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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

8 Comments

  • You have titled this one well-it is a mechanics build-but the Rickman chassis is a wonderful piece of kit and was designed at the time to take any of the generic Jap Big 4 engines so if Z1`s weren’t your thing you could bolt a Honda or Suzuki lump in there.
    Rickman brothers had a background in motocross or scrambling as it was called, and their frames were always rugged, handsome and most importantly, handled.
    The nickel plated finish is just lovely, needs no painting obviously, and will find you an oil leak very quickly if you suffer one.
    At the time they were one of quite a few different people making frame and chassis kits for Jap bikes as the standard frames of the day were rubbish, bikes were often crashed and original frames cost silly money.
    It`s odd to see 82 people watching and nobody bidding, cos Rickmans won’t be getting made again, so the number of these fine machines on Earth will never go up.
    Lack of title is an issue, it wouldn’t bother some , but if you wanted to ride the beast on the road, and you will want to, then it’s a problem.
    The Rickman brothers only packed up the business in the not too distant past, perhaps someone in the UK still has a register of frame numbers so a title could be chased up.?
    An added bonus is there are zero electronic gizmos on a beast such as this, so you can tune it with a file and a hammer, just like your Daddy used to do.
    This is rare, it’s deffo a sports bike, so feel no shame about showing it on your fine website.

    • Rickmann frames are amazing. Owning one myself. Please take a careful close study of the frame for sale and compare with other Rickmann frames. Any alterations after the plating process will greatly affect the appearance if attempting to polish later.
      I would request more detail frame pics if bidding. Wonderful project for someone and end result could be incredible. Best.

  • The swingarm does not match the sample picture of a similiar model. I am wondering how the chain slack gets adjusted. Sinc ethere is no hardware or rear wheel pictured I am a bit puzzled. It looks like the rear a le is fixed.

  • That’s not a Gpz head and who know what else ins’t quite as wonderful as one might assume or hope. I would say this is like most basket-cases (or as Forrest would say, “a box of chocolates”). At that price, one might end up feeling like Forrest after a close inventory of the parts. Or maybe it has a brand new balanced Falicon rotating assembly, polished rods and undercut gears in the trans. Who knows?

    That all said, I already considered parting out my bright blue painted low mile 83 GPz1100 for the benefit of that bike when it was on the Florida Craigslist. That would be one cool bike when completed.

    • Oops, I see there are two head. That GPz head will require the square sided valve-cover, which appears to be missing. Also not sure the two heads will have the same combustion chamber and which will match with the piston domes of that big-block piston kit. It’s a crap-shoot!

  • The rear chain is adjusted by the concentric cam on the swing arm pivot as was the norm for Rickman. I reckon the swing arm featured is the correct item and the fully restored one maybe not. Lovely period machine though and will be admired by many. This is from my experience as I ride a Harris Z1.

  • Rickman’s have snail cams at the swingarm pivot, I believe

  • Too many questions about this bike, and the owner answers all of them with a golly, gee whiz attitude. Why would you go through the trouble of importing a bike from Canada with no/questionable title? Why would the original owner take the wheels off and sell evertyhing(?) else. Why is the frame plate missing. Somebody is in for a nasty shock(someone bought it) when they try to register it and find a nightmare in the waiting.

    At $6K, the bike should at least be in running/riding condition. I have been looking for a Rickman, but could not justify such a gamble. For sure parts are missing and you will find out when you try to title it, that this bike might be on the wrong side of the law.

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