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)

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