A few weeks ago Enduro Mag’s Deputy Editor in Chief put our Atherton 150 to the test, and it’s fair to say he liked it! Pete’s comments summarised here but you can read the entire review on their website … and If you’re tempted we have a great offer this week to celebrate our return to Fort William – see Section 2 .
“World Champion genes meet Formula 1 expertise”
The 2022 Atherton AM.150 in Detail...
The 2022 Atherton AM.150 is a no-frills bike focusing entirely on the necessary things. This includes a chainstay protector, which is very thin but does the job well – namely to dampen the chain and keep the bike running quietly. The frame also includes a bottle cage and a minimalistic down tube protector, which our test bike didn’t have yet. All the cables are routed internally and they remained quiet inside the frame of our test bike despite the fact that they’re not clamped down at the ports.
The Geometry of the 2022 Atherton AM.150
The 2022 Atherton AM.150 is available in a whopping 22 different sizes. The sizes are ordered according to the reach, which goes from 410 mm (size 1) to 530 mm (size 22) in steps of 10 mm. Our size 12 test bike had a reach of 480 mm. While the seat tubes are short across the board (415 mm on the size 12 on test), they don’t always have enough insertion depth for long dropper posts, unnecessarily limiting your freedom of movement and the frame sizes (reach length) you can choose from.*
Dan Brown CEO of Atherton Bikes said “Our bikes have a much lower standover then most brands so there is less seat tube length and therefore less insertion available but we think that the usable dropper for a given frame length more than stands up."
The Custom Spec of our 2022 Atherton AM.150 Test Bike
For our test, the 2022 Atherton AM.150 was specced with FOX suspension. The FOX 36 Factory fork features the highly adjustable GRIP2 damper and was paired with an X2 Factory air shock. For the brakes, we chose SRAM’s CODE RSC four-piston models and had the levers mounted to an 800 mm wide Renthal carbon handlebar. The brakes allow you to adjust both the bite point lever reach without tools and the integrated SwingLink offers quicker engagement and improved modulation, which helps avoid arm pump on long descents. They were combined with 200 mm rotors at the front and rear.
Shifting was taken care of by SRAM’s X01 12-speed groupset, though our cassette only had a 10–50 t range. A bash guard and chain guide ensured that everything stayed put and nothing got damaged. The seat post was a 175 mm FOX Transfer dropper, controlled by the matching remote. It does an impeccable job, but we couldn’t insert it all the way into the frame. The Stan’s NoTubes Flow MK4 rims were fitted with Continental’s latest tires, relying on the SuperSoft rubber compound and a downhill casing: a Krypotal FR up front and RE at the rear. These are the all-round option in the new Continental line-up.
Our Conclusion on the 2022 Atherton AM.150
The AM.150 excels on the flats and the uphills, offering a comfortable riding position and allowing you to fly up every climb thanks to the ultra-efficient rear suspension. Feel like putting in a short sprint? No problem. Quick detour along an uphill trail? Gladly. Even on steep and technical climbs, the front wheel stays planted without much effort on your part, remaining easy to control. The only drawback here are the soft compound and downhill casing of the tires, robbing the Atherton of some of its liveliness.
Therefore, however, you’ll be grinning all the more when the incline changes and gravity takes hold. Aboard the Atherton, we drew an imaginary line from the trailhead straight to the bottom of the valley and followed it all the way down. Once the AM.150 gets rolling, there’s no stopping it and the bike blasts downhill as if it’s on rails. It doesn’t take much work either: the balanced weight distribution and intuitive handling will quickly let you forget how gnarly that rock garden was that you just ploughed through. The excellent suspension also does its job, simply absorbing all hits, drops and the nastiest roots. If you want to get airborne, it offers enough support to preload and pop the bike off any lips and jumps, generating a lot of airtime while offering enough reserves in case you overshoot the landing.
Get on and hold tight. The 2022 Atherton AM.150 rides as if on rails, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the ride with its intuitive and confidence-inspiring handling.
If you do have to change direction – trails rarely follow a straight – the Atherton feels agile and playful, letting you shoot from one berm to the next at warp speed, the supportive suspension allowing you to pump the bike to go faster still. As such, the AM.150 doesn’t care whether you prefer charging over roots and rocks or railing berms and boosting jumps on flow trails. It does exactly what you want it to.
The 2022 Atherton AM.150 is very unique. It's unlikely that you will see two of them on the trails, and it’s sure to draw envious attention. However, it seems somewhat dated with regard to frame details and practical solutions. That said, the AM.150’s performance on the trail easily overshadows this minor complaint, both up- and downhill. Moreover, it’s versatile enough for everything from flowing bike parks to alpine switchbacks and the roughest rocks and roots.