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Why no major German bikes?

Old 03-01-21, 09:46 AM
  #1  
chancelucky
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Why no major German bikes?

It seems like most of the major European countries have some sort of bicycling tradition: France, Italy, England, Spain, the Netherlands. It's strange to me that there's no bike maker or bike style associated with Germany, especially
since virtually any other sort of high end manufacturing would include at least one German brand name. Am I simply missing something or is there a reason? Of course, Bosch and Brose make a large percentage of e-bike motors, but even
then they don't brand their own bikes.
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Old 03-01-21, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by chancelucky View Post
Am I simply missing something...?
Canyon.
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Old 03-01-21, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Canyon.
and Focus.
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Old 03-01-21, 09:57 AM
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Old 03-01-21, 09:58 AM
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bulls
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Old 03-01-21, 10:00 AM
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Tout Terrain touring bikes were/are leaders in that category.
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Old 03-01-21, 10:02 AM
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Corratec are big on MTB (also Cube, I guess, but they’re after my time watching the scene).
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Old 03-01-21, 10:03 AM
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Riese und Muller are benchmarks in e-bikes (and touring).
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Old 03-01-21, 10:06 AM
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I think that in the touring world, German bikes are king.
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Old 03-01-21, 10:10 AM
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Old 03-01-21, 10:18 AM
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I do know Reise and Muller and Bulls from the e-bike world. I didn't realize Canyon, Focus, and, especially Tout Terrain, were German :} Some of these companies, though, are sort of the exception proving the rule.
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Old 03-01-21, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by chancelucky View Post
I do know Reise and Muller and Bulls from the e-bike world. I didn't realize Canyon, Focus, and, especially Tout Terrain, were German :} Some of these companies, though, are sort of the exception proving the rule.
I think that when you looking at the touring segment, that’s where German brands are the big brands, but that’s not a segment which is big in the USA, so Americans don’t notice it. And the German brands which dominate that segment are not only bike manufacturers, but component manufacturers, like Tubus, Schwalbe, Pinion, Bosch and Ortlieb.
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Old 03-01-21, 10:26 AM
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I think German companies generally have more profitable things to make. Same with the U.S.
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Old 03-01-21, 10:35 AM
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I can’t speak too specifically to German bike makers, but generally in terms of international trade, a lot of German companies try to make products in Germany and position themselves as providing top-of-range products, so I’m not surprised that we don’t see German companies trying to compete across the market against Trek, Specialized, etc.

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Old 03-01-21, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by chancelucky View Post
It seems like most of the major European countries have some sort of bicycling tradition: France, Italy, England, Spain, the Netherlands. It's strange to me that there's no bike maker or bike style associated with Germany...


I recall Dane Mikael Colville-Andersen visited Germany and made fun of their excellent bike lights and the way all the German riders had their tires pumped up to pressure!
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Old 03-01-21, 11:02 AM
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Fascinating. I take it that, like China, there are a lot of bikes or bike brands from Germany that we just don't see in the United States. The UK being so low on the list is also something of a surprise.
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Old 03-01-21, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by chancelucky View Post
I do know Reise and Muller and Bulls from the e-bike world. I didn't realize Canyon, Focus, and, especially Tout Terrain, were German :} Some of these companies, though, are sort of the exception proving the rule.
There's also Cube
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Old 03-01-21, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post

I recall Dane Mikael Colville-Andersen visited Germany and made fun of their excellent bike lights and the way all the German riders had their tires pumped up to pressure!
Busch & Müller are probably the most acclaimed generator lights out there, and certainly Lezyne has made a presence for their battery lights in the USA as well.
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Old 03-01-21, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by chancelucky View Post
Fascinating. I take it that, like China, there are a lot of bikes or bike brands from Germany that we just don't see in the United States. The UK being so low on the list is also something of a surprise.
The graphic was for production, and virtually all the Portuguese production goes to other EU brands, including German ones. If the graph showed brand sales by country rather than production, it’d look quite different.
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Old 03-01-21, 11:35 AM
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In the BMX scene there is a German brand called "We the People" that's pretty popular. But I think it's a German owned brand but the bikes are made in Taiwan? I could be wrong.
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Old 03-01-21, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
The graphic was for production, and virtually all the Portuguese production goes to other EU brands, including German ones. If the graph showed brand sales by country rather than production, it’d look quite different.
Germans build 'em; Germans buy 'em.

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Old 03-01-21, 11:59 AM
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Also, not a complete bike, the Pinion gearboxes are German in design and manufacture.
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Old 03-01-21, 12:00 PM
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My kid has a Ghost hardtail, and my next bike is likely to be a Canyon, both German.
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Old 03-01-21, 12:22 PM
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Ignaz Schwinn was a German immigrant to the USA. The Schwinns had family 'in the old country'.

"In 1933 Frank Schwinn took a trip to Germany. There he saw a healthy bicycle industry that had developed a strong and utilitarian bicycle for the rough cobbled streets of German cities. It used something called the 'balloon tire'..." - Schwinn Bicycles by Pridmore and Hurd, 1996

Yep, the all-American 26" (ISO559) balloon tire that would go on to shod children's bicycles for decades and birth the mountain bike came from Germany.

By 1935 Frank Schwinn was ready to tackle a restarting of an adult cycle market in America. German-inspired bicycles with Fichtel & Sachs hub gears? Uh, no. Because of the geopolitical landscape, that was pretty much a marketing non-starter. In the late 1930s Schwinn's marketing instead taught American young adults to revere 'English Type' lightweights with Sturmey-Archer hub gears:


Last edited by tcs; 03-01-21 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 03-01-21, 12:35 PM
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Amazing that Portugal tops the list when it comes to bicycle production. It's also somewhat surprising that bike sales in Italy is so much lower than in France and the UK- countries with roughly similar population counts.
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