and included better Girling shocks and Lockheed brakes.  Akront was off shore but supplied top quality alloy spoked rims.  Often builders left the gorgeous alloy tanks bare and polished them for effect, then painted the ultra-light fiberglass fairings and mudguards in colors that wouldn’t suit a top manufacturer. 

Little hard and fast info in this eBay buy-it-now, but this looks like a very good build that has been nicely tended.  The unusual painted frame contrasts with the chrome 4-into-1 exhaust, and the cleanliness contradicts the indicated 32K-plus miles.  Just a short stanza in the comments box:

1982 ish CR1000
import papers
engineers report
currently on club rego
runs strong and quiet
downsizing collection

Looks like 1982 may have been the last year of kit production, though kits likely kicked around for a few years.  Chassis gurus Bimota and Krauser had some interesting competition but only Rickman offered the DIY option.  No doubt it was better to finance a pro build unless one was a very talented tinkerer.  The company still offers frame kits, seemingly only for parallel twin engines, though some spares are still around for most models.

-donn

Café Society – 1982 Kawasaki-Rickman CR1000
Rickman December 28, 2019 posted by

Between Successes – 1974 Rickman Triumph 650 CR

Rickman-framed cafe racers have had a steady if not frequent presence on RSBFS, but mostly using Honda CB750 and Kawasaki Z-1 drivetrains.  Just before, they had produced but a few dozen Triumph powered CR’s.  This diamond in the rough has been in storage since just 3,000 miles, and is ready for a makeover.

1974 Rickman Triumph 650 CR for sale on eBay

Derek and Don Rickman made their name designing and fabricating beautiful and world-beating frames for the scramblers they loved, the lightweight and nickel-plated chromoly tubing being a usable showpiece.  They turned their attention toward the street starting in 1970, and provided the recently nationalized BSA-Triumph a market for their T120 twin of 46hp.  The twin carbs and factory 5-speed were good news, and Rickman added alloy rims and disk brakes, as well as large-diameter forks.  Careful fabrication was Rickman’s calling card, with lovely fiberglass work augmenting the frame.

Undeniably tired and ready for the next chapter, this CR appears substantially complete.  The pittance of miles will have to be swept away in a flurry of renovation, but the new owner will have a beautiful rarity when complete.  A thoughtful test rider or British specialist will be required with the right-side shifter, left foot brake.  Comments from the eBay auction:

RICKMAN CR TRIUMPH   1 0F 53 BUILT
BIKE HAS BEEN STORED FOR YEARS WITH LOW MILES
READY FOR RESTORATION
HIGHLY SOUGHT AFTER MODEL
ENGINE TURNS WITH GOOD COMPRESSION
ORIGINAL ALLOY CHAINGUARD IS INCLUDED
MISSING THE FRONT BRAKE MASTER CYLINDER (SAME AS TRIUMPH T140 SO EASY TO FIND)
TITLED AS A 1979 SPECIAL WHEN THE ORIGINAL TITLE WAS LOST IN 79

Rickman won the Queen’s Award to Industry for their exports in 1974, but had to change horses when Norton-Villiers-Triumph could not resolve their labor troubles and were forced into liquidation.  Before that the Bonnies had been a big success so basic mechanical parts for this CR should be easy to source.  With its long lost history it’s a soup-to-nuts project, but a worthwhile endeavor in this complete and seemingly undamaged example.

-donn

Between Successes – 1974 Rickman Triumph 650 CR
Kawasaki January 14, 2017 posted by

Mechanics Special: 1974 Rickman Kawasaki CR1000

This is definitely not our usual material, but you may have notice Mike has returned to make regular contributions on the site. He’s a bit of fanatic when it comes the tuner specials and felt inspired to write this one up. Let us know what you think in the comments! -dc

RSBFS does not normally post work in progress project bikes, basket cases, or “piles of parts” specials. But what if the motorcycle in question originally came that way? Because what you are looking at is a Rickman CR, offered to consumers in kit format. Provided with a frame, bodywork, suspension and wheels, the avid buyer needed to supply engine, tranny and electrical – usually from a donor bike. Thus, this is somewhat true to the original kit offered by Rickman. Does that make it fair game?

1974 Rickman Kawasaki for sale on eBay

The Rickman brothers created wonderful toys – think of them as the UK equivalent of Bimota. With handcrafted frames welded in stainless and evocative fiberglass bodywork that rivaled the best the Italians had to offer, Rickman kits were assembled into fantastic creations. And as the bodywork and the frame were the biggest pieces of the kit offering, this appears to be your chance to get back to the kit bike days and build one of your own. With no manual, instructions or parts list the risk is definitely on you – but Rickmans are not exactly available on a daily basis. This is rare indeed, although not as desirable as a clean, running example.

From the seller:
Here is your chance to own a rare Rickman Kawasaki CR. Mostly complete with tons of parts and upgrades. Like fresh orient express big bore kit, D ported GPZ head, original body work. The list goes on. All parts are in good shape and a great start for your vintage road race project. Sold with bill of sale. ((No Title))

This is NOT the bike for sale, but a good representation of what the finished product could look like:

This project could make for an awesome cafe racer – but you need your rose-colored glasses for best effect. There is much work to be done between the current state and the finished product, and there are a great many unknowns in between. If those chasms can be successfully negotiated, you would have yourself a rare bird indeed; if not, this remains a pile of parts. With a starting bid of $4,500 USD and a BIN of $6k, everybody must be wearing optimistic lenses these days. I can see the potential, but historic values might suggest this is priced closer to a runner than a collection of cool parts. Check it out here and let us know what you think!

MI

Mechanics Special: 1974 Rickman Kawasaki CR1000
Rickman May 18, 2015 posted by

Rickman, Round 2: 1978 Kawasaki Rickman CR900

CR900_3

If you wanted to get yourself a Rickman, but the last one we posted was either A) too ugly, or B) too far away (Italy), then here is another chance. Rather than a Predator CRE, this particular Rickman was the bread and butter of their street bike lineup. Powered by a 900cc Kawasaki drive train, the CR900 series is pure 70s vintage cool. We have seen several of these CR models in the past, and they are always striking machines. Sporting a nickle-plated frame (known as the Metisse) and bold, red fiberglass bodywork (most CR models seem to be finished in extraordinarily bright, fishing-lure type of colors), this bike looks to be finished to a very high standard. It is also readily accessible in California. A collectible that you can ride today, prices on the CR900s I have seen are all headed to the clouds. Is this your time to get in?

CR900_2

1978 Rickman CR900 for sale on eBay

CR900_8

From the seller:
You maybe looking at one of the rarest bikes on the planet. This bike is titled as a Rickman and not as a Kawasaki. The bike is titled as a 1978. The I.D. plate fixed to the steering neck indicates September, 1977 chassis and is the correct id plate for this bike.

Almost all of the Rickman CR900’s, of which few were built, were finished in green This bike has the orgiinal gel coat in red. The bike is original in color and I know of no other with this color. This is an original machine in pristine condition and rides like a rocket ship with the responsive and light frames built by Rickman powered by the Kawaski 900 cc motor. This bike performs as good as any modern bike today. The 900 cc motor number is Z1E 238xx.

This Rickman chassis was purchased in England by the original owner while vacationing there. The milage on this bike is less than 9,000. Most of these miles were accumulated prior to the motor being installed into the Rickman. Thus this Rickman frame has seen very limited use. The original rear sprocket shows virtually no wear. The saddle looks near new. The instruments are from the original Kawasaki and show the mileage covered by both the kaw and the Rickman chassis. If you are looking for an original colectable motorcycle that is sure to increase in value look no further. Rickman motorcycles, are extremely rare and have proven in the past to be highly desirable and with their limited production should continue to increase in value.

CR900_5

With only a handful of days left on this one, there have been *plenty* of watchers, but no takers (yet). That might be because the BIN for this beauty sits at $25,000, or best offer. That is pretty steep, but far from the high water mark we have seen for a clean and well-presented CR900. Check it out here and let the Rickman fantasies begin!

MI

Rickman, Round 2: 1978 Kawasaki Rickman CR900
Rickman May 12, 2015 posted by

Ricky Racer: 1980 Rickman Kawasaki CRE 1000 Predator

Rickman_1

In the magnificent world of The Frame Game, there are a few legendary marques. Bimota is often the first to spring to mind, along with the requisite Harris and Spondon. But the Rickman brothers – who started out with trails and off road machines before turning to road racing – are surely top of the class for quality and longevity. First started in 1960 by building complete bikes, Rickman eventually went the kit bike route as well, offering basic frame, suspension and bodywork components which could be assembled with a motor, trans and leftover bits from a donor cycle. Sometimes the assembly was done by the owner in the garage, but some of the cleanest bikes came out of professional shops offering this service to well-heeled customers. This appears to be one such bike.

1980 Rickman CRE 1000 Predator for sale on eBay

Rickman_3

Kit bikes are a mixed bag in the collecting world; rare models will always be coveted, but not all have equal value. Vintage Rickmans from the “original Rickman” era are definitely rising stock these days, and this one appears to be from the period of time right before the Rickmans sold the business. The Rickman name lives on to this day, having passed through a number of hands, and Rickman products are still available via Rickman Motorcycles Ltd

Rickman_5

From the seller:
Rickman CRE 1000 Predator
model year 1980

Super rare model, 2 owners from new The first owner ran the Rickman owners club for many years

Bike has extensive history file, frame was supplied to Maitland Racing who built the bike and supplied a tuned engine. Engine Z1000J motor fitted with a Wiseco 1105 big bore kit, electronic ignition, Goodrich oil cooler, full build sheet & dyno chart included. Dyno’d at 118bhp.

Converted to mono shock and 17″ wheels.

Starts and runs with no smoke or rattles, only known fault is the speedo requires attention currently fitted with a Sigma digital speedo.

Correctly registered (English documents) as Rickman

Rickman_4

This bike is not entirely new to these pages. It has made the rounds on eBay before, having been posted in March on our sister site Classic Sport Bikes For Sale by staff writer Tad. This gorgeous Rickman (it is noted that beauty may be in the eye of the beholder) still has a few days left at auction, and the bidding is still below 5 Grand. There is a reserve in place, so no way of telling what will let the current owner let it go. It is an interesting example of the “build it yourself” breed, and is worth checking out. Jump here to grab all the details, and then be sure and let us know what you think!

Rickman_2

MI

Ricky Racer: 1980 Rickman Kawasaki CRE 1000 Predator
Rickman December 18, 2013 posted by

Rare, Orange, and 70’s, but not a Laverda: 1971 Rickman Enfield 750 Interceptor

Its not unusual for small motorcycle manufacturers to take existing engines and slotted them into redesigned frames, offering improved performance while keeping reliability.  In the last 20 years, Roehr tried this with the HD motor, Fisher tried it with the Hyosung, Bimota did this with their S/D/Y series bikes.  And this practice isnt unique to this century…Norton did it back in the 1970’s with their Triton bikes (Triumph engine in a Norton frame).

Rickman Enfield 750 Interceptor for sale on eBay

$_57

The Rickman Enfield Interceptor was another “good engine into an aftermarket frame” bike, although with a slightly unusual history.  Rickman was a frame builder and in the 1970s they began selling chassis kits for Japanese bikes like the Honda CB750 and Kawasaki Z1., two of the original superbikes.  Rickman road bikes were the first to use disc brakes both front and rear and other innovations included the use of large diameter telescopic forks  and oil carried in the frame tubes to help dissipate heat and save weight.

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Apparently, after the Royal Enfield factory closed, a little over 200 Royal Enfield Series II Interceptor engines were stranded at the shipping dock in 1970.  The engines were originally on their way to Floyd Clymer (of Clymer repair manuals and Enfield “Indians” fame) in the United States but unfortunately he had just died.  The export agents approached the Rickman brothers for frames and as the Rickman brothers’ main problem had always been engine supply, a limited run of 137 Rickman Interceptors were built.
From the sellers listing, it appears that this is one of the 137 bikes.

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All in all, a tasty bit of orange for anyone to tuck under the tree…

MG

Rare, Orange, and 70’s, but not a Laverda:  1971 Rickman Enfield 750 Interceptor