Tifosi CK7 Sora £794.99

Geared for the hills

BikeRadar score 4/5

Tifosi's CK7 Sora slips equally easily into the role of winter trainer/commuter or summer sportive bike, and this versatility enhances its already decent value. With a triple chainset, it's geared for audax or fast touring use – and anyone who rides where it's hilly.

  • Frame: Carbon fork complements the stiff and versatile aluminium frame. A shame there isn’t a carbon seatpost too (8/10)
  • Handling: Bigger clearances don’t diminish its sports bike feel, and with its carbon fork it’ll do ‘far’ as well as ‘fast’ – though we’d switch the stem for the former (8/10)
  • Equipment: The decent range of climbing gears, courtesy of that triple chainset, will be a godsend in a hilly sportive (8/10)
  • Wheels: A sporty wheelset that favours looks over longevity, which really needs sportier tyres to be truly Excite-ing (7/10)

Seeing an Italian name on the frame and largely Italian components, you’d be forgiven for wondering where the Campagnolo was on this Tifosi. It’s a pricing issue: there is a Campag Veloce version but it costs an extra £150 over this Shimano Sora-specced model.

Instead of the modish compact double found on many road bikes at this price, you get a 50/39/30T triple chainset. As well as creating more overlapping gears – the cassette is a 12-25T – this usefully extends the range at the bottom end. This means you have a choice of climbing gears rather than just one that you desperately downshift into on every 1-in-6 hill. You can even climb seated on many inclines.

One small downside is that you use the front derailleur a lot more than you do with a double. So you become more aware of the hesitant downshifts you get with Sora’s thumb button. It needs pressing a couple of times to move the front mech over. The front triple also contributes to the extra weight that the 10kg (22lb, without pedals) Tifosi carries.

The CK7 has at its heart a decent butted aluminium frame, with stays that are chunky and stiff enough to resist flexing under hard pedalling – or under load if you fit a rear rack. There are mounts for that and mudguards, though only a single set at the rear dropouts.

Up front is a carbon fibre fork. Carbon doesn’t have the springiness steel can, but it usually does a good job of damping down the sort of micro-vibrations you get from rough tarmac – a better job, certainly, than aluminium does.

There’s enough room at the front to prevent toe overlap even with mudguards fitted. Or at least there would be if the mudguard stays had been cut to size – a job that you’ll have to do instead. The mudguards themselves are good quality SKS ones with breakaway clips, although at 45mm they’re oddly wide. Narrower ones would look better.

An 11.5cm stem gives the Tifosi a fairly long reach. Leaning forward more is good for hacking into a headwind, not so good if you’re a weekend warrior doing your first century. But it’s just a stem and it’s easily changed. If you’re a powerful rider, you might want to upgrade to an oversized bar and stem while you’re at it. 

The wheels are Miche Excite with a funky, paired spoking pattern. While there are only 28 spokes front and rear – which could be an issue if you’re carrying extra luggage – this is offset to some extent by the stiffer, deepish section rims. It’s a shame they’re not shod with livelier tyres; Vittoria Zaffiros are good value training tyres, but you’ll go further or faster for the same effort if you fit some with a bit more pep.

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