Vintage Motocross Bikes, Gear & Apparel
Menu Show Menu

1972 Rickman Zundapp 125

1972 Rickman Zundapp 125Thanks again to our member Jack Atkins from Albuquerque, NM. This time he shares his 1972 Rickman Zundapp 125 MX!

It started life as a 1972 Rickman Zundapp 125 MX, which I purchased new from Cycle World in El Paso, TX in 1972. They were a Norton Triumph dealer who were brand-new to the area and the business. They were required by Triumph to take a small number of the Rickman 125s and 250s and AJS Stormers. A year later, I was their parts manager. A year after that, we were partners in a small shop in Las Cruces, NM just north of El Paso, where I sold Penton, Maico, Hodaka, Ossa, Rickman and AJS.

I raced this Rickman 125 in MX, desert races, and enduros back in the day. In 1975 I sold my shop, moved to Midland, TX, and left motorcycling for 15 years. I left the Rickman and some other bikes with a friend in El Paso. He rode it for a while and his friends and kids rode it. After his death in the ’80s, the Rickman sat neglected in his back yard with the cylinder off for several years until I moved to Albuquerque and re-acquired it from his window. With the help of a parts bike and an extra engine, I put it into approximately the condition it was in in the ’70s. Sadly some of the parts weren’t recovered.

I made the original mods to make the bike more competitive and rideable. The fiberglass tailpiece and little pointed front fender were the first things to go and were replaced by plastic. The pretty little seat was soon removed. I cut down a 1973 Maico seat foam and base to fit and reupholstered it. After bending both steel wheels beyond repair in a brutal Enduro race, I replaced the back with a shouldered Akront alloy, and the front got a newly available shoulder less DID alloy.

I don’t remember where the foot pegs and gear shifter came from. The gas tank is from a pre-1972 model and is fiberglass rather than shell like the newer tanks. The motor got a reed valve and 30mm Bing carburetor. The chrome bore cylinder was bored and fitted with a Hodaka Wombat sleeve and piston and ported to EC Birt specs. I added a down pipe from EC Birt, which I used for MX and switched back to the high pipe for desert and enduros.

The rear shocks were exchanged for Kurnutts, which were an odd, long-travel, re-buildable shock used by a lot of desert racers in Cali. They really worked well. The bike was really fast and light. I think the weight is around 180 lbs. With the Hodaka sleeve, the displacement is closer to 150cc.

When I got the bike back, all of the original glass and stock tank had been lost. The cylinder was trashed and the Kurnutt shocks and EC Birt pipe were missing. I put the reed valve on with a stock chrome cylinder. I didn’t port the cylinder for fear of damaging the chrome, but did drill the piston for better use of the reed valve.

The pipe is stock except for the silencer/stinger. I don’t know what that came off of. The rear shocks are NJB Gas. One of the pics shows the bike at an AHRMA vintage race in Steamboat Springs, CO about 1995. It is pretty much as raced in the ’70s. Another pic is from around 1973 at the start of a desert race before I did the seat and fender mods.

Between 1995 and the present, I replaced the white plastic fenders with front blue Acerbis and the rear is from a late model Bultaco. I have recently found an EC Birt ported sleeve which I had installed in the old trashed cylinder and will put on the bike soon to optimize the reed valve. I would like to do a vintage MX race or two this summer if I can get it ready.

Thanks for sharing your Rickman Zundapp Jack!

1972 Rickman Zundapp 125 Gallery

1972 Rickman Zundapp 125 Motorcycles & Parts

View all Rickman Zundapp 125 items on eBay »

2 Responses to “1972 Rickman Zundapp 125”

  • Jack Atkins says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Dan. Most of the evolution of my Rickman took place about 1973-74 in response to the new Honda 125 Elsinore which quickly became the bike to beat in the 125 class. My little Rickman was fast, reliable and handled well. Too bad about the 5 neutrals in the gearbox. But really, if adjusted right and shifted deliberately, it wasn’t bad. But you could bang on the Honda shifter with no problem, with or without the clutch, and that became the standard, It broke my heart when I uncrated the first 1973 Rickman 125 (the red one) at my shop. I had expected the brothers to respond to the Japanese threat with upgrades like I made to my Rickman which would have made it fully competitive. Instead it was bigger and heavier and had a chain oiler for god’s sake. It still had the easily broken fiberglass fender and tail-piece and for some unknown reason the side panel/number plates now wrapped around and covered the carb, making trackside adjustment a pain in the neck. Apparently they hadn’t noticed that Japan was now making leading-edge MX bikes. That’s when I gave up on the British as MX builders.

  • Avatar of Dan Sandberg Dan Sandberg says:

    That little bike is amazing!! It sounds like over the years it has literally EVOLVED into what it is today. I really enjoyed reading all the stuff you have done to it, man, it has been modified, modified, and modified…..AGAIN. It sounds like you are well equipped to do all the work you have talked about. But, here is a site I found a while ago and book marked for….well, just in case. http://richstaylordporting.com/vintage_main.html I think that I may give him a buzz for some project in the future. Hope you keep putting bikes on here. Your stories are as good as the bikes!

Share Your Comments

Please only post comments related to 1972 rickman zundapp 125. If you have something for sale or need to buy, please visit our free listings page!