Infused with Some Classic Italian Style and California Convenience

In the process of completing my road bike makeover, I turned to Pauls Components for braking and shifting solutions since my STI Dura-Ace road levers weren’t compatible with flat, MTB-style handlebars.

Paul Components, based out of Chico, California, is renowned for producing a line of American-made CNC components, accessories, and adapters that can best be described as functional jewelry for your bike. Like Jones Bikes H-Loop Handlebar, they don’t always adhere to what the bike industry says is the correct way of marketing or producing product to maximize profit and the bottom line.

For Those That Enjoy the ‘Simple’ Life

Paul Components remind me a bit of what Campagnolo was all about back in the dinosaur ages when I first got into racing over 45 years ago – when ‘Campy’ was the only serious component choice for the competitive roadie. Their components had an Italian elegance, style, workmanship and mystique unique to the American marketplace at the time.

When I’ve toured internationally in the past – to places that Paul’s calls the “middle of nowhere”, and before ‘bikepacking’ became its own category – I always preferred ‘simple’ components that were durable, worked well, and wouldn’t be an issue to repair or replace without reverting to an emergency Fed Ex shipment. Probably a reason that Shimano bar end shifters have been a popular choice for adventure cyclists. They would also be a great solution to replacing my STI levers for general road use but you can’t install bar ends on a mtb flat bar, especially something like the Jones Bar. Or could you?

Turns out that Pauls Components makes a 60gr, 6061 CNC bar end aluminum adapter using the highest grade American aluminum available (like much of their product line). ‘Shimano Thumbies’ ($81) can be mounted anywhere on the top of the bar and, based on my thousands of miles of use, actually function better than they did on the ends of my drop bars. They accomplish this while enhancing the ergonomics of your hand placement for shifting.

Paul Components offers the 'Shimano Thumbies', an adapter that offers a dependable solution for bringing traditional thumb-shifters to a flat-bar handlebar. via Paul Components.
Paul Components offers the 'Shimano Thumbies', an adapter that offers a dependable solution for bringing traditional thumb-shifters to a flat-bar handlebar. via Paul Components.
Shimano thumbies. via Paul Components.
Shimano thumbies. via Paul Components.
One of the caliper options that Paul Components offers, the Cross Lever (in silver, black, and polished). via Paul Components
One of the caliper options that Paul Components offers, the Cross Lever (in silver, black, and polished). via Paul Components

As for replacement brake levers, Paul’s matches this shifter adapter to several models of brake levers ($130-$165 / pair), including a version that will work with short pull calipers – so you either use your current stock road calipers or purchase one of Paul’s matching caliper sets ($120-$160). I highly recommend their ‘polished’ option offered on most of their components (including the Boxcar stem) – they just might have you bringing back memories of the long-vanished elegance and workmanship of the days when Campy dominated the component marketplace.

Paul Components is one of those rare bike companies that produce a full line of bike gear where, as they put it, “function, simple innovations, and easy serviceability (that) will always be the basis for (our) product design”. Only a passionate bike company like Paul’s would endeavor to produce components of this quality that other companies pass over because the production numbers wouldn’t justify it.