Empire Cycles will be an entirely new venture, offering a unique downhilling machine

Big things are afoot in a small village in the hills of Rossendale. Our very own workshop expert, Craig Robertson, has been busy working with old friend and industrial designer Chris Williams to come up with a totally new machine. Not content with the successful Global Titanium brand, Empire Cycles will be an entirely new venture, offering a unique downhilling machine.

The, as yet unnamed, bike will have a cast aluminium frame. Made in three pieces — entirely in the UK — it will have 8.5in of travel, with a rearward axle path. The single pivot design is simple and effective: 28mm needle bearings (as used on Ricky Charmichael’s Moto X bikes) spin on a hollow steel axle, heat treated and coated for longevity. An idler combats chain growth, similar to Trek’s Session 10 tested last month.

Using casting allows incredible attention to detail. Just check the cable routing. In-built zip-tie guides, and a channel in the main frame casting allows gear cables to be tucked neatly away. A chamfered front edge eases the cable away from the head tube, preventing cable rub. Slotted, toothed wheel adjusters offer an inch and a half of chainstay tweaking. Expect to pay less than £2,000 when they are available in March. Initially frames will come supplied with custom tuned and sprung shocks, so expect a fully personalised ride.

The unique cast frame construction is designed and manufactured in the UK, and while it’s a popular manufacturing technique for motorcycles, this is the first time we’ve seen a cast downhill frame.

The suspension design is a high single pivot with an idler to help reduce pedal feedback. Swingarm spacing is 150mm, but the AP1 actually uses a lighter 135mm hub to allow space for the sliding disc mount, which is also mounted on the 12mm rear axle. An added bonus of this set-up is that the disc mount is always perfectly aligned with the hub and rotor. Chainstay length is adjustable between 426mm and 446mm and travel varies from 203mm to 216mm depending on the chosen chainstay length.

For the less gravity prone, there are shorter travel machines planned, so keep an eye out for this non-welded technology coming to a trail near you. Contact Ride-On for details at 01706 831101 or www.rideon.co.uk.