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On show: 2011 North American Handmade Bicycle Show Part 2

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Chris King showed off his personal Cielo at this year's NAHBS.

Chris King showed off his personal Cielo at this year's NAHBS.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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The fastback seat cluster uses the same minimalist rear brake cable routing as before.

The fastback seat cluster uses the same minimalist rear brake cable routing as before.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Beautiful brazing work on this old Tom Ritchey frame.

Beautiful brazing work on this old Tom Ritchey frame.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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No words needed. A classic piece of retro awesome.

No words needed. A classic piece of retro awesome.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Think integrated seatposts and seat tubes are new? Tom Ritchey did this semi-integrated setup years ago and the saddle rails have been replaced with another alloy tube welded directly to the adjoining post.

Think integrated seatposts and seat tubes are new? Tom Ritchey did this semi-integrated setup years ago and the saddle rails have been replaced with another alloy tube welded directly to the adjoining post.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Tom Ritchey built this road frame for his father.

Tom Ritchey built this road frame for his father.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Fork blades are open at the top and bottom to allow water to easily pass through.

Fork blades are open at the top and bottom to allow water to easily pass through.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Tom Ritchey built his father's road frame with a chunky chain stay bridge and finely detailed lugs.

Tom Ritchey built his father's road frame with a chunky chain stay bridge and finely detailed lugs.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Stainless steel seat stay caps dress up every Cielo.

Stainless steel seat stay caps dress up every Cielo.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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There are no decals used in the logo for this Cielo Sportif Racer Limited - just lots of careful masking and several different types of blast media.

There are no decals used in the logo for this Cielo Sportif Racer Limited - just lots of careful masking and several different types of blast media.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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The Cielo Sportif Racer includes stainless steel reinforcement rings on the head tube.

The Cielo Sportif Racer includes stainless steel reinforcement rings on the head tube.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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The steerer tube is threaded but the stem is still directly clamped to the steerer.

The steerer tube is threaded but the stem is still directly clamped to the steerer.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Tom Ritchey still does beautiful fillet brazing work but his new production frames will be TIG welded.

Tom Ritchey still does beautiful fillet brazing work but his new production frames will be TIG welded.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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The slim head tube directly accepts 1 1/8" headset bearings.

The slim head tube directly accepts 1 1/8" headset bearings.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Also returning is Ritchey's venerable Swiss Cross but with a few modern updates.

Also returning is Ritchey's venerable Swiss Cross but with a few modern updates.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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While we're excited to see Ritchey mountain bike frames return, production frames will be TIG welded, not fillet brazed.

While we're excited to see Ritchey mountain bike frames return, production frames will be TIG welded, not fillet brazed.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Ritchey is still deciding between the retro-inspired fade paint job and this more contemporary paneled scheme.

Ritchey is still deciding between the retro-inspired fade paint job and this more contemporary paneled scheme.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Not so fast - while Tom Ritchey apparently still builds fillet brazed steel frames for close friends and family, production frames will be TIG welded in Taiwan.

Not so fast - while Tom Ritchey apparently still builds fillet brazed steel frames for close friends and family, production frames will be TIG welded in Taiwan.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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The clever head tube design features the slim profile of a 1" steerer but with integrated sockets for 1 1/8" bearings.

The clever head tube design features the slim profile of a 1" steerer but with integrated sockets for 1 1/8" bearings.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Ritchey is re-entering the mountain bike frame market with this P-29er steel hardtail.

Ritchey is re-entering the mountain bike frame market with this P-29er steel hardtail.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Sliding dropouts on Ritchey's new P-29er allow for either singlespeed or geared drivetrain setups.

Sliding dropouts on Ritchey's new P-29er allow for either singlespeed or geared drivetrain setups.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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The clever head tube design features the slim profile of a 1" steerer but with integrated sockets for 1 1/8" bearings.

The clever head tube design features the slim profile of a 1" steerer but with integrated sockets for 1 1/8" bearings.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Cielo will soon offer the Sportif Racer Limited, built with Columbus XCR stainless steel tubing.

Cielo will soon offer the Sportif Racer Limited, built with Columbus XCR stainless steel tubing.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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The Cielo Sportif Racer Limited features this multi-media blasted bare driveside chain stay.

The Cielo Sportif Racer Limited features this multi-media blasted bare driveside chain stay.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Cielo's new Sportif Racer uses similar construction to the standard Sportif but with tighter geometry.

Cielo's new Sportif Racer uses similar construction to the standard Sportif but with tighter geometry.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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The stainless steel tubing won't corrode so Chris King leaves a clear window on his personal bike that shows the heat-treated raw color.

The stainless steel tubing won't corrode so Chris King leaves a clear window on his personal bike that shows the heat-treated raw color.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Chris King's own personal bike features a shaved-down bottom bracket shell.

Chris King's own personal bike features a shaved-down bottom bracket shell.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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S-bend stays on the smallest two Cielo hardtail sizes provide more heel clearance.

S-bend stays on the smallest two Cielo hardtail sizes provide more heel clearance.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Stainless steel reinforcing rings are featured on this Cielo steel hardtail.

Stainless steel reinforcing rings are featured on this Cielo steel hardtail.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Cielo adds new small and extra-small sizes to its 29" hardtail range - only those sizes will use 650b wheels for a more appropriate fit.

Cielo adds new small and extra-small sizes to its 29" hardtail range - only those sizes will use 650b wheels for a more appropriate fit.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Sliding dropouts on Cielo's steel hardtail allow for geared or singlespeed setups.

Sliding dropouts on Cielo's steel hardtail allow for geared or singlespeed setups.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Optional Chris King titanium and stainless steel upper bearing caps are now available to builders who want to integrated them into their custom stems.

Optional Chris King titanium and stainless steel upper bearing caps are now available to builders who want to integrated them into their custom stems.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Chris King's new Mixed InSet headset allows users to install a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" fork into a standard 44mm oversized head tube.

Chris King's new Mixed InSet headset allows users to install a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" fork into a standard 44mm oversized head tube.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Chris King throws even more support behind smaller framebuilders with its new Builder's Choice range of stainless steel headsets.

Chris King throws even more support behind smaller framebuilders with its new Builder's Choice range of stainless steel headsets.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Chris King integrates a modified SteelSet into the stainless steel lugs and head tube of his personal Cielo frame.

Chris King integrates a modified SteelSet into the stainless steel lugs and head tube of his personal Cielo frame.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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The new Cielo Sportif Racer uses tighter geometry than the standard Sportif and vertical dropouts.

The new Cielo Sportif Racer uses tighter geometry than the standard Sportif and vertical dropouts.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Cielo's existing Sportif will carry on for roadies that want to use fenders and racks.

Cielo's existing Sportif will carry on for roadies that want to use fenders and racks.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Cielo is currently debating whether to offer these trick front racks. The removable wooden deck has magnets buried within the laminate to help secure it on the underlying frame and has a neat flip-flop design depending on if you need the rim.

Cielo is currently debating whether to offer these trick front racks. The removable wooden deck has magnets buried within the laminate to help secure it on the underlying frame and has a neat flip-flop design depending on if you need the rim.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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This Moots stem beautifully displays what's possible with Chris King's new optional upper bearing caps.

This Moots stem beautifully displays what's possible with Chris King's new optional upper bearing caps.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Despite the racing intentions, Cielo's new CX Racer still includes the usual design signatures.

Despite the racing intentions, Cielo's new CX Racer still includes the usual design signatures.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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The new Cielo CX Racer features proper race geometry.

The new Cielo CX Racer features proper race geometry.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Cielo adds a dedicated 'cross racer to its range of steel frames.

Cielo adds a dedicated 'cross racer to its range of steel frames.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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Better slap some protective tape on this chain stay before racing your Cielo CX Racer.

Better slap some protective tape on this chain stay before racing your Cielo CX Racer.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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A closer look at the down tube logo of Chris King's personal Cielo.

A closer look at the down tube logo of Chris King's personal Cielo.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)
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The new Chris King Builder's Choice InSet headset is intended for a slightly smaller head tube than the typical 44mm oversized norm for a slimmer exterior profile.

The new Chris King Builder's Choice InSet headset is intended for a slightly smaller head tube than the typical 44mm oversized norm for a slimmer exterior profile.
(Image credit: James Huang, technical editor)

Chris King expands Cielo frame range

Chris King's Cielo range of steel frames will include four more models to go along with the original collection, including two racier road platforms, a dedicated 'cross racer and new extra-small and extra-extra-small sizes for its big-wheeled hardtail.

The new Sportif Racer is based on the original Sportif but gets shorter chain stays, a shorter head tube, tighter clearances (meaning standard short-reach brakes), and new vertical dropouts. Barring special mounts like River City Bicycles' Reacharounds, there are no provisions for fenders or racks like on the original Sportif so it's expected that this new variant might be more appealing to riders living in drier climates outside of Chris King's Pacific Northwest headquarters. Suggested retail price for the frame and fork is US$1,895.

Cielo will also produce a small run of similar but more exclusive Sportif Racer Limited frames built with Columbus XCR stainless steel tubing. In addition to what we expect to be a springier ride and the increased corrosion resistance, there will also be some special aesthetic upgrades including multi-media blasted logos and driveside chain stay. Final pricing is yet to be determined.

Diehard cyclo-crossers, on the other hand, will get the new Cielo CX Racer, built in conjunction with the Pedro's factory team. Details include race-specific geometry with no fender mounts - or even bottle mounts - vertical dropouts, a slightly sloping top tube, and an oversized head tube compatible with Chris King's latest InSet hidden-cup headset. As with the Sportif Racer Limited, final pricing is yet to be determined.

Also on display was Chris King's own personal Cielo, also built with stainless steel tubing. Naturally, though, there are a number of extra special touches including a modified Chris King Steelset integrated directly into the custom stainless steel lugs plus a stunning finish with see-through clearcoated panels showcasing the heat-treated tint of the bare tubes. And yes, King's bike is equipped with Campagnolo components but interesting, not his own hubs. We're told the Campagnolo-compatible drivers for the R45 hubs are coming soon...

Chris King's iconic headset division grows, too, with new models specifically aimed at small builders. The Builder's Edition traditional headsets will be produced in limited quantities in polished and laser-etched stainless steel. Threadless fitments will be available in both 1" and 1 1/8" sizes while threaded ones will be offered in 1" only. NoThreadsets will also come with a matching stainless steel stem cap.

The Builder's Edition InSet, on the other hand, is aimed at custom builders who want to use a hidden-cup style headset but prefer a (very) slightly slimmer external profile. As such, the Builder's Edition InSet is designed for 42.93mm-diameter (internal) head tubes instead of the usual 44mm. Optional stainless steel or titanium upper bearing caps also be available to build into custom stems.

Finally, Chris King also unveiled the InSet Mixed Tapered headset designed for standard 44mm oversized head tubes. As the name suggests, the new headsets will allow tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" steerer tubes to fit into otherwise straight 1 1/8"-compatible frames.

Ritchey brings back the Swiss Cross, adds new 29" steel hardtail

Retro fans rejoice! Ritchey plans to resurrect its venerable Swiss Cross steel cyclo-cross frame in time for the 2011-12 season. Returning features include a fastback seat cluster with the same minimal - yet effective - rear brake cable routing as before, Ritchey's trademark socket-style dropouts, and similarly small-diameter steel tubing for a smooth ride on rougher courses.

Unfortunately, the original's elegantly curved seat stays are replaced by straight tubes but the head tube has been modernized to fit with the now-standard 1 1/8" steerer dimension. Ritchey still prefers the 1" head tube's smaller diameter for how it interfaces with the top tube and down tube, though, so the center section still sports roughly the same size as before but the forged ends now directly accept 1 1/8" bearings - which also cleaves 80g of weight in the process.

Suggested retail price for a new Swiss Cross frame with Ritchey WCS carbon 'cross fork is US$1,295 and projected availability is around August. Claimed projected frame weight is 1,680g (3.7lb).

Also coming in August is a new 29" steel hardtail called - what else - the P-29er. Standard features include Ritchey Logic tubing, Paragon sliding dropouts for singlespeed or geared use, a curved down tube for extra fork crown clearance, and the same clever head tube design as on the Swiss Cross. The P-29er is also planned for an August release and suggested retail price is US$999 for the frame only. Claimed projected frame weight is 2,450g (5.4lb).

And if you have a preference for either of the two paint schemes pictured here, feel free to let Ritchey know - the company is still deciding between the retro-inspired fade and the more modern-looking block design.

Just to clear any misconceptions, it should also be said that Tom Ritchey the man has never stopped making frames - it's just that since his departure from the mainstream bike market, he's only built frames for close friends and family. Unfortunately, these new frames still won't be built by Tom himself nor will they be fillet brazed as pictured here. Production frames will be TIG welded in Taiwan but even so, we still don't expect that to widely detract from their appeal.

One of the most striking frames in the Ritchey booth at NAHBS was actually one of his oldest: a road bike that he built for his father. Despite its age, there are still lots of signs of forethought in technologies that didn't widely appear until years later, including an integrated seat mast, a pseudo-threadless front end, and trick rear brake cable routing that fed directly through the seat tube.