Mille Johnset's New 150mm 29er Atherton Trail Bike - Crankworx Innsbruck 2020

Oct 5, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

The Atherton downhill bike has now proven itself a winning formula on the World Cup circuit, and we've also seen a 160mm, 27.5" enduro bike being ridden by Atherton athletes as a pit warm-up bike and at some enduro races too. Now, a third bike has entered the stable for the Welsh racing brand, a 150mm 29er.

This definitely isn't a radical departure for the Atherton engineers, and the silhouette will be very familiar to anyone who has paid attention to the brand's development. The bike uses the same 3-d printed titanium lugs and carbon tubes as the downhill bike with the same DW 6 suspension system driving the suspension. As with all Atherton bikes, the geometry is customisable but a number of stock sizes will be available. Mille described her bike as a medium/large that apparently has a reach of 465mm. Prices start at £3,400 ($4,400USD) for the 160mm enduro frame with full bikes from £5,500 ($7,100 USD) so we expect this one to fall along similar lines.

Mille Johnset was riding her new bike at Crankworx Innsbruck this year so we caught up with her to take a closer look at her ride. She wasn't too sure about set up numbers, but there's still plenty to look at here.

It may look like a standard Horst Link but don't be deceived. This is Dave Weagle's DW6 system that was first commissioned by Robot bikes and has now been transposed over to Atherton. The 6 is important as it highlights that this is a 6 bar linkage as opposed to the Horst's 4. On this bike it has been tweaked to deliver 150mm of rear travel that is paired with a 160mm fork.

A new travel number in a very familiar package for the fledgling brand.

The black on black titanium lugs with carbon tubes is now becoming a bit of a trademark of the Atherton clan's bikes and it remains for this new trail bike. The first picture shows the 2 short links that are a crucial part of the Weagle design.

This team build with Trickstuff brakes and Continental tires is available through the Athertons web shop.

SRAM and FSA parts make up Mille's drivetrain

Vivid blue Crankbrothers Mallet pedals provide one of the few flashes of colour on this stealth build.

Regions in Article


  • 123 5
 "This team build with Trickstuff brakes and Continental tires is available through the Athertons web shop."

Uhhhhh no it isn't. They don't even let you buy their bikes through their website. You have to email them and then get ghosted and email them again and still no reply and then finally go buy another bike from a different brand Frown
  • 49 1
 I think they mean you can buy a tee shirt off the website with a picture of the team build on it.
  • 35 2
 odd. I emailed them late on a sunday evening, had a reply on the monday and every email was responded to promptly and comprehensively, including all my daft questions. I can endorse my experience with Tom from their sales team. Much better than my experience with several other brands About to press the go to build button
  • 10 2
 It took them awhile to reply to mine, maybe like 5 days, but it came from Gee and had the pricing list and geo for the bike which I sadly can never ever afford.
  • 2 0
 @briceps: How much was it?
  • 4 0
 @joshroppo: I think it was roughly $3650 for the frame with the conversion from GBP to USD, and that's excluding tax. I don't know if you have to pay any fees or anything to get it over to the states or what shipping would be.
  • 3 0
 @Puddings: Same, Tom emailed me back the next day and even emailed again a couple of days later to make sure I had everything. Cant say many other brands are doing that these days.
  • 3 2
 @briceps: you do. My antidote dark matter and carbon Jack were a pretty penny. So for shipping from Poland to USA. It was $250 VAT + $100 import. And because of covid, I had to pay extra to get the carbon jack out of US customs.

Was it worth it? I’d say so. After you ride, own, and demo enough bikes; you’ll develop a feel for the ideal geometry. Also if you are able to understand the kinematics data, you should have a good idea of what you want. And half the fun is speccing out the components and then building it up.

As for the atherton bike frames. If you have the disposable money, go for it. I think I’ve only seen pictures of 1 owner in the states that has an Atherton bike. So it’ll definitely be rare.
  • 1 0
 @Happypanda1337: Where was the one owner located? I saw Fat Tire Farm in Portland, OR just built one up for someone. Maybe the one?
  • 12 4
 Just like customers in a bike shop, I would imagine their sales team will reply to emails based on whether or not they feel they are likely to be from genuine prospective customers. For example, if your email address is they might be forgiven for thinking you're 13 years old and probably can't afford one of their bikes.
"Hello mate, I'm interested in buying a bike. Can you change the tyres for DHFs and put brendog pedals on it? How much would that be? How about with i9 hubs? How much would that be?"
  • 2 0
 @noplacelikeloam: I swear I saw the DH bike on the back of a truck here in Bend and asked Athertons if there was one out here and they said a customer was out in Oregon visiting but I don’t know where the guy actually is. Though I seem to remember a guy in CO having an enduro frame.
  • 5 5
 You'd have to have more money than brains to think this company is about bikes and customer service rather than Atherton brand hype.
  • 2 0
 @briceps: You may want to look into that price again. I've bought frames direct from the UK in the past and they price things differently there than we do in North America. Taxes are usually worked into the price up front, so the price they quote has the taxes built in. I brought this up to the company I purchased from, who then removed the taxes from the quote as being a non UK resident I didn't have to pay taxes. I did however have to pay duties when it landed, but it worked out to be quite a bit less then the original quoted price.
  • 1 0
 @bikerbarrett: there's a VAT and non-VAT price on their sheet so I don't think it's far off unless there's other taxes in the quote that wouldn't be there if it was shipped to the US. I would love to be wrong though!
  • 1 7
flag foggnm (Oct 6, 2020 at 9:02) (Below Threshold)
 @bigbrett The whole thing sounds like a proprietary bike build that you'd never get parts or customer service on. I think the whole project is laundering scheme.
  • 3 1
 @bikerbarrett: UK VAT is 20% on bikes so you just take that off, add shipping fees whatever that comes to, and then local taxes. It will probably work out about the same.

I always found that really annoying in America and Canada that they add the tax on when you go to pay for it. $25 of T-Mobile credit? That will be $27.28. $70 Billabong boardies? $83 to you sir. I don't want to say retarded, but it kind of is retarded in that they delay the adding of the tax on until they scan the goods at the till. So in this case I think it's appropriate to call it a totally retarded taxation system.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Its because states have different sales tax. Some have no sales tax at all! (They get you elsewhere, lol)
  • 1 0
 @noplacelikeloam: Yeah I understand about the differences in sales tax, but shops generally know which state they're in - therefore they could easily add the tax on before they print the stickers rather than adding it on at at the till. It just makes no sense when you come from a country where the advertised price is inclusive of tax which when I think about it is probably every other country in the world. I'm struggling to think of another country where they add the tax on at the till, and I've been to 58 countries.

I guess every country has its little idiosyncracies. Gotta love them.
  • 3 0
 @jaame: I completely agree. Tax of good should be up front on the price, not hidden till later. It's an infuriating cultural norm we have in the NA.
  • 4 0
 @joshroppo: As an OR resident, I forget people are paying sales tax on bikes. Then I look at my property taxes and remember why. :-)
  • 3 0
 @jaame: any twat who is making this kind of value judgement doesn't know whether 2007 is the year big_dave was born, or when he started racing DH in Masters category, or just when he signed up for gmail because he had too many different work email accounts. I have a colleague who asks similarly random seeming questions about bikes and is about to buy a Genius 900 Ultimate AXS (the best bike in the bike shop around the corner from his house), because (and I literally quote) "well why not?". He's a complete novice rider, but a friend of his bought a Porsche GT4 last year so dropping A$13k is pretty trivial in comparison.

That kind of dumb value judgement happens at the LBS all too often as well. Case in point, my wife was in a bike shop a few years ago on her old commuter bike, because at the workplace she was at that day there's a communal bike room where bikes all get leaned up against each other. Pimply teenager on the floor looked at her bike then proceeded to ignore her, talking to some other pimply teenager looking at random MTB parts they probably couldn't afford. Had shop boy not made this value judgement, he could have sold a $6k road bike...which she now rides to work on the days she's working at the private hospital where she can park it in the specialists-only tea room.
  • 1 0
 @dsut4392: ah the exception that proves the rule. It's a sad reality that we all make such judgements, especially those of us who work in a retail environment.
  • 1 0
 @noplacelikeloam: idk man, I just saw an pic on IG, look up estimateparagon

He doesn’t have any pics of his own yet, but the athertons confirm he owns the frame
  • 39 2
 Have to say from the design standpoint this bike is beautiful.
  • 10 2
 Yes, and lugs do look much better than before.
  • 3 14
flag noogums (Oct 5, 2020 at 15:09) (Below Threshold)
 Apart from the trunnion stupidity.
  • 4 0
 @ZSpecial: you're special
  • 3 1
 Yes and no... Robot bikes had a unique look to them that was very cool and immediately noticeable. Granted the new bikes have lost the "erector set look" and I'm sure that was the point, makes you guess it might be lighter? But from a distance and especially in all black it's lost what made it standout? (miss the raw Ti lugs!) If not for so many straight tubes it could be any carbon frame? Kinda seems like old Iron Horse aluminum frames painted black? Smile

It is still an amazing product, and the idea of being able to fairly quickly get a custom full suspension frame of this caliber is amazing...

Still it's friggen expensive! Previous articles over the years made it seem like the Athertons themselves were reaping that benefit building up custom frames, riding and learning what they could and then "growing" a new one. But the team riders seemed to just get the "hand me downs"? Even this article, "She wasn't too sure about set up numbers", kinda makes you wonder how a "custom" frame finds itself in the hands of a team rider who doesn't know whats custom about it? Seems an odd thing?

Obviously there is a market for this, but it is kind of a bummer when you consider how easy it was to ride the "same" GT or Trek the Athertons took to so many victories!
  • 31 1
 I totally forgot I was going to buy one of these and bought a Druid instead.
  • 4 0
 I did the same lol.
  • 5 2
 Not really the same category though. Atherton bikes are made in the UK utilizing a somewhat unique manufacturing process for the bike world. 3D printed titanium lugs can’t be cheap, but I bet their frames are lighter than Forbidden’s.

Forbidden just has an Asian company do a traditional layup of a high pivot trail bike frame with a unique suspension design for a few hundred each.

Id bet profit margins are similar but only one of them is doing the actual manufacturing of the product, and as a result its going to cost more.
  • 5 1
 You have to remember that the to and fro money pain works both ways across the Atlantic. Almost all US company/Asian made frames are North of £3000 in the UK. The Atherton frame is no more expensive than a Santa Cruz here.
  • 2 1
 @jamesdad: Hmmm, it says prices start at $44000 US for the 160mm frame. That's a thousand dollars more than a carbon Megatower frame. Granted you can get custom geo, but 98% of us will be copying the geo of some other bike... Smile
  • 2 0
 @tkrumroy: It's some Hogwarts buuuulllshiiiiiiiiitt.
  • 1 0
 @fullendurbro: Dude I am LOVING this druid lol. I came from a 2020 Santa Cruz Hightower and this druid is awesome. It does feel heavy though lol. But the descents are amazing.
  • 2 0
 @tkrumroy: I'm building mine up tomorrow and am super stoked. Not feeling your weight complaints though. It's 7 pounds lighter than my current main bike (Commencal). lol
  • 1 0

Bike is sick.



  • 4 0
 I wanted to pop back in to elaborate on this topic as I took the cake for the longest comment in the string.

I recently got on the case of Allied Bicycle's pricing because their MSRP is ridiculous. The frameset (fork/frame) is $4200. Made in Arkansas. Owned by an investment group. Utilizing typical hand-layered carbon matte.

By comparison, you can get Titanium (Sklar is $4800) and Carbon (Appleman is eye-watering $6k) hand made bikes with custom geo for nearly the same price (and far more interesting features) from some of the most renowned bike builders in the USA and you'll fund the welder/builder directly, no profits siphoned off for debt or investors.

Now, I have no issue with carbon bikes. I ride one (Guerrilla Gravity, manufactured in Colorado, $2200 frame only). I do have issues with "luxury pricing" masquerading as "innovation." I also have issues with companies who use more of their revenue to advertise, market, sponsor, etc etc etc...but don't offer any value to the customer. It's like "hey give us your hard earned dollars for this product that's really no different than other so we can sponsor our race team and pay our owners a nice profit." Now, in the case of Atherton, how much of that $4000 is going to the race team, to the owners, to the actual people building your bike? No idea - but none of it matters if you can't even sell the product because it's too expensive.

Back to Allied - they had to lay off quite a few staff over the last year, and they've to a small location. All signs of twindling sales. Meanwhile, Guerrilla Gravity still has like a 3-month wait for it's frame because it can't make them fast enough to sell to all the people who want them.

It does certainly prove the point that value does matter. Atherton is using some cool technology that could make frame production faster and less expensive...but they've got a race team to fund and all that investment capital to pay off. Allied has got owners who want to see a profit and very expensive molds to pay off. Both are produced in countries with better labor laws, environmental protections, etc. These companies have "brought manufacturing back" - but at what cost to the consumer?

Forbidden is outsourcing manufacturing, making frames people can afford, and growing their business.

Innovation is no long about doing something different (Atherton), or doing something locally (Allied), it's also about doing something that is sustainable for your business - making a product locals can afford.
  • 2 0
 @PHeller: As a Denver local, I would consider a GG if Matt wasn't such an insufferable douche bag. I hate that company. Most of the dudes that work there except for Bobby are total bag heads and their bikes are ugly to boot. I also don't buy their claim that their thermoplastic carbon is 800% stronger.
  • 12 0
 I look at articles about bicycles with customizable geometry different now. All I can see is an Atherton grim donut. And that is awfully enticing that I could add that to my stable of DW bikes
  • 2 0
 I can't believe your post doesn't have more up-votes!
  • 12 0
 These bikes look sick and I love the idea of being able to order custom geometry. I just wish they sold them.
  • 8 0
 Has anyone actually bought one of their bikes yet?
  • 4 1
 I looked into it. However, it worked out to be approx $3900 US so I was out. Love to own one. I have ridden a few bikes with DW links and really liked them.
  • 18 1
 @bman33: so... no lol
  • 4 0
 @stumphumper92: There are few of them in the wild. This 29" is limited to 50 frames. I had one in my hands for a few hours, helped a friend to build it up. It is really nice frame, very stealthy and mean looking in the flesh. The matt carbon tubes make some great contrast to the 3D printed lugs. Some of the edges of the lugs are a bit sharp, could use some polishing and it is by no means light.. Smile
  • 4 0
 The only thing you can buy from their website is a t-shirt, does anyone ever able to buy ? there literally some nice wording and that's it:
  • 3 0
 Gorgeous bikes. Seen all three atheroma riding them a few times at dyfi. Look even better in the flesh. Can take some serious Bering from them three so should last forever for us mortals.
  • 5 0
  • 7 0
  • 2 0
 If I’m seeing it right, it’s really nice not to have carbon right where rear tire jams stones through. Durability may be a strong point for this bike. Cable rub ? Hey it’s titanium.
  • 2 0
 No complaints about water bottle mounts? Let me shortcut the conversation.
PB Comment Engineer: "You can't put mounts on since the tubes are prefab and cut to length."
Craig Calfee: "Oh really?"
  • 3 0
 You can fit bottle cage mounts no problem at all
  • 2 0
 Bob Parlee would like to talk too.
  • 3 2
 Na because they use the shitty X 12 from syntace. No one ever should use that crapp. Try to straighten that stupid mech hangar, mounted parallel to the chainstay from below. Every good design mount it parallel to the hubs. It only can be lower or rise the fixed mounting point for the derailleur unlike the x12 who could lead to the same result as a bend hangar all together.. Try to set the eagle up with a not perfect straight hangar to the hubs. It take so much time and possibly won't work anyway.
  • 4 3
 Personally, I think externally butted tubes, so that the OD of the tubes matches that of the lugs, would make it look better. Don’t try to hide the seams, but to make it look less like a plumbing project.

All of that said, as long as it’s fast and holds up to the kind of abuse it’s riders put it through, who gives a flying fark about the tube/lug interface
  • 2 0
 The tubes are bonded to the lugs on both sides, making for a stronger joint. You might be able to peel the carbon off the lug if it was only bonded internally.
  • 5 1
 wow that shock looks like its resting on the seattube
  • 1 0
 I noticed that too, its also a 2020 X2, makes me wonder if the 2021 X2's air can is too big to fit the frame?
  • 5 1
 It's looks like a new take on the 90's lugged thermo-plastic technology.
  • 1 0
 If these bikes can actually be purchased, where are the reviews. Come on PB. The classic lines of these bikes is very attractive and the suspension system sounds great. So little info available though.
  • 3 0
 The updated enduro rig is out this month 170fork 150rear Wink
  • 1 0
 Looks amazing, but despite the close up shots of the linkage I still don't get how it works ????
  • 2 0
 Think of if as taking a standard horst-link suspension and replacing the the main pivot by a small four bar linkage, which is what makes it a 'DW Link'. I think technically it makes it a six-bar linkage, and in this respect it is unlike any of the five other iterations of the DW suspension. Replacement the main pivot with a small linkage with a small dual-link 4 bar linkage allows control of the bikes anti-squat in typical DW-link fashion.
  • 1 0
 @shawndashf1: Thanks, that's a good explanation. Intriguing design then, but that is a lot of pivots to maintain.
  • 4 2
 Killer bike! Great communication with them including speaking with Gee.
  • 2 0
 Love it.
  • 2 0
 Timeless shape
  • 1 0
 @athertonbikes these look so sick. Congrats.
  • 1 0
 This is my dream bike
  • 1 1
 looks like scaffolding.An from the weight, might as well be
  • 1 0
 I'd ride that!
  • 3 4
 Looks like a Robot bike.
  • 4 0
 Looks like a Robot comment... Smile
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