MEC Bikes

4 11 2009
MEC bike

MEC 1971 Bike

MEC has started selling bikes.  As Canada’s largest outdoor retail operation [similar, but much smaller than REI] MEC has a lot of muscle power getting products to Canadians.  At first glance the bikes they are offering seem like decent machines at reasonable prices. At the same time nothing much has jumped out at me as being particularly amazing.  Having said that I’m happy to see that more folks will be exposed to some decent bikes.  It can’t hurt.

Interestingly I spoke to the manager of a small high end bike shop a few blocks from MEC and they were optimistic that bike shoppers would be drawn to the area by MEC, but may end up buying nicer rides from shops like theirs.

I’m busy getting ready to head to Baja so I won’t have time to check these bikes out in more detail until early 2010.


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5 responses

5 11 2009
Jerome

Hi Vik,

Thanks for the link. Interesting bike lineup and pricing scheme. When MEC first announced that it would sell bikes, panic ensued and the argument was that they would undercut all LBS due to their purchasing power and non-profit status. Based on this bike lineup and prices, that does not seem to be the case. As you said, they are selling good bikes at prices that are right along MSRP for similar bikes/builds from the LBS. The price/build of the Alfine bike is on par with Trek, Brodie, Rocky (give or take a few $$ for slight build differences). You can get a steel Brodie with disc brakes and Tiagra for $100 more than the MEC aluminum model. That’s also around the same price as a Surly Cross-Check so it comes down to personal preference for frame material. There’s no apparent ‘screaming deal’ in the MEC lineup ($100s less than an equivalent LBS bike for markedly better build/frame). Their lineup is also quite, and pardon the word choice here, …plain. Perhaps that will change in the future and they will introduce more evolved designs like REI has done with some of its commuter bikes.

So far, it seems like MEC will not be a major threat to LBS (other than for total volume of sales across the country, which may not have huge repercussions locally, depending on existing LBS offerings) and perhaps their service will be above and beyond the LBS. However, if that is the case, then it’s an even playing field and it will be up to LBS to step-up/maintain high service, something they would have to do under any circumstance, especially if a competitor came onto the market.

You seem to know better than most that a good LBS with good service and knowledgeable people ensures its own returning clients. Time will tell if MEC really kills the LBS.

Jerome

11 11 2009
Shawn

I have been hunting for a inexpensive road bike frame the has steel (alm is okay,steal is better in my mind) that has rack mounts, disk brake mounts and fender mounts. Please please show me another bike (frame fork) at this price point that has all of the above. Want all of the above.
Dekerf will make me one for $2300 out of steel, not even Ti! I think that is Just the frame. Too rich for my blood.

I saw the MEC frame for the first time today. The welds looked fine. Everything looked fine. Don’t anything more for a commuter which from what I can tell, is the target market.

Shawn

12 11 2009
thelazyrando

The Surly Karate Monkey frame will do what you want at a low price.

12 11 2009
thelazyrando

If you can live without disc brakes the Surly LHT/Cross Check and a number of other steel framed bikes come to mind at low cost.

Check out the Kona Sutra:

http://www.konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=sutra

3 08 2011
Craig

I was interested when I heard that MEC was getting into bikes – didn’t think it was a good idea with the high level of competiton and big players in the market (Trek, Specialized, Giant etc.). That being said I am tempted by the 1971 – my first adult bike was a sport/tourer from Norco back in the 80′s and I’d like to get another road bike in that vein. Something that is quick, fun to ride, doesn’t cost an arm/leg, and can be used for light touring. The 1971 reminds me of that bike. I have a co-worker who bought one of the city bikes (the one with the internal gear hub) and he loves it so much he’s selling his previous commuter and replacing it with a road bike. I ride a Dew FS on my daily commute and while I like the bike a bike with an internal hub looks pretty darn good when I struggle to get the shifting dialed in.

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