Métisse, a British Icon

Métisse is a motorcycle brand synonymous with British cool, it continues to command a loyal following almost 60 years after the first Métisse, the Mk1, was manufactured in 1959.

The company was set up by brothers Derek and Don Rickman who came from a motorcycle background, their father being a speedway rider who also ran a garage. The brothers began their motorcycling careers riding in trials before turning to scrambling then motorcross where they both competed successfully.  During that time they realised they needed to ride lighter machines so began adapting BSA models to their requirements, eventually producing their own frame with a Matchless or Triumph engine. In fact the name Métisse comes from the French for cross breed or blended.

By virtue of the fact the brothers raced the motorcycles, they learned to adapt their designs to the needs of the sport. The lightweight machine becoming  quickly highly sought after with the majority being shipped to America.

The Steve McQueen Desert Racer replica. Motorcycle Live 2016 ©Allison Remzi
The Steve McQueen Desert Racer replica. Motorcycle Live 2016 ©Allison Remzi

The most famous exponent of the Métisse was Steve McQueen who raced a MK3 frame with a Triumph TR6 engine. In fact McQueen himself said of the bike; ‘This is the best handling rig I’ve ever owned’.

The Steve McQueen Desert Racer replica. Motorcycle Live 2016 ©Allison Remzi
The Steve McQueen Desert Racer replica. Motorcycle Live 2016 ©Allison Remzi

Métisse recently featured in a TV documentary about Steve McQueen and his motorcycles, on the back of which, saw 30 of the 300 limited edition Steve McQueen Desert Racer replica bikes quickly sold. The company commented that they can’t build the bikes fast enough, with Japan accounting for a lot of their sales. Renown for their craftmanship and iconic looks Métisse motorcycles continue to attract enthusiasts around the world.

Allison Remzi