Reviews

BikeRadar

BikeRadar Review : MX6-EVO

The verdict: A true evolution and something a bit special.

"We've really enjoyed our time with the Empire, it's a truly personable bike that takes a big step from where its predecessor left off.

Suddenly those looking for a UK-made single pivot have a less predictable option.

Read Full Review


DC Cycles

DC Cycles Review : MX6-EVO

Being a fan of the single pivot frame for many years now and loving the riding characteristics they offer I couldnít say no when I had the opportunity to have a cheeky preview ride on a new frame design.

My experience of single pivot bikes over the years has been quite varied, having purchased and ridden many from different companies my knowledge has grown considerably and as technology in frame designs, materials and shocks have increased so has my passion for them. The Empire MX6 Evo epitomizes these improvements and proves that you donít need the latest and greatest multi-link, aerospace carbon fibre to have an incredible ride and at almost half the price of most frames it is a serious contender in the enduro market.

Read Full Review


SingleTrack 94

SingleTrack Review : MX6-EVO

The Empire MX6-EVO cuts a formidable silhouette. With its low-slung frame, single pivot and bolt-on mast, itís instantly identifiable and it shares much of its DNA with Empireís clever, cast aluminium-framed downhill bike.

The MX6, though, is more of a hybrid, for practical and expense reasons, but is still 100% made in the UK.

Read Full Review


PMBA

PMBA Review : MX6-EVO

I've been meaning to demo the Empire MX6 Evo since the start of the year, but being a awkward git didn't want just an hour, I wanted a few days testing on proper trails. I missed a couple of chances around May/June and then went and broke myself at the MegAvalanche and had to have 3 months off the bike.
Its only a couple of weeks since I could properly grip the bars again and my fitness both in legs and arms has suffered and yet I stupidly(?) entered one of the gnarliest enduro's we have in the UK. The now classic Dudes of Hazzard event in Kinlochleven was also the final of the Scottish Enduro Series. Having done the event since the first one 3 years ago I didn't want to miss this year, especially as it had become a social weekend where I could tag along with the Hope Technology crew. I knew the stages were gnarly and wasn't confident on tackling them on my current lightweight carbon 140mm travel bike given my recent injury, so with a little persuasion I blagged myself Empires development/demo machine for some extra skill's compensation.

Read Full Review


Single Track 78 MX6

SingleTrack 78 Review : MX6

This bike has a host of questions following it around. For a simple single pivot, it's causing a lot of headaches - mostly for armchair engineers who insist its pivot is in the wrong place and 'it's made the wrong way'.

Designed and made in the UK, specifically in Bolton, the distinctive looks come from extensive CNC machining. he headstock, backbone and swingarm are all hewn from huge lumps of aluminium, with only the toptube and downtube being 'regular' square tubes. he seat tower is cast aluminium, a technique that got Empire noticed with its AP-1 downhill bike a few years ago. Amazingly the frame only has four welds. The looks are love or hate, but either way it's an impressive feat of engineering. Oh, and before you ask, no, the gaps donít collect mud; the only area that does act as a bit of a shelf is just below the shock.

Read Full Review


UK Bike Magazine - April 2012

UK Bike Magazine : The Empire Strikes Back

Empire is just one of those brands that every mountain biker has something to say about. Innovative, imaginative, and often controversial, Empire Bikes and its founder Chris Williams stand out from the crowd as true one offs.

With such a huge range of trail bikes available these days, it's refreshing to hear of one that truly stands out from the crowd. One that is unaffraid to go about things, more than a little differently. Empire's new MX6 'all mountain' bike has appeared in various prototype guises for some time now and is now finally approaching the final stages of design, refinement and testing and approaching production. It's a machine that has a huge appeal to me both as a rider and design engineer so I jumped at the chance to check it out, meet the man behind it and give it a thrashing on the trails.

Read Full Review


Empire AP-1 Review

Dirt 76 : Empire AP-1 Review

Craig Robertson and Chris Williams are two men on a mission, one of bringing proven technology from the motorbike and car world into mountain biking. There was an important word in that last sentence, it was 'proven'. Now for some reason there seems to have been a whole load of people on forums and the like saying that trying to cast a bike is pointless, it's just going to snap. The thing is though that they're talking out of their arses, if done correctly there's no reason why a cast part can't be as good, if not better, than any part produced using other production methods. If this wasn't the case then surely the likes of KTM etc wouldn't be casting the swingarms of their motorbikes, and surely our fork lowers would be breaking every five seconds. The point is that countless multi-million pound companies are switching over to casting for numerous products, resulting in rapid technological improvements, and Empire are keen to utilise this technology within a bicycle.

Read Full Review


Empire Prototype

Empire Prototype

Look in most manufacturers' brochures and you'll find a plethora of bent and hydroformed tubes in increasingly odd shapes. While others go in search of the most extravagant shape to make a piece of alloy pipe, Empire is breaking (or rather making) the mould in their workshops in Lancashire.

Casting metal in sand is an age-old process, but a process that has been refined to become a viable option for producing highly detailed and massively strong structures for modern appliances. Internal shaping is possible and, thanks to all kinds of clever computer programs combined with a great deal of know-how, wall thickness can be paired down to the minimum without compromising strength. Sand is probably the wrong word to describe the fine talc that is used in the casting process, fingerprints left in the sand can end up on the metal as it is so soft and impressionable, yet it can withstand molten alloy being poured into it and cool it at precisely the right temperature to leave a structur that is light, strong and as intricate as any hydroformed tube you could find.

Read Full Review


MBUK - Superbikes

MBUK - Superbikes : The Empire Cycles AP-1

Behold the first cast aluminium DH bike, designed and manufactured in the UK. Take a look at tomorrow's technology.

Many people balk at the thought of a cast bicycle frame - it brings back memories of the dreaded Kirk Precision cast magnesium monsters of the early 90's. But not all casting is bad. People forget - or simply haven't noticed - that casing has been around on bikes for some time - just look at the lowers on suspension forks. Most of them use high-pressure cast magnesium, happily hiding under paintwork and stickers...

Craig Robertson and Chris Williams of Empire Cycles have been working on their cast aluminium masterpiece - the AP1 since 2005, and have refined it to the beautifully sculpted and intricately thought-out machine you see here. But they're not just in it to build one of the most innovative DH bikes out there - they're presenting a technology that they believe will one day be common place in the cycling industry.

Read Full Review


Mountain Bike Action - 2010

Mountain Bike Action : The Empire Cycles AP-1R

Since we test about a half-dozen bikes a month, we can become a little jaded about opening a new bike box. That was not the case, however, when a box arrived at the MBA headquarters from the UK. Inside was a downhill bike that looked part battleship anchor and part engine block. It was, of course, Empire Cycles' AP-1R.

We kid about the unique appearance of the Empire AP-1R, but its one-of-a-kind design was certainly a part of the approach from its inception.

"From the outset of the project, Empire did not wish to manufacture traditionally fabricated structures, as there are so many (bikes) in the world already," explains AP-1R designer Chris Williams. "My background is in the automotive and motorcycle industries, so my thinking was, how would Ford, KTM or Fiat tackle this project? HSC (High Strength Casting) is now commonplace on many off-road motorcycles; KTM in particular, has spent lots of time and money developing HSC swingarms for their bikes. I figured it would be possible to miniaturize the swingarm for a mountain bike.

And then I figured, why not the whole bike?"

Read Full Review