1971 Rickman-Weslake

1971 Rickman-Weslake Background

This 1971 Rickman-Weslake is typical of the Rickman dirt bikes running around in the 1960s and early 70s, the result of years of development. After years of racing motocross in the 1950s in England and Europe, brothers Don and Derek Rickman decided to design their own frame. At the time, most dirt bikes were simply stripped-down street bikes, which were too heavy and not ideal for racing in the dirt. They designed their first frame in 1959, the Rickman Metisse MkI (Mark 1). “Metisse” is a rather unsavory French word for mongrel, and refers to the Rickman frame’s ability to accept almost anyone’s engine. They made improvements and came out with the limited-production MkII Metisse in 1960, followed by the full production version, which is still with us today, the MkIII in 1962. By this time, they had perfected the frame’s ability to accept most common engines. From that point on, you might spot a Rickman Metisse with almost any engine (almost always British-built).

1971 Rickman-Weslake Engine

The unit-construction BSA singles never seemed to do as well, on the track or in showrooms, as the pre-unit Gold Star. When then went to unit-construction in 1963, the displacement dropped from 500cc to a max of 441cc in the new BSA Victor. As always, people wanted more, more displacement, more power. So Weslake Engineering designed and produced a new top end for the 441 Victor that bumped displacement up to 500cc again. This was a popular modification for the BSA singles until BSA caught on and bumped the displacement to 500cc themselves in 1970.

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Updated 11/9/17

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