Some of the finest bourbons in the world are unobtainable, so it would make sense that Chris King‘s newest limited edition color was so small batch that only a select few builders were able to put it on their bikes at this year’s NAHBS. This was not their intention, however. It seems the brown anodizing was nearly impossible to get consistent, so making headsets, hubs and other bits to match wasn’t gonna happen. Big frowny face. There are two other colors which King has launched at NAHBS this year, which I’ll get to in a bit. Up first is this fire red Cielo dirt drop MTB. Now, this is their standard frame, which can be run as a rigid or a hardtail, with dirt drops, set up for touring with bikepacking bags. These frames no longer use slider dropouts and switched to front and rear thru-axles.
I dunno about you, but I wish that bourbon brown would happen because it’s so damn smooth!
A Special Edition Team Dream Bicycling Team Cielo Base Racer
Photos by Kyle Kelley and words by John Watson
Chris King’s 40th anniversary is this year and with that, a whole queue of celebratory events, products and collaborations have taken place. From that coveted olive drab kit, to an Open House tomorrow (details pending) and even working with Team Dream Bicycling Team on a kit design, with a corresponding Cielo Base Racer frame.
Team Dream’s Sean Talkington was asked to design a kit for Chris King, using some of his signature colors and designs. Known for their brightly-colored apparel and unique use of stripes, the resulting design featured a red, white and blue paint job, with stripes that look like torn masking edges.
The accompanying kit has been in stock at both party’s web shops but this Base Racer has been kept under wraps for a bit, so enjoy! Thanks to the team at Golden Saddle for the build and look for this bike going up for auction shortly!
Follow Kyle on Instagram, Team Dream on Instagram and Chris King on Instagram.
Remember Chris King’s personal Cielo? The one that’s made from stainless and has the brazed-in headset cups? Well, here’s a video a reader just tipped me to showcasing the production process. It’s an oldie, but for people interested in the process used in making such a unique bicycle, it’s good as gold.
Returning customers are a true testament to a brand’s quality. A few years back, Tod ordered a Cielo Cross Classic frame through Golden Saddle Cyclery and had the guys build it up to act as an inner-city singletrack machine and commuter. He went with Ultegra, a SON hub, an S3 lamp and Paul Mini Moto brakes. In the time that’s passed, Tod’s put a good amount of beausage on this bike, showing first hand how much he’s been riding it. When the time came for him to order a road bike, he looked at the Cielo Sportif, a classic road bike with clearance for bigger tires. Again, he chose Ultegra and Chris King for the components, with Velo Orange Gran Cru brakes and those nice n plump Compass 32mm Stampede Pass tires.
Photographing two bikes like this, one new and one that has been loved and ridden for years is a special occasion for me. Especially when you can flip between the two drive-side photos. I can’t wait to see how Tod’s Sportif looks after a few years of use!
If you want a custom build like this and live in Los Angeles, hit up Golden Saddle Cyclery.
If you look at each and every Cielo‘s non-drive chainstay, you’ll see the phrase “Built by Chris King” but if you look at a select few, it’ll read “Built by me, Chris King.” This happens to be one of those bikes. Chris King is too busy these days to build frames but there are a few rolling around, including this one that happens to be his own. If you’re skipping to the photos now, you’ll be returning to read all about it.
Chris wanted to run a 1 1/8″ steerer on a 1″ head tube so he could run a more modern cockpit but maintain the elegant lines in the frame. The way he achieved this was by running a stainless steel headset with the skirts cut off. He then counter bore the cups and silver brazed them onto the headtube.
He used Reynolds 953 on the front triangle, NOS Campy fork ends and dropouts, Columbus SL stays from the early 80’s on the rear. After it was built, the frame received a post-build heat treat tempering process to strengthen the brazing points of the stainless tubing. This caused the stainless cups to patina with the headtube, which was then clear coated to maintain this finish.
This bike was built prior to Cielo offering stems and as far as Chris is concerned, if the current cockpit works, why change it out? The same goes for his saddle, his pedals and that saddle bag from 1977…
Chris King‘s in-house bike production label Cielo has really grown over the years, branching out from sportif road bikes to cross racing bikes and now, the Base Racer gravel machine. We took a look at this model late last year in Portland, when it was dubbed the “Stereo.” After some in-house tweaking, Cielo decided on Base Racer. The name wasn’t the only thing to change. The head tube got shorter across the six sizes and the chainstays were lengthened.
Look closely though, because this one sports the new olive drab Chris King 40th components, as well as the T47 bottom bracket standard. Also, check out the annodized Spurcycle bell ringer! So what’s my consensus? I gotta get my hands on that 40th group!
Ordering the 40th anniversary components will commence later this spring, so stay tuned to Chris King.
I’m here in Portland, Oregon attending the Bike and Beer festival at HopWorks Urban Brewery. While I’ll be documenting many of the frames, I’ll also be capturing the general vibes. For now, let’s just check out some bikes!
Chris King’s in-house brand Cielo has done its best to stay inline with the current state of cycling. They offer both rim brake and disc in their road or cross frames, Di2 integration, lightweight tubing and clearance for bigger tires.
With more and more people looking to pack a fatter tire into their road bikes, their newest offering picks up the torch and does just that. This new all-road bike uses 12mm thru-axles, the ENVE GRD fork, disc R45 hubs, a Solid Bikes tapered head tube and clearances for a 38mm tire.
Tires aren’t the only necessary clearance concerns for an “all-road” bike however. This size XL Cielo has improved standover to ensure an easy dismount if the road gets too steep… Stay tuned for more at Cielo.
Sim Works in Japan has it down! Check out some more photos of this Cielo rigid MTB loaded with Porcelain Rocket bags at the Sim Works Flickr.
You can never have enough pint glasses, especially from American manufacturers in the cycling industry. Chris King and Cielo now have their own glasses, in a variety of colors. Head on over to check them out in the classic Chris King logo, Cielo racer and Cielo classic.
The Cielo Road Racer is a favorite of mine and of Chris King dealers everywhere. Over at Mellow Johnny‘s, store manager Will Black ordered this size large around the same time I was reviewing the chartreuse x-large. He went all in with Dura Ace, Chris King, ENVE rims and the bright orange paint.
Mellow’s has had this bike on the shop floor all week and it’s creating a bit of a stir. Such flash for such little cash, when compared to bikes in the same pricepoint and higher even.
I couldn’t help but wish I could have gotten photos of this bike up in time for Halloween…