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2010 NAHBS Interview Series : Paul Component Engineering

by Bike Shop Girl

The largest series of interviews of frame and part builders, leading up to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show February 26-28, 2010.. Make sure to add us on Twitter for the latest show news.

Basics:

Whats your name:
Paul Price

Where are you based out of?
Chico, (Northern) CA

How did you get in to making parts?
I’ve always been a bike person and worked at lots of bike shops getting my mechanical engineering degree. I always knew I was going to make a living selling something I made and after a year in the real world and a nasty breakup I took the plunge.

What’s your experience and length of design/manufacturing?
Like a said, I have an engineering degree, but all my life have designed new stuff, my solutions for problems or improvements to existing mechanisms. I do 80% of the design here these days, the big stuff, the basic ideas, shapes and materials. I then have a super good manufacturing engineer on staff who will fine tune things so we can get them out the door sooner.

How are you different, or what makes your product so different in the bike industry?
Nobody does the range of parts we do. I have lots, and lots of ideas-just not enough machinery to make all the stuff. There are only a handful of us here in the states, Phil, White, King and myself. The ugly truth is maybe 80% of the rest of the worlds bike parts are made by some obscure company in Asia. A “product” person will walk the isles of the Taipei show and pick about a bunch of parts from various vendors, have them made with their company name on them and voila, they have a line of bike parts. We design, build and test everything right in our own factory.

Commuter’esque Bikes :

Do you build any utility, commuter or daily use style products?
Yes, the Gino and Stem Cap Light mounts. The Flatbed – It’s the original stylish rack with wood, now everybody makes one. Of course our brakes and hubs and cranks bling up a commuter bike nicely.

If so, what do you think are the key ingredients in making a bicycle that will help people use their bicycles more for everyday use?
I’d say the key ingredient is how it looks. I brought a bike to the ’97 Interbike that was built from the ground up to be the what I called “Mercedes” of bike commuters. The frame was stylish, and all the parts hanging from it matched or looked in some way as part of the greater design, not just plastic add-ons. To get people riding bikes to work will mean getting the attention of lots of people who are not bike people to begin with. They look at their car and it’s all one color, except the tires. They look at a bike with lots of add ons and it’s confusing from a distance.

Alternative Transportation :

Do you think the culture of the US will continue towards alternative transportation?
I do, it’s happening! It’s been talked about for years now, about how to get more people on bikes and using them for transportation. The major first wave was the gas price spikes last? 2? Year. Suddenly there are bikes coming online because of that that are following in the “Mercedes” concept. Trek has a nice one, and I’ve seen people riding them around my small town. Some people are obviously going to work, some are just riding around-put they are on a bike with some sort of way to carry something home from the market so maybe, just maybe they’ll take that option.

What can we do as cyclist to help this?
Be courteous to others you see on your commute, even cars. You’ll want to give them the bird, but a smile and wave will go much further. Also ride like you’re a car, don’t go all over the place running lights without even slowing down. Just don’t be a douche bag.

What do we need to see from the government?
By far the in my mind the biggest thing the government could do would be to raise gas taxes. At least they could adjust the tax rate for inflation. I think it’s $.185 per gallon for the federal part, but it’s always been that. The price of gas has gone way up, but the tax hasn’t. This would mean less drivers because gas would cost more, and more money for transportation improvements which include bike lanes and such.

What do we need to see from the bike industry to aid in the movement?
That’s a tough one. The commitment of companies to do commuter bikes, like the Civia is really good. More activism and cash from the big corps is also good. But really, it’s going to take getting to the people who don’t ride bikes and telling them what is happening to the world and why that little trip to the store on a bike will ultimately save the world.

Make Contact :

Paul
www.paulcomp.com
530-345-4371
11204 Midway
Chico CA 95928

 
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