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My 1975 Empire Professional - Can anyone find info on it?

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My 1975 Empire Professional - Can anyone find info on it?

Old 05-13-12, 12:15 AM
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Mackenzie.spncr
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My 1975 Empire Professional - Can anyone find info on it?

Hello! I just signed up, seeing as I'm an avid cyclist since my younger years I felt I should join and ask around about my current love.



It's a 1975 Empire Professional. A neighbor of mine rode it when he was a child and gave it to me because he didn't want to see it get thrown in the dump. From what I've noticed, it's a Japanese bike, 10 speed (2 front 5 rear) with some really high-grade hardware. It's a high-tensile steel frame, double-butted, with 700C wheels. My neighbor said when his father bought it for him he payed $1300 for it new.

I had to do very little maintenance on the bike when I got it, replacing the seat and post, tuning the brakes and derailleurs as well. The front is a Shimano but the rear is a unique type, called a Shimano Twist, and I've never seen it before. The usual downtube shifters are on there as well. Everything appears to be made by a company called "SR".

I've done very many modifications to it:
Turned it into a 5 speed (removed front derailleur and lower cog),
Changed seat (not to a Schwinn but to a Corsa Ora racing saddle),
Polished bare steel parts,
flipped-and-clipped handlebars, using the same foam padding,
and Tektro TL720 barend brakes, Jagwire cables and cable covers.

What I'd really like to know is where the hell did this bike come from? I've looked everywhere and found very few images of it online. Was it really $1300? The parts are great, but I want to know from you guys. I've only found the date (1975) and a few images of it but nobody seems to have much info on it.

What do you think?
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Old 05-13-12, 12:41 AM
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Tigerprawn
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Some info in this thread - https://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-611228.html
Large pic - https://www.mytenspeeds.com/My_TenSpe...ull_Side_1.jpg
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Old 05-13-12, 01:02 AM
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I'm no expert but I highly doubt that bike sold for anything close to $1300, seeing as high end Italian and other European bikes could be had for around the same and even a bit less.

Just an educated guess though, no hard facts.
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Old 05-13-12, 05:58 AM
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+1 Neighbor has extreme memory fade. No Japanese bike with a high ten steel frame from the 1970s sold for $1300, it probably sold for more like $130. If you need the seat post that high, then that frame is way too small for you. Also, I would pitch that modern hybrid suspension seat post (I hate them personally).

If you can't find any information on it via google, then it is a private label bike. There were thousands of brands back then, every tire shop, gas station, department store, sporting goods store, etc, was in the bike business. No one is taking the time of supporting those long gone brands with info on the web. DT shifters, three piece crank, and chrome stays are all good signs. The fact that it had steel parts (you mentioned polishing them) is indicative of a low end bike. Better bikes came with all alloy parts.

SR was just another in a long line of good parts makers, that sold parts to all the bike brands. Look up date codes on the parts if you want on the vintage trek site.

Last edited by wrk101; 05-13-12 at 06:17 AM.
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Old 05-13-12, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by shnibop View Post
I'm no expert but I highly doubt that bike sold for anything close to $1300, seeing as high end Italian and other European bikes could be had for around the same and even a bit less.

Just an educated guess though, no hard facts.
Actually in 1975 high end full Campy bikes were selling for 1/2 that price. My '74 Motobecane LeChampion was $425.

I'm a fan of bikes of this vintage and the OP's looks like a nice one and in great shape. Looks like a Panasonic to me. Not too far off from a Schwinn LeTour really. The Empire has nicer dropouts.

Enjoy it and thanks for posting it.

EDIT: Hey just noticed the long point lugs on the Empire. Very nice feature on bikes from japan of this era. Thats a beauty of a frame.

Last edited by big chainring; 05-13-12 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 05-13-12, 06:27 AM
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Double chromed tips don't sound hi-ten to me. My guess is that this bike is an off-brand mid-range. The crank looks to be an SR Apex.

To the OP: post drive side photos (the one you posted is non-drive side), and in focus close-ups of the shifters, crankset, and rear derailleur & freewheel.

wrk101 is right. If you need the seat that high, then the bike is not the right size. Sell it and purchase something that fits you properly.
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Old 05-13-12, 11:57 AM
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Cool handlebar setup, though.
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Old 05-13-12, 01:39 PM
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Hi, Mackenzie-

I purchased one just like yours for my wife. It was imported from Japan and marketed in conjunction with Royce Union bikes when I bought it here in Ontario. Hers had a full DB frame and fork, forged droupouts and half chroming front and back as well as HF QR hubs on Ukai rims, I believe. The crankset was an alloy Takagi 52/42 and the brakes were Shimano 600 sidepulls. Derailleurs were Titlists front and rear. It was a very nice bike.
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Old 05-13-12, 02:14 PM
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I have owned three or four of these old Empire Professional bicycles. They are certainly pretty bikes, with the chrome plating and lovely long tapered lug work. The only color I have seen them in is the blue, same as the OP's.

A mix of Shimano components add a bit to the apparent quality, as does the nature of the tubing, coupled with the forged drop-outs. All in all, a fairly nice mid level vintage bicycle that would have been a cut above many others in its day. That said, it would probably not qualify as a professional machine by the standards of its day, either.



Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Empire_Pro_57_Full_Side_1.jpg (102.0 KB, 166 views)
File Type: jpg
Empire_Pro_57_Full_Side_L_1.jpg (99.9 KB, 162 views)
File Type: jpg
Empire_Pro_57_Handlebars_1.jpg (101.3 KB, 154 views)
File Type: jpg
Empire_Pro_52_Der_R_1.jpg (103.8 KB, 163 views)
File Type: jpg
Empire_Pro_52_Cranks_1.jpg (102.1 KB, 155 views)
File Type: jpg
Empire_Pro_52_Tube_H_3.jpg (96.0 KB, 161 views)
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Old 05-13-12, 04:46 PM
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Definitely an odd duck, my first decent bike was a 76 Empire Professional. Basically a bottom feeder for peeps wanting a respectable road bike for the lowest possible price. Winnipeg in spring 1976 was a seller's market, apparently, and for $250 the Empire was way more bike than bikes priced above $300 at the time. All the important stuff was alloy: crankset, bars, stem, seatpost, rims. Nice highlights for a bike in that market position were half chromed forks & stays, forged dropouts, and Shimano 600 sidepull brakes. Notable compromises were the Shimano Tourney swaged, integral chainring crankset, multipiece seatpost assembly consisting of tubular alloy post and plated steel saddle clamping pieces, and "Hi-Tensile" frame (albeit double butted). I now have a 57cm model to replace the 54cm I owned briefly in my youth, and the frame and fork together weigh approximately 7.6lb.
Though I've only ever seen one example (via internet) that I can recall, in addition to the predominant blue with white logo colour scheme, there is also a white with blue logo version.
Though it's obviously not a great bike in the grand scheme of things, for me the Empire Professional has great sentimental value due to its role in my cycling history. That is why I acquired and am restoring a 57cm model. If you are interested and search the forum, you may turn up the various threads where I am inquiring about the Empire Professional, and beginning my restoration project.
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Old 01-26-16, 06:10 PM
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Hi, old tread but i just found a 52 cm c-t-c Empire Pro and i can tell you that my frame weight 2425g and fork about 780g. Had pretty rare 27X1 inch tires installed and light wheels for 27 inchers.

All and all, pretty happy with all i got for my 20 $ ;-)
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Old 01-26-16, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by lmcuda View Post
Hi, old tread but i just found a 52 cm c-t-c Empire Pro and i can tell you that my frame weight 2425g and fork about 780g. Had pretty rare 27X1 inch tires installed and light wheels for 27 inchers.

All and all, pretty happy with all i got for my 20 $ ;-)
Sounds like a good value. You can still get those skinny tires (if they need replacing) The popular Panracer Pasela is available in 27 x 1" from Bike Tires Direct and several Amazon sellers (who sometimes list them as 27 x 1mm, for some unknown reason). if you want you can also run 27 1 1/8 or 27 x 1/4 tires on the same rims. Wider tires tend to be a cushier ride and more durable, just not a racy.
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