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DH Bike Review: Atherton AM.200M.1

Jun 19, 2023
by Matt Beer  

When it comes to worldwide mountain bike prestige, neither the Atherton family of downhill racers, or suspension wizard Dave Weagle, need any introduction. Putting the two names together alongside a team of industry experts, state of the art frame construction, and proven results on the World Cup DH scene set our expectations high for the AM.200M.1. In fact, Rachel Atherton just stormed back onto the World Cup DH circuit by taking the win at the season-opening race in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

The Atherton downhill bike rides on mixed wheels, produces 200mm of rear wheel travel through a 6-bar suspension system, and is made from more than one exotic material. Pieced together from straight, round carbon tubes cut to length and bonded to 3D-printed titanium joints, the manufacturing methods allow for custom geometry and tuneable frame flex for their World Cup riders.
Atherton AM.200M.1 Details

• Frame: carbon tubes, 3D-printed titanium lugs, aluminum rocker links
• Wheel size: 29" front, 27.5" rear
• DW6 suspension design
• Travel: 200mm
• Fox DHX2 shock
• 63-degree head angle
• Chainstays: 450mm (size 6)
• Sizes: various (size 6 tested, custom sizing avail.)
• Weight: 16.25 kg / 35.8 lb
• Price: £6,850- 8,400 (£4,300 - frame w/shock)
athertonbikes.com

That means that the £8,400.00 price tag on the Fox suspension-equipped build that we tested can actually climb higher, should you want to choose your own tube lengths if one of the twelve sizes doesn’t suit you.




Contents

bigquotesIt was well worth the wait. The Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 finished product and DW6 suspension lived up to the hype. Matt Beer




Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.

Frame Details

After first launching as a full 29er, Atherton Bikes' downhill frame is now available in a mixed-wheel configuration. From afar, the round tubes and basic triangles of all Atherton Bikes are straightforward. Up close though, there’s high attention to detail and durability.

The carbon tubes are cut to length and bonded into the titanium lugs with double shear lap joints. The additive manufacturing method of the lugs makes it simple to remodel their angles and tailor the tubes for each frame size. Those lugs also serve as ports for the internally routed cables that feed into guided tubes.

Two aluminum rocker links are CNC’d to reduce costs compared to the other boutique metal. Only one area of the bike uses threads to fix a component in place and that’s the BB shell. All others use threaded barrels or nuts, like at the post-mount brake boss and pivots.

Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.
photo
Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.
Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.
All of the threaded hardware feeds into replaceable barrels or captive nuts, excluding the bottom bracket.


Unsurprisingly, the hardware is well-finished and there is even a universal derailleur hanger at the dropout. Atherton has also considered the packaging of the linkage to deter mud from clogging up as the chainstay yoke forms its own mini-fender. Final touches include a fully rubber-wrapped chainstay guard and plastic downtube protector. Although it’s a simple add-on, I’d like to see a shuttle guard further up to protect your investment, and an additional brake hose clamp on the chainstay to reduce any rattling.

Atherton Bikes offers two types of finishes on their frames. All of the carbon tubes are first sprayed with a matte clear coat, then there is a choice of painting the lugs black or leaving the bare titanium exposed for an industrial look.




Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.

Suspension Design

What looks like a traditional 4-bar suspension design with a basic rocker arm is complicated by the magic of the DW6 linkage behind the bottom bracket. The chainstay floats on two short links. Above the chainstay yoke, the upper link rotates counter-clockwise, as viewed from the non-drive in the video, while the lower turns in the clockwise direction.

Dave Weagle evolved the DW link to a 6-bar system with the idea of retaining a high anti-squat value while reducing chain tension further into the travel. Seb Stott broke it down perfectly when he spoke to Weagle during his Atherton AM.150.1 enduro bike review.

Controlling that progressive to linear suspension ratio is a coil-sprung trunnion mount Fox DHX2 Factory with a 75mm stroke length. Bearings housed in the link help to initiate the shock actuation by reducing friction and increasing longevity at that eyelet.

Atherton Bikes were keeping the kinematic graphs of the DW6 linkage closely guarded but I did manage to trace the axle path. The line moves rearward at the beginning of the travel but is basically vertical. The horizontal line indicates the end of the 200mm of travel.




Geometry

Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.

If you often find yourself in between bike sizes, then the Atherton line of bikes will pique your interest. Their online frame size calculator takes height, inseam, and arm dimensions into account for pointing you to one of twelve lengths. You can also speak to one of the experts at Atherton Bikes who will take your riding objectives into consideration as well, should those numbers look off.

The reach numbers span from 410 to 520mm in 10mm increments and the chainstays will vary in length too. Sizes 1 through 4 are built with 445mm chainstays. Those grow by 5mm on sizes 5-8 to 450mm, and finally the size 9-12 frames receive 455mm stays.

Should you want to go the custom sizing route, you can expect a longer wait time and tack on an extra £650 GBR.

Our AM.200M.1 test bike with mixed wheels, the stock geometry of the “Size 6” frame had a reach of 460mm and 450mm rear center with a 63-degree head tube angle.





Specifications

Specifications
Release Date 2022
Price $10595
Travel 200
Rear Shock Fox DHX2 Factory
Fork Fox 40 Factory 29, Grip2
Headset FSA
Cassette SRAM XO1 DH, 10-24T
Crankarms Truvativ Descendant DH 165mm 36t
Chainguide MRP G5
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB BSA 83mm
Chain SRAM PC-X1
Rear Derailleur SRAM XO1 DH 7-Speed
Shifter Pods SRAM XO1 DH 7-Speed
Handlebar Renthal V2 Fatbar 800mm, 30mm Rise
Stem Renthal Integra 45x10mm
Grips Renthal Traction Lock-On UltraTacky
Brakes SRAM Code RSC 200/200mm rotors
Wheelset Stan's MK4
Tires Continental Kryptotal Fr/Rr
Seat WTB Silverado Atherton Custom
Seatpost FSA Afterburner



Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.
Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.

Starting with a £4,300.00 GBR frame means a custom-built bike or either component package is for a seriously invested downhill rider. When you consider the elegant construction, small sizing gaps, and excellent DW6 suspension design, this is one premium downhill bike.

Two parts kits exist, the 200M.1 for £8,495 and the 200M.2 which comes in at £6,850. The more expensive of the two comes with Fox Factory suspension and Stans Flow MK4 wheels, which the team has chosen, plus SRAM Code RSC brakes and an XO1 DH shifting package.

On the 200M.2, you’ll find SRAM GX DH shifting and Code R brakes. Both kits use alloy Renthal controls, Continental Kryptotal tires, and a custom WTB Silverado saddle.






Test Bike Setup

When I first inquired about the 200, the mixed-wheeled version of the bike had not been released yet. Only the team was running the smaller rear wheel setup, but I inquired anyway. After providing my body dimensions and speaking with an associate, Atherton Bikes set me up on a Size 6 mullet frame and trimmed the handlebar width to my preferred 780mm.

When it came to prepping the suspension, a 450 lb/in spring was installed on the DHX2 and the fork pressure was advised to be set to 75 psi to match my 75 kg (at the time) weight. Their customer service even suggested baseline settings for both suspension components; 6 clicks from open for both LSR and HSR for this same 75 kg rider and 3 clicks from open HSC, 6 clicks from open LSC. They said this is standard for any baseline setup and is not rider weight dependent.

Given my time spent on a Fox 40 and knowing that the AM.200M.1 was slightly shorter in reach and wheelbase than the Antidote Darkmatter, the last bike I rode with a Fox 40 installed, I knew I would have to increase the fork pressure.

photo
Matt Beer
Location: Squamish, BC, Canada
Age: 36
Height: 5'10" / 178 cm
Weight: 170 lb / 78 kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mattb33r

After a quick parking lot warm up, I questioned the 63-degree head tube angle as it felt much steeper than I anticipated. From there, I increased the fork to 88 psi and closed the rebound dials a few clicks. This proved to be more in line for the stance I was looking for.

The handlebar height was also much higher than I’d prefer. This setup gave the feeling that the grips were putting more downward force on the front axle than a forward force which is something I look for in a downhill bike. That provides confidence to attack into steep lines and push through rough compressions without feeling like the front wheel is sitting heavily underneath your hands.

A few outings later, I traded out the bars for ones with a 20mm rise and increased the stanchion height slightly. My digital inclinometer read out 62-degrees, although I still wanted that front axle further in front of me. I also dropped a psi in the fork and added a fifth-volume spacer.

Interestingly enough, I noticed a few contrary numbers to the bike that Rachel Atherton piloted to first place the Lenzerheide World Cup. At 70 kg and 1.7m tall, she was actually running her Size 6 frame with a firmer spring and softer fork than my preferred setup. Moving to a Size 7 frame with a 470mm reach might have been the better choice for me, but this style of design must work for some.




Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.

Descending

Anticipation built around the first ride on the AM.200M.1 after seeing them in action on the downhill World Cup circuit. Not to discredit the Atherton team riders’ skills, but the AM.200M.1 displayed a magical way of sticking to the ground over bumps and not disrupting the riders’ balance.

Out of the gate, the suspension lived up to the hype - holy moly was it active, but not in a disconcerting, overly-progressive manner. This DW6 system is incredible. It just performed perfectly, over any terrain, and at any time, whether you’re on the brakes or not.

Seeing the team riders use the OChain active spider to isolate chain forces doesn’t come as a surprise because I’d wager that they are looking for every possible solution to forget about the impacts their bike is taking, but the DW6 suspension frees up the chain tension massively. The best way to describe it is like a chain-less Horst-link design.

At the beginning of the travel, it’s sensitive without plummeting deep past the sag mark. The progression is predictable and seems to come on early, instead of ramping too late and hard. The bike stays high in the travel to offer support to push against and generate speed too. Churning over the crankarms also produces instant speed. It’s certainly not sluggish to sprint away on or cumbersome to pump through rollers either.

When you do get on the binders, the geometry doesn’t falter by pitching forward from the braking forces and becoming steeper, like some Horst-link bikes can be guilty of. As a rider who stands tall on the bike and is more prone to those effects due to an upright position on the bike, I appreciate the settled, and active braking characteristics.

This isn’t a frame that will rattle you to death as you hold on through miles of braking bumps either. Maybe there’s something to those round tubes that reduces the vibrations. I thought some of that could come from the alloy wheels, so I chucked on a set of Reserve DH wheels to compare. Those added a fair bit of stiffness through the corners but I never felt any harsh feedback through the frame itself.

photo
I notice that Rachel Atherton has increased the padding along the chainstay and under the brake hose on her bike. All of the team members are running OChain drivetrain dampers but chain feedback was of little concern on the AM.200M.1 for me.


All of the cables that feed into the internal guides remained nearly rattle free, with the one exception of the brake hose along the chainstay. I noticed Rachel’s bike had an extra piece of rubber tape here and along the drive-side, adding another level of damping to the frame. A zip tie took care of the little noise that the brake hose produced, and despite the chainstay protector looking on the thin side, I never noticed any noises from the chain slapping around.

As much as I loved how the suspension was taking care of business behind me, I thought the geometry could stretch out further. Entering steep corners wasn’t so much of an issue, since the bike was plenty maneuverable, but when it came to blown out, high speed berms, I had the feeling that the front wheel wanted to tuck in and was less predictable than the longer, slacker bikes I’d been accustomed too.

I mentioned earlier on how I experimented with the fork pressure, bar height, and even backed off the rear shock’s low-speed compression to help the bike tip back and relax. I bet I’d gain more confidence with the front axle further away from my feet, whether that would be from a longer reach, slacker head angle, or possibly both, is another question.




Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.
Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.

Technical Report

WTB High Tail saddle: Given what the Atherton family heritage has accomplished in the mountain bike world, I too would stamp the name all over the machine we'd created too. When moving around the bike though, I found the width to be a touch on the large side and would personally look for a saddle that's slightly narrower. However, I appreciated a bit of extra cushion to rest on and the rounded nose that slopes out of the way.

Renthal Traction Lock-On UltraTacky grips: Have you ever picked up someone else's bike and thought about how many hours of sweat and dirt have broken them down to a gooey mess? That's what these felt like right out of the box. The rubber is also quite thin and the plastic sleeve underneath can be felt on impacts. I love soft, tacky grips, especially Renthal's push-on options but these felt too gross to bear and didn't accompany me on the inaugural ride.

Stan's Flow MK4 wheels: Throughout the 200M review the alloy wheels saw their fair share of sideways landings and sharp edges in the bike park and on other shuttle tracks. There did come a point where the spoke tension became noticeably softer and required a parking lot true, but the rims themselves never suffered any dings. Occasionally, I'd hear the odd pop of a freehub pawl missing an engagement point but they never failed.




Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.

Which Model is the Best Value?

Well, if you’re eyeing up any of the Atherton bikes, I’d wager that you have decent disposable income and you may as well go for the premium build kit, or grab a frame and build your own dream bike.

The 200M.2 isn’t a cheap bike either, but I think if you’re in the market for this bike, you want all the fixing. Both the suspension and brakes and worthwhile upgrades with unarguable performance benefits of workmanship and adjustability.

Even though I had my reservations about the stance of the Size 6 test bike, opting for a custom frame or stepping a size up might solve this hiccup.




Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.
Atherton AM.200M.1
Antidote Darkmatter - photos Satchel Cronk
Antidote Darkmatter

How Does It Compare?

It’s wild how incredibly close the geometries of these two beautifully crafted bikes appeared on paper and yet how opposite they rode. On paper, they have virtually the same head angle and wheelbase at 63 degrees and 1280mm (when the Darkmatter was set up with mixed wheels). The AM.200M.1 has 5mm less BB drop and a chainstay that is 8mm longer, but keep in mind that the Darkmatter has a rearward axle path.

Combined with a firmer suspension feel off the top of the travel, that lengthening chainstay makes the Darkmatter slightly less compliant and manevaurable at lower speeds.

Both bikes eat square edge hits and stay glued to the ground when mobbing straight down battered trails. Under braking, they both grip well but the 200M slightly edges out the high pivot machine.

The standout difference between them is the high-speed stability and trust in the front wheel. I always felt like the front end of the 200M was too high and upright for my liking.




Atherton Bikes AM.200M.1 Review. Photos by Alex Hinkson.


Pros

+ DW6 suspension design is supple with predictable progression.
+ Suspension remains active and neutral under braking.
+ Exquisite and adaptable construction that offers custom sizing.

Cons

- A boutique frame comes at a cost.
- Dynamic geometry/advised frame size held back the capability of the suspension.
- For the price, every last detail, like the brake hose routing, should be perfected.





Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe AM.200M.1's carbon construction and complex DW6 suspension linkage has a brilliant mix of sensitivity and forgiveness in one hand, but in the other lies a supportive and robust bike. That's an elusive combination that I've yet to find in any other downhill bike.

The only drawback was the minor hesitation I had through the front end of the bike in high-speed turns. Despite various suspension and control setups, the only resolution I can see would be up-size and possibly opt for a slacker head angle.
Matt Beer






Author Info:
mattbeer avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2001
389 articles

183 Comments
  • 121 1
 What a treat, DH bike review on a Monday of the only frame that money can buy that made it onto this week's Elite M podium.
  • 64 1
 Correcting myself. Luca managed 5th on a very much available and more affordable Canyon Sender.
  • 21 0
 @NickMT: either way, it's been a fantastic start to the race season for them.
  • 2 14
flag gearbo-x (Jun 19, 2023 at 9:42) (Below Threshold)
 Holy pedal kickback !!
  • 17 0
 @NickMT: you might want to recheck their inventory. the sender hasn't been in stock for months, and they dont even have the 2023 frames posted yet.
  • 16 0
 @moroj82: What a surprise...said no one who ever clicked on the Canyon websites with intent to buy the same day the urge hit them.
  • 4 0
 @gearbo-x: username checks out
  • 1 22
flag on-the-move (Jun 19, 2023 at 20:18) (Below Threshold)
 Funny isn't. DH isn't going exist soon because parents are going to opt for the cheaper trial bike options when buying their groms first bike, even if its second hand. Eventually there wont be as many up and coming riders.
  • 9 0
 @bikes-arent-real: you need to come visit the southeast USA. DH is booming around here.
  • 65 4
 Thank God for chair lifts, imagine lugging that thing up the hill...
  • 20 4
 I get TIred just thinking about it.
  • 30 4
 Chairlift or not, you're bond to get tired eventually.
  • 19 5
 @big-red: AM already tired just lugging at it
  • 5 1
 I guess if you try you will eventually get acCustomed.
  • 3 30
flag tacklingdummy (Jun 19, 2023 at 14:24) (Below Threshold)
 Chairlifts and shuttles are like ebikes. Wink
  • 13 1
 Hiking the bike up gives some Bonding time.
  • 66 7
 Unpopular opinion: actually seems like not a bad value for a titanium/carbon ride that you can customize a la carte style.
  • 34 0
 That's not an unpopular opinion, and exactly what the review says. It's premium, and comes at a cost. It's not expensive for what it is, it's just... Expensive
  • 13 2
 Yeah, they list the price as a con, but I think for what it is, that’s not really fair.
  • 6 0
 @TheR: For real. It's not much more expensive than other DH rigs with that sort of pedigree and performance.
  • 14 1
 @MT36: Actually I think a v10 with a similar setup might cost more.
  • 20 0
 @MT36: Looking at the price for an Atherton 150 and comparable frames. Yeti 160 is $1,000 more, and it’s about the same as a Santa Cruz Megatower. Between the three bikes, I’m going with an Atherton, which I can customize to my size. The Yeti in particular seems like a crime at that price.
  • 12 0
 @TheR: Yeah thats what I noticed too. I give a lot of credit to Atherton bikes for their price points. I hope they make it with their business, not just because they are amazing athletes, but think they are really on to something.
  • 2 0
 Yeah, I think suitable geometry is a very, very important quality so if that makes it a bit more expensive than a mass produced frame where you might compromise a bit more on the geometry, it isn't so bad. If you're happy with what you get, you'll also find yourself looking less or less soon for your next potential bike. So you could say you'd spread the cost over more rides or more years of riding.

That said, more (standard) sizing options also implies you'll also find yourself in between more sizes. All these options only mean so much if you can actually pick the one that suits you best. Which basically implies that the dealer should have all sizes in stock for test rides. That might be doable for a "Specialized Bikes Experience Center", but near impossible for a small builder making quite expensive bikes. It is to be expected that Matt questions whether another standard size might suit him slightly better, but it is a bummer that still continues on a size he feels is a compromise. And then writes his review based on that, to be read for the majority of potential customers. Yes, I don't expect the majority of potential Canyonon Neurononon customers would read that review on Pinkbike, but for a top level boutique DH bike like this one, I believe it to be the case.
  • 2 0
 @TheR: Not sure on the import rules in the states, but at least for Canada the prices seemed comparable until factoring in the import costs and shipping which was a shame. Same goes for canyon - the prices here suddenly look much worse when you get to the checkout box.
  • 38 2
 False. Lugged carbon has always been hot.
  • 2 0
 It was sooooo hot in the 1980's and 1990's when galvanic corrosion led to frames coming apart. So hawt!!
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: ya know I was wondering if anyone recalled the Vitus, Raleigh and Miyata builds from back then.. of course different materials, glues etc and surely some heroic metalurgist / industrial chemist will chime in.. but I worked in a shop back then and dealt with the horror. I like the Athertons all in, the bike is sweet looking too. But I am haunted AF to this day.
  • 1 0
 @jgottya1: Titanium is one of the most cathodic metals, its potential differential is the most similar to carbon among structural metals (gold lugs aren't a good idea).

Alu is anodic AF
  • 1 1
 maybe a bit less hot this week in the submarine design biz!?
  • 32 0
 Came of the PVC plumbing, stayed for the axle path traced on a cardboard box. Please do this for every review @mattbeer
  • 26 2
 I don’t understand the hate regarding aesthetics/method of construction. Personally I think it looks great. Those comparing it to plumbing ABS pipe and fittings probably have never seen a day of working in the trades in their life… even a skilled plumber’s work is a sight to behold when laid-out and executed like a true professional. Maybe it’s just me.
  • 7 1
 When these bikes first came out and before they were branded Atherton, everyone thought the concept was the greatest thing ever. Now that the concept had been branded and everyone has seen the price, (some) hoes mad.
  • 5 2
 Folks who buy a bike because of the way it looks are probably not riding their bikes the way they're designed, just saying, aesthetics are for urban SUV's.
  • 14 2
 @sanchofula: can you explain to me why form and function must be mutually exclusive?
  • 8 1
 @TheR: doubt he can explain why they don’t go together. The two can go together. If your dropping this kind of coin you should have a bike that you think looks good.
  • 24 0
 Can’t wait for the review of the AM170. Curious to see how it stacks up in todays crop of enduro bikes
  • 19 1
 I've ordered one, can't really see how it will be anything other than excellent given the geo, dev/test team, and how their other bikes gave been received. With so many sizes it's almost a custom fit even without the bespoke option. Got to love the completely regressive UK tax break that is the cycle-to-work scheme!
  • 3 0
 AM170 looks to be a super capable enduro bike that wouldn't be too big to be your only bike. You could short-stroke the rear for 155-160 for trail, and the 64 deg HA / 343 BB / 440 rear center would be pretty good as an all-rounder.
I love my V2 Sentinel and the AM170 looks like a Super-Sentinel to me, similar to what you get when adding a Cascade link.
  • 1 0
 @chrissampson2: what kind of discount do you get on the scheme?
  • 2 0
 @blackpudding: up to 40% depending on your tax band.

Part of the reason bikes are so expensive in the UK.
  • 2 0
 @BarneyStinson: It can actually get closer to 50% at one particular point in the tax bands.
  • 4 0
 @sargey2003: ... Do you guys have like ten bikes each? I would
  • 1 0
 @blackpudding: uh uh, only one allowed at a time, paid back over year(s)
  • 2 0
 @sargey2003: if your are earning that much, do you care?
  • 1 0
 The downside, unless it's changed, is the employer technically owns the bike and there's an additional payment to make at the end of the lease. You could give the bike back, but what on earth is the employer going to do with the bike....
  • 2 0
 @CrookedCrank: My employer back in the UK realised I'd left the country with "their" bike and the emails went surprisingly far up the HR and Finance! As I was working for the same people, but in a different country I just paid the remainder to avoid any problems for them and me.

In the end the bike got stolen and even after I'd given them the full paper work the insurer decided to pay out the full value of the bike less 200CHFs so I might have made a small profit Smile
  • 1 0
 @jjhobbs: not true, there's no legal limit but there might be a limit applied by your employer.
  • 2 0
 @sargey2003:I think it can technically exceed 50% if you're in the 45% band and your employer opts to pass on their National Insurance savings. Hence why it's such a regressive perk (the higher your salary, and the more you spend on a toy, the greater the government subsidy). I'm not complaining though Wink
  • 2 0
 @CrookedCrank: most schemes now appoint you as the disposal agent at the end of the scheme term for a nominal £1 fee, so this amounts to nothing more than a technicality. If you leave your employer before you've paid them back then you'll have to pay the difference of course. Most people choose to pay the salary sacrifice over 12 months.
  • 1 0
 @jjhobbs: that's down to your employer. If you use the green commute initiative scheme then 1) no extra admin fees or anything at the end of it 2) you can pay over 5 years.

The other schemes that are tied to the major retailers take away benefits of the scheme to both the employee and the employer
  • 1 0
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: yeah we use GCI and cyclescheme. Atherton bikes only support cyclescheme I believe, but it's a pretty good scheme still.
  • 2 0
 @L0rdTom: I have no issue with higher earners paying more tax - they can afford it and a flat rate would be regressive.

I'm not a fan of stealth taxes tho, which is what happens between £100k & £120k.
  • 1 0
 @sargey2003: completely agree that dropping the personal allowance after 100k is a strange way of raising a tax bracket.
  • 1 0
 @L0rdTom: That's a problem that most people in the UK would love to have!
  • 1 0
 @chrissampson2: have you sat on one? I tried the dh bike and found there wasn't enough heel clearance. Otherwise I'd probably be in the queue as well
  • 22 0
 Weagle's whole thing about closely guarding his kinematic graphs is silly. Anyone with a measuring tape and a copy of Linkage x3 can figure them out, so he might as well just tell us and save the hassle.
  • 8 0
 We’ll then show us!
  • 16 33
flag blowmyfuse (Jun 19, 2023 at 10:39) (Below Threshold)
 It's not "closely guarded". It's just that to him, the curve is the equivalent of telling you a bowl of soup has salt in it.

The guy maps out far more things into the design of a frame than most minds can bother having explained.

Heck, if he had it his way, he would design each bike for that specific person, their exact body dimensions, the track they're racing that weekend, their specific body weight, he'd set the shocks up personally to ensure they sync with his intentions for the kinematics, anti-squat, yaw, stiction...blah, blah, blah.

I'll ride whatever DW tells me to because the dude sees in 3D what we see is a stick figure.

His mind is an MRI. Ours is an X-ray.

I'm a #fanboi . My pronouns are yee/haw. Beer
  • 10 1
 @freeridejerk888: buy me a 200m.1 to measure and I'll be happy to post up the curves!
  • 29 0
 @blowmyfuse: Easy there. He’s an engineer. He didn’t hand the stone tablets down to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
  • 3 1
 Very small changes in this design produce drastic changes in kinematic, I think it would be hard to perfectly emulate.
  • 10 0
 @blowmyfuse: well, he hasn't won a lawsuit yet and how did the Trust fork turn out?
  • 1 5
flag blowmyfuse (Jun 20, 2023 at 9:40) (Below Threshold)
 @jaydawg69: You're trash talking a guy with your resume?

Throwing rocks from down there is sad. Beer up and try to be almost exceptional. Beer
  • 4 1
 @blowmyfuse: you are just bitter with all your downvotes.... DW is just a little too arrogant for my liking and think there are better suspension designs out there.
  • 3 0
 @jaydawg69: I don’t have a problem with the guy personally — I don’t know him. I’m sure he’s an above average suspension engineer with a lot of passion and confidence in his designs. I don’t have a problem with him or his concepts, or deny he has knowledge beyond my own.

That said, I owned a bike with a DW suspension for a couple years and was underwhelmed by the experience. It was fine, but not the ultimate thing I was led to believe it would be. Significant bob on the climbs, harsh on descents. Now, I know suspension design isn’t all to blame — maybe it was the frame design, the shock, or the shock set up. But I’m going to say this — the concentric single pivot on my current bike climbs better and is far better on descents. Maybe there was a time DW surpassed all other platforms, but a lot of other designs have caught up.
  • 4 0
 @TheR: he may have lots of knowledge but so do many others.... He has a niche and that's great for him and people who like his design. I don't think there was a time when DW surpassed others, 4 bar style linkages have been around way before and wasn't his design very similar to Outland? I think it's just fancy marketing over the "the best" suspension.
  • 14 0
 I’m confused starts saying he spoke to the company and was recommended one size. By the end of the article Matt says he needs the bigger size. How can that not be huge negative given the cost of the frame and inability to demo one for an actual paying customer
  • 6 0
 How is it different than any other companies bikes? Outside of test riding multiple sizes of a bike there is always risk of a bike not fitting perfectly when you blindly order something. Size charts and even detailed recommendations can only go so far as no one else can really ever completely understand another persons preferences and riding style.
  • 14 0
 I love the look of these bikes, but I imagine buying one, turning up at Dyfi, Dan seeing my woeful riding, giving me that look of his, and then taking it back off me!
  • 2 0
 I do think that when I see riders on Atherton bikes at Dyfi, you would feel an extra pressure to up your game Big Grin
  • 10 0
 If you can't find 1 of the 12 sizes available that works for you and have to go custom, you are a diva. I want one of these frames so bad. Throw my carbon dorado up front and it would be beyond gorgeous.
  • 4 0
 That would look AMAZING with a Carborado.
  • 1 7
flag baca262 (Jun 19, 2023 at 12:30) (Below Threshold)
 @mammal: overkill 9000
  • 1 0
 I agree, but it makes the stakes pretty high — make sure you order the right size or be really dissatisfied with a very expensive mistake. I don’t think sizing is rocket science, but man, I’d hate with so many options to pick the wrong one!
  • 5 4
 @baca262: Oh yeah, WAY better with an over-abundant Orange monstrosity attached to that carbon machine.
  • 16 0
 @TheR: Picking your perfect size is easy - select the model that you lik on our website, chose a frame colour and graphic ( there's just "simple" rn) and the website will take you to ur fit calculator ,,, enter your height in mm, armspan fingertip to finger tip and your inseam and the fit calculator will suggest your perfect size - to the nearest standard size, and also show how close to the perfect custom size ( for most riders thats within 1 or 2mm and standard works absolutely great... If you are feeling unsure at all we happily support with a sales consultation with a bit more info about your riding history, preferences and usual riding location/terrain we can be more confident still in finding your perfect-fit bike. Give it a go! and if you have any questions mail us on sales@athertonbikes.com
  • 1 0
 @Athertonbikesteam: Thank you! Appreciate the information.
  • 1 0
 @TheR: yeah thanks indeed. That was exactly the same question I had in mind.

So great that so many companies and pro riders are on Pinkbike and even occasionally get involved in the comments.
  • 1 0
 @mammal: irony everyone? nope?
  • 1 0
 These are really nice, but if a stock bike from a mainstream brand doesn't "work" for you-you're already a diva.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: Any mainstream brand, or does one need to scour every mainstream bike offering on the planet before finding out if they're a "diva"?
  • 14 3
 wait. no high pivot? no idler? no overcomplicated linkage? is this like from 2015 or sth?
  • 24 2
 idk the price is for sure from 2023
  • 16 0
 I might argue that the linkage is still pretty complicated on this thing
  • 4 0
 Look again, there is an entire DW link set up just behind the bb instead of a main pivot, then that linkage drives a Horst Link style swing arm. Including the upper shock mount that makes at least 14 bearings.
  • 1 0
 I mean, it still does have a complicated linkage down by the bottom bracket. The chainstay connects to the front triangle with two separate links. thats like 8 bearings.
  • 2 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: I think it actually has 18 total bearings !
  • 2 2
 ...Lugs Trumps All at the moment, my lugs, my lugs, my lugs, my lovely lady lugs
  • 1 0
 2016 basically
  • 12 0
 This is lighter then my trail bike and its has a dual crown.
  • 15 0
 My trail bike has a dual crown
  • 4 0
 Lighter than my Privateer 141 too. Frown
  • 1 0
 Dual crown AND DH casing tyres! My trail bike weights almost the same with a single crown fork and trail casing tyres.
Can't we put any helium gas in tyres and hollow parts to cheat a bit?
  • 1 0
 What’s your trail bike? My XL Slash 8 is 37.1 lbs…
  • 4 0
 @rydog450r: Aluminum Stumpjumper EVO with DH tires and coil front/rear. 38.5 lbs. I think my bike and this DH are either ends of their respective spectrum but still pretty impressive for the Atherton.
  • 2 0
 I blame those heavy dropper posts.
  • 3 0
 @onetrykid: you're not wrong... I've got a 240 mm 34.9 oneup on mine
  • 4 0
 @rydog450r: don't forget those dinner plate sized 12 spd cassettes.
  • 10 0
 Win on sunday (saturday) sell (full review) on Monday
Matt must have had this since well before Rachel's win last week, so brilliant crystal ball work from the Athertons.
  • 3 0
 If only he had known Kolb would win at Leogang on the same bike 2 days before the review drop Wink
  • 1 2
 @SonofBovril: That's what I mean. Matt hasn't done this review (including getting the bike sent to him) in 9 days, so he definitely hasnt done it in 2 days.
But I wonder if Atherton HQ pushed him to drop it now, there may never be a better time...
  • 8 2
 I think you uploaded the wro!g picture for the graph of the axle path? Looke like a bit of gear cable on a piece of cardboard?
  • 2 0
 Ha! I thought the exact same thing when I first scrolled through on my phone.
  • 7 0
 Would bang... Into a tree
  • 3 0
 Beautiful and capable bikes.

Having played with the configurators myself, they seem to recommend some pretty small sizes which gave me quite a bit of pause, personally.

It's like I trust my bike sizing convictions, but maybe not enough for a oneoff $5K frame that would be hell to sell if it didn't work.
  • 1 0
 Speak to the team at Atherton bikes, they could probably help you out
  • 2 0
 I’ve never ridden or owned a downhill bike, nor am I likely to either (local terrain, ability speed). However, if I did magically find myself with enough skill, spends and sends for one… it’s be this bike. It just looks so RIGHT.
  • 3 1
 Funny that the reviewer complained about high speed stability and there's an inch or more of stanchion above the top crown. Should have lowered the forks in the clamp if "when it came to blown out, high speed berms, I had the feeling that the front wheel wanted to tuck."
  • 3 1
 In the review he mentions adjusting the stanchions...
  • 1 1
 @SonofBovril: He actually went the wrong direction to help high speed stability though, because he felt the front end was too high. It says he "increased stanchion height." This would actually make the front end busier and less stable at high speeds.
  • 2 0
 Love the bike. Love the number of sizes. Wonder if at some point they’ll make the lugs for common sizes more cost effectively??

The made to measure option is rad, but no need to 3d print the lugs for common “stock” sizes.
  • 3 1
 all these people freaking out about lugged carbon need to go look up the history of carbon bikes. aluminum lugs and carbon tubes is literally the oldest carbon frame technology there is. Trek OCLV in the 80s. look it up.
  • 1 3
 Nope-OCLV was carbon tubes, carbon lugs. Look it up.
  • 2 0
 i've got an early 90's specialized epic ultimate frame with carbon tubes bonded into titanium lugs. pretty trick stuff for the time.
  • 2 1
 @brighterlights: Trek did make bonded frames with aluminum lugs. Never with the OCLV moniker attached to them. Your "source" is incomplete. Aluminum lugged bikes were sold with the "composite" moniker initially, then with the ZX moniker in later years.

www.restoration.bike/bike-catalogs/trek-catalogs
look at the 1992 pdf catalog.

You don't know what you're talking about-and it shows.
  • 2 1
 @xy9ine: Those frames had a nasty habit of coming apart at the head tube. Several racers got very, very injured as a result.

The issue with metal lugs and carbon frames is that galvanic corrosion can occur at the joints. This is pretty well sorted out today, but I'd avoid putting any significant torque through an old bonded frame.
  • 1 0
 Had the Renthal push On Kevlar grips and also found them much too thin. I measured them at 28mm diameter while installed. About 4mm smaller than most other grips. Really nice material but not comfortable at all. Very happy with the Oury v2 single compound I'm using instead.
  • 2 0
 All well and good but pricewise not really. Don't care about yeti or SC or any expensive bike l. Commencal supreme V5 is much more affodable and certainly has won more worlcups out there if not the most.
  • 1 0
 Much more affordable? Checking real quick a top spec Supreme v5 is $7.4k with an alloy e13 wheelset, GX, and mostly in house components. Atherton is $8.3k with an alloy Stans wheelset, XO1, pretty maxed out spec. Especially considering Commencal's reputation for reliability, I wouldn't call it a better deal.

If you want a great deal on a DH bike, YT is selling carbon Tues's rn for $4.7k with basically the same spec as the Atherton but an addition of a carbon wheelset...
  • 1 0
 @IsaacWislon82: I am talking about the frameset only. I guess I didn't mae that clear. yes YT's are sick and affordable. I agree to that 100%.
  • 2 0
 Oh, cool it's one of those nice bikes for a specific type of riding I'll be too old to use by the time I can afford one again. It's a nice example of one of those bikes for sure though.
  • 1 0
 I am assuming many in Pinkbike also snowboards or skis. There are so many private board builders and shapers out there that fueled the snowboard/ski customization and shape revolution.
I am looking forward to a day where the same becomes true for mountain bikes. 3D designing is not a rocket science (which I taught myself) and welding is also within reach of people. I hope additive manufacturing comes to a state where it becomes much more accessible and cheaper for people to build lug or frame prototypes for themselves. Building carbon tubes is already very much within reach and people are doing it without much issue. The current rate at which bike prices are increasing and how expensive bikes in general are points to a very unsustainable future where only rich and well off peple can enjoy the sport. It is already out of reach of most people.
  • 1 0
 I really want an Atherton. Just the look of the frames with the ti lugs and carbon tubes makes me blush, let alone how well they seem to ride. Maybe I'll get the 170 frame to replace my Spire frame at some point...
  • 1 0
 @mattbear sizing does seem on the small side, I'm 178cm (without shoes) too with a 0.99 ape index and it recommends a 470. Having tested a 460 AM150 and a 480 AM170 I'm pretty confident 470 is the right size for me.
  • 1 1
 So the elephant in the room is the price. No doubt it is special and part of the unique selling point. But... Could this cost not be much cheaper by using CNC alu lugs. They already use a CNC rocker. The straight carbon tubes are not expensive items compared to how normal carbon frames are made. So simple straight carbon tubes and customizable CNC'ed alu lugs - maybe this could work
  • 1 0
 This is so sick. Reminds me of a modern (and effing sick to the max) kranked and Kristy deamons era rig. Love straight tubes, lugs, and junctions. Monocoque is too slick for an ol dirtbag like me
  • 2 0
 Two really rad things in bikes:

1. This bike looks so dialed and new school.

2. Neko's bike looks so dialed and old school.

Two really rad things in bikes.
  • 1 0
 Stan's hubs exist in Schrodinger's state, neither failing nor perfectly functional, until you open them up, and find that they have exploded in ways that defy conventional physics.
  • 1 0
 Matt, did you ever mess around with the fork offset itself? That has been a huge eye opener for me to change those feelings of the wheel tucking or too far underneath my weight.
  • 3 0
 Still looks like a key lock railing though.
  • 4 1
 Stan’s Wheels with engagement issues at that price? Interesting.
  • 2 0
 What offset clamp was on test bike. Could be the reason for HA feeling steep and “wheel too close”
  • 2 0
 Yep. Came to say that too. Plus, we all know how unboxing a new DH fork & thinking the dials being set to what "I normally set them at" can be like.

Have there ever been two of the same fork come out of the box and ride the exact same?
Seems like a mythical creature.
  • 3 0
 Angleset headset and different offset crown........problem solved
  • 2 0
 @mattbeer How did you like the tyres? Conti seems to be doing well on the DH WCs.
  • 1 0
 Also,how is robot bikes different than Atherton's. Something is weird here....
dirtmountainbike.com/features/designed-humans-built-robots
  • 5 0
 Don't know if you are joking but yeah, basically Robot Bikes became Atherton Bikes I believe.
  • 1 0
 @alexhyland: Yep, it is pretty much the same company and tech. Funny you refer to the Dirt magazine as Ed Haythorntwaite who also works for Robobike/Atherton also used to be a tech editor at Dirt. I think he even reviewed a Stanton bike here for Pinkbike one day (as before/during Dirt he also was a steel frame builder).
  • 1 0
 @vinay: I really miss dirtmag.

Was a great magazine, writing and top notch photography as well.
  • 1 0
 @SBdhmtb: Yeah, they're still on my shelf (everything since early 2004). That said, I think the Misspent Summers stuff does by large capture the vibe even though we'll never get Billy "Trailstar" Thackray back. Misspent Summers is by James McKnight who has been an editor during their later years, though I think they have Mike Rose on board too now. And Jon Gregory who used to do the Dirt graphics during some wild and colorful years makes you feel right at home. Despite their efforts, Pinkbike still seems to be locked inside the efficiency of a website, having everything aligned horizontally and vertically. Jon isn't having any of that. So yeah, I'm buying pretty much all of their publications (and they sometimes send in some smaller stuff for free). One other magazine I'm subscribed to is Cranked which basically started when Dirt went out of print. One thing that's missing but which I couldn't care much about are the product reviews (even though the ones from Dirt could actually be fun). The other could be some experiments they used to do. Well before someone here "invented" Downcountry, they already tried to find out how hard you could push XC bikes like the Cannondale Rush (dirtmountainbike.com/bike-reviews/bike-test-cannondale-rush) and the Specialized Epic. I think that's one of the main differences between how they reviewed bikes and how Pinkbike does it. Pinkbike reviews the complete bike the way it is being sold. It is almost like an excuse as, except for the true consumer intend on consuming only, no one will ride the bike the way it is spec'd. It was almost standard practice for us in the shop back in the days to trade some cockpit parts for what suits the customer best and similarly, Dirt would almost always replace stem and tires before they'd even bother riding it. Obviously, complete bikes come more sensibly spec'd now so there may arguably be less need for their approach. But yeah for the other stuff, you can still find some quality print magazines there Smile .
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Ed Haythorn no longer works for Atherton bikes and hasn't for a few years
  • 1 0
 *Haythornthwaite
  • 1 0
 @ejm1991: Ah, thanks for the update. Do you know what he's doing now? He doing production when with Robotbike. But yeah, I can imagine welding steel bikes is actually more fun. If he's just using that pink glue I think he's using, the fun stops soon enough. It smells like rotten fish, which gets old pretty quick if it is your day job.
  • 1 0
 There's 12 sizes and the option for customisable geometry and yet the reviewer still manages to complain about the geo not being right lol.
  • 2 0
 I think the complaint is more of the recommended sizing than the range.
  • 2 0
 Very cool. Looks tiny in the first pic for some reason.
  • 1 0
 Spot on synchronization... Atherton has some supreme forces on it´s side recently though
  • 3 1
 If only I were good enough to appreciate this bike.
  • 5 2
 Would buy to stare at.
  • 1 0
 Want! Chances are the only bike available in my wheel size due to the customisation..... Just need £10-12k .........
  • 1 0
 I have seen and touch one in person,it is an absolute beast of bike. Quite light for a DH bike.
  • 2 0
 Reminds me of an Iron horse Sunday
  • 1 0
 Just like my '30 year old Giant Cadex. Metal lugs and carbon tubes. Visionary :-D
  • 1 0
 Great bikes but be aware the lead time is at least 7 months and possibly a lot more.
  • 1 0
 Someone should update that intro…
  • 1 0
 Finally started production ehh
  • 1 0
 Are you running Hayes brakes with SRAM levers?
  • 2 1
 Sick bike, but 10.5K pricey. Yikes.
  • 1 1
 I get that its most likely a fantastically riding machine… it just looks so plain and not a sexy bike at all.
  • 1 1
 Cedri is horrible,jeez just watched da race.hes so French..he doesn't give a shit.
  • 1 0
 All 3 links rotate in the same direction
  • 1 0
 Matt is the goat of bike testing.
  • 1 0
 I'd like to see Paul Aston get an Atherton built to his custom geo.
  • 1 0
 They aren't too keen on custom length chainstays. Which is exactly what he would ask for.
  • 1 3
 lugged carbon - the most classic innovation, is now reinvigorated to the modern cyclist. That team really hit the spot with these bikes!
  • 1 1
 the results in world cup dh are the only review I need of this bike
  • 1 0
 Looks fun.
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