For over 25 years Chico, California has been the home base for Paul Component Engineering. During the Speedvagen Fit Tour we swung by to check in on their operations and to get a sense of what the team, the city of Chico and Paul Price himself are all about…
The Paul facilities have grown in piecemeal increments over the years. What started as a solo machinist making seat post quick releases in an old Texaco gas station has grown into a production house that, metaphorically speaking, is operating like a well-oiled machine.
In the approximately 2,000 square foot facility, multiple CNC machines churn out individual tasks, from Mini Moto arms, to hub shells and even a prototype machine, milling variations on products that have yet to hit the shelves. When you look at the space, the machines, the raw material and the people who make Paul Component tick, suddenly the 200 product daily-output seems like a reasonable feat.
The metal stock comes in, is cut down to approximate scale, hits the CNC deck, then gets tumbled, or finished and eventually makes its way to a box or a plastic pouch before hitting the shelves.
What was most impressive to me was how Paul’s personal collection of bicycles represented the available technology at the time. Each of his bikes were made to utilize a new hub, or brake caliper, or even wheel standard. This results in a Dr. Frankenstein-like lair, all suspended from the ceiling of the shop.
For the past few months however, the shop has been cranking away at their production run of 300 Klamper units, slated to hit their web shop around the end of June. This production has an all-hands-on-deck energy, yet Paul has a few more products up his sleeve for 2015.
As a small-time parts manufacturer, it’s difficult to keep up with trends, standards and the ever-so-shifting bicycle industry, yet Paul and his team are continuing to kick-ass with new products, all while taking the time to ride bikes in what I would consider one of California’s best kept “secrets”, Chico.
After the shop tour, some bike photos and lunch, we packed up our gear and headed out to the trails, for some “team building”, aka trail beer!