Dan Atherton Unveils Prototype 22" Titanium BMX

Mar 13, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  

When they first launched, Atherton Bikes talked about the possibilities of expanding into enduro bikes or even ebikes, but nobody saw this coming. Dan Atherton unveiled today a 22" titanium BMX with a 120mm disc brake on the rear.

bigquotesBeen working with Ted James Designs for over a year on this beauty, anyone that knows Ted James knows how passionate he is about bikes and that passion comes out in the way he builds frames, so here it is, my prototype titanium Atherton Bikes 22” Bmx! Thanks to William Carey Photography for the shots.Dan Atherton


Much like mountain biking, BMX has had its own wheelsize debates through the years. 22" was first tried at the turn of the millennium and was seen as an halfway house between the nimbleness of a standard BMX and the stability of a 24" cruiser. The wheelsize has boomed in popularity in the past few years to the point where big brands such as S&M, Wethepeople and Fit all offer a 22" frame in their collection.

Dan's titanium frame should be significantly lighter than a standard chromoly frame and, if we know anything about Dan Atherton, the disc brake is probably there because he intends to take this thing off some serious jumps. There's no official word on whether this will go on sale for the public but it's one hell of a sweet looking bike.

Dan isn't the only pro rider going down this route. Remy Morton has also been playing around with disc brakes on BMXs with his own new venture TTR Bikes, check out his 20" chromoly, disc brake frame below.




138 Comments

  • + 209
 A functioning brake? *Concussed BMXers stare angrily*
  • + 30
 Yeah we def don’t need that shit
  • + 20
 Brakeless is my biggest disappointment in modern BMX.
  • + 161
 what next, helmets? Sobriety?
  • + 34
 @hamncheez: Don't be ridiculous
  • - 33
flag endurocat (Mar 13, 2019 at 16:20) (Below Threshold)
 There's no debate . Contrary to MTB bikes, BMX freestyle and BMX racing are Olympic sports and therefore highly regulated.
  • - 13
flag mkotowski1 (Mar 13, 2019 at 18:54) (Below Threshold)
 @H3RESQ: your a disappointment to modern bmx
  • - 9
flag takeiteasyridehard (Mar 13, 2019 at 19:46) (Below Threshold)
 @H3RESQ: have you ever skated, skied, boarded in any way, sledded or felt gravity bro. Nah I hate it too, but it's probably because hard.
  • + 18
 @takeiteasyridehard: Brakeless isn't hard buddy. Y2K era sketch dirt jumps, 40lb bikes, finding skateparks to ride a bike at without being ticketed, and having to reverse pedal when coasting backwards is hard.... And having no one to replace riders like Mike Aitken and Taj Mihelich is hard. I digress
  • + 1
 @H3RESQ: it's quite fun. I agree
  • + 6
 @H3RESQ: brakes are making a comeback, remember bmx is also fashion
  • + 7
 20" ain't dead.
  • - 2
 I'm 43.
Recently I bought a BMX.
My first ever.
It was either Ducati or BMX.
I'm a father of 3 so I went with less dangerous thing.
However, to keep it interesting i ride without helmet and with a rear brake that makes me 98% brakeless
  • + 2
 Disc brakes are quite common in BMX racing these days so I see no problem using them for dirt. For riding park and doing grinds and stuff of course chances are you're going to break them but then again disc brakes are getting more common in unicycling too and you still see them do peg stalls and grinds so apparently it is doable. In turn I am surprised people get away riding mountainbikes without bashguard or taco. Considering what chainrings costs, I would like to protect them. There is always that stump, rock or ledge or something you just don't clear at once and bang your chainring into, don't you?
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: you sir win the comment section for the day
  • + 2
 @oldtech: Thank you. I'd also like to thank @WAKIdesigns , for without downvotes there can be no upvotes.
  • + 1
 @clarkeh clearly knows nothing about BMX youtu.be/mnlYRnV9Mj0
  • + 2
 BMX rim brake... Avid Juicy out of the box has 300% more power. I understand riding BMX brakeless because these brakes don’t brake. And even if you mount two brakes on it your braking distance goes from 100 yards to 60
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: My experience with U-brakes indeed isn't that they don't stop you. Then again it is a rear brake, these won't stop you anyway. That said, I thought racers weren't using U-brakes. At least Shimano DXR was a V-brake. It probably stops you as well as any other V-brake, which is good enough for a rear brake on a BMX. What I now see mostly in racing is small disc brakes like these. Small isn't an issue as the wheel is small too. 120mm is more than powerful enough.
  • + 1
 @vinay: I need a vbrake on a race bmx in case I am about to loop out while manualing. Especially on the track or on pumptracke between rollers. Or when just practicing. It fails to do so. It is too weak to prevent a loop out. On Dirt jumps brake is necessary for beginners to simply not die. I know that riding brakeless has a motivating effect, like freesoloing for climbers, but I am too old for this sht. I would gladly mount a disc brake on my BMX
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I'm currently only practicing my manuals on the mountainbike (hardtail) and whereas my old mountainbike frame (DMR) was quite BMXy, my current one (BTR) is so much longer that for this practice I'm sticking to the same mountainbike. That said, I also used dislike the U-brake but since the last I time I set it up it has been performing much better. It is an old BMX (I bought it back late 2004) and soon enough I removed the gyro. I wouldn't use it anyway and I think it definitely affects brake performance. One thing I considered was mounting hydraulic rim brakes. Magura has a direct mount for their rim brakes. It is typically being used on trials bikes and mountain unicycles. Magura only supplies the mounts in steel (so the aluminium frame manufacturers make their own mounts) and as I was working in a shop which also happened to weld custom steel frames, it was something I could easily have done. Eventually I didn't because I was just riding the small skatepark a little and didn't need that brake that much. But yeah, it is a very powerful solution. When I apply the brake with one finger and push my unicycle, it feels just as powerful as my mountainbike disc brake with 180mm rotor. It is definitely more powerful than the HS33 mounted to the V-brake tabs (and obviously much cleaner). Then again the HS33 on your V-brake tabs when setup correctly should be more powerful than your V-brakes. So yeah you can get increasingly more powerful brakes with increasingly more complex modifications to your bike (the disc brake mount being the most complex modification). That said, if your race bike is out of aluminium welding anything to it is out of the question. There used to be aftermarket adaptors which would link between left V-brake mount and axle in order to mount a disc brake. I don't know of anyone who has used these though but it came across as a particularly shady solution.
  • - 2
 @vinay: well good choice, because manualing a BMX is hard as hell
  • + 1
 @vinay: Anyone who does pedal or crank grinds on a unicycle isn't using a disc brake. Even in trials riding nobody runs brakes, and it would benefit the most out of all the urban disciplines.
  • + 2
 @wstrials: anyone who does pedal or crank grinds on a unicycle...is a kook !
  • + 2
 I rode dirt, street, and ramps, at the turn of the century when everyone still used dia-compe 990s, and my brakes always stopped me. (Insert confused hands above head emoji here)
  • + 2
 @jstnrt: Odyssey pitbulls STOP this dia-comp nonsense
  • + 1
 I was going to accuse bmxers of being incapable of setting up a brake then I thought about it judging from the comments on pinkbike I’m not sure anyone knows how to set up brakes. All I hear are gripes on how shity this brake or that one.
  • + 1
 @jstnrt: Ditto, just took 2 fingers instead of 1 on the lever back then.
  • + 1
 @loganflores: My BMX is an old one that came with 44x16t gearing (ACS freewheel stuff). So the brake is on the chainstay, something that would not fit with modern day microdrive. I went down to 38x14t or so and the chain almost rubs the brake. The tire also constantly dumps this wet gravely surface material on my brake, so the pivots just have a hard time and chances are one pad is being contaminated with chain lube. As I mentioned, I eventually made it work. I installed a new U-brake, new barrel adjuster (the old one was bent in a crash) and because I removed the gyro I could take out two of those splitters. That's a lot of flex removed from the system. The BMX is from Stolen (the BMX brand from Revell, which is the mtb brand of Anthony Revell) and the components including brake were from 414 industries. Probably Tektro branded. Not sure if Stolen is still affiliated to Revell but the new brake I have now is from Stolen, probably Tektro too. Dia Compe and Oyssey sound like the proper stuff. Of course that stuff is supposed to work well. Especially if it is safe up there on the seatstay.
  • + 1
 sounds like a Decent setup I didn’t say brakes didn’t work just that most people set them up wrong and complain that they are crap. I grew up riding long before the micro craze and found the brakes on the seat stay to be a much better place then Crammed next to the cranks but I guess they came loose more often I just tightened my crap up often takes a second.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Also remember doing disasters with a 38t that was fun.
  • + 1
 @vinay: lots of frames still use cs mounted brakes. They can work fine
  • + 54
 Super cool bike, but honestly... those "x years of development" starts to get a bit stupid.
A frame like that can be designed and build in a week!
  • + 11
 Agreed, technically the stumpy has been "in development" for 38 years and that particular fact is about the only dead horse specialized isn't beating these days.
  • + 6
 Sshhh! You'll blow the lid off the whole bike industry.
  • + 3
 X just needs to be defined. In this case X = 1/52.
  • + 10
 I was hoping it was a 3d printed robot bmx bike.
  • + 1
 Seeing that heat signature on the welds of a titanium bike makes me think of weld failure.
  • + 1
 @acali: Yeah, to be honest I was expecting that too. But I can imagine these carbon tubes won't hold up if he bangs them against the coping in the skate park.
  • + 40
 I assumed it had a 22" Top tube.
  • - 4
flag ChasingJoel (Mar 13, 2019 at 13:09) (Below Threshold)
 I'm confused, does it not?
  • + 11
 @ChasingJoel: Nop, 22 inches wheels
  • - 1
 They usually come in around 21.5 for the TT.
  • + 3
 Most race BMX's don't even have that haha
  • + 36
 Are these guys planning on selling any bikes or are they just making toys for themselves? If so, power to ‘em!
  • + 25
 #20aintdead
  • + 19
 Cheers for the comments guys, this bike is very much a prototype at the moment with no plans to sell it as yet, i basically had this bike built because i like riding big jumps on my BMX, and coming from Wales where the jumps are not super smooth it made sense to run 22" wheels, i also wanted a disk because anyone who has ridden Big, Fast, Downhill jumps knows that having a reliable brake gives a lot of confidence!! Myself, Ted James and Atherton Bikes have been blown away by the positive response to this bike and if it becomes clear there is a market for this type of bike then maybe we could make something happen!! Cheers Guys, Dan Athy.
  • + 1
 Unless you're riding big jumps in the wet, a V brake offers tons of power on a 20" wheel. The issue then is traction.
  • - 3
 @DarrellW: V-brake gives the same power regardless of wheelsize, you know, cause it's a rim brake...
  • + 1
 @hirvi: Of course.
  • + 1
 @DarrellW: I have best compound from shimano on mine, XT vbrakes, Avid lever and it still sucks big time. An actual BMX brake is virtually worthless, unless it breaks and it ends up in the spokes.

Yea @hirvi, what were you doing on science leasons Big Grin
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: first sand your rims second ditch the shimano pads and get some kool stops. If that doesn’t work take some grape soda and poor it over your rim and let it dry that should have you screaching to a stop.
  • + 2
 That bike looks prime. I know quite a few people interested already...albeit over here in the states, some still LOVE titanium bikes. 22 in wheels and disc brake make it even more marketable imo...especially if you ride big jumps or any trails. I regularly take my bmx out on local trails to shred, although it's been a while, ate shit bunny hopping too big a log in front of some girls, lol
  • + 1
 @rcrdrvr: I cannot inagine coming to a DJ site on a Ti bike, without being an expert. It’s a kind of fun activity where your position in the pack is determined nearly solely based on your skill. There may be other factors but this is a dominating one, and difference between a good rider and woose is evident and right there on the display. Mountain bikers have this privileged position where they can tell fisherman tales. “Oh man, if you could only see it, I got out of the turn and...”. No stories in bmx, dj, street - everyone has seen what happened and what didn’t. Hence, if you comewith a bmx that costs more than all other ones on the site, you better show what you can
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: HI waki...I think I'd baby that amazing looking thing and trash my other bikes instead...that thing looks sick ti or not.
  • + 12
 If anyone is interested, Indust bikes, Mike Laird (a legend in his own right) with Lairdframe, and several other companies have been making bmx bikes with different hub spacings, disk brakes and a variety of wheel sizes for quite some time. Laird has been doing ti for a long time too. Daniel Dhers is on a couple custom ti Lairdframes for the year. Very cool stuff for anyone who rides/has ridden BMX, or just you lot of bike geeks on PB!
  • + 5
 Laird is the man! Love thoose bikes
  • + 1
 Yep. Here was Pepper's INDUST 22" with Profile-hub disc brake. bmxmuseum.com/forums/viewtopic.php?pid=4021077#p4021077
  • + 12
 Rachel and Gees ride for Leogang
  • + 10
 dan smiling!
  • + 6
 Still waiting for 666B to happen!!!
  • + 10
 The Number of the B's
  • - 3
 \M/ \M/
  • + 1
 Hot damn man! I asked Dan about whether there would be a BMX back when the news was released about them doing the Robotbike thing and he said the BMX would be sick. So I knew there was something coming but I didn't expect his. Looks like an amazing lot of fun and I can't wait to see him ride this!
  • + 4
 Good to see someone else making a 22". With a disc break? What? These new school kids won't know what do do with that.
  • + 17
 Well they defiantly won't be doing any grinds
  • - 16
flag nojzilla (Mar 13, 2019 at 13:12) (Below Threshold)
 @theredbike: grind on the pegs not the frame/hubs
  • + 38
 @nojzilla: You have obviously not done any grinds.
  • + 4
 @theredbike:

Give it a day before it's bent to shit
  • + 9
 @theredbike:

Grind. Bent disc. Locked wheel. Faceplant.
  • + 2
 @jlawie: then comes the disappointment
  • + 1
 @theredbike: When I first saw the disc brake I assumed it was going to be racing bike, I remember back when I raced one company was running disc brakes on their high end bike.
  • + 8
 @Dominant88: It looks like its a pure trails bike but seems a little funny to me. Being Ti 22" and having a disc is going to mean it has a extremely narrow market. Seems cool for a one off but I don't know how many they actually expect to sell. I would take the 22" S&M ATF that would still shred in the trails, grind, LHD compatible and wouldn't make me cry if it was dented or cracked.
  • + 2
 @Dominant88: possibly the old Norco Speed Metal Madill versions?
The whole disc craze is taking off again in racing.

A ti 22" could be interesting though. Ive got a Lairdframe on its way, although its cromo (custom bridge as a bonus). 22inch with the right wheels is a cruiser and then run the os20 size for 20". Can take 1 bike onto an international stage and race 2 classes just changing out the wheelset.
Especially coming off a MTB the bigger wheels are just that little bit nicer than straight to 20.
  • - 7
flag nojzilla (Mar 13, 2019 at 22:47) (Below Threshold)
 @theredbike: 20 plus years on bmx, dirt street an park. Like I said grind properly on the pegs not on the frame or the hubs.
  • - 2
 P. S its pretty obvious this isn't a street bike......
  • + 3
 @nojzilla: street ain’t about doing it proper
  • - 2
 @mkotowski1: WORD Bruv!!
  • + 3
 @nojzilla: Sounds like you haven't been trying very hard in those 20 years if you placed every grind perfectly. There is a reason everyone uses guards.
  • - 8
flag nojzilla (Mar 14, 2019 at 13:50) (Below Threshold)
 @theredbike: what are you even on about? Grinding without guards teaches to grind properly, on the pegs. A smoother faster grind. Or yeah use gaurds an plastic pegs an learn a bad sloppy technique
  • + 1
 @nojzilla: what do plastic pegs have to do with anything. Clearly you haven't tried hard enough because if you have then you would know learning takes some trial and error and different obstacles and grinds present different challenges. I find it funny that you feel you know better and ride better than a industry that makes and uses guards and LHD parts specifically for grinding. Go find me some pro riders that grind heavy that don't use guards. My guards have saved me enough to know a scrub on the internet
  • + 1
 @Drawn: Could be, I looked that bike up and the frame looks familiar but this was 15 years ago so there's no way I could be sure.
  • - 9
flag nojzilla (Mar 14, 2019 at 22:57) (Below Threshold)
 @theredbike: OK bud you're the best! You know everything there is to know about bmx. Now go learn to spell.....
  • + 0
 @theredbike: well I have and nojzilla is right that’s how your supposed to do it.
  • + 1
 @loganflores: Have you ever done a over grind
  • + 4
 Oh man I have watched so many Ti BMX race frames break, I really don't believe Ti is the right metal for BMX dirt or street.
  • + 1
 Yeah, even if this frame would last as long as a steel frame it still means ponying up for a new one every 3 years. BMX frames are a wear item.
  • + 1
 I'm 45 been riding downhill MTB for 5 years and BMX for 35 .. been riding Brake less for maybe 6 or 7 years .. took them off when my son who is now 14 wanted to take his off too.. FACT .. you can stop faster without them than you can with them FACT - you learn way better bike control without a brake .. Tried going back to a brake a few months ago and it just felt strange
  • + 2
 Got back on a 26 after years of bmx took its toll on me ankles an wrists. Had sit on a Fit 22 in my local shop, Hardcore Hobbies an DAMN I felt like a kid again! If i had a spare £600 that bike would be mine right now
  • + 3
 This is defo a nice looking bike, Ti frames always look particularly sick.
  • + 1
 all these people complaining...I'd be happy just looking at it every day, and maybe riding to work in a business suit, and maybe sitting on my ride at a car show...that thing is dope looking!
  • + 2
 Is that also a Hope crankset? Does that mean it's running a BSA bottom bracket?
  • - 1
 The good thing about BMX- all bikes uses same standards, was.
Yep 22 and 24 exist long time, however does not recognized as a common, and for whatever reason someone need a disc brake on BMX? Nothing new except of the brand name
  • + 2
 Giving my flashbacks to the Eastern Reaper Ti I couldn't afford as a teenager, thanks Dan...
  • + 1
 Ummm, guys, the brake is.... wait got it..... optional.

Yes, that’s right, you can take it off, what a concept!

Nice bike, 22”, who’d have thunk it?
  • + 2
 Whaaa...: first time that I see Dan Atherton smiling. Impressive... Smile
  • + 1
 I have brakes on my Spesh P24. They don't do anything besides making noises but I find them reassuring somehow
  • + 2
 22" aint nothing new. United Bikes KF22 I've had one for 2 years
  • + 3
 Damn...
  • + 0
 sSweet ride but should make one for me too fit 24" x 3" wheels NOW Please!
I take it this is not 3d printed or lego or rendered?
  • + 2
 stickle bricks
  • + 1
 SE bikes makes a + bmx throwback. Pk fat ripper? Looks fun
  • + 1
 Yall should check out Mike Laird frames. Laird Frames for sure for TI. But this is cool.
  • + 2
 Yes! Need one of these as soon as they come out!
  • + 2
 What's wrong with your foot to stop?
  • - 1
 Scotty Cranmer rode with brakes. Opens up a whole new bag of trick man... or should I say and old bag of tricks haha
  • + 3
 22” ain’t dead!!!!
  • + 2
 Finally, a mt. bike that will fit me!
  • + 2
 thrilling...
  • + 1
 I think GT had this on their race bikes about 6 years ago
  • + 2
 yeaaaaaaaaaah
  • + 1
 The Athertons are so hot right now.
  • + 2
 cool...
  • + 2
 Uh. Yes please
  • + 1
 Wow, another standard or two... Wink JK, sweet looking bike!
  • - 1
 FBM builds 22's with disc if you ask. S&M does 22's too. Time for the dentist/doctors out there.
  • + 3
 Yup. Plus they are companies worth supporting If you want ti, get a Laird frame.
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