Following on from the Athertons announcing they'll be racing their own bikes from 2019 onwards, Continental have now been revealed as the team's official tire supplier.
The immensely successful and highly experienced trio of British siblings - Dan, Gee and Rachel Atherton – will be piloting a bike they’ve designed themselves for the 2019 season.
Continental Bicycle Tires and Atherton Racing’s partnership will see the team using a range of Continental tires throughout the racing season across the Downhill World Cup and World Championships campaigns, as well as at other selected events.
The exciting news of the Athertons forming their own new team for the 2019 season triggered the perfect opportunity to reignite a hugely successful relationship between the multiple World Cup and World Championship-winning riders and Continental Bicycle Tires.
For Continental Bicycle Tires, the decision to partner with Atherton Racing was straightforward, following the vision of combining the best R&D team with the best riders to create the greatest tires possible for a worldwide audience of mountain bikers. The Athertons will use Der Kaiser, Der Baron, and Mud King models, and while there are a large number of mountain bike riders with 27.5in tires, a renewed focus on 29er is an important part of the plan.
Commenting on the partnership, Oliver Anhuth, Global Head of Marketing for Continental Bicycle Tires, said, “This is a fantastic time for us to be partners with Atherton Racing. From our previous experience with the Athertons we know them to be hard-working, talented riders who know how to get the very best from their equipment. But that’s not just through their on-track racing ability, it’s also thanks to the meticulous nature of Dan, Gee and Rachel’s testing and feedback processes, which is tremendously useful for Continental Bicycle Tires’ ongoing product development – that’s vital for us."
“We have proven this together in the past when we started development of downhill tires with the Kaiser 26” 2.5 leading into the “Projekt” tires Kaiser Projekt and Baron Projekt. What we learn together is an integral part of our development program and will result in a continual improvement in tires for every mountain biker.”
New season, new bike, same faces
Atherton Racing has a revolutionary new bike for the 2019 campaign that's been developed by Dan, Gee and Rachel. The team includes Dave Weagle, inventor of the famous DW link split-pivot system, and the pioneering Ed Haythornthwaite, formerly of Robot Bike Co. The bike features “additive manufactured” metal 3D printed elements which make the bike fully customisable. Gee Atherton describes it as a “high-level product designed to be ridden aggressively!”
“For 2019, we were looking for far more than traditional sponsorships,” says Atherton Racing Team Director Dan Brown. “We are stoked to return to work with Continental with whom we have already designed a range of products.”
Looking ahead to the season, 6-time Downhill World Champion and 6-time Downhill World Cup Champion Rachel Atherton has one particular target in mind. “Fort William forever, even though it has kicked our butts so many times over the years! The track is consistently brutal, we all prefer the more natural, more challenging tracks and the home crowd are awesome!”.
The riders are also looking forward to riding their new tires.
“It’s Der Kaisers for me, they are a really good all-round tire, nice and wide, stable and plenty of grip!” says Dan Atherton. “We worked closely with the guys from Continental on developing the Mud Kings and Der Kaisers so we are bound to rate them! We’re looking forward to pushing those designs further still.”
Atherton Racing and Continental Bicycle Tires first UCI outing starts with the Downhill World Cup’s first round at Maribor, Slovenia on 27th-28th April.