Empire cycles were a South Australian local manufacture which began operating at the turn of the century around 1904, they were well known for their racing attributes and their fine quality workmanship on their cycles.
Located at 232 Rundle Street East in the Travistock building they operated under the name of Empire Motor and Cycle Co.
They specialised in Motoring, bicycles and cycle accessories with advertisements predominantly featured. The manager of Empire cycle Co. was R.M.Turner
Their range of cycles consisted of the Empire cycle which sold at 15£ and was declared as absolute perfection, their Standard cycle £10/£12 claimed to last a lifetime and the Defiant at £9/£10 with came fitted with a freewheel and would last for years, these were their most popular models.
Advertisements featured that payments for an Empire cycle was took placing a payment of £5 down and the remainder by instalments daily, weekly or monthly to the equivalent to 10 pence a day.
By 1906 the Empire Motor and cycle Co. were operating also at Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide and the business had grown rapidly to meet the demand for their cycles.
Stocking other brands as Massey Harris, Imperial, Ivanhoe, Empire and the Empire special which was the racers purposely built machine fitted with the finest for racing.
They also held a large range of lamps, Bells and fittings.
By 1911 Mr.E. Bills one of the local managers for Empire cycles promoted a cycle event which was run from Mt. Gambier to MacDonnell Bay and back to Bellum for a distance of 27 miles, with 21 starters the first three to finish rode Empire special cycles with the first prize in the road race a new Empire bicycle.
1922 Mr V. Thomas who was in charge of Empire cycle depot left to work for Vivan Lewis however Empire cycles continued to sell in quantities to meet demand.
Charles Ramsey had moved to Adelaide in 1922, he had already managed the country stores of Empire cycles at Kadina (S.A) and Peterborough (S.A) and held the managerial position at the merchants F.W Cornell and Sons and the motor parts firm Roy Hill and Sons and in 1930 Ramsey acquired two business’s, one at 236 Unley Road, Unley (S.A) and the other at 138a Henley Beach Road, Torrensville (S.A), where he traded under the name of Empire cycles. While the shop were not builders they were more well known for their stocking of cycle accesories, repairs to all makes of cycles and the refurbishing of cycles.
In 1949 Charles Ramsey retired and his son Eric Ramsey took over the store located at , Torrensville while Colin Ramsey traded at the Unley store.
By the 1950’s Super Elliott’s were also a stockist of the Empire cycles brand and these were available in 20 inch, 24 inch and 26 inch wheels including full size ladies and gents models.
In 1961 the Empire cycles shop at Henley Beach Road was sold to Standish cycles and later following a tragedy was burnt down.