There are few motorcycle icons within pop culture that have endured as vividly as that of the late, great Steve McQueen. A man who was at one time the highest paid actor in Hollywood, he avoided the limelight in favor of immersing himself within his passion for motorcycles. Never afraid of getting dirty, McQueen was at his happiest flogging a bike around the track with fellow racers or tinkering with the machines himself.
In an attempt to rekindle that passion, a limited edition of 300 Métisse Steve McQueen Desert Racer’s are on sale now. Complete bikes utilize a fully reconditioned period Triumph TR6 engine complete with a single Amal carburettor. Carefully constructed to employ modifications made by McQueen himself all those years ago, the bikes include styled footrests made to his original design and 35mm Ceriani forks with 7-inches of travel, which he found to be ideal through his experience. The yokes are from BSA, which were his preference because of the handlebar position which is set behind the steering stem which he found offered better control. The Metisse website boasts a quote from McQueen saying, “This rig is the best handling bike I’ve ever owned.” This reference was made about the original models constructed by Derek and Don Rickman, as McQueen succumbed to lung Cancer in 1980 at age 50.
This Desert Racer adopts a Mk III chrome-moly, nickel plated, oil bearing frame. Chromed steel wheel rims, period-accurate chromed exhausts, scramble rear tyre, trials front tire, Amal competition levers and twist grip. A period Triumph front hub with BSA rear, along with an authentic color coded tank, seat and panels round out the project. This bike is sold in its original form as a thoroughbred competition racer.
Each limited edition Desert Racer from Métisse comes with its own framed and embossed certificate of authenticity and Steve McQueen’s signature on the tank badge.