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Where does the name Schwalbe come from?

In 1973 Ralf Bohle imported bicycle tires from Korea to Germany for the first time. These were called Swallow. In these days, Germany was the biggest and most important market. For this reason “swallow” was translated into German, i.e. Schwalbe.

In Korea the tiny little bird is a traditional sign of good luck. For us it symbolizes that cycling is a wonderful way of moving: fast, light-hearted, with confidence, naturally and free.

Swallow tires are in fact still available today. Our partner company HungA distributes them mainly in Asian countries. The Schwalbe brand is, however, a name which is more well-known all over the world.


Schwalbe continues to foster a commitment to more sustainability and responsibility. Our goal: Sustainable product design from cradle to grave. This begins with the raw materials. In cooperation with Fair Rubber e.V., Schwalbe encourages fair trade of natural rubber and thereby actively supports better living and working conditions for rubber tappers.

Even though 70 percent of natural rubber traded worldwide is used by the tire industry, Schwalbe is, so far, the first and only tire manufacturer to join Fair Rubber e.V.


Fair Rubber e.V. is an NGO founded in 2012, which has initiated a special premium scheme that is unique in the world and promotes fair trading conditions for natural rubber as well as better working conditions in production. The world market price for natural rubber is so low that many small farmers normally cannot sell their rubber for a reasonable price. Fair Rubber e.V. helps by encouraging various companies to pay fair prices for the labour of rubber tappers.

Schwalbe joined the cooperation as the first manufacturer of tires worldwide. As part of the initiative, Schwalbe pays an additional fair trade premium of EUR 0.50 per kilogram rubber (dry goods). These funds go directly to a cooperative of 277 small farmers that has been founded specifically for this purpose and is located close to the Schwalbe factory on Java, Indonesia.

The amount of the premium is paid out in full to the small farmers every month via Fair Rubber and they get to decide for themselves how the money is spent. The premium helps small farmers to significantly improve the quality of their lives. For example, other supply partners have used them for expanding medical care services, water and power infrastructure or for educational resources in schools and kindergartens.

It took only one year for Fair Rubber and Schwalbe to set up the local structures and supply chains to start in April 2020.

The environment a benefits: Fair Rubber has adopted the environmental standards of the well-known Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for its own admission criteria for small farmers to join the cooperative.