Paul Price is a quiet man. Not comfortable in the limelight, he prefers a barbeque to a banquet, a backyard to a convention center. And so Paul Camp was created, a way for Price to meet with journalists away from the trade show hordes, to show them where the goods are made and the trails that serve as testing grounds.
In the silence of Price’s personal headspace, most easily accessed while riding a bicycle, inspiration arrives in the shape of new bicycle parts, solutions to problems in the cycling hardware world. These thoughts can lead to late nights in Price’s personal tinkerer’s paradise, a small shop adjacent to the Paul Component Engineering offices and production facility in Chico, California. All are located on an acre lot that previously served as a Texaco petroleum distribution center next to a train track. That railroad bed is now a bike path and instead of storing oil, the plot is now used to manufacture and distribute bicycle parts.
Founded in Price’s garage in 1989, Paul Component Engineering’s first product was an internal cam quick release lever. With excellent action and wheel retention, Paul’s quick release was a lot lighter than what Campagnolo offered at the time. Since then, the line has expanded to 80 different SKUs when considering color options.
Perhaps best known for his Neo Retro and Touring cantilever brakes, Price recently launched his Klamper mechanical disc brake. Other offerings include brake levers, cranks, shifter mounts, chain guides, a seat post, stem, hubs, and after a production hiatus, Paul’s iconic quick releases. No longer in production, Paul Component manufactured a rear derailleur in the early 1990s that now fetches over $1000 on eBay if in good condition.
In the late ’90’s, for a short period of time, Price also built bicycle frames. For Paul No. 3, he created, to the best of his knowledge, the first 1x chain guide. The bike also used a prototype headset that never went into production. Its oval top tube was from surplus from Mountain Goat, where Price worked before it went out of business. In the end, Price only made about eight frames, quickly realizing that this labor-intensive business was a tough way to earn a living.
Having always dreamed of making bike parts, Price spent his time in high school and college working at bike shops, while also tackling shop classes and then earning a degree in mechanical engineering from Sacramento State University. Not long after college, Price found himself in Chico and never left.