Kalkhoff history | Kalkhoff Bikes
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Progress „Made in Germany“ since 1919

For over 95 years Kalkhoff has been developing impressive bikes on both the design and technology fronts. Every year we succeed in driving the trend forward and bringing significant innovations to market, Made in Germany at our facility in Cloppenburg.


1919 – 1923

In 1919, the 16-year-old rural postman Heinrich Kalkhoff founded the Kalkhoff company in his family home in Cloppenburg. As a postman, he often had to contend with a flat tyre on his bike, so he began to deal in bike tyres and other bike parts.

From 1920 onwards he also bought and sold used men's and women's bikes, as well as spare parts.

In 1923 he began producing his own bicycle frames together with two employees. By then he had built offices and a production facility on the grounds of his family home.


1927 – 1945

As early as 1927, complete bicycles were leaving the production plant. The ambitious Kalkhoff built up his small business, first into an assembly plant and then into an international bicycle factory. With handwork "Made in Germany", low sales prices and successful adaptation to the design expectations in other countries, Kalkhoff's success was ensured.

By 1936 Kalkhoff had produced 250,000 bicycles with a staff of 40 in Cloppenburg, making it one of the major employers in a region characterised by poor infrastructure.

Bicycle production ceased from 1936 to 1945, during which time Kalkhoff factories were forced to produce armaments.

After 1945, only non-bicycle industrial goods were manufactured at first, such as potato steamers for pig fattening, lorry trailers and kitchen stoves.


1950 – 1968

Not until 1950 was bicycle production the focus once more. It was at this time that the bicycle industry experienced a huge boom in demand. By then the company employed 1,200 people on occasion to produce handlebars, seatposts and wheels. Even chainsets were being punched and finished in the company's own electroplating shop. At that time production was as much as 5,000 frames a day.

In 1970, because of high demand, the company built another factory on its present site in Cloppenburg, complete with distribution warehouse. In 1972, the company celebrated its five millionth bicycle.

The Kalkhoff brand always had a feeling for trends and its products reflected the spirit of the times: While in the 1960s, the high profile of professional cycling boosted the sale of road bikes, from 1968 onwards, the "Keep Fit" movement led to new product lines, the exercise bike and fitness sports equipment.


1972 – today

Heinrich Kalkhoff died in Cloppenburg in 1972, having passed on the management of the business to his three sons, Berthold, Karl and Heinz back in 1968.

In the mid 1980s the family-owned company was forced to file for bankruptcy and from then on the Kalkhoff brothers and the cycle brand went their separate ways. The Kalkhoff brand has belonged to Derby Cycle Werke ever since.

Derby Cycle Holding GmbH is the bicycle manufacturer with the highest turnover in Germany and the third-largest manufacturer in Europe. The Kalkhoff brand firmly believes in manufacturing bikes in Germany, and still produces in the former "Kalkhoff-Werke".

Quality German engineering coupled with innovative technology and design, or "Made in Germany", is a conviction by which Kalkhoff lives.


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