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  1. #1
    Upright bars SirMike1983's Avatar
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    German Bicycles?

    Alright for some time I've wondered about whether there are any decent-quality German-made bicycles in the USA that are pre 1985. I know of a number of Austrian, English, Dutch, French, Italian, Japanese etc brands. However, I haven't heard much of vintage German brand road bikes for some reason. Germany is known for industry but I wonder where all the bicycles are. Anyone own, or know of vintage German-made road bikes in the US? I'm curious about them (or lack thereof).
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    Here's a link to a German bike-- an Express Werke-- that was discussed here.

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    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirMike1983
    Alright for some time I've wondered about whether there are any decent-quality German-made bicycles in the USA that are pre 1985. ... Anyone own, or know of vintage German-made road bikes in the US?
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  4. #4
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I have wondered about that, myself. Perhaps Germany was too busy profitably exporting automobiles, starting with Mercedes diesels, VW bugs, and BMW Isettas, to the U.S. With no automotive industry, Austria exported guns (Steyr) and bicycles (Steyr[DaimlerPuch] and Capo). (Sounds a bit like the Public Television series, "Guns, Germs, and Steel." )
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirMike1983
    Alright for some time I've wondered about whether there are any decent-quality German-made bicycles in the USA that are pre 1985. I know of a number of Austrian, English, Dutch, French, Italian, Japanese etc brands. However, I haven't heard much of vintage German brand road bikes for some reason. Germany is known for industry but I wonder where all the bicycles are. Anyone own, or know of vintage German-made road bikes in the US? I'm curious about them (or lack thereof).
    I checked out Herlihy's book, Bicycle: The History, and there was a German bicycle industry, interrupted only by WWII. The German bicyles were apparently built for export, but Herlihy doesn't provide any clues about which countries these bikes were exported to. I suspect the U.S. was not one of those countries however, because he does talk about French and British exports to the U.S.

    Cycleurope is the largest contemporary European bicycle manufacturer, and if you check their website, they have production sites in Denmark, France, Italy, and Sweden-- but none in Germany.

    Interesting question.
    Last edited by Blue Order; 04-10-06 at 05:17 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Kothke was a custom frame builder in West Germany. However, only saw one in person; frame was very Cinelli-like, with full Campi.

  7. #7
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Durkopp.
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    A friend hasan Adler fixed gear 3 speed with gears in BB.Opel was a bicycle company.Schwinn started in Germany before he came to the USA.But your right we have a hole where great German bikes should be

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    During the '70s bike boom in the US there was a shop in my town that did a good business selling a German made "10-speed" named "Kalkoff". It was quite similar to various low end euro bikes of the time: lugged, not particularly light frame of indifferent finish, cottered steel cranks, Bailla brakes (!), Simplex plastic derailleurs and a rock hard, uncovered plastic saddle. From what I recall, the cranks were notorious for comming loose. These bikes were certainly nothing to get excited about.

  10. #10
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    jemoryl, are you referring to Kalkhoff (http://www.kalkhoff.de)? If so, they've come a long way. They're sold as quality bikes around here, prices (and components) varying from entry level to more up-scale. They have a reputation of being durable bikes.

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  11. #11
    Senior Member Elev12k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    Cycleurope is the largest contemporary European bicycle manufacturer, and if you check their website, they have production sites in Denmark, France, Italy, and Sweden-- but none in Germany.
    To my information Accell group is currently Europe's largest. Accell does have some German brands:

    www.accell-group.com/uk

    Posted some stuff on more upscale German manufacturers on the 'oldschoolmtb' board recently:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha
    jemoryl, are you referring to Kalkhoff (http://www.kalkhoff.de)? If so, they've come a long way. They're sold as quality bikes around here, prices (and components) varying from entry level to more up-scale. They have a reputation of being durable bikes.

    --J
    Yes, looks like I forgot about the "h". Surprised to see they are still around - I wonder if the bikes are made in Germany or sourced in Asia (like so many old names)? It appears to be a company with a long history. Back in the '70s there were rumors that Kalkhoff made some other types of bikes (perhaps more upscale) but they never made it to our town....

  13. #13
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    I was in the army stationed in southern Germany in '70-'71 and I had a hard time finding a decent bike to buy. It's strange, because it's such a beautiful place to ride. I finally bought a German bike and did a lot of touring. I can't remember the brand. There was nothing special about it.

    I was stationed in Vicenza, Italy for a while, too. I had no trouble finding nice bikes there!

  14. #14
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frameteam2003
    A friend hasan Adler fixed gear 3 speed with gears in BB.
    If that's the transmission I have seen elsewhere on the Internet, it's a miniature automobile-style sliding-gear unit. Even I could get excited about fixed gear with multiple ratios; there have been very few. Jim Cunningham describes gear changes on his Sturmey-Archer unit as, "it shifts you."
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  15. #15
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Globus.

    -Kurt
    Last edited by cudak888; 01-29-12 at 10:45 PM.

  16. #16
    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    Diamant. This brand crops up in East Germany and later in Belgium...Deutschland definitely preferred to let the outlying countries make the bikes they bought, maybe they just thought of bikes as being too Dutch, and not for them to bother about. I wonder where Mannesmann was based, maybe Austria? They produced a lot of the tubing for Italian and perhaps French companies that the consumer thought was pulling their own...I've heard of Oria, Excel, Falk as actually having some if not all of their tubesets drawn by Mannesmann...sure looks German to me.

  17. #17
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Velo Schauff made singles and tandems. A few of the tandems were imported to the US. Have ridden one, a bit on the heavy side.

  18. #18
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    I checked out Herlihy's book, Bicycle: The History, and there was a German bicycle industry, interrupted only by WWII. The German bicyles were apparently built for export, but Herlihy doesn't provide any clues about which countries these bikes were exported to. I suspect the U.S. was not one of those countries however, because he does talk about French and British exports to the U.S.

    Cycleurope is the largest contemporary European bicycle manufacturer, and if you check their website, they have production sites in Denmark, France, Italy, and Sweden-- but none in Germany.

    Interesting question.
    Yes, they did export to the US. At least one brand, Baronia, was exported to the US in the 50's. There were not many models. They were designed to compete with low end Schwinns, but did not do very well. They were big, maroon and white, fairly ugly, 26" rimmed bikes. Nothing special, no horn or gears. Just a standard coaster brake. There was a 'tank' located under the top tube that was hollow on early models. It had standard balloon tires of the era manufactured by Continental. There were no whitewalls. How do I know? It was my first and only bike as a child. It had one advantage over all the other bikes. No one would steal it.
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    A pair of German Fleetwings on Craigslist Portland (not mine):

    Pair of "town bikes" - $110

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Reply to: sale-157255661@craigslist.org
    Date: 2006-05-03, 5:04PM PDT


    German made "Fleeetwing" single speed coaster brake 26" wheel city bikes. Have fenders, chain guards and mens has new tires. Perfect for errands, shorter commuting and low anxiety to lock up on street. Metallic copper and in good condition. Price is for pair: would consider selling seperately, but these make a great couple! E mail or call 503 236 1313.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Another German bicycle on Seattle Craigslist (not my bike):

    Extremely Rare German Made Bike Late 40s

    Extremely Rare German Made Bike late 40s - $1000

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Reply to: sale-158274350@craigslist.org
    Date: 2006-05-06, 7:46PM PDT


    A late 40s Heidemann works bike rides well very nice bike good bike for collectors. All fare offers are accepted as this bike is very unique
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    Another German bicycle on Seattle Craigslist (not my bike):

    Extremely Rare German Made Bike Late 40s

    Extremely Rare German Made Bike late 40s - $1000

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Reply to: sale-158274350@craigslist.org
    Date: 2006-05-06, 7:46PM PDT


    A late 40s Heidemann works bike rides well very nice bike good bike for collectors. All fare offers are accepted as this bike is very unique
    Now on sale: $600 or offer. I guess $1000 was a bit of wishful thinking...

  22. #22
    Senior Member broomhandle's Avatar
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    there are a lot of german bicycle's in germany, just not to many "german" road bikes:

    http://www.classicrendezvous.com/Germany/Germany.htm

    the german road bikes ive seen are a little heavy, but still well built. i love german anything, they build things perfect. but road bikes is not their cup of tea.

    and i think the 70's bike boom was all about french/italian and english bikes. a puch is even a rare find and i love thoose bikes!

  23. #23
    meet the mets chicagoamdream's Avatar
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    Anyone know anything about Leto frames? I just bought this, full Campy, Cinelli lugs.

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  24. #24
    Senior Member broomhandle's Avatar
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    sweet! i know thoose are rare brakes, i forget the name.

  25. #25
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    I have a Heidemann Werke bike from the early 60's that was bought from a VW dealership. It's a folding bike that will fit under the hood of a Beetle



    if anybody is interested i am open to offers. I sold my beetle so i don't display it anymore
    djeaudio@hotmail.com

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