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CLUTCH Journal



The UK-made Metisse Triumph was highly praised by Steve McQueen for its handling

CLUTCH Magazine

In next Clutch Magazine issue, we will be featuring a reproduction model of one of Steve McQueen’s favorite motorcycles, which he was quoted as saying was the best handling bike he had ever owned. That model was the Desert Racer, manufactured by Metisse, and also featured a vertical twin engine from Triumph and a beautiful nickel plated frame.

Brothers Derek and Don Rickman were both successful scramble and motocross riders in England during the 1950s and 1960s. They turned that passion into the start of their own brand, Metisse, manufacturing and selling kits of their frames and chassis. The brand soon crossed over to the United States and gained a huge following. True fans of classic British motorcycles are sure to have heard the name before.

Today the brand has been renamed as MetisseMotorcycles, but they continue to manufacture parts using the original moulds and jigs. With cooperation from Steve McQueen’s son, they produced a total of 300 Desert Racer replicas in McQueen’s favorite color, battleship grey, as an official collaborative model. In this issue, we will be placing the spotlight on this machine, as well as a behind-the-scenes look inside the Metisse factory.

This hybrid machine combines a Metisse frame and bodywith an authentic racing engine from an AJS 7R. The wide range of engines produced by British manufacturers are combined depending on the preference of its owners, and the kit continues to be manufactured to this day.

With this Metisse frame, it’s even possible to fit a modern Triumph engine. In addition to off-road motorcycles, the café racer style machines gained immense popularity during the 1970s.

In this issue, we will be dedicating 10 pages to introduce a wide range of machines.

Photo & Text by Hiro (Rustless Production)

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