I’m a long-time fan of Tifosi’s Cavazzo gravel chassis. Since I tested the original Cavazzo in 2016, it has remained a smartly designed do-it-all frameset that’s equally at home being built into a commuter bike or stripped down for fast off-road riding and more.
Tifosi Cavazzo Ekar frameset
The frame is built using a mix of Toray carbon fibre – as used by Pinarello, among others. Its blend of T500 and T700 carbon grades is designed to keep the weight low and provide stiffness at the bottom bracket and head tube, while allowing a bit more flex elsewhere for comfort.
The frameset is beautifully detailed, and I particularly like the Matt Sand colourway, with its candy-stripe graphics.
The frame, with its traditional seatstays flowing out from the seat tube junction, eschews the trend for dropped seatstays, and has a solid bridge for mudguards and bosses for a rear rack.
It also has the necessary channels for running an internally cabled dropper post, which will be welcomed by riders who like to hit more technical terrain.
The short, deep chainstays keep the back end feeling taut, while the wide-stance fork – with mudguard, rack and low-rider mounts – means the front’s tyre clearance matches the rear.
The frame has triple bottle bosses and top tube bento box mounts, to up its bikepacking credentials.
Tifosi Cavazzo Ekar geometry
The geometry features a 72-degree head angle, a low stack – 590mm on this large test bike – a mid-length, 385mm reach and a road-bike steep 73-degree seat angle. This makes for a bike that feels compact and agile when the going gets technical.
|Seat angle (degrees)||74.5||74||73||73||73|
|Head angle (degrees)||70.5||71||71.5||72||72|
|Seat tube (mm)||490||520||540||560||580|
|Top tube (mm)||520||535||550||565||580|
|Head tube (mm)||120||140||150||170||190|
Tifosi Cavazzo Ekar spec details
Tifosi’s bikes are designed and assembled to order in the UK. This gives it an advantage over its larger rivals, as it allows you to tune the spec.
I took the opportunity to go for the often-overlooked 650b option for my Campagnolo Ekar-equipped test bike.
This comes with Fulcrum’s really rather smart Rapid Red 300 alloy tubeless wheels and Schwalbe’s high-quality G-One tyres in a 2in Ultrabite version.
I went for those because my wet winter testing meant mud – and lots of it. In my experience, smaller wheels with much wider tyres just work that much better in sloppy conditions.
Campagnolo’s 13-speed Ekar groupset with hydraulic disc braking is at the heart of the Cavazzo.
The Ekar’s 1x drivetrain combines a 40t chainring with a very wide-ranging 9-42 cassette for an impressive gear range. Campagnolo has sensibly kept the key gears you use most very closely spaced, only ramping up to bigger jumps when you’re heading to the lowest gears.
Tifosi Cavazzo Ekar ride impressions
The Cavazzo is a bike that’s easy to ride, and while its 650b wheels put you at a slight speed disadvantage on tarmac, they pay dividends when you hit the dirt.
Ekar’s shifting is quick enough even when you’re shifting up into the tallest cogs – but it’s a bit noisy and has a bit of chatter with it.
I do like the ergonomics of the single shifter, though, and the positive note on the trigger communicates gear shifts well.
However, the rear mech took a knock when I hit a branch that had been blown onto one of my favourite trails. It twisted all too easily and took plenty of trailside first aid to get it operating anywhere near properly again.
My own GRX-equipped bike has incurred similar accidental abuse and not suffered. This could be sheer bad luck, of course, but from a company so steeped in engineering I’d have expected something a bit more trail-proof.
The Cavazzo proved very, very capable when it came to riding rutted, rocky routes and tackling tightly twisting woodland trails.
It feels light and lively too, and even with the high-volume tyres the steering is quick and confident when you need to react quickly to changes in grip, direction and camber.
The finishing kit is competent rather than exceptional. I like the lightly flared alloy gravel bar, but the diameter of the alloy tube on the tops is a little narrow for me.
I’d upgrade to a carbon seatpost if I stayed rigid – though my preferred option would be a dropper post.
Tifosi Cavazzo Ekar bottom line
The Cavazzo has fast become one of my favourite gravel bikes. The Fulcrum wheels, Schwalbe tyres and finishing kit are excellent.
Its lively ride is very likeable, and the build options open up this off-the-peg bike to levels of personalisation at no extra cost. I just need to become fully convinced of the benefits of Ekar.
|Bottom bracket||Bracket: BSA Threaded|
|Brakes||Campagnolo Ekar hydraulic disc|
|Cassette||Campagnolo Ekar, 9-42|
|Cranks||Campagnolo Ekar, 40t|
|Front derailleur||Campagnolo Ekar|
|Handlebar||Tifosi Gravel alloy|
|Rear derailleur||Campagnolo Ekar|
|Saddle||Selle San Marco Monza|
|Seatpost||Deda Zero alloy|
|Shifter||Campagnolo Ekar, 1x13|
|Tyres||Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite 2.0 inch|
|Wheels||Fulcrum Rapid Red 300 650b|