Rachel Atherton's Trek Session 9.9 - Bike Check

Jun 28, 2017
by Mike Kazimer  

Rachel Atherton will be back in action this weekend in Andorra, looking to pick up where she left off before a dislocated shoulder abruptly stopped her incredible winning streak in Fort William.

As preparations for the upcoming race weekend got underway, Pinkbike photographer Ross Bell stopped by Trek's pits to get a closer look at the Session 9.9 27.5 that Rachel will be aboard once practice begins.

Rachel Atherton's Trek Session Details

• Rider height: 5' 8”
• Frame size: large, with headset cups to reduce reach by 6mm
• Wheelsize: 27.5"
• Handlebar width: 775mm
• Stem length: 50mm
• Bontrager Line 30 DH wheelset
• Shimano Saint drivetrain and brakes
• Fox DHX2 shock / Fox 40 Float Fork
• Bontrager G5 tires, 27.5 x 2.5”
• Bike weight: 33.5 pounds (15.2kg)
Rachel Atherton Bike Check

Rachel Atherton Bike Check
The new Session has a different leverage ratio than the previous version, with a longer stroke shock that Rachel's mechanic says offers a wider range of tuning options. Due to the fact that she's still recovering from her shoulder injury, Rachel's settings will be a little softer than usual to help create a more comfortable ride.

Rachel Atherton Bike Check
Trek's DH and enduro racers have been using versions of this harmonic damper for the past few seasons. The design's origins can be traced back to the archery world, but it was first used by Trek in the form of a road bar plug that was intended to take the edge of vibrations from rough pavement. On a downhill bike, the goal is to reduce any chatter that occurs under heavy braking.

Rachel Atherton Bike Check
There are some riders who constantly change their bar height depending on the track, but Rachel's setup has remained consistent for the last four years, give or take 5mm. Last year she was on a medium frame that had headset cups installed to increase the reach, and this year she's with the new geometry she's moved up to a size large, with headset cups oriented to reduce the reach by 6mm.

Rachel Atherton Bike Check
Trek and the Athertons spent time testing with a data acquisition system in order to fine tune the suspension settings for this season. They found that a balanced setup worked best for Rachel, rather than having the fork set up much stiffer than the shock.

Rachel Atherton Bike Check
Rachel's planning on running Bontrager's G5 tires, although there will be a fender in place by the time she heads to the stating gate. The track is a little damp right now, and it looks like there's more rain in the forecast.


  • 44 1
 her bike weights the same as my enduro bike, fuck ahahahah
  • 8 0
 With a coil shock!
  • 39 1
 That color scheme is gorgeous. Basically a gulf livery on a bike.
  • 2 2
 Right! Dirty thoughts go through my mind looking at that ride.
  • 1 1
 Gulf livery on a bike? That sounds familiar...
  • 23 1
 She is running a frameskin? Good to know even pro's dont want to scratch up these works of art Smile
  • 3 1
 Trek have said they go through 5 frames per rider per season to keep them looking fresh...
  • 2 2
 didn't notice till you said something, they must be using sorcery or witchcraft to keep the bike as light as it is with frame skins.
  • 1 1
 I believe they are also single colour frames and use decals too. So they can make the bike look fresh easy. Only get 5 frames a season you know....
  • 16 0
 Looks like a se.... wait.
  • 7 3
 You shouldn't be afraid of saying it.
  • 12 2
 Super stoked to have you back Rach! Best luck. Hope your shoulder doesn't give you a luck of trouble. Let's bring this winning streak back.
  • 13 2
 5' 8" height, and on a large?
  • 29 1
 And faster than all of us.
  • 3 1
 I thought that too. I'm 5'11 and I'm here on a Medium Intense with the same length stem. I always think she looks way too small for her bike but I guess WC riders are pinning it way harder than I ever will so they need the extra stability it offers.
  • 2 1
 Sessions run very small. A large session has a similar or shorter reach than most companies mediums
  • 2 1
 @Giladgu: glad to hear considering I just ordered a new session. Went with large because the Med's I have used in the past just felt a tad small for me (I am 5'10")
  • 10 3
 harmonic balancers are needed because the brake chatter on a split pivot is somewhat egregious
  • 4 1
 Yeah, kinda odd. Also, why isn't the damper oriented in the same plane as axle travel? (Serious question - no snark whatsoever)
  • 2 1
 I actually get a lot of vibration from the rear brake on my v10 and would love to see if that would solve the problem. I get it both on metallic and resin saint pads. (metallic is worse though)
  • 1 1
 I also have the problem on a 2016 Session alu frame. Rode it last season without a problem, but the chatter now is quite hard. Was going to do a whole rebuild and regrease of the rear triangle, but maybe those balancers are the answer. Now that I see them on a Session...
  • 16 10
 You can't really say her winning streak was snapped. I mean... technically she never started that race... It's kinda like Jordan... in reality... he won 6 in a row.
  • 32 7
 She has a DNS, she signed up, she practiced, she failed to race. That is a streak breaker. If she had not entered that would be the same a Jordan.
  • 3 1

Jordan actually played in the playoffs the year before the second three peat. But most folks ignore it because he came in out of shape and hadn't played in 2 years.... I mean if we're being critical.

But to me... she didn't race. She hasn't been beaten.
  • 4 1
 Trek On Track ლ(́◉◞౪◟◉‵ლ)
  • 2 1
 5'10 1/2" running xl session with 45mm stem, only 450mm reach. Med 430 is too small. Tried short 30mm stems need bars slammed to get weight on front wheel.
  • 5 4
 "Headset cups to reduce reach by 6mm"...then..."Stem 50mm" I'm confused....but she's a racer so whatever works.
  • 12 1
 weight over the front of the fork
  • 2 1
 @me2menow: Ooohhh, I see, thanks.
  • 4 1
 @E-ROG: reach is very different to lengthening the stem, imagine a DH bike with just 50mm shorter TT length, yet running a 100mm stem to compensate, scary.
  • 10 5
 Its because the stem is meant for steering, not for fit.
  • 1 1
 they don't make 44mm stems, only a 45. Her reach would be 1mm off. haha
  • 1 1
 Rachel was on a large frame last season, not medium, with a reach headset to increase reach, the new frame is longer ,so makes sense to turne the headset around
  • 3 3
 Whats the reasoning on reducing reach with the headset cups instead of shortening the stem?
  • 1 1
  • 6 0
 To have weight over the wheel for greater traction/control.
  • 3 1
 Damn good tyre the G5
  • 2 1
 Colour scheme looks amazing! Loving the night orange 40's tup
  • 2 1
 Welcome back, Rach!
  • 2 1
 The party's over!
  • 1 1
 Looking forward to seeing Rachel back in action this weekend!
  • 1 1
 Pin it girl!

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