Customer Review: Andy Prior's AM.130X "I've fallen in love......"

December 5th, 2023

Andy Prior is a trail rider with an XC background who lives close to the Surrey Hills in the UK. Andy bought the AM130.X because he likes to progress. He set new PB’s on his first and second runs on the bike… but it was on his first ever visit to Dyfi Bike Park that he really fell in love with the AM130.X…

 Andy is 6 foot 2 tall and bought size 14, build number 279.

AP: I live close to Swinley Forest and the Surrey Hills, both of which are full of mountain bikers! It’s mainly natural forest trails with loam, sand, roots and singletrack with the odd jump line thrown in. If you see more than three rocks in a row that’s a rock garden! I went for the AM130.X (130mm rear travel, 150mm front travel), any more than that, I think I’d feel ‘over-biked’. There is a good community here with lots of local bike shops arranging weekly rides.  I have a group of five close friends I ride with all the time - but we’ll ride with anyone with a bike! One of the lads is a Gas Man who came to remove my old oven; I’ve been riding with him ever since! I’ve got a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter so it’s lovely to see families out in the forest, dad’s towing their kids up with E-bikes and the kids zooming back down. I was out the other day on a new feature, Dad was sessioning whilst Mum and the kids were having a picnic at the top!

I really started riding when I was 14, my Dad was in the RAF and we were posted to Germany,  so I managed to pressure my parents into getting me a touring bike and discovered exploring! I’d pop my Sony Walkman on and cycle solo 60km across Germany to my mates’ house, have tea and ride back again. (Different times!)

Ten years later I discovered MTB  - Freedom, adventure, shared experience, fitness, progression, technology and the search for Flow; that perfect ride, the one where you get back home completely spent but you have a smile on your face and just want to go out and do it again.


Skip forward a couple of decades and I’m in the market for a new bike, looking for something a little different… I looked at the AM150 when the “first 50” were released but I wanted a trail bike so decided not to proceed. Skip a few more years, the AM130 is launched and I find myself standing in a small bike factory in Machynlleth with my parents collecting a 3D printed Titanium and Carbon-tubed, hand-built custom bike, the AM130.X. (Dad and I both have 3D printers and geek out over it so seeing a £1M 3D printer was awesome – I love flashy lights and the latest thing … never tell me NOT to push the RED button!)  Over a coffee at the end of the visit I found out my Mum had watched all the 2023 season DH races! Who knew?

I’ve never been a huge racer myself  - though I did race XC once a month for many years. Prior to Swinley Forest getting managed trails we used to race the Gorrick XC series and the odd ‘Fat Tyre’ challenge – a three-hour orienteering XC ride. Out of interest our team’s name was ‘Team Bar Ends and Bollox’. The name came by as the four of us on the team had a huge pile-up when trying to jump and a mate got his bar-end right in the Crown Jewels! If I’m honest, most of the starts early on a Sunday morning were powered by Saturday evening’s beer... I was never very good and as soon as a ride became a ‘training run’ I stopped as all the fun went out of it.


I guess a little bit of competitive spirit revived in me on my first ride on the AM130. Chatting to Gill while I was collecting the bike, she mentioned that people would quite often get a PB on their very first ride out their new Athy bike. I didn’t believe her.

I have no idea how many bikes I’ve owned, literally dozens and they all feel different, it takes time to set things up and live with the bike before untapping its potential. How could this be any different? I collect the bike, bring it home, set up the cockpit, move the brakes and shifters, roll the bars, pump the tyres, sort the sag, set the Fork and shock to the recommended Fox settings and head out for my first ride at my local (Swinley Forest)  on a recently re-built run called the ‘Berminator’ ; 350m or so of as many tight berms as you can fit in it, it’s short and nothing crazy.

Previous PB 1 minute 4s (and I’ve done it many times)

Very first run on the AM130 – 57s 1st PB

Second run and the AM130 - 54s – 2nd PB

That’s a huge time difference over such a short distance.  (I have to admit I hadn’t taken up the offer to help me with suspension settings and I hadn’t got the suspension setup dialled so it was fast but it felt ‘orrible! Get it right and BAM! The bike is alive. I had a few rides in the local woods to get the thing set up to how I like it; sort the sus and you fly! Even the first time I rode it, it felt like two bikes, one could climb uphill and one had a hidden talent for going back down! It has a taut, tight, stealthy feel, the strength and agility to be a complete blaston the descents, once I’d tweaked my settings, 130mm of rear travel felt amazing, I never ran out of travel or felt it was too little. So now I’m happy, off to Wales and Dyfi Bike Park for the ‘proper’ test!


OMFG. There were two of us, neither had visited before and we knew there was a reputation for this park, it can be intimidating for the un-initiated.  Driving into the car park it was full of vans stuffed with bikes, kit, dogs and more body armor than the army. Signing in, the advice was to session Super Swooper (Red trail) Would the AM130.X (and the rider) hold up? Kit up, jump on the uplift, get to the top, look at the opening feature on Super Swooper…it’s a six-foot, man-size drop onto rock and slate. We’ll take the chicken run to the left, then…

F**k me what a trail…what a trail! It’s a trail of thirds. Top third, rocky open hillside, steep berms and fast. Middle third into the dark woods, deep gullys, slick as buggery and a few more berms, bottom third is called ‘The motorway’ and it’s eye-wateringly fast, kind of double track on shingle\slate mix that takes you back to the carpark via some jumps. This trail is probably the top of my current MTB abilities.

The AM130.X never missed a beat. I never once felt the bike was out of its depth (unlike the rider). It loves steep rocky descents, it loves speed, it loves corners and kept me on it when both tires were sliding in the grease, oh and side note it’s shh super quiet too, no cable rattle, love that! This is the day I fell in love with the AM130X.


I fell in love with Dyfi too! EVERONE was lovely, from the staff, drivers, café, Medic (!) and the other riders! I rode with a good friend of mine and unusually I finished tens of seconds ahead of him; that could be due to many factors, but I sure didn’t feel the bike was slowing me down! In fact, we had a conversation on this exact topic, I said to him that I wasn’t even thinking of the bike as I rode down, all I was concentrating on was looking ahead and choosing where I wanted to go, the bike wasn’t ever an issue or a distraction. I think that is where it gives most confidence, it gives you the space to think rather than distracting you from the trail.  The AM130 has definitely helped me to progress as a rider, notably on the jumps, drops and corners, trying to re-create favorite bike mag front cover photos is pretty fun too!

As I’ve got to the know the bike a bit better I’ve come to really appreciate the amount of thought (and love) that has gone into the design. Did I mention it looks amazing? Or the 22 stock sizes? If you’re a home mechanic it’s awesome; simple, reliable all the cockpit bolts are the same size, this is the first bike I can setup the cockpit with ONE tool! Every component has had some sort of engineering decision as to why it is there. Parts are standard and simple to maintain and replace if needed; it’s a dream!

When I’m out on the trails I get stopped by a real mix of folk, some know the details inside out and some are simply interested in the looks or the manufacturing method but all are interested in the buying process, I know it’s not probably not a relevant option for most non-UK customers but if you get chance it really adds to the experience…

- Imagine, you see a bike you’d like to buy,

- You make enquiries…

- The manufacturer invites you over to look at the range, a tour of the factory, a look behind the scenes, meet and chat with the engineers who design the bike, meet the team who manufacture and build the bikes.

- You get measured for your perfect fitting bike with 22 standard sizes and a custom size option.

- Customize your build with the components YOU want.

- Maybe even meet the world class racing team behind the concept.

- Then watch it being built with real time updates.

- It takes time, but it’s worth it.

- Until, one day…

- It’s built.

- Time to collect.

- You collect the bike from the manufacturer’s own bike park, you have access to their mechanic assisting you in setting things up and an uplift for the day to test things out.

- This is the process offered to me by Atherton Bikes and it felt really special…

-Bike, looks, ride-feel, buying experience, maintenance and progression, all the boxes ticked. Would 100% recommend.