In the thick of review season, when we're testing lots of bikes extensively (think 60 bikes with 20-some testers and dozens of rides per bike), it can feel like speed dating, with not enough time to really get to know a bike. So I've hung onto a handful of compelling products for ongoing appraisal, including the Cielo Sportif road bike from Chris King, which we reviewed earlier in the year. But now I've had the pleasure of beating around on it for over six months.
First, a little history. Though Chris King started out as a frame builder back in the late '70s, he is probably most renowned these days for his bombproof headsets, which are arguably the finest on the market. A couple of years ago, with his business chugging along healthily (he also produces high quality bottom brackets, hubs, and other polished small bits), King decided to return to his first love of making bikes. The line of bikes has filled out since then, but the company's first salvo, the Sportif, still remains as the benchmark.