The Mercier establishment was born at 60 rue Gutenberg, Saint-Etienne – the cradle of France’s Industrial Revolution, in 1919. Founded by Emile Mercier and his brothers Marcel and Constant, the business began by producing pins and bases for pedals. By 1924, Emile Mercier – the original – began building frames and then the full bicycle around the beginning of the 1930s.
The visionary directors associated the business with a professional team from 1933 to promote their products. The team remained in competition until 1984, making Mercier the team with the most participations in the history of the Tour de France. In order to make them easily identifiable to the spectators, the Mercier racers adopted their famous purple jersey from 1955.
Mercier cycles saw huge commercial success, with their modern techniques and demands for the highest quality at a reasonable price.
Mercier bikes populated French roads for several decades, in cities, across the countryside and at the heart of pelotons. The business saw its climax in 1975, with a production of 150,000 bicycles. In the 1970s, Mercier was Peugeot’s main competitor; but while Peugeot used the same material (Reynolds tubes, Simplex derailleurs , CLB), Mercier built different tubes and components. The racing bike models “Service des Courses” made from Reynolds or Columbus tubes became famous. The company later also offered aluminum and carbon fiber models produced by Vitus.
During the 1980’s, faced with increasing foreign competition, from America and Asia, the French cycling industry declined inexorably and the business closed its doors definitively at the end of the decade.