Empire Cycles MX-6 Press Release

Apr 4, 2011 at 20:32
by Tyler Maine  

Empire Cycles is proud to announce the birth of the MX-6. This is a six-inch travel, all-mountain, British manufactured product. It boasts both a machined from solid billet 6082T6 aluminium front end and swing arm, and an aircraft grade cast aluminium seat tower. The DNA of the award-winning AP-1 downhill frame (Red Dot Design Award 2010) can easily be appreciated and all Empire supporters can rest assured that the knowledge and expertise have been passed onto the new arrival. The MX-6 is aimed at the growing enduro market: “basically, the intention is that you can kick the living daylights out of it, up hill and down dale, all day”, says Chris Williams (Empire Cycles owner). Chris adds, “I’ve learned an incredible amount from the AP-1 and wanted to produce a product for the all-day warrior”.


The MX-6 uses the known and loved Empire three-piece structure along with the tried and tested swing arm bearing arrangement and seat tower. As with its big brother, the MX-6 is also without welds. Other features include the latest 2 x 10 drive train from Sram, Rock Shox suspension, and Avid brakes. Prices will start from around the £4000 mark for a fully built bike and there will be frame-only and exclusive Hope upgrade options. Look out for the MX-6 as a prototype at events through the Spring and see it on sale in the Summer.



www.empire-cycles.com


89 Comments

  • + 32
 I like it! Bet it's a bitch to wash though! Lol!
  • + 10
 this frame makes me feel physically ill
  • + 3
 Me being a fellow Empire owner, imo, that is pretty fucked up. But i like it!
  • - 1
 Looks strong but at the same time it looks heavy.
  • + 4
 looks pretty light to me lol. But more importantly it looks strong
  • - 2
 in my opinion that bike look pretty sweet, but im not sure about the break jack, the single pivot would create
  • + 4
 I love the idea, but what a waste of material...it probably takes about 30 hours of machining with upwards of 95% material loss

Just saying
  • + 1
 The aluminium slab alone is probably worth a couple thousand
  • + 2
 Actually this is a three piece sand cast frame.
Raw material loss is relatively minimal compared to other forms of frame construction and the process does not take very long.
Think about Engine block manufacturing and you get an idea of how eficient this process is Smile
  • + 3
 making/creating the molds costs a bomb so the cost of the frames have to be fairly high.
  • + 2
 i like the one solid cast idea, no welds to crack
  • - 1
 see i prefer a bike that doesnt make me feel ill by just looking at it no chunder, no problems
  • + 1
 @HON82, it says in the article ''machined from solid billet 6082T6 aluminium front end and swing arm''.
  • + 13
 Though it may look interesting, an open I-beam design is torsionally very weak, even with the gusseting, and will likely be very heavy if there is enough material there to make it acceptably strong. The good old round tube is a far superior design for strength, weight and stiffness. A work of art, maybe. A good bike design, not a chance.
  • + 1
 Agree! Tubing is cheap and strong, hence hwy everybody already uses it...
  • + 1
 very unique design, i actually think it is a cool idea but I agree with jackp. a former classmate of mine made an i-beam bike for a class project. when he turned left the i-beam twisted and "sling shotted" him back to the right. it was very unstable. Although my classmate used the i-beam as a single spine design, this design will be much more stable but may have a similar effect. I also agree with rewster below, "front triangle from a single piece of aluminum", very wasteful and time consuming, i wish it was still april 1st.
  • + 11
 OMG!!!! The complaining never stops!!!! After all the complaints of bikes being copies of this or that, or "looks like a cross between...." or "no thanks, carbon snaps" or " Ilike staight tubes over hydroformed tubes", the fact that its DIFFERENT annoys people!!!!!!
  • + 15
 agreed, its so lame. but hey, you cant argue with all the 13 year old pinkbike engineers with degrees, they know EVERYTHING!
  • + 11
 Quiet mtblocos1, or else they'll whine at you and then question your sexuality.
  • + 5
 The front triangle is machined from billet? Doesn't seem very cost effective. I thought all parts were made from cast Al. I can only imagine the amount of machine setup that will be required if it is in fact milled from billet.

What grade aluminum are the other bits made of? Even 6061-t651 can be considered "aircraft grade"
  • + 4
 Once again, my comment questioning the integrity of a product was deleted. I merely asked what grade of aluminum was being used throughout. "Aircraft grade" doesn't really describe much. 6061 is considered an aircraft grade, and I wouldn't trust a seat tower made of it. The article is formatted like a technical write-up...more accurate reporting would help curb questions such as these.

And I'm very skeptical about the fact the front triangle is machined from billet. The amount of setup time, tool wear, scrap produced and multiple operations required would make it very impractical to manufacture. If the article is accurate, then I humbly stand corrected.
  • + 3
 Aircraft grade means it is used by aerospace, which is plain add-value marketing talk. Many "super frames" are made of 6061 because it is easy to process. But well plastic is used on planes too and companies don't go around saying (yet!) we used aircraft grade plastic for cable routing.
  • + 7
 ' Aircraft grade ' is so dated now , my bike is made of NASA grade bullsh*t
  • + 4
 eff nasa, eff 6061, the real stuff is my Soviet Space Program-grade frame. it's very stiff torsionally, while adding bilateral corsional treble flex. it uses an eight piece structure for added lightweight-edness, to be able to pedal.
  • + 2
 is migrating center of gravity included? when suspension compresses molecules travel down to the BB to improve handling. Smart alloys are the future.
  • + 6
 Some like oranges, others like when their feet stink.Long live the free market and free choice, personally I like my Glory 2010 16,6kg of pure happiness
  • + 3
 Seems expensive for a single pivot unactuated design, I thought the premise for having a simple single pivot was designed to be less expensive than a linkage bike. I appreciated that the ibeam construction is more time consuming, but 4000 Pounds for a complete bike, I could get a complete carbon fiber VPP bike for that, just my opinion.
  • + 3
 somehow the look got a slight resemblance of the old Mountain Cycle Shockwave 9.5 but with a lighter feeling with all the cut-outs here and there!!!! Anyway the structure is quite unique.
  • + 5
 prep the moto foam... awesome frame though will really turn heads!
  • + 1
 you can see the bike already built there www.pinkbike.com/photo/5747620
  • + 1
 is that not the cast proto frame they mocked up a while ago?
  • + 1
 ya that is the frame for a bike thing they made. I was at a demo day at inners and they were there with that frame and told me that last summer
  • + 1
 you know that your never going to sell any of these. maybe to some dude that has to much money, but for the general public "good luck". I put together a eric carter fury for gt when i did some work for them, that bike is balls, far to much shit on it. it creeks and cracks, and it is very bulky. the bike feels like a tank even with all that carbon fiber it is still big and heavy, my transition blindside was way less bulky way lighter and didn't look like a bike they would ride in tron. i realize that a company has to really build something unique to stand out, but seriously what the hell is that thing, bottom line, to expensive, not as responsive as good ol' round tubing, and it looks like a jaked up big hit. these guys have been trying to sell bikes for a long time www.delta7bikes.com do you think they do, not for that price. p.s. gt didn't sell that many furys if they even did, why?
  • + 1
 cause they suck balls
  • + 2
 I really wish they lightened the AP-1. They claimed they were going to in the future and it would be great if they did. Still I love both bikes. They look great and if it wasn't for the price I'd gladly try them Wink
  • + 1
 As with its big brother, the MX-6 is also without welds. Other features include the latest 2 x 10 drive train from Sram, Rock Shox suspension, and Avid breaks

fail spelling mistake...
  • + 2
 welcome to pinkbike. some of the write-ups are painful to read
  • + 1
 YES YES YES YES!!!! This is THE bike! This is what the new Mountain Cycles San Andreas should have looked like, GAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRR!!!!!!!!! I will get this bike, I will own this bike.
  • + 4
 No all mountain frame should have such a short seat tube
  • + 2
 Many people's judge Empire without even seeing one live. I have an AP-1 and it really is a smooth ride. I prefer my Empire to Summun and I have ridden bought.
  • + 2
 if the ribbing was internal, that would be sick, must be incredibly strong. aesthetically however, im not if even it's mother will love it
  • + 0
 an enclosed tube wouldn't benefit structurally from internal ribbing, it would just be redundant weight
  • + 1
 Banshee Amp is one example off the top of my head (chainstays) although the ribbing does go along not across.
Oh by the way (and I do apologise for this but i feel it's fitting) your mum is redundant weight.
  • + 0
 Looks great. Euro production go! It looks like geo can be adjusted with mounting plates at the swingarms shock mount. It would be a spot on idea for those who live in hilly areas and what to have a good use of it around home, but at the same time want it to be able to take the beating in proper mountains whether it is an all day AM trip or miniDH in a bikepark. You can run steeper geo for local slower XCtrails for better uphill control and go slacker for big stuff stability. LuVely! The only concern is that chainstay looks a bit long'ish
  • + 1
 Doesn't look very adjustable to me, unless you were suggesting machining up new shock mount tabs.
  • + 1
 Well, i might be wrong, but because they are machining it from a solid piece of aluminum... it is going to cost an incredible amount of money. But i guess in the elite biking market everything costs a lot.
  • + 1
 These are defo mounting plates between the shock and the frame, not direct connection shock-frame, so making them simetrical is not costing any more or less as making them asymetrical. You just swap them 180deg and you get different geos. For instance 2005-2009 SX Trail had it that way to switch between 66 and 67,5 degree HA and (don't remember exactly, something like that) It's a good opportunity to make the bike local trails friendly with no compromise to big mountain performance. My Nomad feels more than fine on local Xc trails and never runs out of depth in proper mountains, all thanks to travel adjustable fork. But a bit of two position geo tweek wouldn't hurt.
  • + 0
 Its not machined Rideayeti. Its a cast alu' frame so it's placed in a mold and formed. The AP-1 was a tad heavy but hopefully Chris has learned a few things like he's mentioned. If this is the case I'm sure he'll be able to get the weight down on this one and future designs. When an AP-1 is fully built, those bad boys look awesome.
  • + 3
 I know the AP-1 was cast, but in the description above, it says the frame and swingarm are cnc'd, and the seat tower is cast???
  • + 0
 I think it is a cast and CNC afterwards. Otherwise it would be eee... it would be wrong? I mean you can spend thousands on CNCing Celtic runes or Greek Heroes on it to bring the weight down but to which extent is it worth it? Si Paton fighting a Lion on front end,Rachel Atherton eating grapes, Martin Whiteley bringing an amfora with wine to Emily Batty, Peaty and Sam Hill pulling the rainbow from one another on swingarm... it would be fokin great I'm tellin'ya!
  • + 2
 "It boasts both a machined from solid billet 6082T6 aluminium front end and swing arm, and an aircraft grade cast aluminium seat tower"

So you've got a huge billet, with an insane amount of wastage, massive amounts of maching, so high costs due to tooling wear, a total lack of grain alignment reducing the overall strength compared to the cast frame of the AP-1. After all that, the weight will probably still be excessive as to get the same torsional stiffness as regular tubular frame they'll have to use significantly more metal than you would with a normal tubular frame. There's a reason the bike industry sticks to welded tubes!

Fair one for sticking to his guns and trying to take frame design in a different direction, but personally I think it's a horrendous idea. You never know though, it might actually turn out ok. I sure as hell won't be buying one though.
  • + 2
 I think they recycle the wastage, just as HOPE does. I'm not and engineer but it seems that metal structure from casts and moulds will have worse strenght to weight than tubing, so it need to be heavier. We need some material engineer here.

At the same time it's good to have such techno-diversity, especially when made at "home".
  • + 0
 Of course they recycle the waste, you can recycle aluminum for ever, and the massive amount of machining is done by robot, so it doesn't really matter if it takes 1 hour or 10 hours, the issue is tooling wear and strength advantages over tubing. Tubed frames are overbuilt at the tube junctions, machining can bypass that problem thus reducing weight. Tubes are very strong in all dimensions vs a truss system, but I would guess almost all of the force is inline with the frame though so I could see this being a much stiffer frame than a tubed one at the same weight. Regardless for all of the cost and machining it probably doesn't beat carbon fiber.
  • + 2
 Ah agreed it does state that its machined. I bet you a penny to a pinch of shit though that it'll be cast to the rough dimensions/mould and then cleaned out with the machining. It's not going to be as massive a job as everyone thinks. Yes it'll cost more than that of the AP-1's basic casting but, this probably cuts the weight right down on the frame and gets it to the exact specifications that are written down on paper. with the machine doing it, it'll be the exact carbon copy each time. If not, back into the melting pot it goes!!!
  • + 0
 that loooks amazing
  • + 1
 "It's not going to be as massive a job as everyone thinks."

How much machining experience do you have? If it is indeed milled from solid billet, massive won't even begin to describe the job. And mattf is on to something about the grain structure. Unless it is annealed and post-treated (either t4 or t6), then cuts along the grain boundaries produce points for cracks to form.

source: mechanical engineering school
  • + 2
 The only interesting thing about this frame is that it does not use the tube sections. For that reason it looks unique, not so sure this is very practical though...just imagine your shins, knees smashing onto it when you about to fell off. The suspension design seem to me like 20 years old single pivot - no saying it's bad but certainly nothing sophisticated compared to lets say 'maestro' which in my experience is way better.
  • + 2
 Is'nt casting then machining kinda counter productive? why not just cast it to the right dimensions 1st time and not cut into the grain of the metal thus weakening it?
  • + 1
 Bigburd, it could be cast then machined to exact specs, in fact it most likely is - casting doesn't leave perfectly straight bearing surfaces and such.

Also, if it's cast, then there's no "grain" to the metal, because it's cast. If it was forged, then I could understand being afraid to cut into the grain.
  • + 1
 ....just had another look at it - it's a fuc*ing waste of time in my opinion...sorry, just thinking loud
  • + 3
 See, tubing is usually extruded (and possibly butted as well) so it has the added benefit of anisotropy in the axial direction = more strength than a billet could ever have to begin with. Oh dear.
  • + 2
 It just seems to me that "structure" of alloy in tubing is much better, particles or molecules (or however you call it in professional ways) should be spread more evenly than in a billet or a cast. Thus you get more strength. SC saved nearly 100g on 09 Nomad by using regular tubing for top tube, comparing to 08 version which used a monocoque mould.
  • + 3
 dont fancy landing on the frame in a crash, those edges look sharpe!
  • + 2
 I have to agree with that. Even just hitting the side of your leg when pedaling on that would seem painful.
  • + 2
 that's all i can think about when i look at it - bruised knees and inner thighs
  • + 1
 Your legs would feel like you were doing manual bar spins all day lol
  • + 3
 Its beautiful, but then, I am German.
  • + 1
 The 'single pivot vs. all other suspension design' argument is old and purely opinion based. Some people like beer, others like wine.
  • + 3
 You wont pick up any ladies riding that frame... just heaps of mud!
  • + 3
 GREAT another single pivot bike. Who cares????????????
  • + 2
 I've always thought that the ugliest frame ever is the first one Mountain Cycle Shockwave. I was wrong.
  • + 1
 im liking the 'no welds' approach here but having a short seat tube doesn't sound all mountain to me. i don't think a telescoping seat post is welcome on this bike.
  • + 2
 What would be the weight with the mud?
  • + 2
 I just know I'd hate to hit my knee on that or fall on it.
  • + 0
 Woh another single pivot just what we needed!!!! Send this frame back to 1990 when we would have considered purchasing it. Mountain Cycle is mad about this knock off.
  • + 2
 Like a camels casing, nightmare to clean!!
  • + 1
 I like it! Can't wait to test ride one!
  • + 1
 Project is well and precision but this frame is disgusting :/
  • + 1
 AWERSOME!!! gnarly arches in that frame!
  • + 1
 preaty , heavy , etc. for me the perfomance is wanth about..
  • + 1
 Lush design, i want one! and yeah i wouldnt enjoy washing it!
  • + 6
 looks like the landing gear from an airplane to me

and yeah ! you would spend more time in washing it than in bulding the bike up ro race Big Grin
  • + 2
 this frame is sick!!!
  • + 1
 Wow, that looks like a really solid construction.
  • + 1
 they flippin nailed it by all means
  • + 1
 It's just, f'n, SWEET! :]
  • + 1
 holy smash balls

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