Rickman (company)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
legal form Ltd.
founding 1958
resolution 1992
Reason for dissolution liquidation
Seat New Milton ( United Kingdom )
management Derek and Don Rickman
Number of employees 75
Branch vehicle construction

Rickman is a former British manufacturer of motorcycles and automobiles . Initially, the company manufactured high-quality motorcycle frames, which customers built themselves using components from other manufacturers. The Rickman motorcycles, which are often offered under the name Métisse (French for mongrel or bastard) enjoy cult status worldwide. In the FIM - Motorcycle World Championship in 1969 , the Briton Alan Barnett was able to drive up to fifth place with a Metisse Matchless in the overall standings with 32 points. In addition, Rickman also made kits for kit cars .

Company history

The in New Milton based company Rickman Brothers was founded by brothers Derek and Don Rickman. Her father had been a motorcycle dealer in New Milton since the early postwar years. Derek and Don Rickman were successful motorcycle racers in the 1960s. Initially, they only made motorcycles for their own use, i. H. for their own racing use. They later made replicas of their designs at the customer's request. This gradually turned into series production, in the course of which the company's workforce grew to 75 employees. In total, Rickman made about 12,000 motorcycles; 85% of this was exported. In the mid-1970s, the Rickman brothers gave up motorcycle production. The company then manufactured plastic motorcycle fairings , frames for BMX bikes and hospital beds.

Little by little, Rickman also started manufacturing plastic bodies for automobiles. In the beginning, Rickman was only a subcontractor or contractor for other manufacturers such as Eagle Cars . At the end of the 1970s, Rickman finally began to manufacture kit cars himself, which were temporarily tax-privileged in Great Britain. More than 1,000 kits had been produced by 1993. Mostly it was an off-road vehicle, at times a sports car and a coupé were also on offer.

In 1990 the Rickman brothers sold their company to FVS International , which became insolvent the following year. From the bankruptcy, the Rickman brothers bought back the rights to the company's products and continued production from 1991 to 1993 under the name Rickman Developments. At the end of 1993, the Birmingham-based Lomax Motor Company took over operations, using the Rickman name until 1999.


Rickman produced self-made motorcycles and mainly frames for the English machines from Triumph and Norton as well as the heavy Japanese motorcycles from Honda and Kawasaki . Rickman used high quality Reynolds steel tubing that was hard soldered for the frames . The frames and swingarms were then nickel-plated to protect against corrosion. Often the frame tubes also served as an oil reservoir for engine lubrication, which is why the frame seldom rusts inside.

The special rigidity of the frame results from the use of the shortest and straight pipe sections that connect the steering head and the swing arm mounting in the most direct way possible.

In cooperation with the company AP-Lockheed, the Rickman brothers succeeded in further developing the disc brakes on motorcycles until they were ready for series production and using them for the first time. In the first series still with the characteristic large hubs, which encompass the entire brake system.

A special type of chain tensioning was also used on the Métisse chassis. The tension of the chain was changed by different, differently eccentrically drilled washers. These disks were mounted in pairs at the pivot point of the swing arm. As a result, the rear wheel always stayed correctly on track and could not be mounted incorrectly.

Rickman motorcycles and frames enjoy cult status among enthusiasts of both English and older Japanese motorcycles. At best, the Italian Bimota machines and the products by Fritz Egli from Switzerland have a comparable appreciation . Reasons for appreciation are:

  • the significantly improved driving performance
  • via more stable chassis
  • with more stable telescopic forks
  • more precise chain tensioning device thanks to exchangeable eccentric discs on the [rear wheel swing arm]
  • and far better mounted rear swing arms , which were better adapted to the high engine performance than the series did,
  • Furthermore, the excellent craftsmanship quality (including much better soldered seams ),
  • then the durability through the use of high-quality steel pipes,
  • and in part certainly also the gain in status among connoisseurs of being on the road with such a recognizable, elaborately built vehicle.

You can do the tuning with fine components of contemporary motorcycle hobby as a capital investment : it is worthwhile to look for such things (parts as well as complete vehicles) at times of low used prices and to store them for later use: the increase in value is usually predetermined - a hobby similar to collecting Porsche or Ferrari , also of the same high technical standard, but at a lower cost level  - and long-term profitable.


Since 1985, Rickman has been producing kits for various automobiles that are marketed under its own name. They were each designed for the use of Ford components. Rickman's range of models included:

  • Rickman Ranger : a four-seater off-road vehicle with a plastic body, the design of which was reminiscent of the Suzuki SJ . The car used the mechanics and drive technology of the Ford Escort . Around 900 copies of the Ranger had been built by 1999.
  • Rickman Space Ranger : an extended version of the Ranger, which was produced in 90 copies.
  • Rickman Rancher : a version of the Space Ranger designed as a mobile home , the structure of which was raised in the rear area. Rickman made around 250 vehicles from him.
  • Rickman Métisse , a four-seater sports coupe with hatchback that used the mechanics of the Ford Sierra . Initially marketed as Rickman, an independent manufacturer acquired the rights to the construction in 1995. From 1995 to 2007, it was then the Welsh Bridgend of Metisse Cars produced. A total of around 20 copies of the coupé were made. A pick-up version with an open loading area was produced twice in 2005.


  • Steve Hole: AZ of Kit Cars. The definite encyclopaedia of the UK's kit car industry since 1949 , Haynes Publishing, Sparkford 2012, ISBN 9781844256778

Web links

Commons : Rickman  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. For the history of the company s. Steve Hole: AZ of Kit Cars. The definite encyclopaedia of the UK's kit car industry since 1949 , Haynes Publishing, Sparkford 2012, ISBN 9781844256778 , p. 212.