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Video: Continental Becomes Joint Title Sponsor of Atherton Racing

Feb 10, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

Atherton Bikes have found a new title sponsor for their World Cup team in Continental. Continental have previously worked with the Athertons while the siblings were racing for GT and more recently last year when they formed their own bike brand and started up a new program. The new team will be called Continental Atherton, or in full, Continental Atherton MTB Race Team.

Photos: Dan Griffiths/Moonhead Media

It's clear Continental stepping up to the plate in a big way here and we can't think of a downhill team with a tyre brand as a headline sponsor since the Maxxis Rocky Mountain team disbanded in 2011. Reading between the lines, it's clear that Continental are looking to use this as a big development opportunity. Could we see something new under the Athertons in a few weeks in Lousa?

Photos: Dan Griffiths/Moonhead Media

The full release and all the details on the team are below:

bigquotesRacing is at the core of everything we do but our relationship with Continental has always gone beyond the traditional team partnership model. Our shared history developing the top-performing tyre ranges Kaiser 2.5 and Mud Kings provides a strong foundation for future innovation.Dan Brown, Team Director

Photos: Dan Griffiths/Moonhead Media

bigquotesThis is a true joint venture with all of us striving to make the strongest product. We welcome the opportunity to use our combined experience in partnership with a committed R&D team. We’ve made a solid start with some exciting developments in the mix and I’m looking forward to testing the tyres in the toughest conditions on the World Cup circuit and at Dyfi Bike Park.Gee Atherton

Photos: Dan Griffiths/Moonhead Media

bigquotesWe’ve worked with Atherton Racing for many years in the past, and stepping up as joint title partner of the Continental Atherton team feels like a natural and progressive move for Continental. There hasn’t been a tyre manufacturer giving top-tier sponsorship support for a long time – it is time for us to lead the way in the serious business of downhill.

This partnership also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the talented racers in the team, and of course, gives us a seamless opportunity for further product development which will give us credibility in the bicycle industry overall and advances in the tyre market specifically.
Oliver Anhuth, Continental’s Global Head of Marketing

Photos: Dan Griffiths/Moonhead Media

Press Release: Atherton Bikes

Dan, Gee and Rachel Atherton are delighted to confirm that their long time partner and collaborator Continental Tyres will become joint title partner for their 2020 downhill race team. The team will be known as Continental Atherton, or in full, Continental Atherton MTB Race Team.

The Athertons will continue to support team-mates Charlie Hatton and Mille Johnset and are pleased to renew all of their 2019 component partnerships.

2020 looks set to be a big year for the new Continental Atherton team as they build upon 2019’s three World Cup wins aboard their own brand Atherton bikes.

Rachel Atherton said “Racing our own bikes is one of the best things that ever happened to us but its also hugely challenging. Having Continental step up to support us at this level means a lot, especially as I work to get strong again after my Achilles injury. Having a brand as respected as Continental share our aspirations and back our plans for the future has been a massive boost.”

In terms of rider line-up there are no surprises this season with Charlie Hatton re-signing to the team for his 3rd season as he continues to challenge for a top ten spot on the World Cup circuit.

Charlie said “I’m stoked to be riding with the team again, I had a few decent results last year, 2nd in National Championships and 1.5 seconds off podium in VDS but I feel I have a lot more in me. I want 2020 to be the year I make that break into the top ten and to know that this team believes I can do that is invaluable. I’ve been working on all aspects of my riding this winter, following Gee always pulls you along! I’ve been training a lot harder in the gym too so I’m a lot stronger, I can’t wait to see the results come race day.”

The team will continue to support Mille Johnset as she takes her place amongst the Women’s Elite.

Rachel Atherton said “We’ve been working with Mille since she was about 14 years old, through the Atherton Academy, her graduation to full race team and the Junior World Cups and now as she takes the huge step up into the senior ranks. We all know what a challenge this first season as an Elite can be so we’re pleased to support her through this phase of her development and excited to see what she’ll do.”

In line with the Athertons’ vision for stability and consistency at this point in the team’s development there have been no changes in the team’s on-bike partner line-up established in 2019.

Dan Atherton said “When we started our own bike brand last year we took the decision to work only with brands who would drive product development as hard as we will. These partnerships and the progression that they fuel are a significant part of our vision for the sport so it makes perfect sense that there is on-going commitment on both sides.”

On the bike we are delighted to continue our work with:
FSA ( Drive train)
Renishaw ( World leaders in Additive Manufacturing used to create the lugs on our Atherton Bikes)
Trickstuff (brakes)
Stan’s No Tubes ( wheels and sealant)
Fox Suspension
WTB ( custom saddles)
MRP (Chain Devices)
Renthal ( Cockpit)
Rockguardz ( Mudguards)
And Crankbrothers ( pedals)

Off the bike we continue our successful relationships with Endura (Clothing), Bell Bike Helmets, Ride Concepts (shoes) our local Welsh start up Kingud ( ecological cleaning products) and the best test ground out there, Dyfi Bike Park. We are pleased to confirm a new partnership with Unior tools for 2020; Unior will kit out our racetruck and our workshop at Team Headquarters with their high quality and ergonomic tools.

Red Bull, GoPro and Oakley continue their invaluable support to the riders as we look forward to an awesome season ahead. Catch the team in action at the UCI World Cup Series as well as Sea Otter Festival and selected Crankworx and Red Bull events.



  • 55 4
 They have bikes. They just don't sell bikes. Interesting business model.
  • 9 0
 Check out their instagram. they are selling bikes but not a click and buy method like most. I am assuming because you the way they are built you can have any bike you want.
  • 7 4
 @GOrtho - this is how they got a dragon on board.
  • 4 0
 Here is all the details on their 29'r Enduro bike and their DH bike. Weirdly... contact them through instagram to order??!!
  • 2 8
flag Narro2 (Feb 10, 2020 at 15:20) (Below Threshold)
 Correct me if I am wrong, I am usually off and on regarding tech on mountain bikes, but I am taking a look at the Atherton bikes and they seem to have or rely on a horst link, doesn’t specialized own the patent for that in the US? So if the athertons are looking into selling in the states they will have to pay a considerable amount of $$$ to the big S wouldn’t they? Perhaps that’s the reason their bikes are not that much available, it was something similar back when Canyon started.
  • 9 0
They do not feature a horst link but rather DW6-link.
Also, afaik the horst link patent ran out some time ago and specialized only owns the rights to the FSR acronym/layout.
  • 3 0
 @Loki87: Correct on both counts.
  • 2 0
 @Loki87: @Loki87: all righty!! thanks
I had heard something about the patent running out, but i always thought Specialized would be able to do something to extent the patent, just like Disney with the mickey mouse trademark, they always find loopholes to keep him away from public domain, I guess thsi isnt the case
  • 35 2
 I used to think they were boring, bland, and basic bikes. But holy cow, those Atherton bikes look simple, stealthy, and slick. Or maybe I just like trickstuff brakes
  • 18 0
 The Tire / Tyre debate is pretty old and some say tiresome Smile

Tire and tyre both mean a covering for a wheel, usually made of rubber. Tire is the preferred spelling in the U.S. and Canada. Tyre is preferred in most varieties of English outside North America. Of course, all English speakers use tire in the sense to grow weary.

So, given the Athertons are English, Continental were originally from Germany, we ought to stick to Tyre.
  • 9 4
 We should all be thankful its just a different spelling and not a different word completely. Not like calling a helmet visor a peak. WTF is that shit about.
  • 7 0
 You meant tyresome... Wink LOL.
  • 4 0
 @sino428: bit of history for your education .a visor is / was a clear lexan wrap around for eye / face protection for open face helmets
  • 6 0
 @sino428: what do you call that little window that motorcyclists raise and lower on their helmets?

The word visor has its origin in vision, ie something you look through. Whereas a peak is just something thats at the or on the top of (your helmet).

  • 1 0
 @timbud: My post wasn't meant to be serious. I was just joking. Its just another instance of something being called by a different word in different places. Here is the US the common term for it is visor. We would also call the flip down piece on a motorcycle helmet a visor as well. We also use visor for the flip down thing in the car that blocks the sun.
  • 2 0
 @sino428: neither was mine Wink
  • 3 0
 They're wrong. Just like when they say "forks." Your bike has two tires and one FORK.
  • 2 0
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: After seeing this I thought about it and have no idea if I typically would have said fork or forks.
  • 1 0
 On that I've always found interesting is the American and British pronunciations of the following words:

Address. You say Ad-ress, we say A'dress

Admin. You say A'dmin, we say ad-min

It the opposite! What a mind f*ck!
  • 4 0
 @jaame: I always like when I order from CRC and I get the email that my order was "dispatched".
  • 3 0
Some things are just plural for the fun of it. Shorts, pants, underpants, trousers, khakis, jorts. Apparently things with legs are plural, maybe that is why bikes have forks for a lot of people.
  • 3 3
 I just want to know if Continental will make their own Minion...
  • 5 0
 Or maybe as Continental is from Germany even the english people need to angrily shout FAHRRADREIFEN if used in this context.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: OMG, there are so many words, it's hilarious! Here are just a few of the words you mates say differently: controversy, immediately, sexual, again. Also, we don't use the word "whist". Smile
  • 2 0
 @sino428: LMAO!! Yes, I love that!!
I say old boy, your order has been dispatched! Smile
  • 1 0
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: yes , if its a cannondale lefty fork , ha ha
  • 2 0
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: 'pair' an article consisting of two joined or corresponding parts not used separately. i.e jeans, pants
  • 2 2
 The question is will them teaming up with Conti give them a new market to tap (or should I say faucet) into?
  • 1 0
 @mybaben: whist? I think I’ve just learnt a new word!
  • 1 0
 @nick1957: you mean strut.
  • 1 0
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: at least we don't say LEGOS when talking about LEGO (plural). Wink
  • 19 2
 i stayed at the continental atherton once. nice place.
  • 32 19
  • 9 0
 What kind of breakfast do the Athertons eat before a race?
  • 3 0
 I don't know... What kind of breakfast do the Athertons eat before a race...?
  • 3 0
 @Dropthedebt: knock, knock.
  • 3 0
 @savagelake: who's there?
  • 21 0
 @Dropthedebt: A Continental Breakast!
  • 9 0
 @Ron-C: A continental breakfast who?
  • 5 0
 I bet Rachel was chomping at the bit to throw her leg over her video, ace kit. They've always been on Conti's as far as i can remember.
  • 1 0
 Bontys while they were on trek I think but yea they do like contys!
  • 1 0
 @willaasss: ah yeh forgot and Bontys....good call
  • 4 1
 @klerric: it wasn’t too long ago that they were running maxxis with blacked out logos while supposedly being sponsored by conti.
Wonder if they’ll be doing the same this time
  • 5 2
 Well, that year when Athertons were running Contis... Gee punctured on two finals. That walk of shame in MSA... oh well, I will just wait for that fan of Der Baron tires telling us how he changed from maxxis and never looked back and how miles above everything else they are - the black chilli! Folks who run Contis are a rare kind, let's cherish them. Almost as rare as folk who don't puncture Snake Skin Schwalbes on long travel bikes Smile
  • 3 1
 Anyone know if Continental fixed their sidewall issues (leaking sealant + carcass warping)? The kaiser projekts look interesting but last time I used conti tires they warped pretty badly. That was quite a few years ago; I hope they're better now.
  • 2 1
 If my last (current) pair of Der Barons are anything to go by, the side walls pissing out sealant seems to have been sorted, but the carcass still warps like a banana :/
  • 3 0
 They completely revamped the casings about a year ago. they now measure true to size, and I haven't seen any warped carcasses.
  • 1 0
 I personally would love a der ksaiser in wired version, they should exist, just nowhere to be found.
I have deformed half a dozen of the previous version, but I haven not used the newer one on the rear..(I believe they have a V2 somewere). I only used one new Der Baron in the front for a while, but they are not that easy to deform on the front..
  • 1 0
 Conti also has a substantial composite side of the business (albeit Automotive applications) but this is certainly something to watch down the line, especially with the Athertons using some pretty cutting edge composite molding processes!
  • 1 0
 Is there any composite molding? The lugs are all additive manufacture and the tubes are fancy but fairly standard straight tubes.
  • 1 0
 So does this mean they are going to help Conti finally develop some tires that are used on the circuit? It seems like nobody runs Conti at WC or EWS level. And the black chili compound seems a little hard for elite DH racing... maybe they will help develop a softer compound?
  • 3 0
 There was a UCI Elite Team Called Hutchinson UR, I would consider this as a headline sponsor of a team. This was after 2011.
  • 1 0
 Dan and Rachel didn't get their waiver signed in time, that's why they couldn't join the field trip and they had to shoot their part of the video in Dyfi. In case you were wondering.
  • 1 0
 Other than the Atherton on any tire/tyre brand... happy for the places they choose to film the video, El Chorro & La Zubia, amongst others, in Malaga.
  • 2 0
 I'm in love with Beer jersey design!
  • 1 0
 Ummmm, didn't we know this yesterday she the "official guide to 2020 DH teams" article was published?!
  • 1 0
 Downhill team with a tyre brand as headline sponsor since 2011? What about Hutchinson UR?
  • 1 0
 ......hmmm, rockshox reverbs on the enduro bike spec sheet!? ...Photos of transfers thoughSmile
  • 1 0
 Will they ever go to market with a bike people can actually buy???
  • 3 2
 On their Instagram page they claim to have sold their first 50, and are encouraging people to get in touch by DM to place an order. People keep asking how much, but strangely no-one seems to be able to answer. It all smells a bit fishy.
  • 1 0
 @Malky79: £7000 - Fox Factory, SRAM XO and G2 RSC, Stans wheels.

£5500 for a GX build.
  • 6 2
 @mars-bar-man: I appreciate the reply, but this only serves to illustrate my point - if Atherton bikes have a viable business model and a product to sell, why can't they put all this info on their website?
Something doesn't add up.
  • 1 0
 @Malky79: I agree, if you had faith in the product you're asking people to pre-order then you would make stock available or implement a limited number of retail partners to showcase the product to a wider audience, no doubt the Dragon who is financing the project has opted for this option, unless of course, like Canyon, YT and Commencal, they offer demo days.
  • 1 0
 @Gavalar66: I believe the product is sound - it's the business model I have doubts about. It's an expensive manufacturing process resulting in expensive bikes resulting in a limited market.
They are an unproven company, and they should be doing everything in their power to inspire confidence in potential buyers. Making your primary mode of communication Instagram DMs just looks suspect.
  • 2 0
 @Malky79: oh I 100% agree with you that there's something off about them not being public with the pricing. When you compare it to what Specialized, Intense, Yeti or Santa Cruz can charge, it's not /awful/.

I'm still not planning on sliding into anyone's DMs to get a chance to buy a bike though.
  • 5 0
 A guess but maybe this is a "soft launch" strategy to allow them to figure out how to make the build process more efficient. And maybe they don't want too many orders coming in so as to not be able to fulfill the demand (e.g., sick bikes, Pole, etc.). Pure speculation and not saying it is a great business model but sure beats taking in more orders than one can handle and then having a bunch of people griping about it on pinkbike.
  • 2 0
 Only enough to satisfy the uci rule on riding production bikes. The real question is why did they have to go this route?
  • 2 0
 @mars-bar-man: maybe they dont have the capacity yet and dont want to sell more bikes then they have the ability to manufacture.
  • 2 0
 @RCederholm: dammit you beat me to it.
  • 2 0
 @CM999: Well spotted!

ARTICLE 1.3.006 “Equipment shall be of a type that is sold for use by anyone practising cycling as a sport. Any equipment in development phase and not yet available for sale (prototype) must be subject of an authorization request to the UCI Equipment Unit before its use. Authorization will be granted only for equipment which is in the final stage of development and for which commercialization will take place no later than 12 months after the first use in competition. The manufacturer may request a single prolongation of the prototype status if justified by relevant reasons ... any item of equipment must be commercially available in order to be used in cycling events. The requirement of commercial availability shall be understood as equipment having to be available through a publicly available order system (whether with manufacturer, distributor or retailer). Upon an order being placed, the order shall be confirmed within 30 days and the relevant equipment shall be made available for delivery within a further 90-day deadline. In addition, the retail price of the equipment shall be publicly advertised, shall not render the equipment de facto unavailable to the general public and shall not unreasonably exceed the market value for equipment of a similar standard ...Any equipment which is not commercially available and is not authorised (not authorised by UCI Equipment Unit or authorised period expired), may not be used in cycling events governed by the UCI Regulations.
  • 1 0
 @Malky79: " It all smells a bit fishy."

You could say it smells a bit sick Wink
  • 1 0
 @Malky79: I guess this came in after Honda?
  • 1 0
 @Malky79: I’ve seen pdfs with full bike and price info floating about.
  • 1 0
 My point illustrated again - you've seen a PDF "floating about". It's basic sales information - it should be on their website. It's just not credible to pose as a high end bike manufacturer and to operate in such an amateur manner.
PDFs available only through Instagram DMs might be stretching the definition of "publicly advertised price" or "publicly available order system".
  • 1 0
 @Malky79: I don't grasp how anyone can consider the product, "sound" when you can't touch it or ride it, they offer plenty of headlines but very little subtext.
I personally think they need to put up a viable customer interface whereby they offer demos at their trail centre or take the process to those that can replicate multiple frame options within a short manufacturing cycle, as everyone else does as revenue is key to any idea, or, admit they can't deliver what is beginning to look like a pipe dream.
  • 1 0
 @Gavalar66: By sound I mean I have no reason to believe their frame manufacturing methods would not be sound. It's a pretty simple concept, albeit a fairly unique one. The hammering their frames take on the WC circuit is a good indicator the method works.
Lots of people buy bikes on trust nowadays in the age of direct sales. I pre-ordered a Commencal AM29 on the basis of reading promotional material, independent reviews and previous experience of Commencal.
Some people want to try before they buy, I understand that, but a short demo ride is unlikely to show up the sort of defects that become apparent over time.
I'd be wary of sinking money into a bike if I had any doubts about the viability of the business though. It might be a great bike, but in the event the company wound up, you'd have no warranty and there'd be nowhere to get spares from.
  • 1 0
 @Malky79: which I think is the danger of buying into Atherton, as riders they are gold plated, as business people trying to take a brand to market, not so, I applaud their gusto in following a dream, I did similar when I bought into UNNO, stunning product and that's where it ended, as I think it may have for them.
  • 1 0
 dont know , but apart of riding skills , they got amazing film crew too
  • 1 0
 tire/tyres should be 50 currency units at the most ..
  • 1 1
 Shouts That they aren’t doing well with the bike brand and they need to increase revenue.
  • 1 0
 Somebody get Mille a sock sponsor!
  • 1 0
 Rachel's smile is so infectious!
  • 1 1
 Can we just get this tire or tyre business sorted out?
  • 1 0
 Drivetrain FSA???
  • 1 0
 Yeah.....I was curious about that as well.
  • 1 0
 FSA makes a road bike drivetrain. Must be that one.
  • 1 0
 I guess I forgot that FSA makes the Gravity and Grid cranksets so maybe that's what it is. I thought they were using Hope on their bikes but i guess not anymore because they're not listed. Also I know they do lots of road riding in the offseasons so they maybe have their road bikes kitted up with the FSA stuff.
  • 2 1
 Smooth looking DH track.
  • 1 0
 Nicely done video.
  • 1 0
 Sell out !
  • 1 3
 Must be weird having to tell yourself "bitch you can't afford me" and then having to go find another sponser To help... Lol
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