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A Guide to the Best Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Bike Brands

Direct sales are the future of bike shopping. With so many great bikes just a click away, how do you narrow down your search? These are the best DTC bikes brands that you should know.

Written by: Bruce Lin

Published on:

Posted in:Guides

Canyon is the current king of DTC bikes, but who are the other contenders for the crown?

Thanks to the rise of direct-to-consumer, or “DTC” bike brands, cyclists can easily shop for bikes from the comfort of their own homes and get them delivered right to their door. Some DTC brands sell 100 percent of their bikes directly through their own website, while others are split between direct sales and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. Through this new model, riders are no longer restricted to the brands carried by their local bike shop. There's also no middleman, so some cases, DTC bikes can be more affordable.

New DTC bike brands are popping up every year and even traditional dealer brands like Specialized and Trek are hopping on the direct sales bandwagon. As the world’s biggest seller of pre-owned bikes, TPC has plenty of experience riding, inspecting, and servicing DTC bikes. If you’re looking to pull the trigger on a DTC bike, these are the brands worth looking at.

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Canyon bikes

Bikes: Road, Gravel, Cyclocross, Mountain, TT/Tri, E-MTB, E-Gravel, Hybrid

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Canyon Bicycles is the benchmark for DTC bike brands and it also has the biggest selection. The German brand was founded in 1985 and began selling bikes online as early as 1996. Since then, it has grown into a cycling juggernaut.

Canyon supports several pro race teams and top athletes in every discipline. Dutch stars Mathieu van der Poel and Annemiek van Vleuten are two of the biggest names riding Canyon bikes, but if you follow any sort of professional racing, you’ll see that Canyon’s roster is full of winners and podium contenders. Not only that, they support some of the biggest cycling content producers, like trials rider Fabio Wibmer. If you want a bike that’s been proven to perform at the highest level, then Canyon should be high on your list.

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YT Industries

YT Bikes

Bikes: Mountain, E-MTB, Gravel

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YT stands for “Young Talent,” but the name has nothing to do with age. The YT spirit is about tapping into the youthful desire to explore and grow as a rider. The German brand has quickly established itself as a core player in the mountain bike world thanks to well-priced bikes and playful marketing. It gained widespread recognition with Andreu Lacondeguy, who rode a YT to victory at the 2014 Red Bull Rampage. It then went on to prove itself as a serious World Cup downhill contender when America’s most successful downhill racer, Aaron Gwin, joined YT in 2016. Gwin won his debut race on the bike and went on to achieve two consecutive World Cup overall wins.

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Allied Cycle Works

Allied bikes

Bikes: Road, Gravel, Mountain

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Allied’s high-end carbon bikes are proudly produced in Little Rock, Arkansas. Allied brought some of the most experienced and brightest minds in the industry together to produce its frames from the ground up. It’s one of the few carbon frame manufacturers in the U.S. and its frames are renowned for their ride quality and beautiful finishes. The Allied Able gravel bike is perhaps its best-known model, after it secured a double victory at Unbound Gravel upon its debut in 2019.

Check out our interview with Allied Cycle Works to learn more.

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Lynskey bikes

Bikes: Road, Gravel, Mountain

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Lynskey has been building titanium bikes in Chattanooga, Tennessee for 35 years. The bike-obsessed Lynskey family rose to prominence as the builders behind another legendary American brand, Litespeed. They sold Litespeed in 1999, but their passion for cycling remained strong until they finally returned with their namesake brand in 2005. On that note, Litespeed is another great DTC brand, but they’re so similar that I chose to feature Lynskey because I have owned several Lynskeys over the years and have been extremely happy with them. Plus they have one of the best head badges in the business. 

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Moots bikes

Bikes: Road, Gravel, Mountain

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And we have another American-made titanium brand! Moots is often regarded as the benchmark for titanium bike frames. It has been handcrafting its titanium bikes in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for nearly four decades. All of its frames and components are designed to handle the rugged roads and trails found throughout the Rockies. For many, a Moots is the quintessential “forever bike,” a bike meant to last a lifetime. Whether or not you choose to keep it that long is up to you.

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Commencal bikes

Bikes: Mountain, E-MTB

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With its headquarters located a short walk from the Andorra World Cup downhill track, mountain bike racing has always been integral to Commencal’s identity. It found early World Cup success supporting racing legends like Anne-Caroline Chausson and the Athertons. More recently, Commencal bikes have won World Cup downhill overall titles and world championships under Amaury Pierron and Myriam Nicole. You may notice that all Commencal bikes are aluminum. Commencal is committed to aluminum bike manufacturing because it offers safer work conditions, environmental benefits, and the ability to easily tweak and change designs to respond to its racer’s needs and changing geometry trends.

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Evil bikes

Bikes: Mountain, Gravel, E-MTB

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Evil’s history goes back to the iconic Iron Horse downhill bikes. In 2006, suspension guru Dave Weagle used his engineering skills to take Iron Horse from a simple big-box brand to World Cup winners. Downhill legend Sam Hill piloted these bikes to two consecutive world championship wins before Iron Horse unexpectedly folded. Fortunately, the people behind the race team’s success decided to form Evil Bikes in 2009. Its downhill-oriented mountain bikes all use the unique multi-link DELTA suspension system, an acronym for “Dave’s Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus,” a name befitting the brand’s playful attitude.

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Guerrilla Gravity

Guerrilla Gravity bikes

Bikes: Mountain

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Based in Denver, Colorado, Guerrilla Gravity is a small manufacturer making big waves in the mountain bike industry. It uses Revved Carbon, an aerospace technology that allows it to produce frames that are over 300% more impact-resistant, while still matching the strength and stiffness of traditional carbon. Guerrilla Gravity's frames are also modular, so you can easily change the travel and geometry of your bike to match your terrain or riding style by swapping between different shocks and rear triangles.



Factor bikes

Bikes: Road, Gravel, Mountain, TT/Tri

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Factor was founded in 2007 in Norfolk, England, and started out as a motorsport engineering firm working with brands like Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Maserati, as well as several F1, Moto GP, and WRC teams. It used its engineering expertise to produce an innovative split downtube aero road bike that impressed a few pro riders enough for them to invest in the company. Factor transitioned fully to building bikes in 2009 and has never looked back. Cycling fans may have seen Factor bikes in the pro peloton where it sponsored AGR2 La Mondiale and currently provides bikes to the Israel Start-Up Nation World Tour team.

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Nukeproof bikes

Bikes: Mountain, E-MTB, Gravel

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Nukeproof was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan during the ’90s heyday of American mountain biking. It earned a reputation for building tough components with exotic materials like carbon fiber (this was before carbon was common). In the mid-00s, this iconic company was revived across the Atlantic in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where it became the house brand of UK retail giants Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles. With this came a new focus on racing, and Nukeproof’s bikes have become mainstays on the gravity side of the sport, most recently winning three consecutive Enduro World Series championships under downhill legend Sam Hill.

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Alchemy bikes

Bikes: Road, Gravel, Mountain, E-Gravel

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Alchemy actually used to be TPC’s next-door neighbor! Since we shared a warehouse, we got a good look at how much care and attention Alchemy puts into its bikes. It’s a small outfit based in Golden, Colorado, that specializes in carbon and titanium frames. All of Alchemy’s road, gravel, and e-bikes are made in Colorado, as well as the Arkti titanium hardtail mountain bike (the carbon Arktos is made overseas). It is one of the few DTC brands that offer fully custom paint through their own high-end paint studio, Ethic Paint Works. It's perfect for riders who want to build a bike that will really stand out.

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Canfield bikes

Bikes: Mountain

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Canfield Bikes has been a long-time player in the mountain bike wolrd, producing frames in the early '00s with innovative suspension and geometry that would go on to compete at Rampage and in World Cup downhill racing. Based in Fruita, Colorado, Canfield produces its bikes in limited quantities. Its full-suspension mountain bikes are known for their patented CBF (Canfield Balance Formula) rear suspension, a parallel-link suspension design based on trophy truck suspension that has been consistently refined since the late ’90s to provide the perfect balance between efficiency and comfort.  

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Revel bikes

Bikes: Mountain, Gravel

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Revel Bikes is a newer Colorado-based brand located on the other side of the mountains in Carbondale. Its beautiful carbon mountain and gravel bikes are designed to excel in the rugged landscape of Colorado’s Western Slope and use Canfield’s patented CBF suspension system. It's also made headlines with its "Fusion Fiber" carbon wheels, which unlike traditional carbon, are recyclable, reducing their environmental impact. 

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Fezzari bikes

Bikes: Mountain, Road, Gravel, E-MTB, Hybrid

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Hailing from Lindon, Utah, Fezzari’s goal has always been to build top-quality bikes that regular riders can afford. It’s best known for high-value mountain bikes, but it also builds bikes for every discipline. It even offers a “23-point Custom Setup,” a fit system that uses your body measurements to choose a frame and components that ensure you get a perfect bike fit, even without a test ride.

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Ventum bikes

Bikes: Tri/TT, Road, Gravel

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Also from Utah, Ventum began as a pet project to design a triathlon-dominating “hyper” bike. The Ventum ONE was launched in 2015 at the Ironman World Championship and it used a radical “Z” shaped frame with integrated hydration which reduced drag by 24% over the top triathlon bikes of the time. It became the first “non-traditional” bike frame to officially be declared legal by the international governing body of triathlon. Ventum has since added an aero road and gravel bike to its lineup.

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Lauf bikesBikes: Gravel, Road

The Icelandic gravel geeks at Lauf shook things up a few years ago with the innovative and eye-catching Grit suspension fork. This unique fork used "glassfiber" leaf springs to provide 30mm of travel, adding compliance without the extra weight or maintenance of a traditional air fork. It followed this with the True Grit gravel bike, which was designed around the Grit fork to provide maximum comfort on rough roads. 

My personal gravel bike is actually Lauf's latest creation, the Lauf Seigla, which I've been very happy with

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Of course, a lot of great DTC brands have been left out of this short list. So let me know in the comments what DTC brands I forgot! And shameless plug, as the world’s largest online retailer of Certified Pre-Owned bikes, TPC sells used bikes from DTC brands, traditional brick-and-mortar brands, and more, so be sure to scope out our selection too. Wherever you choose to buy your bike, the future looks bright with so many great bikes that are just a click away.   

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