Following a bout of rumours, its now been confirmed that Dan, Gee and Rachel Atherton have launched a bike brand, Atherton Bikes, with plans to take it to retail this year.
Working with former Robot Bike Co staffers, including co-founder Ed Haythornthwaite, as well as Dave Weagle, the new brand promises it will 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.
The Athertons met Haythornthwaite when he was Dan’s World Cup mechanic in 2006 and their ongoing friendship was the catalyst for this venture. 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.
The Atherton Bikes’ founders gave a set of quotes in the official PR statement:
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 Atherton continued: “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.”
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 dialled much more quickly and that every purchase of a production bike will be at the very forefront of this development.”
Rachel Atherton 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.”