Cosmic – Since starting Paul Components, what product are you most proud of?
Paul – Hard to say. The Flatbed is pretty nice. It was a way to bring my other passion into a product; woodworking.
But I’d have to say though, the original WORD hub.
It was the first purpose built single speed mountain bike hub ever. It helped get the whole movement on the map, and it saved my bacon. Derailleur sales had stalled and Shimano had just introduced a radical new XTR group. I may not have made it without that hub.
C – Can you tell us a bit more about the design, testing and production process of Paul Components?
P – Parts happen like this almost all the time; I go for a ride, nearly every morning. I have a lot of bikes and try all kinds of combinations of parts and terrain and riding styles. I know there are others out there that don’t just ride a stock Trek with Shimano components, it can’t just be me. Anyway, I go for a ride, maybe do something a little different and figure out if I only had a part that had this feature, or did this thing or whatever this ride would be just a little bit more fun or interesting. Then by the time I’m done with my ride I’ll have a pretty good idea of what it will look like and how I’ll make it.
The design part is very natural to me, don’t know why but it comes together really fast. There are usually some changes but i occasionally will nail it first time. Then I have to go to work and the part will usually get tucked away for a week or so until one evening I come in when nobody is around and make one. Or I’ll do a sketch and have my engineer, Jim, do one on our strictly prototype/tooling cnc mill.
As far as the “design” I just make the part so it functions like I want it to. We rarely add many frills or fluffs to make it look aesthetically pleasing. I think that is a waste of time and that a nicely designed highly functional part is a thing of beauty in itself. Why add meaningless flourishes?
Once the part is made I ride it, a lot. Some parts like the seat post and new cassette hubs will get a year’s worth of riding between myself and a few select locals who I trust for good feedback. And one guy is really big so that’s a bonus for torture testing.
C – Is this how the Duplex Bike Polo lever came about then? And did you expect the response from the Bike Polo scene to be so positive?
P – I’m blown away by that lever’s popularity. Really happy about it. It took a long time for that to get off the drawing board because we were so busy and I didn’t really believe there would be a market for it. WRONG!
C – Yeah, Polo players were desperately in need of a lever which could pull dual brakes efficiently. Many were making adaptive versions, but they would often break or cause a lot of finger fatigue as the pull leverage was never right. When we got to test the Duplex, we were amazed at it’s quality and performance. Nothing in the market has come close still.
P – Turns out there are lots of adaptive cyclists that it has been a major help to as well. Once we built a few though I knew it was a winner. One of my favourite parts.
C – Do you have other Bike Polo specific parts in the pipeline?
P – Nothing right now. I don’t play polo, so I really don’t know what would make a better part. We are selling a lot of 48 spoke front disk hubs though.
C – Yeah, you’ve just done a batch of custom drilled 48h disc FHUB’s – Rupert’s got one coming in the post – thanks again for that. We’re excited to receive the custom 48h rears soon too and about the cassette hubs we understand are currently in the works.
To be continued.