Triggered To Buy

Why on God’s green earth would you buy something from someone who claims to not even really use the item he is selling?

It’s like the opposite of buying that hair growth goop from the guy who claims not only to be the owner of the company, but a client. Or was it not only was he a client, but he was the founder of the company?

Either way, unlike those miracle hair growth formulas, Paul’s 22.2 Dropper Trigger never leaves you wondering if all the hype is just that. Don’t give it a second thought, the Trigger will grow on you. 

And it is during these stressful and uncertain times, as I tighten my wallet and consider what the future is going to look like, where I think looking to companies like Paul’s Components has extra value.

At Pauls things are loved over by a small group of artisans and handcrafted to pretty impressive tolerances. 

Sure Paul says he’s not really convinced a dropper post is something he is interested in for himself, but he seems to have still given a shit about those of us who don’t ever want to ride without one ever again.

It is machined in Chico, California out of 6061 aluminum and has a pair of sealed cartridge bearings, two different cabling options, barrel adjuster and hinged mount the Trigger is ready for just about any dirty whip you can mount it to and it comes in a cavalcade of color options.

We wanted to embrace the experience that is the Paul’s colorways, but we couldn’t pass up the bling of the beautiful chrome version. 

Do you need a new lever for your dropper? 

Probably not, as the majority of companies have caught on to the importance of quality lever and the game has greatly improved.

The thing is though, the Paul’s trigger works beautifully, feels great under thumb and never ceases to start a trailhead conversation. 

Besides the obvious difference in clamp diameters, the 31.8 trigger and its cable route are also different from its 22.2 counterpart

And now, Paul has added a 31.8 Trigger into their lineup, so all you gravel-grinders can drop in style to your heart’s content. 

We might even consider going purple on our drop bar, fat tire bike. 


One Lever, Two Brakes

Paul Duplex brake lever

Paul is reintroducing their Duplex brake lever. And, as its name suggests, the little lever will pull double duty to stop both the front and rear brakes at once.

It’s more of a labor of love than a profit leader, really. Originally designed for bicycle polo where one needs to stop on a dime while holding a mallet, the Chico made Duplex has found its way to more specific applications such as tandem/cargo bikes with dual brakes and those who are unable to operate separate levers.

Paul Duplex brake lever

The 94-gram symmetrical lever is compatible with both long- and short-pull brakes. They are available today for $164 in polished, or $152 for anodized black, purple, blue or silver.

Billy’s Special

NAHBS Mosaic titanium custom bikes

In case you haven’t noticed from everyone’s NAHBS coverage, there was a lot of Mosaic at the show similar to the number of S-Works at your local crit. 

NAHBS Mosaic titanium custom bikes SRAM
One of the most talked about Mosaic with a red to silver fade at the SRAM booth

Seriously, there was enough to do a whole NAHBS gallery on just the Mosaics. I almost did.

NAHBS Mosaic RT-2 650b titanium custom bikes  Billy's special

There was one that didn’t get much buzz though. Our friend Billy got engaged this past fall and he commissioned a custom Mosaic as an engagement gift for his partner in crime, Beth.

It’s a custom RT2 650B built around a SRAM Force 1×11 drivetrain plus a heavy dosage of parts from Paul Component and White Industries throughout. As a matter of fact, Paul handmade a pair of titanium rings for the couple. There are also three bottle mounts for those long trips in the woods and since it’s a Mosaic, it has sweet black paint with pink trim  and a dash of glitter.


An understated, yet extremely durable and U.S. made White Industries crankset


Buttery smooth White Industries headset will last for years to come


Paul Component Klamper mechanical disc brake for the braking moments


Don't mind the dust on the frame, but this RT2 utilizes a full-length housing for its rear disc brake

How about that for an engagement gift?

NAHBS Mosaic RT-2 650b titanium custom bikes  Billy's special
B & B // B &B stands for Billy Beth Bed & Breakfast, a special ride conversation, aka long term imaginary retirement planning

Handmade Overload

I loathe going to the North American Handmade Bike Show. IT’s not because the show sucks, but because everything just looks so darn beautiful.

The McGovern Cycles Monstercross 2.0. Drools.

I was admittedly grouchy as I made the trek from San Francisco to Sacramento, yet more than anything, the people, new and old friends, really made the show a whole lot more worthwhile. 

Allied Alfa All-Road painted by Brian Szykowny

Onto the bikes. Well, there were lots of them. Scroll through the gallery and you’ll see why NAHBS is such a fun show even if you have no inclination whatsoever to buy one of these custom steeds. The amount of time the builders, or shall I said wizard artisans, spent in making these ridable show bikes was simply amazing. I hope you enjoy the bikes as much as I do.

Fifty One Bikes‘ Mad Bastard experimental TT bike inspired by the ’96 Bianchi titanium TT bike and the classic American-themed Brooklyn Cycling jersey from the 70s.
The Mad Bastard’s cockpit was painted to match the blues on the frame. It also has the new SRAM eTap AXS TT drivetrain.
Caletti Cycles adventure road bike painted by artist Jeremiah Kille.
Impeccable finish.
If I could get one e-bike, it’d be this fresh curvy Sycip
Since it’s a steel Sycip, it’s got the unmistakable penny seatstay cap.
 A Pegoretti tribute bike from Don Walker Cycles
Modeled after the Pegoretti Big Leg Emma, the tribute bike is made with the obligatory massive steel chainstays under its light blue and pink color theme
Italy’s T°RED Bikes brought their Levriero RR steel aero bike to the show.
What I thought was a head tube conjunction more commonly found in aero carbon bikes but T°RED made it out of steel anyway. 
It might not be very obvious, but this Ti Cycles was built with FSA’s ACR (Advanced Routing System) front end where all the cables are routed internally within its own bar, stem, spacers, and headset combo, making one hell of a clean cockpit.
I told you it’s clean.
Here’s another McGovern I really like. While Monstercross 2.0 was fully carbon, this gravel rig has a steel+carbon construction. All the blue tubes are carbon, it’s got carbon-wrapped joints at the seat tube and top tube while the rest of the frame is fillet-brazed steel to combine the best characteristics of both materials.
The carbon-wrapped junction that connects the carbon seat tube with the steel seat stay
Some thought this bike was ugly AF and some thought this bike was offensive given that it’s named Pubesmobile for a dude better known as Bicycle Pubes. But there’s something to be said about this Dear Susan-made frank stein rig. I especially like those curve lines up front.
White Industries cranksets were everywhere at the show but this anodized red/blue version is by far one of the best looking ones. Sorry Paul.
Rob English‘s booth is always a tough one because every bike there can easily win a bunch of awards. This is Rob’s personal bike purposely built to compete in the Trans Am bike race. It’s got some aero attributes such as an aero head tube, fork, clip-on tt bars, a custom carbon fiber storage box while the rest of the storage components are neatly nested.
Both brakes were shrouded with custom carbon covers made by Parlee.
The radical-looking seat stay on this Weis Manufacturing track bike is sure a showstopper but what’s also interesting is the materials used. Weis is the first company to make a frame out of Allite Super Magnesium AE81 tubing that is said to be 50% lighter than titanium and 20 times more shock-absorbing than aluminum.
As to the reason behind the asymmetric seat stay? Better power transfer, according to Weis.
Paul Component founder Paul LOVES his local brewery Sierra Nevada so much he commissioned a Sierra Nevada themed Retrotec single-speed with as much green bits one can possibly cram into a bike.
The custom front rack will fit two 12-can packs of Sierra Nevada perfectly.
Better known for its excellent seatpost and stem, Thomson showed off a prototype titanium bike and matching titanium seatpost they’ve been working on. The Thomson-designed and overseas made 3/2.5 gravel frame will be made in five sizes with details such as accommodation for 650 hoops with clearance for 700×45 tires plus eyelets for fenders, racks, and cable ports.
Besides the titanium bike and seatpost, can I just get some of these Thomson spacers?
It seems everyone that’s doing titanium is also doing anodization at the show, but the Aurora from No. 22 caught my eyes with its matching anodized fenders, Campy Super Record grouppo, and a carbon seat tube pulling double duty as an integrated seatpost.
Just a bit of anodizing on the seatstay bridge. I love the level of detail here.
Based in Salt Lake City, Cerreta Cycles showcased one of their steel road machines made out of Columbus Life tubing plus a custom seat topper covered in a sweet winter dazzle camo-inspired paint job. Oh, this bike is for sale too.
The Cerretta also sports a pair of some incredibly minimalistic-looking and lightweight carbon bottle cages by Alpitude.
Japan’s Panasonic brought two bikes to the show and this is the sole complete bike with a finish inspired by stained glass.
And sure enough it looks like stained glass.
Another gorgeously-made steel road machine. This time it’s the O.Q.O.C from Italian Maker DeAnima featuring Tig welded Deda Zero Custom tubeset, custom cnc stainless steel dropouts, and a BSA bottom bracket. It’ll take a 27.2 seatpost with your choice of external
mechanical or internal electronic routing.
Painted DeAnima logo on the bottom bracket
Spearheaded by legendary framebuilder Carl Strong, Montana’s Pursuit Cycles had one model to show: The carbon fiber LeadOut. As a small batch builder, only 35 of these will be made in your choice of five standard color themes like this gorgeous blue “pursuit” palette. You can also have it custom painted but with the standard paint job this good, I’d happily take the standard paint.
The head badge that also works as a birth certificate with individual frame info.
Our good friend Andrew from Cyclocross Magazine photographing a bitchin’ Seven Evergreen Pro SL with blue/pink finishes and spokes in matching colors by the wizards at Industry Nine.
Awarded “best gravel bike” at the show, Massachusetts made Evergreen Pro SL combines filament-wound carbon fiber top tube, seat tube and seatstays to a 3/2.5 titanium frame with a striking two-piece drive side stay for added clearance.

Special shoutout to Travis at Paul Component, Dennis at McGovern Cycles, Jeremy at Sycip, Billy at ECHOS, Evan at Alex Rims, and Andrew at Cyclocross Magazine for keeping things light and fun. 

Stubby Paul Stem Turns Heads

Paul Component 35mm Boxcar Stem

From skewers to Klampers, it’s no secret that Paul Component makes some really sweet parts to go along with your equally bling bike. Don’t even get me started on their annual limited edition run of colors because those look even better in person, as in just shut up and take my money now gorgeous.

Paul has been making stems for quite some time but people have been relentlessly bugging them lately about making a 35mm long, er, 35mm short stem to go with their new mountain bikes.

So Paul listened.

Paul Component 35mm Boxcar Stem

Here comes the zero degree, 35mm Boxcar stem. It may look similar to other stems but each of the Boxcars is painstakingly made in Chico, California with 20 different end mills, drills, saws and taps to within .002” tolerance out of a solid block of American made 2024 aluminum alloy. A human hair is .015” FYI.

The result is a 118-gram beaut including all hardware. Speaking of hardware, the fasteners are stainless steel T25 Torx.

The 35mm boxcar is available now in black, silver, polished, and the current limited edition color which is blue at the moment. Prices are $123 for the anodized versions and $135 for the polished ones.

Paul Adds Campy-Compatible Klamper Disc Brakes

Campagnolo aficionado, Paul’s got some mechanical disc brake caliper to go with your beloved grouppos.

Paul Component Klamper disc brake
Paul Component Klamper Mechanical Disc Caliper – now compatible with Campagnolo

The Klamper caliper has been out for a couple of years with their short-pull (for Shimano and SRAM) and long-pull (for linear brakes) versions but Paul is now adding a third version with an actuator arm designed to play nice with the campy cable pull ratio. They’re made in the U.S. and come in a variety of color combos including all black, all silver, and silver or black with orange adjusters.

Also worth noting is that the Klampers are convertible from short-pull to long-pull or Campagnolo pull or vice-versa. Yay for future-proofing!

Paul Component Klamper disc brake
Klamper Actuator Arm

The Klamper retails for $208 per caliper and is available now.

If any cantilever brake could bring me back, it was gonna be this one

Paul Touring Cantilever brake. Photo: Eric Gneckow/

Ah, I remember it like it was yesterday – the screeching yowl of my seemingly powerless cantilever brakes, my hands gripping the levers with such force that I was sure I would snap a cable or a finger as my loaded touring bike crept slowly, helplessly, down that steep hill and into racing Seattle traffic. This was Day 1 of my Pacific Coast bike tour, and I faced the dreaded question many in mortal danger have asked themselves: did I just eat my last Chipotle burrito?

Thankfully the answer to that question was “no.” Yet this harrowing experience vaulted me into a crowded cadre of cyclists who have experimented with any and all ideas possible in the space/time continuum to boost the performance of a cantilever brake system. Since I am lazy and unintelligent, I was also quite willing to abandon my experiments as soon as road-compatible V-brakes became readily available at the local shop.

I had sworn off cantilevers for good. Which is why I was stoked to review the Paul Component Engineering Touring Cantilever. If any cantilever brake could bring me back, it was gonna be this one. So did it?

Starting with the basics, Paul says each touring canti weighs in at 99 grams. The brakes ship with salmon-compound Kool Stop Thinline pads, as well as a straddle wire (with a nifty “Paul” stamp), a basic cable carrier, a cable end to finish things off and a coveted “Paul” sticker for your 1995 Toyota 4Runner. Or your 2013 Prius, whatever floats your boat. Brakes are sold as singles, and listed at $123 retail.

When you pull these things out of the bag, you will see, right off the bat, that you are holding something kickass. These are CNC-machined beauties. Each edge is crisp and consistent. The bracing behind the arms to resist flex looks great.  The coiled springs are like earrings for a back hoe. These things are svelte, yet beefy. Business, yet fun. Curvy, yet angular. Like a 1995 4Runner.

Somewhere. Sometime. Photo: Eric Gneckow/

So then you do the install, and you get stoked! The pivot on this brake, and others in the Paul lineup, is an awesome and easy-to-service design. Each arm is sealed with a couple of O-rings (think mud and wet) and comes pre-greased. The mechanism rotates on its own sleeve, limiting friction. You set the spring tension to the desired feel with a 15-millimeter wrench, bolt on those Kool-Stops and hit the road for a very exciting session of slowing down!

After riding road-compatible V-brakes for around five years, I realized they came at the price of modulation. Because it takes more cable pull to actuate a high-leverage V-brake, you end up pulling your road lever nearly to the bar aaaaaaaaand WHAM! Braking engage! If you ride in a tight paceline with such a brake, you better pay attention when you try to feather that thing.

This lovely brakeset from Paul turns that modulation knob way, way up. The brake pads move more per displacement of the brake lever, meaning that you get more control when the pads start to bite the brake surface. You can drag the rear brake to bleed a little speed without risk of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. And you don’t need to run the pads as close to the rim, so if you are a horrible person like me, you can get away with a little more “creativity” in the shape of your rim (or mud clearance). Very important disclaimer here: you MUST toe in the pads, particularly on the front! The banshee screamers will find you if you neglect to do this, and you will fail to realize the best performance of this brake. No excuses!

Now, do you sacrifice some power compared to a V-brake? Yes, you simply do. Yet rest assured, this is the bee’s knees cantilever brake that you stare at on your buddy’s custom steel cross bike for a reason. This is THE ONE. I can’t speak for Paul’s Neo-Retro Cantilever, which is a wide-stance stopper that the company claims will bend your chainstays. But I can speak for the touring canti, and this brake will serve you well.

I can’t believe it, but like the sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. I’m totally sold. The Paul Touring Cantilever is a high-performance brake with excellent modulation. This brake has plenty of stopping power for road and cross. The machining is cosmic, and the design itself is burly and beautiful. When you consider the included pads and other items, and many years of expected service, it’s actually a pretty good value.

I suspect that these brakes would have inspired much more confidence on that fateful day in Seattle, especially compared to the pig iron, gumball-machine cantilevers I was running on that day. It’s hard to say, since I was carrying, like, the weight of at least four boxes of wine on top of my gear, so…that’s a big ask of a rim brake under any circumstances.

Paul Touring Cantilever brake, rolling deep in Portland. Photo: Eric Gneckow/

From petroleum to bikes, I think that’s good karma there

Paul Component Engineering. Photo: Stephen Lam/

When I was racing in the 2nd NorCal High School MTB League (yup, just dated myself) there was a kid in the expert class with a baby blue Soulcraft.

I remember him well. Not only because he was insanely fast and his dad carried the bike for him to the start line like a boss at the 2003 state championship to avoid the thick sticky mud in Nevada City, but he had some v-brakes I have never seen before.

Various types of brakes Paul made over the years. Photo: Stephen Lam/

In the times where XTR M-950 and Avid Arch Ultimate were rampant, this kid had Paul Motolites. Cool like that one Macintosh user when everyone was about having an Intel Inside machine.

That was my first encounter of Paul Components. And now I finally got a chance to peek inside Paul’s shop, as well as the Paul behind the company, Paul Price.

Paul Price. The man behind Paul Component Engineering. Photo: Stephen Lam/

After starting from his home garage in 1989, the company is now situated at a former Texaco petroleum distribution facility next to a bike path that was once a railroad track.

“From petroleum to bikes, I think that’s good karma there.” said Price as he led a dozen journalists around his shop.

Found at a metal scrap yard and now a prominent piece within the employee bike shop. Photo: Stephen Lam/

To the uninitiated, it’s merely a nondescript warehouse with a bunch of machines running. Looking deeper, however, it’s evident that it’s more than your average machine shop. It’s a testament to Paul’s deep passion for cycling: From the giant CNC machine humming away in the distance,  the freshly machined cable barrel adjuster, the collection of vintage bikes high up on the wall, and to the manual machine in Paul’s R&D shop where he paid $500 for from a high school, they all speak volumes on the journey and dedication behind the brand.

Some might say the dude’s goofy, but I think Paul’s a total badass and knows exactly what he’s doing. So here’s an inside look of what goes on inside Paul Component Engineering.


Office bulletin board at Paul. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Metal stock was once cut by hand but it's now automated. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Here comes a freshly cut block of 2024 aluminum to be turned into a stem. Photo: Stephen Lam/


All the metal from manufacturing is collected and recycled. Photo: Stephen Lam/


precursor to the cable adjuster. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Paul likes his shop to be tidy so they machined a few of these tool holders for a few stations at the shop. Photo: Stephen Lam/


This machine was making Cross Levers when I was there. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Inspection. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Paul stopped one of the CNC machines for us to take a peek. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Raw aluminum bar (top) to finished quick release levers. Photo: Stephen Lam/


A painting of Mt. Diablo by Paul's mom who is an artist. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Some of the tools at the machine shop. Photo: Stephen Lam/


A batch of hubs waiting to be drilled for spoke holes. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Few of the vintage frames on the wall. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Paul fabricated this fixture on the left to prevent dings while polishing their Boxcar stems. Over at the right is a smaller polisher for smaller parts. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Walnut shells and corn cobb are used as polish media in this vibratory polishing machine. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Paul showing off his personal machine shop full of old manual machines where he tinkers and makes prototypes. Photo: Stephen Lam/


A $500 manual machine Paul bought from a high school shop. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Paul dabbled into framebuilding at one point and this was one of his creations. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Parts ready to be assembled. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Long-time tooling engineer Jim at work. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Memorabilia and old parts next to Paul's desk. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Paul's desk... where the magic happens. Photo: Stephen Lam/


The 2017 limited edition blue in all its livery. Available in 6-8 weeks. Photo: Stephen Lam/

Cleaning the Steed gets friendlier with the Wash Buddy

Photo: Stephen Lam/

I love washing bikes.

For me, there’s something to be said about getting your hands dirty only to get the bike looking new, all lubed up and ready to rock.

I would never win a timed bike washing contest but I really don’t mind taking my time scrubbing and tweaking, granted made more enjoyable with some wine and music thrown in. Maybe it’s my personal woosah from the never-ending daddy/husband duty, including the realization I washed my bikes far more often than I washed my car last year.

We can talk about this love for bike washing all day, but you’re not here for that. And honestly, I am not going to write it either since what I’m supposed to tell you about is this Team Issue Washer Buddy from Abbey Bike Tools.

Amongst the unsung heroes in my cleaning kit has been the Morgan Blue Chain Keeper that I reviewed a few years ago. In fact, I loved it so much I bought a second one for traveling and washing multiple bikes. It is a bargain for $7. But as much as it was stupidly affordable and extremely durable, it had its limits, namely the inabilty to shift the rear derailleur, and lately, its incompatibility with thru axles.

There are products from other brands made specifically for thru axles, but I wanted a chain keeper that could do it all.

It seems I’ve finally found the perfect buddy.

Designed by Jason Quade who bought us the ingenious Crombie tool, the Team Issue Wash Buddy is hands down one of the most well-made chain keeper I’ve ever had my hands on. So good it should be on everyone’s holiday stuffers list this year.

At its core is a pulley made with DuPont Delrin for low friction and chemical resistance to solvents. Coupled with the stainless steel spindle where the pulley spins on, the Wash Buddy is made to last. And instead of a set stationary location where the pulley stays during use, the Pulley on the Wash Buddy is designed to glide along the spindle to allow shifting of the rear derailleur.

Plenty of room for the delrin pulley to move as you shift. Photo: Stephen Lam/

On my 11-speed bike, I was able to shift to all but the 2 smallest cogs without the chain popping out of the pulley’s deep channels. It’s a small but welcoming design detail I found to be super helpful whenever I need to rid the gunk trapped between the derailleur body.

To top it off, Abbey uses a gorgeous custom skewer from Chico’s Paul Component for its quick release. It’s the same proven design off Paul’s wheel/seatpost skewer, and the lever action has stayed buttery smooth even after repetitive pressure washer treatment.

Smooth curves and small details. Photo: Stephen Lam/

So what about bikes with thru-axles? Well, the easiest way, as Quade personally showed yours truly at Sea Otter, is to insert only the pulley onto your bike’s axle. While it is entirely possible to use the entire Wash Buddy with the included Paul Skewer by unscrewing and reconnecting the quick release as I did on my very first try, I wouldn’t recommend doing just that though since the whole installation felt rather awkward.

The Team Issue Wash Buddy retails for $75 with the Paul skewer. But Abbey will also sell you just the pulley for $15 should you wash your bike so much you manage to FUBAR yours, or are already all-in with 142×12 thru-axles.

All scuffed after repeated washings but everything still works as new. Photo: Stephen Lam/