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Illinois distributor KHS Bicycle Parts to close in August

Published July 29, 2022

OLNEY, Ill. (BRAIN) — KHS Bicycle Parts, which was founded 50 years ago by Karl Heinz Schaette, will close its doors next month.

KHS Bicycle Parts — not to be confused with the California-based distributor and bike brand KHS Inc. — has in recent years been the importer and distributor of Sapim spokes and other parts (through its sister business, ProVelo), provided shipping and billing logistics for Dahon, and ran ThorUSA, an e-commerce site specializing in folding bikes. All three businesses are closing, said Thorsten “Thor” Schaette, Karl’s son and KHS's president since 2000. 

Thor Schaette has been involved with the company for 55 years. “I remember serving coffee at the Esge booth at IFMA, while my parents were working with all the USA folks who visited the show. I was 10 years old at the time. That was 55 years ago. Now it’s time to say goodbye to the best customers and suppliers with a heartfelt thank you.”   

Karl Heinze Schaette passed away at age 87 in 2020. He worked at the company until then. "He loved the company he founded," Thor Schaette said.

Karl Schaette began his career at Union Froendenberg, the German manufacturer of pedals, lights, hubs, chains and spokes. He traveled the U.S. with a briefcase of samples and he and his wife immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s. Eventually, he became an independent rep for European companies, selling their products to OEM and wholesale distributors in North America.

Later, he convinced Union and Weinman to start production in Olney, which was chosen because it was one day's trip by truck to the five largest bike makers in the U.S. at the time. KHS Bicycle Parts built a warehouse to handle products from Esge, Pletscher, Eldi, Reich, SKS, Cratoni, Unior,  Shain, Magura, Esjot and others. The company introduced the hydraulic Magura bicycle components to the U.S. market and later had great success with Belgium's Sapim spokes. "Our service and the best spokes in the world truly made an impact," Thor Schaette said.

He said KHS functioned as an “incubator” for companies like Brooks and Sigma as those brands got established in the U.S. In 2010 KHS began providing logistics, shipments, service and bookkeeping for Dahon. 

Thor Schaette said he and his wife, Cheryl, plan to travel and visit their grandchildren. He said they also are looking forward to using their folding bikes while camping or sailing.

Sapim spokes are now being handled by Hoss Active Sports in Olney.

Dahon, with headquarters in California, will continue to ship and perform other logistics from Olney with the same employees who previously worked for KHS and are now Dahon employees

"It was at times tumultuous and not always great working in the bike biz, but overall we also had a lot of fun, made a bunch of friends, worked hard, and got a paycheck at the end of the month," Schaette said. 

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