Rickman CR900

This Rickman has been stripped of its stock café racer fairing

EVEN THE MOST dedicated fan of big mid-Seventies Japanese four-stroke bikes will admit that often the handling isn’t up to much, with frames and brakes wildly outperformed by the engine. But even back in the day, the dedicated speed freak could find alternative ways of getting around corners safely – and crucially – fast.

Most Japanese bikes were let down by the overly-flexible frames and under-sprung suspension, but a number of small companies saw this as a great opportunity, creating their own frames with better quality cycle parts, such as Rickman Bros. Although most famous for their off-road Metisse scrambler, made famous by the likes of Steve McQueen, Derek and Don Rickman had also built road-going frames for a series of engines, beginning with powerplants from Triumph and Royal Enfield.

Read more in the September issue of Classic Bike Guide – on sale now

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