Chris King rekindles an old flame

Posted by on February 9th, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Cielo Cycles at NAHBS-3.jpg

Chris King, the man who redefined headsets and has not compromised the quality of his Chris King Precision Components in over thirty years, has rekindled his love for making bicycle frames.

In typical Chris King style, he has quietly re-launched his Cielo Cycles brand name.

According Chris King Components marketing guy Chris Distefano, King began making frames in 1978, just two years after he created the headset that would make him a household name to bike geeks around the world. He built bikes primarily for road racing teams that would be labeled under a variety of nationally-known brand names.

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By the mid-’80s King was forced to put down the torch to focus on handling his skyrocketing headset business. But, Distefano says, he never stopped thinking about framebuilding and it always “bugged him” that he no longer had time to pursue the craft.

Now, three decades later, with his business hitting on all cylinders after a successful move to Portland, he has found time to indulge himself.

Cielo Cycles at NAHBS-1.jpg

The result is a frame made from Reynolds 953 stainless steel with a few King-esque touches. He machined his own fork crown and also managed to fit a 1 1/8″ inch headset into a 1″ head tube. He pulled that off by removing the lower skirt of the headset and brazing the cup directly to the head tube.

What’s next for Chris King’s Cielo frames? Distefano says that remains to be seen. At this point, he says, “We have a plan to make a plan.”

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This brings back fond memories: My first nice road bike was a Cielo, way back in 1983. It had the Dura Ace aero component gruppo (AX?). I believe Chris used to make these frames for the Centurion team in Santa Barbara.