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Andorran mountain bike brand Commencal is back in the U.S. market after a two-year hiatus

Andorran mountain bike brand Commencal is back in the U.S. market after a two-year hiatus, this time with a plan to sell directly to consumers online.

A new subsidiary, Commencal America, is up and running in Las Vegas with JM Gagne heading the operation, which will include marketing, sales and service functions. Gagne, who previously worked in distribution in Canada, said selling directly to consumers is in line with current buying habits and reflects a timely change for Commencal in the important U.S. market.

“It’s a question of being able to offer better service, being in touch with the customer directly, to be able to answer questions directly, to be able to get parts out on time if someone has a race that evening. A big part of it is service-related,” Gagne said.

The full line of Commencal's 2013 all-mountain, trail, XC, DH/freeride, road, city and sport bikes will be available to consumers through a new website scheduled to go live early next month. Until then, Commencal is taking U.S. orders through phone and email. Gagne will also bring in some leftover 2012 models.

Gagne said his phone has been ringing steadily since announcing the re-entry into the U.S. through social media outlets on Friday morning.

“People like the brand,” he said. “There is a tremendous volume of hits on the European website from people in the U.S.”

Commencal was previously distributed by BTI, an arrangement that ended with the 2010 model year. It was then briefly available through Unique Sports Company, a small Southern Oregon distributor, but Gagne said Commencal has never been able to find the right partners to be successful in the U.S.

“With the available space in the shop, they are limited by what they can carry. It was hard to get the exposure required,” he said.

Gagne remains open to selling Commencal through IBDs, either brick and mortar or online, depending on how committed the retailer is to the brand. Pricing in the U.S. will be on par with European pricing to maintain the value of the brand, Gagne said. 

Commencal is the namesake brand of mountain bike designer Max Commencal, who founded the company after 16 years at the helm of his first project, Sunn Bicycles.

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