We have been hearing rumors for a few months regarding Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) trying to find a 'big name euro cyclocross brand' to bring into their fold. It appears that they have found such a partner: Ridley Bicycles.
(MEC is a Canadian outdoor retailer operating on a Co-op model, with 15 stores across the country and a membership of ~3m members. It is the Canadian analog of REI)
Sometime in the last few weeks, MEC has quietly placed a couple of models of Ridley bikes on their website. It appears that MEC is currently offering only a couple of models at the moment (the 'all-rounder/endurance' Fenix, its female specific counterpart the Liz, and the lightweight Helium), with sources telling us that they will have a full line-up come spring. (Now confirmed with MEC)
The current bikes available are all road bikes, however, Ridley's cyclocross range are also expected to make an appearance in the MEC product line. Cyclocross has been a weak point in the MEC portfolio, and this should bolster it significantly.
Ridley's recent road successes brings all important race credibility to MEC. Ridley sponsors a World Tour team, Lotto Belisol, and which puts their bikes under riders such as German champion Andre Greipel. Good enough for 'the Gorilla' is good enough for me (grin)
No word yet on whether MEC will include Ridley's collection of TT and Tri bikes, but it appears to be a market that MEC in eager to enter. This past season they had tri specific wetsuits in certain locations, as well as clip on aerobars.
Stay tuned to Bicycle and Rider for further analysis on this development, and what it means for the Canadian cycling market.