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German industry veteran Hans Schauff dies at 83

Published October 7, 2016

REMAGEN, Germany (BRAIN) — Johannes C. Schauff, a member of a noted bike industry family in Germany, died Sept. 23 at 83. The Schauff name was perhaps best known in the U.S. during the 1970s bike boom, when the company exported thousands of its 10-speed bikes to the U.S. Johannes Schauff also was heavily involved in the growth of BMX in Europe and brought BMX brands including Kuwahara and Race Inc. to Europe.

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Hans, as he liked to be called, was born in Cologne in 1933 and grew up in the bicycle business. His father, Hans Sr., ran a racing frame workshop, while his mother, Barbara, supervised the bike shop founded by her grandparents in 1907. Schauff frames were well regarded in the local scene, and were used in the Berlin Olympics. 

After graduating as an engineer, Hans Jr. rejoined the family business in 1959 and slowly expanded the bicycle production and its customer base. Initially exporting to neighboring countries like the Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia, he started exporting to the U.S. in the 1960s.

Schauff bikes have been used in road, track, triathlon, BMX and mountain bike racing and have been supplied to the German national team. Hans had a special love for South Africa, where he participated in an exchange program as a student, and for years he organized the collection, transportation and distribution of bikes for schoolchildren in South Africa and Namibia.

During his retirement, he enjoyed the resurgence of interest in the classic steel frame and participated in the L'Eroica South Africa event.

He is survived by his wife Ute, three children and five grandchildren. Schauff continues to produce bikes in Germany, probably the last independent and family-owned brand in the country. Schauff Inc. continues to have an office in the U.S., in Olney, Illinois. 

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