2012 Cielo 29er mountain bike gets updated

Chris King’s Cielo bicycle line has updated their 29er mountain bike from head to toe.

The headtube is shortened slightly to accommodate external headsets for tapered steerer tubes. This lets the bike run modern forks without jacking up the front end a half inch or so. In the back, they’re using new sliding dropouts that allow for a much cleaner frame and better adjustability. Moving up, they now offer S-bend seatstays in addition to the standard straight stays the bike originally came with. Since each bike is hand made, you can order it however you want it…but the old Paragon-style sliding dropouts will stop being offered by the end of this year.

This is one of the first iterations of the new rear triangle and dropout. Right now, King’s ordering the dropouts from a third party, but in the future it’s likely they’ll machine them in house and chisel them out a bit to save weight and give it a more chi-chi look.

Speaking of machining in house, they machine their own fork crowns for the steel forks that come with the road and cyclocross frames. Sure, the forks look retro, but their marketing guy and frame builder both say they are designed specifically for the bikes and really provide an overall excellent ride. Steel is real, as they say.

The dropouts on the left are the different ones used between the regular Sportif (sliding) and faster Sportif SE and Sportif Racer.

2012 Cielo Sportif Racer SE Stainless Steel handmade road bike

When we’ve seen the SE in the past, it’s been largely painted, hiding the beauty of their stainless steel’s brushed finish. The result of the finish is that it looks almost like titanium, then they leave the logos and detailing polished:

2012 Cielo Sportif Racer SE Stainless Steel handmade road bike


  1. Pat on

    Like that stainless Cielo bike. But slightly uncool that they reused (borrowed, stole?) the Cielo name from a pretty sweet Merlin carbon/Ti road bike from the past. Maybe they bought the name now that Merlin is seemingly defunct?

  2. me thats who on

    Cielo is Spanish for heaven. It also means sky, and often times people will call each other “mi cielo”, which is a term of endearment.

  3. Robin on

    Daily fact check: King started Cielo bikes, along with another guy, in the late 70’s. Hmmmm. When did Merlin make their Cielo?

    To the point at hand though, naming of bike frames should be regulated such that when a noun or verb is used as a name for a bike brand or model, that noun or verb should be stricken from the list of available words to be used for naming future brands and models. Obviously that makes sense……..doesn’t it……..?

    That Cielo is a beauty. I wish some Ti manufacturers–Moots, Eriksen, and others–would give brushed/polished logos as such or anodized logos as an option. IMHO, they look so much better than decals.

  4. Robin on

    Well, apparently “Cielo” isn’t suffering any regulation issues but that doesn’t a few lawyers and an overbearing company can’t pad some wallets later.

  5. Pat on

    I stand erected. Shame on the (dormant? undead? unreborn?) Merlin for stealing that name from Chris!
    FWIW, I’m the original owner of an ’89 Merlin MTB frame, so it would pain me to to see ’em go (almost as much as seeing ’em go to Tennessee).


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