Empire Cycles AP-1WR

by Ben Haworth 25


British mountain bike designers, engineers and manufacturer, Empire Cycles, has officially unveiled its all-new 2010 model, the AP-1WR.

Unlike previous incarnations of the cast aluminium-framed DH bike, is now available to buy as a complete bike, rather than purely as a frame kit.

The rather fetching Empire Cycles AP-1WR (Works Replica) comes complete with bold new graphics (BNG).

“In building the AP-1WR we have tried to create something very special,” said Empire Cycles’ managing director, Chris Williams. “We opted to construct the Works Replica as if we were building our own personal dream bike, so the unique AP-1 chassis is complemented by the finest products we could source from the best and most reputable component manufacturers in the World. We simply refused to settle for anything less than the best, and the result is a true thoroughbred race bike.”

“The quality is there for all to see,” continued Chris, “from the precision cast frame to the rear shock absorber and XTR shifter – it is a top spec product worthy of its ‘works’ bike status. We have added nothing that would compromise the frame’s performance, so everything exudes quality and is built to withstand anything the World’s best downhill riders can throw at it.”

“A lot of hard work and effort went in to researching and developing the pioneering AP-1 frame. We were experimenting with technology new to the MTB market so to get recognised like this for our endeavour is a huge achievement. It adds yet more kudos to the Empire Cycles stable and affirms the AP-1’s credentials as a serious downhill tool.”

The AP-1WR sits atop Empire Cycles’ official 2010 line-up, which also include the AP-1S and AP-1R frame kits. Available now, the Works Replica costs £5495; the AP-1S and AP-1R are priced at £2695 and £2995 respectively. The AP-1S comes fitted with Rockshox Vivid suspension (steel spring), while the AP-1R is bedecked with a Cane Creek shock complete with titanium spring.

For more details on Empire Cycles’ AP-1, please visit www.empire-cycles.com

Comments (25)

  1. how much does it weigh?

  2. They look mint in the flesh. Can’t wait to see their XC/AM machine.

  3. That is absolutely gorgeous. I want it to be my new girlfriend…

  4. Not sure on why they think a cast(!) i-beam is better than a tube. Saw them being tested in the Alps during the summer. I honestly thought they were Halfords style department store bikes until they started talking to our guide about them. Each to their own though!

  5. Posh Halfords round your way.

  6. They aren’t light but the bike is designed that way as its all about the sprung to unsprung mass ratio. As in they have designed it like an engineer should from the ground up, and its based loosely on a motoX style design which is also why its single pivot.

    They ride brilliantly if I had the money I’d buy one.

    Its odd that according to the empire website the S has a vivid, the R has a crane creek and the WR has a vivid. I also expected the WR to have Fox 40 WC’s but it has boxxer WC’s instead.

  7. My bad the WR only has boxxer teams, and does even have vented discs.

    “We simply refused to settle for anything less than the best, and the result is a true thoroughbred race bike”

    For £5500 and reading the blurb I expected them to have fitted the best, shame they forgot to. I suppose though that the bike would have cost £6500+ then though.

  8. dirtynap what ! designed to be heavy! unsprung mass ratio
    dont believe the hype the rider is the biggest part of the unsprung mass,, but it is a lot more complicated than that, as some parts of the rider are damped others undamped

    it’s single pivot coz it’s easy,, it does have an idler which removes any change in pedal feedback when changing front ring, which is good,, in someways

  9. “it’s single pivot coz it’s easy”

    Empire don’t really seem to choose things because they’re “easy” IMO. I would think that on balance they feel there’s more pro’s than con’s to single-pivot-with-idler designs for the way they want the bike to handle combined with the chosen shocks etc etc.

  10. it’s chicken and egg,,
    if you want a rearward axle path you either need a vpp multi link design or a high single pivot,

    if you go the high single pivot you need to control the pedal feedback ,,

    the one problem with the idler is the high loading in the idler and it’s bearings,,

    now if the idler was adjustable for height,, then you could dial the pedal feedback to your desired level indipendently of the size front ring you are using ,, which would be very usefull

  11. imagine cleaning out all the mud that’s going to get stuck in those i-beams

  12. It’ll be going too fast to collect any mud though innit? 😉

  13. People seemed to have stopped talking about brakejack so much too.

  14. By teh way the bikes weigh in at ~43lb in comparison to a an Iron horse sunday that are usually around ~37lb

    @ade ward
    I know is not that simple I used to design suspension for honda.

    Unsprung mass is the weight NOT supported by the suspension. the sprung weight is the weight support by the suspension. In a crude manner you can say the unsprung weight is below the suspension and the sprung weight above the suspension.

    On a full sus bike therefore the ride is not mainly unsprung they are sprung. The higher the sprung to unsprung ratio generally speaking the better the suspension will perform. Light bikes there for have a hard time getting the suspension working well because to reduce unsprung mass is very difficult. The 70/30 ratio of the AP-1 is a high ratio and means the bike makes its suspension work well.

    If the rider as you say is a massive part of the unsprung mass then ratio goes to pot. This is because you now have a massive unsprung mass and next to nothing being supported by the suspension. As a result teh suspension does not work well and to get it to work you would require very very soft springs like slinky springs.

    But thanks for your commment I assume you meant the rider is the biggest part of the sprung mass. if you didn’t then I suggest you go back to school and learn to more basic engineering principles and maths.

  15. the reason that motorcycle manufacturers cast some of their frames, is because it’s cheaper if the scale of production is large enough.

    (make a mould + pour in molten metal = frame)

    there is no performance advantage to having a cast frame, but it can be cheaper.

    in this case, it’s heavier, and more expensive, great.

  16. There’s a very in depth review on Pink-Bike about this compared to a V-10 and a Sunday. Having seen them ridden in anger they’re fast.

  17. it was a slip there with my unsprung / sprung comments sorry for the confusion,,

    but I still fail to understand why you would make a bike heavy to improve the sprung unsprung ratio,,

    I am guessing but if the swinging arm is built like the rest of the frame the wouldnt the ratio about the same as a bike built in a lighter method,,

    funny that bit about back to school dirty nap but thats were i work, but have had a little experience with this sort of stuff

  18. The swing arm is hollow I think or at least its not soild because its much lighter than the frame itself.

    “(make a mould + pour in molten metal = frame)”
    You have never cast anything have you?

    Casting is used because it produces a stronger finished product. Catsing does not produce a finshed product striaght from the mould unless you want something you can’t be sure will fit. The step you missed is that the casting is machined and if you want good tolerance thats not cheap.
    Casting is only cheaper on large production runs because fabrication is a manual job and labour is very expensive these days. If its strength you want than casting is the way to go, well that and machining from a soild block but thats expensive full stop.

    In terms of engineering empire really are the top of the tree in DH bike terms.

    They have a made the bike have a high ration of sprung to unsprung mass deliberately. If you make the bike light then that means to get the ratio high you need to reduce the unsprung mass, and on a DH bike or any bike thats hard as you end up with thin tyres, flimsey wheels, and forks and swings arms that flex all over the shop.

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