With the announcement of the Athertons leaving Trek World Racing, many were wondering where Dan, Gee, and Rachel would end up. Well, it appears that rather than signing with another bike sponsor, they’ve decided to go their own route, with a brand new bicycle company of their own. Atherton Bikes.
So far, details are pretty slim with a few shots of their first prototype floating around the internet. According to their post on instagram, the first official prototype is a DH bike with a DW linkage that was built using carbon tubes bonded to lugs made from additive manufacturing or metal 3D printing. This will allow the team to make rapid changes to the design of the bike, and even allows for the potential of slightly different geometry to better suit different courses.
If this all sounds familiar, that’s because the concept started with the construction method used by the Robot Bike Company. Joining the Athertons on the project are Robot Bike company co-founders, Ed Haythornthwaite, Ben Farmer, and Andy Hawkins as well as Piers Linney of Dragons’ Den fame (the original version of Shark Tank). Together, the team will offer full customization of every bike frame as early as this year for the first production bikes – which will include the DH bike and a range of trail bikes.
Check out the details from the Atherton site below, and stay tuned!
From Atherton Bikes:
Dan, Gee and Rachel Atherton are excited to announce the launch of their new bike brand, Atherton Bikes. The siblings will partner with renowned suspension designer Dave Weagle and utilise ground-breaking additive manufacturing technologies combined with carbon fibre tubing to “create our ultimate range of bikes.” Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Piers Linney will join as a co-founder of the newly formed company with the introductory Atherton Bikes range scheduled for sale in 2019.
The Atherton Bikes brand has been a lifetime in the making with Dan building his first bike in 1992 when he was just 10 years old. But in recent times the family’s dream of pushing bike development as hard as they push their riding has become irresistible.
Dan Atherton said “It’s always been a dream of mine for us to ride for our own bike company. We’ve ridden for some great brands and we’re proud of the part we’ve played in the development of DH bikes from the Commencal to the Trek Session and trail bikes like the GT Sanction. We’ve always really enjoyed the process, from working with the designers on the early stages through to testing and refining prototypes on the World Cup circuit. But because of the way that the sponsorship system works we’d soon be starting over with a new brand.
I’m enormously grateful for all the opportunities that system afforded us – we all are, but for us it’s always been about pushing the boundaries of the sport. Back in 2003 we started Atherton Racing so that we could to do things the way we wanted, from building our own tracks, to producing edits like the Atherton Project and events like Red Bull Hardline. Now feels like the right time to put our hearts and soul into a range of bikes designed and built our way.”
Gee continues “We will start with what we know best, focusing on high level product designed to be ridden aggressively! For 2019 we’ll race our own prototype bike and we’re planning to bring that DH bike to market, along with a range of trail bikes. We’re working with some amazing guys formerly of Robot Bike Co., and they’ll be an essential part of our start up, they are as passionate about the technology and its potential to disrupt the industry and shake-up the large corporates as we are.”
The Athertons met Ed Haythornthwaite, one of Robot’s founders, when he was Dan’s World Cup mechanic in 2006 and their ongoing friendship was the catalyst for this venture. Ed’s understanding of what works on a bike and his passion for improving a rider’s experience underpins the development of the entire range.
Ed’s co-founders, Ben Farmer and Andy Hawkins both come from an aerospace and Formula 1 background. They are experts in composites and additive manufacturing (metal 3D printing) which allows for full customisation of every bike frame.
Gee said “The additive manufacturing process is so responsive that we’ve been able to test and adapt a series of prototypes that ride like the finished bike; this constant cycle of innovation means that we can get our race bikes dialed much more quickly and that every purchase of a production bike will be at the very forefront of this development.”
Rachel said “The dream has always been to race our own bikes, and the additive manufactured bikes are so exciting and ground breaking – the ultimate bike! Through our entire career we’ve been proud to represent our country and support the next generation of bike riders, so the fact that we can deliver our new brand through a UK based company is just incredible and the icing on the cake for us!
We all believe that having the right bike for you and the stage you are at with your riding can transform your experience. Our big goal is to see kids, all mountain explorers, bike park shredders, racers and e-bikers enjoying our bikes – just saying that sounds mind blowing!
This is a genuine start-up business that we are building from the ground up, it’s going to be a huge undertaking to bring our bikes to market, even with Piers on board to help us. Our learning curve is steep but the dream of bringing Atherton Bikes & our love for riding to everyone is about to be very real!
Piers Linney said “As a rider myself I’m extremely excited to be working with the Athertons to deliver a new product range that meshes my enjoyment of MTB with my passion for new technologies. Exciting times ahead.”