February 19th, 2024

Luke Marshall brings over 20 years of experience to his role as a technical writer for MBUK magazine. He is a gravity-focused rider with a history of racing downhill, chalking up over 150 races from Dragon Downhills to UCI Downhill World Cups. With an engineering degree in his back pocket and his love of speed, it’s perhaps no surprise that Luke fell for the Atherton 130. Luke put the AM.130.1 through its paces for over a month, navigating the natural tech trails in the Forest of Dean and tearing up the diverse terrain at Bike Park Wales.

We’d recommend a full read of Luke’s in-depth review over on MBUK

But here are some highlights to whet your appetite … Thanks Luke for such a considered and in-depth piece !!


LM:  “The Atherton 130 is a thrill seekers trail bike that hits harder than its stats on paper suggests. It’s versatile, comes with meticulous handmade craftsmanship and head-turning looks… it’s my new benchmark for short-travel trail bikes! So much so, I had to check they didn’t send the A.150 bike down instead. The DW6 platform offers an incredible balance between sensitivity and support, turning the 130mm travel Atherton 130.1 into a potent trail rocket.

The A.130.1 defies easy categorisation. While its short travel might hint at a climbing preference, that's not its biggest forte. The AM.130.1 is a solid climber, happily zipping around the mountainside with a notable absence of demoralising bob while seated pedalling.

But on the descents, it truly shines … Its small bump compliance is notable and deals with rumble strip trail chatter efficiently. It irons out those small speed-sapping trail imperfections and high-frequency bumps with the soothing touch of a longer travel bike. Yet, it remains light-footed and eager to respond to any rider input."

This isn’t to say the bike mutes the trail like a plush 160mm travel enduro bike. It doesn’t. But it flutters over bike park rubble and trail centre chunk with a subtle touch that does well to take the sting out of those frustratingly bumpy, but not rough trails. Once speeds pick up and the trail gets rougher, there’s ample support that builds smoothly through its travel. In a blind test I would guess there’s more travel on tap than 130mm. Throw the bike down a black trail littered with jump lines and drops and there’s plenty of support to keep from blowing through its travel while stability through high-load turns inspires confidence. The low bottom bracket and supple beginning stroke also help hunt out grip, and the Xynotal tyres offer more traction and damping than their compound and casing suggest. That gives the bike a more ground hugging ride character than you often get from a short travel trail bike.


The Atherton 130.1 thrives on being pushed hard, no matter the terrain. It impressed me right from the get-go. It’s incredibly capable no matter what trail it's on. The balance of initial suppleness and progressive support promotes hard-charging, and punches above its weight.

It's fun on the flow lines, nimble through jinking tech, and competent when the trails get wild. It’ll climb back up capably and never feel out of place. For riders wanting a great all-rounder that’s light and capable, and a little bit special, the AM.130.1 is worth careful consideration.