At this year’s NAHBS, I knew something. Deep down inside, amidst all the insane custom bicycles, I know that Cielo was onto something with their new Road Racer Di2. The custom market is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but the domestic production market is far too overlooked.
Most people (myself included) don’t really need a custom bike. We can be fit on a stock geometry with relative ease. Well, in my case, it’s actually not that easy, but it can happen. After waiting months upon months for a frameset, it begs the question as to why more domestic framebuilders don’t offer up framesets like the Cielo Road Racer.
Stock geometry, tig welds, 44mm head tube, PF30 BB, ovalized tubing, yes, yes, yes! It’s what everyone wants, at a weight that rivals a carbon frameset for twice the price and exudes raw sexuality*.
Let’s pull back a bit. Look, it’s a steel bike with modern tech that yes, is comparable to the weight of a carbon frame at a similar pricepoint / build kit*.
So why buy a bike from one of the big companies when you can have one made for you in Portland at Chris King? I have no idea. For $2,495, the Cielo Road Racer comes with a Chris King InSet I8 Headset and Enve™ Carbon Fork painted to match.
Personally, I think that’s a killer deal and one that’s only heightened by the pricing offered to certified Chris King dealers’ employees. Basically, if you work at a Chris King dealer, you’d be crazy to not buy a Cielo for your next bike.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, so how’s it ride? Why no bottle cages and what is up with those damn wheels?
The ride is very similar to my Bishop. Stiff where it’s important, dampened where it matters. It’s a comfortable ride, even with what I would call a very race-oriented fitting. Regardless to the saddle to bar drop, this bike still fits me.
Cielo’s geometry is aggressive, but then again, this is called a Road Racer, not a Sportif. This is an XL with a 58.5 TT and a 120mm stem. I’m stretched out in a race position and you know what? I really love it. The ENVE to Chris King wheels are a bit too much for my personal taste, but it adds to the pizzaz of the “racer” model.
The 11-speed Ultegra Di2 far exceeds any experience I’ve had with 10-speed Ultegra. The shifting is crisp and with each press of the lever, the wheels reverberate that clang of the chain against the sprocket. Ok, there I go again…
So… the bottles. I picked up the bike today, got all my camera gear in a bag and headed out for the “#LightBro”, not realizing I forgot to install cages and fill up some bottles. A quick swing through a corner store and I had a bottle. Faux pas? Sure, but it makes the frame look even cleaner.
This is by no means a full review. I’ve yet to put more than a measly 25 miles on this bike. It is however warranted by an incredibly giddy first ride, that left me looking forward to coming home and blasting a mid-summer century on it.
Maybe then, I’ll remember my bottles.
The Cielo Road Racer is $2,495 and comes in the following colors.
Comes with a Chris King InSet I8 Headset and Enve™ Carbon Fork painted to match.
Bike shown: around 17.5 lbs. Will update once I add cages ;-)
Head tube: 44mm
Fork steerer tube: 1/1-8” to 1.25″
Bottom bracket size: Press Fit 30 Bottom Bracket
Rear hub spacing: 130mm
Front derailleur clamp: 1-1/8”
Limited warranty: 5 year craftsmanship and 1 year on materials.
*opinions to be taken lightly… ;-)