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Road to NAHBS 2017: PAUL Components Deep Custom collaboration previews

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Every year at the North American Handmade Bike Show we highlight the framebuilders bringing the deep custom heat to the show floor. What we don’t often talk about are the many other brands that add the fire. A bicycle is more than its frame, after all; NAHBS is a bicycle show.

This very topic came up on a recent call with Paul Component Engineering Liaison to the Stars, “California” Travis (who, for full disclosure, I have been scheming with for the past six months on parts for my Peacock Groove Prince Tribute bike). A month or so before each NAHBS, PAUL puts out a call to builders to understand what their needs might be for the show, fishing for cool collaborative opportunities to take deep custom, even deeper.

This year, the company has collaborated with four builders to bring custom bike projects to the next level via custom colors, finishes, and machining. I hit up the builders of each of these bikes for comments on their builds, as well as a few sneak peek photos…

Before diving into this custom madness, it’s worth saying that it isn’t every day that PAUL does custom product. Currently, product is available in silver or black, with some parts in high-polish and purple. As Travis told us, “There is the part of us that wants to sell a lot of bike parts so we can make money so we can eat, and then there is the part of us, like me and Paul and you and everybody else, that does stuff for the bike industry just out of passion. Like, Sklar wants some dope-ass brakes? Let’s get him some dope-ass brakes. He makes sick bikes. He’s a nice guy.”

W. H. Bradford, Yeti Ultimate Homage

From the mouth of builder Brad Hodges:

“What’s the best way to put this – it’s a modern version of an original Yeti Ultimate. It’s an homage to the original bike that John Parker and Frank the Welder built. It’s one of, if not the most bad ass steel frames ever made in my personal opinion, built in an era before suspension and rocket science tech. This was the pinnacle of hardtail frames at that time. Last year, I built a modern Klunker that was pretty well received and well what was I going to bring this year but a bike from the 80’s.

“I’ll be honest, I thought it was going to be a lot easier to build than it was. But I didn’t start framebuilding because it was easy. Building “throwback” bikes like this, while incorporating modern geometry and standards can be tough, while still retaining the original design influences. On this bike, that’s the bent down tube and the correct angle for the love tube,’ which is the tube that runs between the down tube and seat tube that give the visual look of one single flat tube with an extension off the bottom.

“I also had to re-create the iconic Yeti Ovalized top tube. Which required the help of Jeff from Monkey Likes Shiny to machined a one off die to form the top tube. I came with the numbers, and Jeff made the die while we were hanging out at his place one afternoon. I guess I’m lucky to have friends in my life who are willing and capable of taking my bat-shit crazy ideas and helping me make them a reality.

“The loop stays were another one where I had to call in some help. Cameron Falconer is quite the skilled tube bender and when it came time to make a loop tail, I knew he was the guy to call. He got the loops bent to my drawings and it was up me after that to make the rest work.

“I’ve been a huge Paul Component nut since I was a kid – like, I was a PAUL GROM back in the late 90’s. I have a Bontrager Racelite with a full PAUL vintage group. Last year at NAHBS I was talking to Paul [Price] saying I wanted to build a new bike using his parts. He said, “Let’s make it happen.” After some thought I gravitated toward this project. A lot of that influence was from the look of his new Set It and Forget It Quick Release Thru Axles and how they reminded me of the ONZA quick releases used on the old Yeti’s. That’s what led to me thinking about doing a Modern Ultimate with his parts.”

According to Travis, parts had to be sent to a special anodizer to get just the right turquoise to fit with a properly Yeti-themed build. Also, the rear axle length is custom to this single bike, so the CNC machine had to be reprogrammed to accomplish this single build.

WHBradford.com

Sklar Handmade Bikes

From Adam Sklar:

“I like going all out on color schemes, and I always love polished parts. When this customer requested PAUL Brakes, I called up Travis at PAUL who was happy to make it happen.”

 

“It’s cool to have connections with the people making your stuff. They’re not just people I buy parts from, but they’re folks I get to see around the country at bike races and events, and that’s pretty cool.”

SklarBikes.com

Retrotec

From Curtis Inglis:

“I am building myself a 29+ bike around the Chris King 40th anniversary kit. I thought it would be nice to tie in a few other company’s stuff to the build. Paul Comp and White industries were game, so we had a few small parts done in the olive green as accents to the King bits.”

InglisCycles.com/Retrotec

Peacock Groove

 

This is why I was on the phone with PAUL to begin with. While there will be a lot of custom polished and anodized PAUL Component parts on my personal Peacock Groove Prince Tribute bike, there is one significant last piece left to go.

See, when Erik Noren started building this bike, a musician friend sent me one of Prince’s picks to incorporate into it. How? I had no idea. So I asked PAUL to figure it out.

I actually have no idea what the final product will look like, but Travis sent me this photo for this piece. I won’t see it until everyone else does.

PeacockGroove.bike


PaulComp.com

Getting stoked and want to learn more about the show? Check out HandmadeBicycleShow.com

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Yus
Yus
5 years ago

Creating these components must be extremely satisfying.
So awesome!

openmold
openmold
5 years ago

Cool, but maybe they could ship an order to a regular customer after 6 weeks. It also shouldn’t take 8 phones calls to try to find out the hold up.

Foolund
Foolund
5 years ago

Openmold. Isn’t that like when you order a bunch of stuff you didn’t design and put your name on it? Rad.

Flatbiller
Flatbiller
5 years ago

I remember colored ano stuff was cool last decade. Like neon leg warmers from “Flashdance,” they’re kind of getting dated.

Even Chris King and Hope goods are getting sort of blasé.

Runwhatyabrung
Runwhatyabrung
5 years ago
Reply to  Flatbiller

There is no “classic” without the test of time. “Dated” is for the fashion concious (deleted).

Tim
Tim
5 years ago

I became disenchanted with Paul products. They offer great aesthetics, but functionality that is no better than other far cheaper products. No substance. I say this as someone who has owned their front hubs (and seen two of them develop play) and brake levers. Their V-Brakes are pretty good, I will give them that.

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
5 years ago
Reply to  Tim

No wonder the disenchantment if you can’t figure out only the simplest bearing preload ever featured on a hub. The problem is the user, not the part.

Tim
Tim
5 years ago

Wrong, dude. The bearing cavity got bigger from me riding it. Tightening it made the bearing bind without removing play; I subsequently discovered the bearing cavity was walled out when the old bearing popped out with very little effort and the new ones went in almost by hand. I’m a mechanic, by the way. You leapt to a conclusion pretty quickly.

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
5 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Claiming min wage cat 6 seatpost raiser doesn’t impress anyone. 20 years using Paul hubs and I’ve never had your problem, nor has anybody else I know. How many prebuilt out-of-box wheels have you seen hubs fall apart prematurely in your experience? I’ve seen many. You may have a point about the old levers being wonky, not anymore. To somehow discredit a company that is well known for making top notch bits because you had some fluke problem is pretty weak.

Tim
Tim
5 years ago

Me and my friend had different experiences than you and your friends. I am glad you had good experiences over a long period of time, and neither call you names or leap to the conclusion that you’re nuts for having had them (although I have seen a lot of people who have expensive gear that doesn’t work and are in denial of it- see wobbly CK rear hubs)- so why do the same to me? My expensive stuff stopped working when cheaper stuff (XT, for example) would still be around. When I called about it, Paul himself congratulated me on having “a piece of history”. Gee, thanks. This was a DH hub I used on an XC bike for XC riding. If you had my experience, you’d be saying the same thing.
As for the levers, there is absolutely nothing special about them. I’ve tried a lot of levers, and Paul’s have pretty good ergonomics, but like just about every lever out there, they’re a piece of metal that pulls a cable. They don’t break, What they have going for them is marketing and coolness, that’s it. If you’re spendy and want cool looking stuff that highlights your status, then by all means. If you want more stopping power, get LX Servowave on ebay for twenty bucks.
For the record, Kernel, I usually enjoy your posts and think you’re a voice of reason.

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
5 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Yeah, ok. I did overreact and I’m sorry for that. It’s just that myself and at least two dozen other friends that I grew up racing norba and singlespeeds with we’ve all had multiple generations of Paul hubs for two decades and nothing to report like what you have. From the hub fail to interactions with Paul. Truth be told my sample group is just a tad bigger than you and your buddy, and don’t think any of these QC anomalies we ever large enough to warrant a recall. Good thing we have options, I just haven’t found a reason to stop supporting a company that I’ve never had a problem with.

OMG, King. Don’t even get me started. I know for sure between you and I we could have a field day with that one! 😉

Piece,
The Kernel

Tim
Tim
5 years ago

Yeah, I don’t exclude that what happened to me and my friend was unusual, and your sample size definitely was something I had in the back of mind and should have brought up. Have a nice ride.

Tim
Tim
5 years ago
Reply to  Tim

The same thing happened to another friend’s hub. Incidentally, he’s a mechanic. Were this a Shimano hub, we would have spent half as much and would still be riding the same fully functional hubs.

Mike D
Mike D
5 years ago
Reply to  Tim

The “if it’s never happened to me, so how could it possibly happen to someone else” argument is ‘pretty weak’ as well. I think, and call me crazy here, that a company that has a range of components might make some that are great, and some that aren’t so great maybe?

Mechanic: 1 Fanboy: 0

Alexander
Alexander
5 years ago
Reply to  Tim

totally agree. Sometimes I honestly cannot understand all the fuss around handmade comaponents if their functuanality is not higher than mass products but costs are very high.

FLORES
FLORES
5 years ago

You know, I dig paul components and all, but jeez, in order to get any kind of custom part colors (they say there is a $100 charge, that’s fine) but it is IMPOSSIBLE to get them to actually do it. Unless of course, you’re a small frame builder.

Paul, you need to help out the small(er) guys than just the fancy builders… It’s a crying shame too.

Motarded450
Motarded450
5 years ago

is there a performance benefit over a TRP mechanical disc brake or it this just jewelry for the vein

ol shel
ol shel
5 years ago

All I know is that my Rasta rear derailleur has turned out to be quite the investment. I got it for $60 after it had been sitting in the case unsold for 15 years.

Roger Lehmon
Roger Lehmon
5 years ago

Anyone else of the belief that the W.H.Bradford website is the best in the business?
Or is it just me?

YourboyLorem
YourboyLorem
5 years ago
Reply to  Roger Lehmon

Yeah nothing unreasonable about ::

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