Metisse recreates Steve McQueen Desert Racer

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England’s Metisse Motorcycles is building a replica of the Desert Racer it made for Steve McQueen in 1966. Housing a reconditioned Triumph TR6 engine in a custom, oil-bearing steel cradle frame, the bike is specced the same as McQueen’s personal bike: BSA yokes, battleship grey bodywork, Amal components. It looks like a neat scrambler for casual dirt riding, but its spec, price and heavy-handed use of McQueen’s name leaves us cold.
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While we understand that it was necessary to associate the new bike
with its old rider, the constant reassertion of the link complete with
a reproduced autograph on the tank and the use of McQueen’s endorsement
– “This rig is the best handling bike I’ve ever owned” — just makes us
think of the meaningless endorsements of vacuous modern celebrities.

Combine that with the drum brakes front and rear, the £13,000 price,
the limited production run (300 units) and the precise level of
recreation and we’re afraid that what we have here is a bike that’s
going to sit in a collector’s living room, not something that’s going
to be ridden. That’s a shame, because it looks like the Desert Racer
achieves something the similar, but modernized, Triumph Scrambler
doesn’t: performance.

Metisse (Thanks for the tip, David)

  • Dr.Danger

    That is sad. I saw that on the main page and thought it was going to be an exciting bike.

    Overpriced and underperformed, oh well.

  • thomashenny

    paint by numbers

  • Gary Sideburn

    The bike features in this recreation of Bud Ekins’ Great Escape jump carried out by Manx trials riders Steve Colley. He even does it without a lid.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/videos/article5718912.ece

    And I personally think you’ve got all your priorities in a twist. £13,000 is nothing for a hand-built, tuned ancient twin, in a limited edition chassis. Especially as the motors have to be throughly built. That’s a £5000 motor nowadays. Metisse don’t set those market prices. Whether you personally like it or not is another matter, but the value isn’t far off.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes

      That’s a very cool video and I’m not saying the price is too much, just too much to take off road. Especially with no brakes.

      Would you ride a bike that was billed as Steve McQueen’s and even had his name on the gas tank, or would you find that tastless?

  • http://smallsuncustom.blogspot.com/ Mike – Small Sun

    This is a collectors bike, and is exactly what Matisse should be doing right now. They are not there to compete with current production at all, and I think the price ain’t bad, considering they’ll be worth twice that in 10 years, rather than 50%, like the blades of today. And underperformed ? compared to what?
    A work of metal art – i’ll have 2.

  • terry

    I bought a Rickman Metisse 750 Interceptor (Royal Enfield) new back in 1973. It leaked so badly and was a bugger to start.
    But it sounded biblical and handled like nothing else. Of the countless bikes I have owned it’s the one I remember most vividly. It was superb.

    Thirteen grand for a piece of nostalgic artwork from the masters? Who cares if there is some tenuous connection to his most Steveness?
    To judge this as somehow questionable value because it has a ‘celebrity’ connection is to be far too easily swayed and qualifies for lifetime membership to the awkward squad.