Red Dot Design Award 2010
Empire Cycles joined the ranks of Apple, Nokia and Mercedes Benz when it was selected from thousands of entries for a prestigious Red Dot Design Award for its AP-1 downhill mountain bike. The red dot design award is a large and coveted international product design prize awarded by the Design Zentrum, Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, Germany. The aim of the prize is to honour outstanding design quality and trendsetters. Since 1955, designers and producers can apply for the prizes with the winners being presented in an annual ceremony. Winning products are presented in the red dot design museum on the premises of the Zollverein World Cultural Heritage site in Essen where Empire Cycles designer, Chris Williams, was presented with his award in July 2010.
"This is such an honour for Empire", said Chris, "and a vindication of what we have been trying to achieve. The bike is a winner on the track and getting rave reviews in the biking press. It has been recognised by the world's leading designers as of outstanding quality and innovation. Clearly, the AP-1 is something very special."
The Dirt 100 2010
Out of thousands of bikes, frames and components in the market, the AP-1 was selected as one of the top 100 "ultimate mountainbike” products in the world to own in 2010. These 100 represented the best that the Dirt 100 team could find after rigorous searching, testing and debating. They asked themselves two simple questions, "are they the best and if we had the money, would we buy them ourselves?”. The Dirt staff were keen to strip out hype and marketing and present a collection of fantastic products and true appreciation.
Cast Metal Federation Component of the Year 2011
The aluminium foundry for Empire’s AP-1 frame (WH Rowe Limited) won ‘component of the year’ for the Empire frame in the UK Cast Metals Industry Awards 2011. This award looks at castings across the UK in terms of the design, the quality, and the appearance and utility. The AP-1 frame certainly ticked these boxes and the Chief Executive of the Cast Metals Federation, John Parker, said: "this is an excellent set of castings that…take the [casting] process into the bicycle frame market: a very stylish and rugged bike”. The award panel particularly appreciated the simplicity with which a rider can assemble and infinitely adjust the frame to meet their specific needs without specialist or multiple tools.
The final three contenders included Grainger and Worrall’s engine block for the Bugatti Veyron so once again, the AP-1 finds itself in good company. This is just another example of how the design and manufacture of the AP-1 is appreciated widely and is consistently regarded as superb whether amongst engineers, designers, or sports people.
Constantine Theoharis (below) of WH Rowe pushed his company to rise to the challenge when Empire identified the foundry for making their AP-1 frame. "We knew that, using the sand casting process, we could produce components that would withstand the stresses: these are highly stressed components due to the high dynamic loading of the frame” said Constantine. WH Rowe in Southampton celebrate 80 years in 2012 so winning the ‘component of the year’ award for the AP-1 frame has introduced a successful year.