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.
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
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.