Knochenschüttler – The German Equivalent

I guess it´s about time I delved into my archive and wrote a short post on the old-bike – publication of my home country, the Knochenschüttler (KS). After all it´s been the lifeline that has connected the German cycle collecting community for nearly 20 years now.

Seeing that even lifestyle blogs like in a post called fur-nostalgie-liebhaber seem to like the mag I guess I just have to harp in.

Founded in 1995 by Tilman Wagenknecht from Erfurt it was based on a newssheet published by Fahrradveteranen-Freunde Dresden right after the demise of the GDR. As such Tilman did a great job in developing the publication to a much more interesting format. This is what the first KS A5-sized front page looked like:



It had 10 pages and featured a report on the 1995 IVCA Rallye in Haarlem/NL as well as an article on German bottom bracket geared bicycles, and had a run of 60 copies.


Already the second issue, appearing in September 95, sported 16 pages and was not loose leaf anymore, but properly stapled. Leaps and bounds. Its main attraction was a multi page article on MIFA. It said on the back cover that “at least” 300 copies had been made. No 3 had 24 pages, and No. 5 showcased 28. As from No 4 there was a stiff cover, and the run was upped to 500.


This format stayed the same until No 12, spring 1998, when there was a colour cover – printed on green cardboard. This was also the first issue which was the official newsletter of the freshly founded Historische Fahrräder e.V., the German old-bike club which has since taken over the show, after Tilman´s leaving the editor´s desk.

HistofaMitglCoverIt´s surprising how many entries in this, the first members´ handbook are still in the latest one. My personal record, for any club, is the V-CC which I joined in 1988, so there must be something in old-bike clubs. (Although having long passed the 50-year-mark, I still refuse to join FCOT – it would make me feel really old.)

Actually the Eastern German Knochenschüttler absorbed its Western equivalent, Christoph Guder´s Velorat, also around 1997; can´t remember the exact date. The title did not refer to a small furry animal, btw.


After that, No 18, the first issue after the Millennium, was in its present format: A4, b/w cover, new design.

No18CovSave the introduction of colour (and not only in the form of a green cover), this has stayed the same.

No58CovThe next issue will be an unbelievable No 59, issued by mainly three editors: Tilman, Thomas Busch and Michael Mertins, who has returned to this job after an interlude of a couple of years. These three really have done a lot for the German old-bike scene, especially Michael, who has been at it for years and years, adding up his two tenures, managing to introduce full colour to the 36 A4 pages the mag now has. The board of editors have recently decided to concentrate on two issues per year.

No 59 will be issued, as always, to members of Historische Fahrräder e.V., inside Germany as well as abroad. If you´d like to become one, you can easily go to their homepage and register.


  1. Posted February 1, 2015 at 11:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Toni, it is a funny thing to read this article which brings back memories from an era of an atmosphere of departure concerning the interest in cycle history of the German cycle collector scene. For me the initial point to engage more deeply and seriously with cycling history has been the first Fahrradhistorische Tagung which took place in Bielefeld in 1994. There I met people which became or already were the driving forces for German cycle history research which was still in its infancy at that point. These were people like Hans-Erhard Lessing, Volker Briese, the late Rüdiger Rabenstein, Walter Ulreich and also Michael Mertins, whom you already mentioned. So right after that conference on my way home I thought that I should do something to keep this spirit together. So I came to the idea to publish a kind of newsletter which should bundle important information for the cycling collector’s and historian’s interest as like new books, exhibitions, classifieds ads, but no editorial articles. I named that small booklet Velo Rat, a play on words with Rat in the meaning of suggestion, advise and Rad in the meaning of wheel. I did all the printing on my mother’s Xerox and the costs of postage were all covered by reader’s donations. The first issue appeared in spring 1995 and I can’t remember how many issues came out – I guess six or so – until Tilman and me united our two darlings. Thanks for showing that, Toni! Cheers, Christoph Ulbrich (formerly Guder)

    • Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for adding your memories – they were lacking in my post and make a great addition to it.

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