Bike Check: Rachel Atherton's... Atherton AM.200.M

Jul 7, 2022
by Matt Beer  

Dynasty is one word that sums up the Atherton family quickly. On top of winning multiple World Cups and World Championships, they've built their own bike park, Dyfi, and built the Atherton bike brand that the Atherton Racing team can tweak rapidly, thanks to the manufacturing process.

The team isn't limited to just family members anymore. Members include Gee, Dan, and Rachel Atherton, plus Charlie Hatton, Andreas Kolb, Jim Monro, and junior rider, Dominic Platt. Rachel has signed on for the Lenzerheide World Cup, ready to pick up where she left off. The last World Cup that she finished, Vallnord, Andorra in 2019, she in fact won and has since become a proud mother.

We got a chance to chat with Rachel's mechanic, Ben Lovell, about her downhill race steed and what she's most particular about. The mixed-wheeled bike is similar to what other team riders have been riding and testing. A raw anodized link is actually the same as the stock configuration and the reach sits at 460mm while the chainstay length comes in close with a 450 measurement. To find more grip, the seatstays use a slightly thinner tubing like Charlie Hatton was running last year, but the rest of the tubing is the same as what the other lads are using.

Rachels is back and ready for anything.
Rachel Atheron
Atherton Racing Team
Age: 34
Hometown: Wales, UK
Height: 170cm
Instagram: @rachybox

Fork Pressure: 80 psi, 4 volume spacers, 12 LSC, 7 HSC, 9 LSR, 7 HSR (from closed)
Shock Pressure: 205 psi, 3 Volume spacers, 7 HSC, 10 LSR, 6 HSR (from closed)

Rachel's mechanic, Ben, begins by telling us that Rachel prefers to start with an air shock so that small spring changes can be made quickly, which is critical to feeling comfortable under time constraints at a World Cup. Once she's figured out the pressure, she may move to a coil shock, like the rest of the team prefers for its suppleness.

A Fox Float X2 may be swapped for a coil-sprung DHX2 come race day.

Expect that number to drop considerably if Rachel drops into her race run.

FSA's Gradient 31.8mm diameter stem is 50mm long and the 30mm rise bars are cut to 780mm. The team experimented with carbon and 35mm diameter alloy bars, but they didn't suit their fancy when it came to flex and feedback.

Drool-worthy brakes - the Trickstuff Maxima's have enough power that the team tried 220mm rotors, but reverted back to the standard 203 size front and rear. For grips, it's ODI Longnecks, but the lock-on version.

No O-Chain for Rachel... yet. Why? Well, she's done just fine without one in the past. FSA's Gradient cranks and ring have a medieval theme going on with sharp, raw aluminum chamfers.

Tried and true - Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals.

Custom gearing - This looks to be an older 10-speed SRAM X01 medium-length cage derailleur with the first cog in the cassette removed to keep the chain from tangling in the spokes if it took a hit on a race run.

Stan's Flow ZTR EX3 alloy rims must take a beating, however, Rachel doesn't use inserts in the tires.

The tire combo is Continental's Kryptotal Front specific tread at both ends of the bike for the hard, bike park surfaces at Lenzerheide. For pressures, Rachel starts with 23 psi in the front and 25 in the back.


Author Info:
mattbeer avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2001
375 articles

  • 91 0
 "Hometown: Wales, UK" - Come on guys...
  • 55 0
 Yea, at least try and spell Welsh place names for our amusement.
  • 14 0
 I'm pretty sure she's taller than 153 cm too.
  • 7 0
 @ds-crew1: no way in hell she’s only 153cm
  • 9 0
 Pretty sure that Rachel was living in the grounds of the bike park?
  • 23 0
 @Odinson: Now it says 170cm. She gained 17 cm in a couple of hours? Which popup should i open for that result? Some seem a bit shady...
Most say: Gain 2cm in 1 day or do
  • 16 0
 @ds-crew1: The truth is finally out: The Athertons are halflings and they started the bike company so they could build custom tiny frames on 20" wheels. She launches from a separate built-to-scale start house so it looks normal on TV. Redbull wants you to stay ignorant; trust the plan sheeple.
  • 6 2
 Where’s the baby seat??
  • 1 0
 A classic ’murican rerun of MBAs ”Pace RC100, a bike built in Yorkshire England” from bitd
  • 2 0
 @lowlightlowlife: and then have a video clip of you guys trying to pronounce them.
  • 1 0
 they couldn't spell mackguncliff
  • 52 8
 Now that she has experienced both motherhood and raising a 2-year old, racing a World Cup downhill race will feel like a walk in the park.
  • 34 2
 2 year old's must be pretty violent these days if they can break your collar bone and ribs just as soon as look at you.
  • 44 2
 @WaterBear: Let the washed up dads have their moment
  • 6 1
 @WaterBear: when my son was 2, he sliced his finger on a brake rotor in the garage.. It took 5 adults to hold him down to put 3 stitches in that finger...
  • 12 0
 @lumpy873: Anaesthetic? Or was this in 1786?
  • 7 1
 @WaterBear: Mine kicked my front tooth out. That was a fun morning.
  • 4 1
 @BenPea: the numbing shots always seem to hurt more that the actual stitches, IMO...
  • 2 0
 @lumpy873: had shots in the tip of my pinky and it was not nice. Stitches were fine though Smile
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: I had stitches in my elbow in 1989 without anesthetic, just in the normal Drs office. At least that was my young childs memory of it lol
  • 8 3
 @WaterBear: Come back when you have had children. Riding bikes is literally a walk in the park, broken bones or no. Raising young children is the hardest thing you will ever do. No jokes.
  • 3 0
 @lumpy873: That means the numbing shots are numbing...
  • 2 0
 @Jamesb15uk: same, in my face at Glastonbury 98. I had pre-anaesthetised...
  • 1 0
 @Jamesb15uk: oh boy
  • 2 0
 The "Terrible Twos" are a walk in the park compared to the F**ing Fours!
  • 18 1
 Two things:

1) Atherton Bikes have (for me) gone from being a bit of a curio to become one of those most desirable DH race bikes on the planet. If I was buying a high-end frame now they'd be on a list of about 3 options. Love what they're doing.

B) This is a big bike for 5'7 Rachel. 460mm reach, 50mm stem and 780x30mm bars... That's a big rig!
  • 6 0
 Yeah, big rig for a fast rider.
  • 108 1
 It bothers me that your first point was 1) and your second point was B)...
  • 6 0
 @BMXJJ327: I wonder what a third point would have started with?
  • 1 0
 @Boych12: gamma
  • 4 0
 @Boych12: or 11 (working in IT...)
  • 14 1
 Brands go to great lenghts to make 35mm stems, carbon bars etc etc - Pro racers choose the smaller, aluminium option as it is preferable.
  • 2 0
 This explains that not always new, light and "stronger" is always better. Compliance may be important too
  • 4 0
 @downhiller900sl: That's why OneUp added x% more compliance to their new 35mm carbon-handlebar. What a great idea!
  • 2 0
 Some do, some don't, people focus on the ones they agree with...
  • 1 0
 @n734535: Ah yea of course, it was a bit of a tongue in cheek comment and obviously not factually correct.

I do find it a little amusing though, as above that some brands now try to engineer compliance back into larger diameter bars.
  • 2 3
 @justanotherusername: My understanding was that part of the move to the 35mm size was that as bars got wider (800mm+) it was becoming more difficult to maintain the same strength with the 31.8mm size without adding extra weight. It wasn't really to make them lighter or stiffer.

But its doesn't seem that the really wide bars have caught on with many pros (like Rachel) opting to cut them down. If some of these larger diameter bars are ridden at full length they may feel fine, but cut down not so much.
  • 6 0
  • 14 1
 I've got a feeling Rach is a bit taller than 153cm - Excited for her return.... even if she has shrunk! Smile
  • 17 14
 Height Police on the scene
  • 6 1
 @thewho07: I think this is just basic fact checking. 153cm is 5ft, anyone who's seen her knows she's not 5ft tall. They've corrected it to 170cm.
  • 17 1
 @thewho07: Height police police on the scene
  • 10 1
 cannot wait to see her between the tape again, what a beast of a human!
  • 3 0
 Wow, what a damn drool-fest on the bike shot closeups with details on setup (not that it would apply to many of us) - and that FSA chainring is effin' mint. Couldn't even find that style anywhere for sale so maybe a special edition that's not in full production yet?

More so - glad to see Rachel riding at all, and I hope she does well. Has to be harder knowing the consequences of a crash are much more difficult when ya have tiny peeps in the nest.
  • 3 0
 Low pressures for no inserts. Guess unsponsored peasants like myself need to protect rims better
  • 3 0
 I run about 25psi front and rear with no inserts on a 35lb bike without any issues. Really depends where you ride.
  • 3 1
 @redrook: also…how you ride lol
  • 2 0
 @nvranka: Absolutely
  • 6 3
 Cue in the ochain fanboi crew. The female GOAT does fine without it!
  • 17 3

Mama Goat?


Well, she really is The Goat. No other rider had so much supremacy in the sport.
  • 1 20
flag glasvagas FL (Jul 7, 2022 at 5:17) (Below Threshold)
 Possibly not going fast enough to feel she needs it?
  • 8 1
 @Notmeatall: AC ? No way Rachel has so many Worldchamps titles
  • 9 0
 @Notmeatall: Anne Caroline Chausson had. Even gold at the olympics in BMX.
  • 4 0
 @Notmeatall: I like Mama Goat, thats cool.
  • 7 2
 @thevids @Ricolaburle: ooh, my bad. Jesus, how could I forget Miss Chausson.

I'm embarassed right now.
  • 3 0
 @Notmeatall: a female goat is a "does" or "nanny", males are "bucks" or "billy" goats
  • 3 1
 @Notmeatall: You are forgiven my son ! Anyway, two incredibly talented and successfull riders. In a league of their own.
  • 4 0
 What a legend
  • 3 0
 80 psi in the fork, ok this is stiff ! How much does she weight ?
  • 2 0
 Looks like a Specialized Demo
  • 1 0
 The Atherton bikes look so.much better with black rocker links and I’ happy to see Rachel.back
  • 2 1
 meanwhile Gee cant make up his mind on what bike or geo to ride
  • 1 0
 Wise work with the shock settings
  • 1 1
 modern iron horse sunday?
  • 2 4
 Stan retired. Are they still gonna support Athertons?
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