GlobalWelsh Connect is live Find out more    | Join Connect
Bethan Payne Bethan Payne Share

Business Spotlight: Atherton Bikes

19 Dec, 2023

Based in Machynlleth, Atherton Bikes are working with industry-leading engineers and designers to create unrivalled, high-performance bikes for athletes and enthusiasts.

Atherton Bikes joined GlobalWelsh’s Business membership programme in 2023. We caught up with the company’s CEO and co-founder, Dan Brown, to find out more and discuss their dreams of dominating the mountain biking world…

Tell me a little bit about Atherton Bikes and your role…

The business began when two groups of people, the Atherton family, and a group of engineers, came together and decided to shake up the biking world. The Atherton family had been competitively riding for around 20 years and our engineers had become experts in additive manufacturing through their work in F1 and aerospace. We knew that we could build something stronger and better for both athletes and biking enthusiasts, so that’s what we did.

In 2019 we launched our first product and took a prototype bike to the World Cup and won. This success was monumental for us as it proved that our engineering design was credible, and our product was capable of winning at the highest level. Since then, we have raised capital which has enabled us to set up an office in Machynlleth, close to The Atherton owned Dyfi Bike Park and a potential workforce already steeped in MTB culture. Now we produce other bike models and ship all over the world.

"Our warranty return rates are almost non-existent in comparison to some competitor brands which are facing an approximate 20% return rate."

What makes you different from other bike manufacturers?

There are a few key things that set us apart from our competitors. Firstly, we print our bikes from titanium powder, using 3D metal printing to print the lugs, meaning there’s no tools used at all. This is an important part of our process as by producing our bikes and parts this way we don’t need to commit to tooling or mouldings, so there’s no heavy upfront cost except from the machine itself. It’s also great from a sustainability angle because 98% of the powder in the machine is re-used and as the tubes are cut to length, we’re limiting potential waste. By using this technology, we have greater variation and can offer between five and six times as many bike frame sizes than our competitors. This perfect fit results in better-performing bikes, we even offer a mm perfect custom size for riders who have less standard proportions.

Another way that we are different is that we’re able to tune in to the material quantity and where that material should be placed on the frame. Using a large amount of computer-generated design work, we’re able to tell the printer exactly where to place the material so we can understand where the loads are on the bikes, which helps us build a stronger bike for the same weight.

Our bikes, for their weight category, are stronger than our competitors and superior to many of the cheaper alternatives coming from the Far East. Our warranty return rates are almost non-existent in comparison to some competitor brands which are facing an approximate 20% return rate.

Overall, if I wanted to pinpoint our USPs, it would be that our bikes fit riders perfectly, transforming their confidence and skill progression, they are stronger, higher quality and more sustainable.

"We’re up against billion-dollar companies and dominating the medals in World Championships and World Cups - we couldn’t be prouder!"

Where are you currently selling Atherton Bikes?

We have a strong presence in the USA, Europe, and the UK, with those areas making up around 75% of our market. We’re also increasing our presence in Australia and the Middle East. We want to expand our growth model and begin to set up manufacturing hubs around the world to improve the customer experience, reduce the shipping distance and build on our sustainability criteria. We understand that using carbon is not necessarily the most eco-friendly approach, however, we have full faith that our products will last longer than most competitors meaning consumers won’t need to repurchase as often.

What are some of Atherton’s key achievements in the last 5 years?

This year has been particularly amazing, actually! While winning the World Cup in our founding year has to be one of our defining moments, 2023 has been our most successful year yet.

One of our founders, Rachel Atherton, came back from maternity leave this year and went on to win a World Cup, then our up and coming rider Andi Kolb won the Austrian World Cup on his home turf, which was great as that was also his first World Cup win. When we signed Andi, he was ultimately the back of the pack, so to see his level of progression is a testament to both him and the quality of our bikes.

Another one of our riders, Charlie Hatton, then went on to win the Championship up in Scotland with Andi coming in second. This was a great achievement as it was a British bike, a British rider and British engineering and we held the top two spaces - it’s a landmark victory. We’re up against billion-dollar companies and dominating the medals in World Championships and World Cups - we couldn’t be prouder!

"We’re also looking to spread the word for our sister company, DYFI Bike Park, and tell people about how the Welsh landscape is perfect for mountain bike enthusiasts. We own a 650-acre forest, and we’d argue it’s one of the best riding venues in the world, plus it’s a great boost for mid-Wales."

How can the GlobalWelsh community help you raise your profile?

I think investment is one way we’re interested in working with GlobalWelsh moving forward. We’re currently looking to raise capital and we would like to get in touch with potential investors and use our Welsh connections to grow the business and product range.

We would like to network with other manufacturers on the Connect platform and use our brand power to raise awareness of the amazing products and services that are coming from Wales. We’re also looking to spread the word for our sister company, DYFI Bike Park, and tell people about how the Welsh landscape is perfect for mountain bike enthusiasts. We own a 650-acre forest, and we’d argue it’s one of the best riding venues in the world, plus it’s a great boost for mid-Wales.

What are your dreams for the future?

We’re a company driven by innovation so there will be lots of new developments over the coming years.

We have several products being rolled out over the next few months which should broaden our market and make Atherton a more affordable choice. While our current four ‘athlete’ level product models are made from titanium and carbon, these cheaper models will be constructed from aluminium, which results in a more affordable product without compromising the safety and quality of our bikes.

We’ve built the brand over the past 10-15 years thanks to the Atherton family but ultimately, we would like the brand to be recognised because of the products, not just the people behind the products, that’s already becoming clearer and its very rewarding.

Connect with Dan >>

Discover GlobalWelsh Connect

Become part of a growing online network of Welsh people working together for the good of Wales by supporting others, exploring business opportunities and sharing knowledge.

Discover GlobalWelsh Connect

Related Articles

View All
Business Spotlight

Business Spotlight: Corryn Biotechnologies

14 May, 2024
Business Spotlight

Business Spotlight: First of March

02 May, 2024
Growing wales' largest community, online. 99 Days 99 Hrs 99 Mins 99 Secs Discover GlobalWelsh Connect