Monday 18 June 2012

My charming Cielo Sportif Racer SE


Waiting for this little beauty to take shape has been like waiting for a truffle to grow.  My hubby sowed the seed sometime in Oct 2011 by sending me this link:  We had just come back from a trip to the US which included navigating our way by bike to the Chris King factory in Portland, Oregon.  Of course, we had to take a happy snap in front of their branded delivery truck.  A nearby taco truck driver chuckled at us - two tourists in an industrial zone.  I knew I had to bring a bit of Portland back to Melbourne. 

After 9 months of patiently waiting, my frame (the women's frame) and fork finally arrived.  And just as Cameron from Cielo promised, it was worth the wait.  From the outset, I was impressed with how it was packaged - it was super neat, secured at a number of places by form-fitting card inserts and taped with kraft tape so the entire thing was recyclable.  More businesses should care like Cielo/Chris King do!!  I also found my Chris King hub set in this box (R45 ceramic bearings).  Super smooth :)

I was torn between the original Cielo steel fork and the Enve 2.0 road fork which I bought as an alternative to keep the weight down.  The Enve fork has been installed, but I'm saving the steel Cielo fork for another special bike.

Here are some pics of the final build (thanks to my fabulous hubby who deserved a case of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in return).  You can see our young broccoli plants growing in the background too!


I believe part of this frame's long gestation (9 mths - just like a real baby!) came about from its side-trip to Colorado.  Cielo sent it to their former powder coater in CO "for the special treatment on the SS frame that provides the three dimensional abrasion that is the logo on the downtube," as I was informed.  While I'm far from learned about powder coating or metal finishing, I look at these logos and wonder how they get the different finishes despite it all being the same stainless steel.  I guess that's what makes Cielo/Chris King so cool!

Mmm, mango ceramic hubs...

DiPell bar tape - handmade in Melbourne :)

"I'm not worthy!!" - can't believe I have a bike that's built by Chris King.

I got my wheels made by Andy, proprietor and perfectionist at Kaos Custom Bikes.  You won't find a more pedantic, high quality wheel builder.  He introduced me to the Melbourne-made DiPell bar tape. 

Sadly, I haven't had a chance to try this sweet rig out yet (unless putting it on the indoor trainer at home on a rainy day to watch The Castle counts).  Dirt is not allowed to touch this bike yet and it's currently wet and wintry in Melb.  But I'm hoping to take it out to the Dandenongs for a long hill ride this weekend.  Praying for crisp winter sunshine!

While it's probably not going to help me win Strava QOMs (weighing in at 7.4 kg), that has never been part of the gameplan.  This is a bike made by people who care, which is why I got it.  It's a beautifully made work of artistic craftsmanship (happy to moot this with any copyright nerds) with a whole lot more charm and personality than the masses of crabon on Beach Rd.  (@Bike Snob NYC: come ride Beach Rd!).

Thanks to my do-it-all hubby for putting this beautiful bicycle together for me, Cielo for their beautiful frame work and attention to detail in EVERYTHING,  Chris King for their buttery smooth cermic hubs, and, not to forget, Mr Kaos for his super neat wheels :)

Happy riding y'all!

First ride update, 23 June 2012

Went for a quick spin with hubby up to Port Melbourne.  It's a lively bike.  Feels a whole lot more sprightly than my 2003 Giant TCR1 (now converted to the singlespeed commuter).  The steel frame is nice and stiff.

The Enve bars have nice drops in just the right place, and very comfy wide top bits to rest your palms on.  They will make for good climbing. 

The Chris King ceramic hubs roll buttery smooth.  Funnily enough, they got some attention on my maiden voyage.  While waiting at the Kerferd Rd traffic lights, a pedestrian was looking at me like I had something stuck on the back of my leg.  He then said, "Most people probably won't appreciate this, but those are some really nice hubs."  Thanks random stranger!  I smiled and replied, "Yep, thanks - they're fresh out of the Chris King factory."  And finally, I can't say it better than Mr Akiyoshi Takamura, who has said of Chris King hubs: "It rolls good with angry bee sound".  Ticks all round.


  1. Congrats on a great looking bike. Just curious, is Sierra Nevada readily available in Melbourne? I would think you would drink local beers. From my understanding, you have a growing microbrewery community.

  2. Thanks. Yes to both - Sierra Nevada is sold at Dan Murphy's bottle shops. Our micro/craftbrewing is also taking off. We're definitely losing our "VB" image and enjoying the work of the smaller brewers.

  3. It looks beautiful, I'm interested to know what it feels like on the road if this rain ever stops!

  4. bike build'n hubby21 June 2012 at 17:19

    In the depths of winter it's more about drinking beer from a place you'd rather be...
    Well maybe not Chino, but somewhere north of Golden Gate

  5. This Cielo Sportif Racer certainly looks like a performer so sleek and powerful ,very cool- I am probably comparing it to Black Caviar , unbeaten Queen of the Turf
    ( I who do not ride :) )

  6. Loving the bike and the detail of the build. Defo better than the Beach Rd mass manufactured machines. Thinking of getting the standard racer if money and the wife will allow