You might call it a strange coincidence, but a funny thing that connects three of Germany’s high-end bicycle brands is that they each had some of their earliest bike world beginnings working in a bike shop. From Marcus Storck and his eponymous bike brand to Roman Arnold who founded  a small consumer direct brand you may have heard of – Canyon Bikes – these heavyweights of German cycling have their roots in the retail world.

From the early days of Schmolke’s carbon handlebar production.

And to those two you can add the name Stefan Schmolke who along with his brother got started in a bike shop back in 1989 at the same time he was studying carbon fiber applications in cycling at university. One year later Stefan developed an early carbon handlebar before finally starting up his bike centric Schmolke Carbon company. According to Schmolke lore, it was in 1996 that they got the handlebar under German star Jan Ulrich  to prove it’s worth during the Tour de France. And then the road business boomed!

Over the years we’ve seen plenty of Schmolke branded parts, although most often when we visited Eurobike or some boutique bike shop.  Although we’ve always associated the brand with carbon components, we recently got wind of  two complete Schmolke bikes that are now available; the Aerrow road bike and the Infinity gravel bike.

Beyond the Schmolke brand, while we were in conversation with brand reps, we learned that years ago Stefan had added to his carbon enterprise by  purchasing another uber-premium German carbon brand,  THM Components whose parts, like Schmolke’s, hold court among the highest end of exotic bike components. Between the two brands there is a total of 30 employees (9 at the Schmolke shop in Constance and 21 employees at THM). Currently while the frames come out of Asia, all of the TLO (The Lightest One) components (handlebars, seat posts, crank and stem) are made in Germany with the carbon saddles coming out of Portugal.


Schmolke’s Aerrow road bike is available as a frame ($3200) or four different versions of a complete bike ranging in price from $8440 (SRAM Force)  to just over $13,000 (Shimano Dura Ace) . The carbon saddle weighs (a claimed) 88 grams and sells for $325.



Unlike many of the small parts and components that are still made in German, the frames are sourced out of Asia.


Complete bikes are built with either Shimano or SRAM drivetrains, but if you want to build your bike with one of the exotic THM Clavicula SE cranks be prepared to wait.


The TLO carbon stem uses titanium hardware and is available in four lengths, with a 6-degree rise/drop, and a 31.8mm clamp. Prices range from $530-$650. There are a variety of different  style handlebars that average around $435 in price.



The Infinity frame and fork weighs (a claimed) 1560 grams and is available as a frameset ($2800) or built with a Campagnolo Ekar drivetrain starting at $9200 or a SRAM Force drivetrain at $8925. The frame has mounts for 3 bottles with room to run up to a 40mm tire.


The Infinity frame has room for up to 40mm tires and the frame has seatstay mounts for either fenders or racks.


Unlike the road bike,  Schmolke’s gravel frame is comprised of more angular tubes with an interestingly molded seat tube junction. The carbon seatposts come in a wide range of sizes that are handmade to accommodate specific rider size.


The tubeless ready 28 spoke TLO Gravel wheels use DT Swiss hubs and have a 25mm inner width and hit the scales at (a claimed) 1390 grams. Compatible with Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM cassettes for just under $3000.


The THM Carbon Clavicula SE cranks are available in either Compact or Standard and use a carbon spindle with a 148mm Q-factor and sell for $1500. Available in three sizes with either a matte or glossy finish, the (claimed) weight is 302 grams.


For anyone looking to really class up their old rim brake bike, the Fibula caliper brakes average in price at $1500 and are designed to fit up to 25mm tires. The (claimed) weight (w/o pads) is 120 grams for the pair and they have a 243 pound rider/bike weight limit.




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