Cielo's obligatory cool headbadge - in brass! © Josh Liberles
Chris King isn’t quick to make changes or follow fads – but, when the Portland, Oregon-based company makes a new product or innovation, you can count on its quality, durability and performance. Chris King No Thread headsets have set the industry standard for longevity and the quality of bearings, and the hubs built around those same ideals and top-notch materials have proven bomb-proof.
“Traditional” is the name of the game for the Cielo lineup of frames by Chris King. Currently on offer are the Sportif road frame, a mountain bike and, of course, the Cross frame. The handmade True Temper OX Platinum steel Cross frame is the same one that’ll be ridden by the Pedro’s Elite cyclocross team, as is the included steel fork. The focus of the team is near and dear with the two companies’ visions – namely, getting back to the roots of cycling, with a special attention to ’cross.
Nice detail on the semi-horizontal dropouts, with adjustment screws © Josh Liberles
While the bike is designed to be at home on the race course, the Cielo also can be equipped with optional fender eyelets and is intended as a strong candidate for a multi-purpose machine.
Fork steer tube: 1/1-8”
Bottom bracket width: 68mm english thread
Rear hub spacing: 130mm
Colors: Transit grey, Oyster white, Fall orange, Cielo blue, Jade green and Galaxy black.
Warranty: 5 year craftsmanship and 1 year on materials.
MSRP: $1,895 for frame & fork
A cutaway view of the internals of the R45 © Josh Liberles
As more roadies have sought out lighter weight solutions with less resistance, notably the Chris King-sponsored UnitedHealthcare team, the company developed the new R45 hub, which launched earlier this year. The hub has fewer engagement pawls – 45 instead of 72. (A typical hub has 24 teeth, and some have fewer.)
This means that the new hubs are lighter, a little bit smoother, and have reduced drag. As an after effect, they also have a more subdued freewheeling sound than the now-famous typical Chris King hub buzz. Whereas a traditional hub has needle bearings, here it’s two sets of ball bearings, which further reduces drag according to Chris King engineer Brian Schultz.
The new front hub has smaller bearings, and as a result is slightly trimmed down, while the rear hub has lost about 60g.
Although designed for the road, the company also says the hubs are perfect for cyclocross use.
While the Cielo Cross bike mentioned above will certainly never be a disc brake bike, with this mountain bike technology becoming a reality in Elite ’cross races – and some speculating that it’ll make it was onto the road in the next couple of years – a disc-brake-ready R45 hub is rumored to not be far away.
Front: 20, 24, 28, 32
Rear: 24, 28, 32
Weight: 100g front / 213g rear
MSRP: $149 front / $349 rear
Colors: 10 choices
More info: Cielo Cross and Chris King website.