In recent years, the mountain biking industry has seen a significant shift toward direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales, as more and more brands are opting to sell their products online directly to customers without the traditional middleman of a brick-and-mortar bike shop. Packaged, prebuilt bikes just get delivered directly home.
This approach has revolutionized the way mountain bikes are purchased, offering several benefits for both manufacturers and riders. In this article, we will explore the best direct-to-consumer mountain bike brands you can choose from.
We’ll also be examining the advantages and disadvantages of this increasingly popular sales model.
Pros and Cons of Direct-to-Consumer MTBs
The big benefit of direct-to-consumer sales is that it allows bike manufacturers to eliminate the markup associated with distributors and retailers, resulting in more competitive pricing for consumers.
By cutting out the middleman, brands can pass on the savings directly to their customers, making high-quality bikes more accessible to a wider range of riders.
Additionally, the DTC model often facilitates a higher degree of customization, as customers can select their preferred components and build their dream bike directly through the brand’s website.
However, there are also drawbacks to this sales model. One notable disadvantage is the lack of in-person interaction, which means customers cannot easily test-ride a bike before purchasing.
This can make it more challenging for riders to determine whether a specific model or size is suitable for their needs and preferences.
Furthermore, the absence of local bike shop support may leave some customers feeling unsure about assembly, maintenance, and servicing.
Despite these potential downsides, the DTC model has gained considerable traction in the mountain biking industry, with numerous brands dipping their toes into this model and some fully utilizing it.
Launched in 2019 by the legendary Atherton siblings Gee, Rachel, and Dan the UK-based company focuses on producing high-performance mountain bikes using cutting-edge technology. Their bikes feature a unique additive manufacturing process, combining carbon fiber tubes with 3D-printed titanium lugs for a custom-tailored and lightweight frame design.
Only by selling directly to consumers, Atherton Bikes can offer completely personalized custom frame dimensions and bike fit – the brand’s unique selling point. The brand’s lineup includes downhill, enduro, and trail bikes that cater to various riding styles and preferences. The size calculator and experts to easily talk to guarantee you’ll get what you’re looking for.
And the best part: If you pick up your new bike directly at the shop, you get not only a tour but also get to turn your maiden laps at DYFI bike park a few minutes down the road.
Learn more at athertonbikes.com.
Canyon Bicycles, a German-based company founded in 1985, has garnered a reputation for producing high-quality, performance-oriented mountain bikes. Their popular mountain bike models, like the Spectral and Strive, have become favorites among trail and enduro riders.
Canyon also offers a wide range of electric mountain bikes, including the Neuron:ON and Spectral:ON, which have gained widespread acclaim for their balanced handling paired with impressive power.
All in all, their range of MTBs is extremely wide from hardtails pumptrack bikes to full-suspension downhill machines and everything in between.
Learn more at canyon.com.
Originating in Andorra, Commencal is a ski and mountain bike brand founded by Max Commencal in 2000. With a focus on providing top-quality gravity mountain bikes at competitive prices, the company has built a loyal following among riders seeking high-performance machines without breaking the bank.
Known for their aluminum frames and aggressive designs, Commencal’s mountain bikes are built to tackle challenging terrains. Some of their standout models include the Meta AM, a robust enduro bike, and the Supreme DH, a downhill racing powerhouse that has earned numerous World Cup and World Championship titles.
Founded in 2018 and based in British Columbia, Canada, Forbidden focuses on producing high-performance mountain bikes with innovative designs.
Their flagship model, the Forbidden Druid, has gained attention for its unique high-pivot suspension system called the “Trifecta,” which provides excellent traction, impressive damping, and efficient pedaling performance.
By selling directly to consumers, Forbidden can offer relatively competitive pricing and maintain close contact with their customers, ensuring a high level of service and support. But don’t be mistaken!
This is still a rather boutique MTB brand run by a team of industry veterans with a shared passion for designing beautiful and innovative frames.
You can see this in the complex shapes of the frames that would be impossible to achieve with traditional techniques. The result is a range of bikes that are not only visually stunning but also perform at a high level.
Intense Cycles, a California-based mountain bike manufacturer, had transitioned to a direct-to-consumer sales model, alongside maintaining relationships with select dealers.
This hybrid approach allows them to offer more competitive pricing for their range of premium mountain bikes while still providing support through local bike shops.
With multi-time motocross champion Ryan Dungey as an investor and downhill legend Aaron Gwin as race team owner, Intense has all-American experience behind it.
Learn more at intensecycles.com.
Nukeproof is a UK-based mountain bike brand with roots dating back to the early 1990s. Initially known for their components, the company expanded into producing full mountain bikes in the late 2000s.
Nukeproof bikes are designed to tackle tough terrain and challenging conditions – initially focused on race bikes for the brutal Megavalanche.
The brand’s flagship model, the Nukeproof Mega, has become a favorite among enduro racers, with multiple wins at the Enduro World Series.
The Nukeproof Reactor, a versatile trail bike, has also gained popularity for its agile handling and well-rounded performance. Their DH frame rounds out the gravity-oriented line-up.
Pole Bicycle Company, a Finnish brand founded in 2013, has quickly gained recognition for its innovative designs and unique approach to frame manufacturing. Their bikes are known for their long, slack geometry and commitment to providing a stable, confidence-inspiring ride.
Pole’s manufacturing process emphasizes sustainability, using CNC machining and bonding methods to produce their distinctive frames.
The Pole Evolink, a trail and enduro machine, and the Pole Stamina, a long-travel enduro bike, are among the brand’s most popular models, celebrated for their progressive geometry and exceptional handling.
The Privateer brand focuses on producing high-performance, competitively-priced bikes that cater to riders seeking top-quality machines without the inflated price tags often associated with premium brands.
Their direct-to-consumer sales model allows them to cut out intermediaries, which helps keep costs down and enables them to offer their bikes at more accessible prices.
The Privateer 161, their enduro bike, known for its progressive geometry and excellent value, is one of the brand’s standout models. Privateer is a great choice for riders who want a high-quality bike without breaking the bank.
Propain Bikes, a German brand, is dedicated to producing high-quality mountain bikes that cater to riders’ unique preferences. The company emphasizes customization, offering a range of frame and component options that allow customers to build their dream bikes.
Propain has garnered a reputation for its attention to detail and commitment to innovation. The Tyee, a highly versatile enduro bike, and the Spindrift, a gravity-oriented machine, are among the brand’s most popular models.
Even eMTBs have found their way into Propain’s offering of customizable bikes.
Learn more at propain-bikes.com, their direct-to-consumer shop.
Radon Bikes, a German brand founded in 1994, has made a name for itself by offering high-quality, performance-driven mountain bikes at competitive prices. Their direct-to-consumer sales approach allows them to pass on savings to their customers while maintaining a focus on innovation and technology.
Radon’s extensive range of mountain bikes caters to various riding styles, from cross-country to enduro. Notable models include the Radon Slide, a versatile trail bike, and the Radon Swoop, a trail machine that has earned acclaim for its durability and race-ready performance.
Yet another German brand, RAAW was founded in 2018 by Ruben Torenbeek, a Dutch engineer and passionate mountain biker, RAAW focuses on producing durable, high-performance mountain bikes designed for aggressive riding.
By utilizing a direct-to-consumer sales model, RAAW can offer premium bikes at competitive prices while maintaining close relationships with its customers.
The RAAW Madonna, the brand’s flagship enduro bike, has gained significant attention for its robust construction, progressive geometry, and thoughtful design features. With the launch of the Yalla, they also got a mean-looking DH machine on offer.
More on raawmtb.com
Rose Bikes is a German family-owned company with over a century of history in the cycling industry. Founded in 1907, the brand has evolved over the years, transitioning from a small bike shop to a renowned direct-to-consumer mountain bike manufacturer.
Rose is known for its customization options, allowing riders to tailor their bikes to their specific preferences. The brand offers a diverse lineup of mountain bikes, including the Root Miller, a versatile trail bike, and the Granite Chief, a capable all-mountain machine that has earned praise for its performance and value. Even dirtjump bikes are shipped directly t your doorstep.
Trek does sell its mountain bikes through a hybrid model. They primarily sell their bikes through a network of local bike shops and authorized dealers. In addition, they have a direct-to-consumer model that works a little differently to other brands.
However, in some regions, Trek offered the option to purchase bikes online and then have them shipped to a local Trek dealer for assembly and pickup. To find out which sales model is available in your region, it’s a good idea to check their website or contact a local Trek dealer for the most current information.
Learn more at trekbikes.com where they also handle their direct-to-consumer model.
Based in Barcelona, Spain, Unno was founded by Cesar Rojo, a former World Cup downhill racer and renowned bike designer. The brand is known for its limited production runs and exclusive, high-end carbon fiber mountain bikes.
Each frame is meticulously handcrafted, and their bikes are often regarded as some of the most desirable and unique on the market.
Their lineup includes models such as the Unno Dash, a lightweight cross-country bike, and the Unno Ever, a versatile enduro machine.
Vitus, an Irish brand with French origins, has a rich history in the cycling industry dating back to the 1970s. The company transitioned from road to mountain bikes in the 2000s and has since been dedicated to producing high-performance machines at affordable prices.
Vitus offers a diverse range of mountain bikes, catering to various riding styles from cross-country to enduro. The Vitus Escarpe, a versatile and capable trail bike, and the Vitus Sommet, an aggressive enduro machine, are among the brand’s most popular models.
Founded in 2008, YT Industries is a German mountain bike manufacturer with a strong commitment to producing affordable, high-performance bikes. The brand’s name stands for “Young Talent,” reflecting its mission to support and nurture the next generation of riders.
YT Industries gained fame with its flagship DH model, the Tues, which became a downhill racing favorite after Aaron Gwin rode it to multiple World Cup victories. Other popular models include the Capra, an enduro beast, and the Jeffsy, a versatile trail bike beloved by riders around the globe.
Learn more at yt-industries.com.