Métisse Motorcycles

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Métisse Steve McQueen™ Desert Racer

Métisse Motorcycles is a British low-volume manufacturer of specialist motorcycles and motorcycle frames, based in Carswell near Faringdon, Oxfordshire.

Since 1982 Métisse produced motorcycle frame kits for British bike engines. Former owner Pat French bought the tooling originally used by the Rickman brothers (who produced the first Mk1 Metisse in 1959) to produce lightweight, strong frames and rolling chassis for competitive motocross use.[1]

Métisse have focussed on using high quality plated steel for their distinctive frames. French produced Mk IV frames and then MkIII for retro-scrambles until the mid 1990s when demand waned. A partnership was formed with Gerry Lisi to continue manufacture, which continued until French's retirement.[1] French died in 2007.[2] Lisi continues to run Métisse at his Carswell premises, where the motorcycle operation is something of a sideline to the main golf course business.

Métisse now manufacture complete motorcycles, usually using bought-in cycle parts and engines, although the recent Mk5 is fitted with Métisse's own 997 cc (60.8 cu in) air & oil-cooled 360° parallel twin engine.[3][4][5]

Steve McQueen™ Desert Racer[edit]

A limited edition of 300 complete motorcycles, the Steve McQueen Métisse Desert Racer is a replica of the motorcycle raced by actor Steve McQueen in 1966 and 1967.[6][7] The Desert Racer uses a fully reconditioned original Meriden Triumph unit construction 650 cc 6T engine. McQueen's actual bike had a Métisse frame and was built by his friend, the actor and stuntman Bud Ekins.

Métisse Hammer Mk3[edit]

Similar to the Desert Racer, the Hammer is a version of the Métisse Mk3 Scrambler that was the iconic motorcycle used by Ilya Kuryakin in the TV series "The Man From Uncle".

Métisse Mk5[edit]

The firm's most complete product is the Métisse Mk5, a bespoke 997 cc (60.8 cu in) air-cooled 5-speed parallel twin roadster. The Mk5 has not only a Métisse frame, but a new 8-valve "Adelaide" engine designed and manufactured in-house by Métisse. The Mk5 is a hand-crafted motorcycle and the riding position is adjusted to the customer's dimensions. The firm provides the buyer with a portfolio with images of the bike during its build, along with documentation of its particular specification.

The Mk5 is available either as a "Café Racer" (with or without a nose fairing), or as a "Street Scrambler".[8] The bike has a 4130 chrome-moly cradle frame with 41mm Ceriani forks and twin Öhlins rear shocks. The engine produces claimed 97 hp (72 kW) and claimed 70 lb⋅ft (95 N⋅m) of torque with a top speed of 120 mph (190 km/h).[9][3][10] Front brakes are twin 320 mm discs with Brembo caliper, while the rear is a single 220 mm disc, also with a Brembo calliper. The 2010 prototype roadster, a dry weight of 180kg, has been developed as a "Street Scrambler".


  1. ^ a b Metisse Motorcycles heritage Retrieved 2014-08-22 Archived 2014-08-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Pat French Real Classic, 1 November 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2018
  3. ^ a b Franklin, Trevor (16 October 2009). "First ride: British-built Metisse prototype". MCN. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  4. ^ "MÉTISSE MARK 5 CAFÉ RACER - Bike Tests". Australian Motorcycle News. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  5. ^ Lindsay, Jim (22 April 2015). "Metisse: The Inside Story". Bennetts. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  6. ^ "McQueen motorbike built-to-order". BBC News. 19 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
  7. ^ Alan Cathcart (May–June 2009). "Steve McQueen Métisse Triumph replica". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
  8. ^ "Metisse Motorcycles". Metisse. 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  9. ^ Kerr, Ian (January–February 2010). "2010 Métisse 8v Mark 5". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  10. ^ Mark 5 Metisse Motorcycles, Retrieved 16 January 2018

External links[edit]