While Europe enjoys several respected brands (Rose, Canyon, etc.) that sell direct to consumer, the concept’s been a tougher sell here in the States. A bit surprising, perhaps, given our proclivity for components and gear online bargain hunting, but Neil Pryde tried, but quickly changed tack and pursued IBDs, Airborne’s given it a few goes and Titus plugging along.

Now, Commençal is giving it a go in an effort to reintroduce the brand to the US. The difference is, bikes and frames will be priced on par with European retail MSRP, not discounted. This keeps the door open to work with retailers since margins won’t be undercut.

They’ve opened a distribution center in Las Vegas through JM Gagne, a former Canadian distributor. Some 2012 models are available now, with 2013 bikes starting to be delivered in January and February. Previously, Commencal was distributed by BTI through model year 2010, with a small effort by an OR distributor in the interim. A new website will come online in January, until then you can email them for info and to order.

We were at their most recent mountain bike launch (coverage here and here), and followed up with a review of the new Meta AM, and really enjoyed the bikes. So, the challenge shouldn’t be one of product quality, just changing riders’ mindsets of how they get their latest ride. It’s tough to plunk down cold, hard cash without seeing, touching and feeling the bikes on a showroom floor. A good national demo program could really help. For gravity folks, this should be welcome news – their bikes have proven their mettle under the likes of the Athertons at the World Cup level in the past, with Remy Absalon and the Ruffins riding them currently.


  1. Full MSRP, but online… This will last about 20 seconds before flopping. Airborne seems to have a good model and a following. A high value proposition is the only way to survive online. Otherwise, why wouldn’t I support my LBS?

  2. What exactly is the point of buying online if you don’t get a price discount in exchange for what you are giving up by not purchasing at a LBS?

    This venture seems destined to fail.

  3. don’t bitch about it folks,you want to look cool with a fancy European bike,don’t you ? Well you have to pay for it,sorry about that. Here in Europe we get the ugliest colors from Specialized, this we can call it even. Or we can buy a nice Canyon online and save a bunch if we don’t like Specialized’s 5000 Euro Sram X7’s bikes. Ooops…too soon ??

  4. Wish Canyon were doing this – be interested in picking up one of their frames. Agree though that the price has got to be right. If I’m not gettign LBS service I shouldn’t be paying for it either
    Seems to me there’d be room for a service relationship with local stores. If they rep the brand and are the local go to place for builds and service then could be symbiotic but leave open the discount for me to deal with the build and the headaches myself.

  5. I’m waiting for Canyon. If I wanted an European brand in the US, that wasn’t factory direct, it’d be Cube for their Stereo models, but Specialized would be wringing money from ’em.

  6. Commencal should be working the lift-serve rental angle aggressively… then they can sell “what you rode at Whistler on vaca” for full retail to the price-insensitive crowd.

  7. I dont see why it would not work. I think it is a good brand at a good value. Whats the difference in buying from them at retail price vs buying a santa cruz from a online store at full retail? I think it might be better imagine needing a part quickly you can call them directly and probably get the part faster than waiting on your shop to contact them, then shipping the part to them.

What do you think?