Previous studies suggest that there are special timing relations in syllable onsets. The consonants are assumed to be timed, on the one hand, with the vocalic nucleus and, on the other hand, with each other. These competing timing relations result in the C-center effect . However, the C-center effect has not consistently been found in languages with complex onsets. Moreover, it has occasionally been found in languages disallowing complex onsets. The present study investigates onset timing in German while discussing alternative explanations (not related to bonding) for the timing patterns observed. Six German speakers were recorded via Electromagnetic Articulography. The corpus contained items with four clusters (/sk/, /kv/, /gl/, and /pl/). The clusters occur in word-initial position, word-medial position, and across a word boundary preceding different vowels. The results suggest that segmental properties (i.e., oral-laryngeal coordination, coarticulatory resistance) determine the observed timing patterns, and specifically the absence or presence of the C-center effect.