There were loads of stories that came from this year's Red Bull Hardline that will make the eighth edition of the event one of the most memorable races of the series.
Redbull Hardline 2022 had everything you would expect from an event that's billed as the toughest downhill mountain bike race in the world. Dan Atherton and his dig team put together one of the most extreme and demanding Red Bull Hardline courses which would form the stage for the race. The Red Bull Hardline rider list was stacked with interesting names too. Jess Blewitt was the first woman to ride the event and was sending the jumps until she crashed out and Jackson Goldstone became the youngest ever winner of the event with a storming run down the Welsh hillside aboard his Santa Cruz V10.
Arguably the biggest story though was the return of Gee Atherton racing Hardline, marking his return to professional racing. Gee had a massive crash a year ago whilst filming a video edit that could have easily ended his career.
After a year of recovery, Gee made his grand return choosing Hardline as the stage. He took on the course finishing in a very respectable 5th place aboard his Atherton Bikes AM.200 downhill bike.
The Atherton downhill bikes are built in Wales using titanium lugs and carbon tubing to produce the frames. This not only gives them the ability to offer a huge range of sizes but also custom dimensions too. It also allows them to rapidly produce and experiment with new designs and features.
On closer inspection of the frame, it appears Gee is running a different rocker on his bike when compared to the standard version. Visually there is a little more material between the frame pivot and the shock pivot. Whether that's simply to beef it up for a little more peace of mind when sending the huge jumps, or there are further alterations remains unknown.
Gee is running Fox suspension with a Fox 40 upfront and a Fox DHX 2 Coil at the rear to absorb any heavy landings and the cockpit and crankset are from FSA's Gradiant range.
Drivetrain is SRAM XO1 DH 7-Speed setup and the chain is held in place with an MRP G4 Alloy chain guide. Brakes are blingy Trickstuff Maxima units which clamp down on 203mm rotors. Finally, the wheels are Stan's Flow which are fitted with Continental Kryptotal tires front and rear.
Gee may have conquered Hardline but there is still a long way to go before he is World Cup ready, something which he touched on in his post-race interview. Gee is clearly riding well and, with the off-season stretching ahead of him, he will be looking to train hard so he is ready to attack the 2023 World Cups.
Tech specs: Gee Atherton’s Atherton Bikes AM.200
Frame: Atherton Bikes AM.200
Fork: Fox 40
Shock: Fox DHX2 Coil
Handlebar: FSA Gradient
Stem: FSA Gradient
Drivetrain: SRAM XO1 DH 7 Speed
Brakes: Trickstuff Maxima
Pedals: Crank Brothers Mallet DH
Wheels: Stan's Flow
Tires: Continental Kryptotal