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Tonight a simple bike with a twist bursts from the road.cc archive to pose the question: bike, art, or novelty towel rail…?

Tonight we’re back at Eurobike again (this could become the Bike at bedtime catchphrase) it’s 2010 a time before the word Eurobike didn’t induce a weird craving for a ham and cheese roll + coffee with a splash of some weird artificial cream stuff… but I digress. A tide of fixed wheeled bikes was flowing in to the mighty halls of Eurobike, as the tide of quite nice to look at (the first time) but basically useless cruisers flowed out. 

While all those new fixies might have had function on their side (well compared to the cruisers) they were replacing it’s fair to say that the downside of their simplicity when viewed en-masse was a certain lack of visual distinctiveness. Except for the Commencal Acid - I’ve always had a soft spot for bikes with split tubes or weird profiles (there will be more at bedtime) and the Acid is no different. When we first wrote about it our headline was: Bike, art, or novelty towel rail… I don’t care I want one. And I still do. I’d ride it single speed though.

Commencal acid - tube detail

This one is the prototype, but the production versions don’t seem to have been much different. What set the Acid apart is that it had a split top tube and those split didn’t run strictly parallel to each other the one on the drive side was slightly higher, the extra cool touch was that the seat stay on the non drive side met the seat tube at the same height as the drive side top tube and vice versa so it looked like it was twisted round the seat tube. And obviously it also made it handy for getting your towels in and out. You’ll get a better idea from the video.

The frame and fork were steel and the standard gearing was a 45/17 set up that could be run fixed or free, hubs were 36hole, and in another slightly different touch it ran fat rubber (for the time) in the shape of 28mm Freedom Thickslicks, er and that’s about it. It was a very simple bike with a twist

Commencal Acid - top tubes

It hit the shops the next year though possibly a bit later in the UK, I sensed a certain hesitancy when I asked Commencal’s then UK distributor about it after the show –  maybe they’d read Commencal’s product description: 

"The city is a world of abundance where all objects, moving or inert, stand out only by the style and uniqueness that they display. For the attention seekers out there, sobriety is not the priority. Bring on the Acid, COMMENCAL's first fixed-gear bike. It's not looking for its identity, it imposes it. No illegal substances needed for this trip, grab the Acid and you will find your nirvana."

Yeah, right. 

To be fair Commencal are best known as a mountain bike brand based in Andorra but which had risen from the ashes of Sunn a French bike company that really did make some great bikes, plus everyone in the UK already thought fixed fashion was on the way out. 

Commencal Acid - seat stays

You could buy them in the UK for at least three years though - CRC were knocking them out until around 2015… Google’s just told me. No-one told me at the time!

I’m not a fan of hanging bikes on the wall to look at, if I’d bought an Acid I’d definitely have ridden it and smiled every time… and maybe if a few years down the line I’d got a bathroom big enough I’d have looked in to the possibility of having it plumbed in, if you’re going to have a towel rail you’d want to to be heated. 

Commencal Acid - brake bridge

You can find more on the Commencal Acid by hitting the tag below and if you enjoyed this Bike at bedtime you can find more here… actually why don't you just hit the Bike at bedtime tag below it'd be easier.

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.