Last week Atherton Bikes teased a new alloy bike as part of its fifth birthday celebrations. Amongst Atherton Bikes' greatest hits of the last five years, which include World Championship and World Cup wins, the Welsh brand shared a picture (below) showing Dan Atherton at Dyfi bike park riding a bike unlike anything that is currently in the Atherton catalog. Alongside the picture a caption read, “Coming soon: The team are working hard on a new Aluminium product for release early this year.”
We gleaned as much as we could from the picture although it was very hard to determine any definite details of this brand-new enduro bike. However, all our questions would have been answered if we had just looked at Gee Atherton's Instagram as he shared a much clearer picture of the frame.
Despite a change of materials, the new alloy enduro bike will feature a lugged construction similar to the titanium-lugged and carbon-tubed bikes they have made so far. The headtube, seat and top tube junction, and bottom bracket and shock mount sections appear to be CNC machined from aluminum and joined by straight aluminum tubing.
The lugged construction certainly simplifies the manufacturing process and presumably, the frames will be made in-house at Atherton Bikes' new facility.
Other than the aluminum, the other big change is the move from a DW6 to the classic Dave Weagle four-bar linkage design. The DW6 was developed with the AM.200 downhill bike and has been used on all of Atherton Bikes frames. The new angular rear triangle is missing a pivot point from the seat stay and the compact link behind the bottom bracket.
As the frame is still clearly in the prototype stages in the image, there are design details that are still to be finalized. Internal routing enters the frame behind the head tube although whether it's fed internally through the rear triangle or simply routed behind the chainstays is unclear. There are no ISCG chain guide mounts on the bottom bracket shell and no bottle cage mounts either, although I am sure the final models will have bosses to mount a bottle cage in the front triangle.
Geometry is still anyone's guess but considering that Dan's test bike is built up with a Fox 38 Factory fork and Fox DHX2 coil rear shock, it's safe to presume that this bike is aimed at tackling some gnarly terrain and will have the numbers to back it up.
As the alloy version uses a lugged manufacturing method, it will also be interesting to see if Atherton Bikes continues offering a huge range of sizes and customizable geometry options on the alloy frame.
Finally, there is the mystery of the black section on the top junction between the top tube and the head tube. It appears to be a cover with a button, although what it's covering is unclear. Could the new bike feature a steering damper like Canyon's K.I.S, an adjustable head angle, or does it house a handy tool kit? Who knows.
Pricing is still unknown, although considering the likelihood of UK manufacturing, factoring in development costs, and competitors' pricing, we speculate it's likely the Atherton Alloy enduro frameset will cost between $2500 / £2000 and $3500 / £3500.
Hopefully, we won't have to wait too long until full details are announced by Athertonbikes.com.