How it began
More than 20 years ago, the cycling technician and cyclist Markus Schulz had a brilliant idea: A variable handlebar height adjustment for the then new A-Head stems. In other words, a handlebar that could be adjusted in height effortlessly with one hand using a quick release lever. The idea came to him while screwing in the workshop. A new system with which the handlebar height can be adjusted easily, without tools and in seconds. The whole thing without tiresome alignment and adjustment of the bearing play. So it’s ideal for sporty and comfortable adjustment of the handlebar height in between on tours.
A quick-release solution for the handlebar height sounds simple at first, but has many pitfalls, because the handlebars are exposed to extreme stress. This means that the quick-release lever must have a “firm grip” on the handlebars after closing, because a loose handlebar leads directly to a crash.
In addition, the A-Head headset is located in the clamping area of the fork and must not be changed by adjusting the handlebar height. As a result, various prototypes were built which had to undergo extensive testing until Speedlifter could finally be patented. Series production then started in Germany in 1997. Only three years later, the question of relocating production arose, as the demand was so great that most of the finished products had to be shipped to overseas production facilities. With entrepreneurial foresight, Markus Schulz then shifted production step by step to Asia.
With time, the demands in the market increased. There was an increasing demand for turning the handlebars sideways into a parking position. In 2006 the by,schulz team successfully launched the Speedlifter twist on the market. With it, the handlebars can be turned sideways by 90 degrees without any tools in addition to the height adjustment. The e-bike pioneer Flyer in Switzerland used the twist directly in mass production. Meanwhile, the Speedlifter twist is part of the popular complete equipment of many well-known bike brands.
The success of the Speedlifter and the positive feedback from industry and trade encouraged the by.schulz team to implement further high-quality and sophisticated bike components. These included, above all, the parallel-suspension seat post G.1 Urban, the development of which started in 2014. At that time, there were already a large number of sprung seat posts on the market. But the suspensions were inadequate in many respects. Schulz’s idea was a high-quality and extremely resilient parallel-suspended seat post with a central special spring element that responds sensitively. This means without bell crank or pistons, which have to be moved first before a small spring placed in the tube of the seat post can absorb the shock. The result was the G.1 Urban, a parallel-suspension seatpost that is generally praised for its immediate good response and solid construction. This seatpost is now available in many different versions, so that almost every bicycle and e-bike can be equipped with it.
At the same time, the international trade structure for wholesale and retail trade as well as for bicycle manufacturers was expanded. A further impulse came in 2013 when Gerd Brücker joined the by.schulz team. The industrial designer was mainly responsible for the latest new developments, such as the G.1 suspension seat posts and the Stem twist A-Head stem line with the SDS adapter system.
Our preferred material is aluminium. With its targeted selection of materials and the large number of production processes it is ideally suited for the implementation of safe and high-quality components. We use the latest production techniques, such as 3D forging. Compared to completely milled parts, forged components have the advantage of higher structural strength and thus enable safe design. All aluminium parts on our seat posts are forged from high-strength material, the supporting tube with the main weight support is additionally manufactured using the 3D forging process. This is why the extremely durable G.1 seat posts are popular with athletes and frequent riders.
We also set the highest standards for the other materials used. The spring elements of the G.1 are specially manufactured according to our requirements. The flat wire steel springs made of special industrial steel in combination with our elastomer dampers not only provide the best possible suspension, but also years of driving pleasure.
A passion for development
“I wouldn’t bring a component onto the market that I wouldn’t like to ride on my own bicycle tours. That means function, reliability and high quality must meet my requirements. Only then can I recommend it to other cyclists with a clear conscience”, says Schulz about the leitmotif of his work. Accordingly, the exchange with his customers, partners and with the professional world is very important to him. “Participation in trade fairs, international exhibitions and visits to manufacturers are extremely important for us. Here we learn first-hand how our products are performing in the market and which extensions and additions would be useful”, Schulz continues. Nobody in his team regards the work as a “job”. Instead, everyone is fascinated by the idea of developing new, sophisticated components that make cycling more beautiful, more comfortable and safer.
Saarbrücken and everywhere
The company owner of by.schulz GmbH, Markus Schulz, is a Saarlander. The trained bicycle mechanic has been working as an independent entrepreneur in the bicycle industry since 1989. The headquarters of by.schulz is located in the heart of Saarbrücken and is the linchpin of the entire design and product development. The administrative international activities are led by Robert Koch, a businessman with experience in the industry and a passion for bicycles.
The fact that by.schulz has been manufacturing everything in Taiwan for 15 years is now less due to the production costs, but mainly because the largest customers are also located in Asia. “Most of our OEM partners have their products manufactured locally. If we were to continue to manufacture in Europe, we would have to ship our components overseas or fly them in if we wanted to move quickly. That would be expensive and would unnecessarily delay the supply chain,” says Schulz about the background to outsourcing.