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I spent three high-school summers working at Steen's Inc, in Alhambra, CA. Steen's was the U.S importer for Ceriani suspension, Rickman Metisse motorcycles, as well as the builders of the Steen Hodaka SS and the Taco Minibike.


I spent one summer at the main warehouse, filling orders for their distribution business (lots of minibike and go kart parts). McQueen was never around.


The next two summers I spent offsite, about two miles away, working in some large tin sheds putting Rickmans together, notably the Hodaka-powered 100 and the Zundapp-powered 125. The bikes would come in with just the plastic on the frames. We had to pound in the bearing races, lube and drop in all the balls, then install the Ceriani forks, the shocks, the engines, the pipes, and mount the tires on the wheels. A team of 3 would build 5 bikes in an 8-hour day, the whole time sweating in those tin sheds like a Heidi Fleiss in a confessional. Being "the kid," when it came time to mount the tires, I was always "it." By my own count, each of those two summers I mounted about 250 fronts (3.00 x 21) and 250 rears (3.50 x 18) hard-carcass Dunlops, with tubes and rim locks (at least on the Hodaka model, the rear tire for some reason was a Trials Universal, much easier to mount than a knobby). I got one free tube per week. If I pinched more than that, they came out of my pay ($2.75/hr). I got to be pretty good at not pinching them. Maybe a dozen the whole summer.


The BIG Rickman bikes (those with Triumph 650 and BSA 441 motors) came fully assembled, minus the front wheel and fender. Those were uncrated and assembled by the Rickman mechanics at the main facility (in the back of the warehouse where I used to pull parts). In the summers when I was offsite building the little 100's and 125's, I did hear that McQueen, Ekins, and a bunch of other guys would stop by every so often, but I was never there. I did get to meet Steve years later and he was nice enough and trying real hard to be "just another guy" riding his bike around the Indian Dunes motorcycle park. But in the end, he was Steve McQueen and, understandably, he'd just as soon you didn't bother him. Even then I knew that was fair.

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I did a frame up restoration on a twin carb Triumph Daytona 500 cc

and somewhere along the way I came across a brochure for the Rickman set up.


I will dig it out of the archives, scan it and post later.


Thanks for memories and the small world connection. EffBee your story was great. Lets talk about it at the next Torrey.

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Here is the Old Rickman promo brochure,








You could buy that fairing for $289, or the bike for $2930. Wonder what its worth today?

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