Tifosi’s long-standing CK7 model is one that we first tested back in 2010, and this iteration is a modern take on the British winter trainer/fast Audax bike (Audax is a non-competitive event where you ride long distances within a pre-defined time).
The 1.95kg aluminium frame features a huge tapered head tube and a triangulated oversized down tube, leading into chunky chainstays and substantial seatstays.
The classic diamond frame is matched to a uni-directional carbon fork and creates a rock solid platform; in fact, compared to the steel and titanium rivals I also had on test, the CK7 has noticeably more rigidity laterally when you’re putting the power down.
Tifosi CK7 Centaur kit
The build is new for 2021 and is an all-Italian number featuring Campagnolo’s Centaur 11-speed groupset and Calima wheels, alongside components from Deda, Selle Italia and FSA.
Centaur shifts with certainty both up and down the cassette, while front shifts across the FSA chainset are equally positive. I like that Centaur offers trim positions on the front mech, which means you can move it in small increments to stop chain chatter when in a crossed-chain gear.
The 50/34 and 11-32 gearing is perfect high-mileage stuff and great for the hills.
The Calimas are Campagnolo’s budget rim-brake training wheels. Although cheap, they’re strong, thanks to sharp-looking radial spokes upfront and Campagnolo’s unique G3 spokes out rear, where they’re grouped in threes. They weigh in at 1,826g a pair and are shod with Impac Racepac 28c tyres.
I found that they rolled well with plenty of cornering grip in the dry. In the wet, as a couple of leaf-strewn road slips testify, they don’t match the Continentals on Ribble’s Endurance Ti Disc and Condor’s Fratello Disc for control.
Road spray is deflected by a set of Flinger F25 Deluxe mudguards. These full-length units have a safety mount on the front, so in the event of something lodging between tyre and ‘guard it will release and you won’t be ejected over the bar.
Unlike other CK7 builds in the range, this model doesn’t come with ’guards as standard, but as a £39.99 extra. They are worth the outlay, though, because they do a great job of protecting you from road spray.
Both front and rear come with semi-rigid flaps, the rear protecting followers from getting sprayed. I’d prefer the front ‘guard to be set lower because, while it stopped my shins getting splattered, the spray still wet the toes of my overshoes on really soggy rides.
Tifosi CK7 Centaur geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||74||74||74||74||74|
|Head angle (degrees)||71.5||71.5||71.5||71.5||71.5|
|Seat tube (cm)||47||49||52||55||58|
|Top tube (cm)||52.5||53.6||54.9||56.2||57.6|
|Head tube (cm)||12.5||13.5||14.5||15.5||16.5|
Tifosi CK7 Centaur ride impressions
The CK7 has a firm ride, reminiscent of an alloy bike from the 2000s. The frame is rigid and responds to effort, while the steering response has a nice snap to it – fast enough to be exciting, not so responsive to be twitchy.
The ride position is sporty with this large frame having a low front thanks to a stack of 552mm (stack is the distance from the centre of bottom bracket to midpoint at the head tube) and a long reach (the horizontal distance between the same points) at 402mm.
The seat angle is steep at 74 degrees but the head angle is 71.5 degrees, which brings a nice balance to the handling.
The rim brakes also bring back memories of the 2000s. These long-reach (required to clear the mudguards) Tektro R559s are okay.
The feel at the Campagnolo lever is good with a nice progression through the available power, but the pads are on the firm side and can scrape somewhat when the roads are gritty.
In the wet, a brake pad on a machined aluminium rim is as good as you’ll get from rim-brake technology, but they’re found wanting compared to the cable discs on the Condor.
And in the wet, both the SRAM and Ultegra hydraulic discs on Kinesis’s Tripster AT and the Ribble feel worlds apart. It left me riding more cautiously on the CK7 than its rivals. On the plus side, rim brakes are easy to maintain.
Tifosi CK7 Centaur bottom line
Overall, this a good-value winter bike. It’s well-appointed with great kit – I particularly like the short Selle Italia Boost saddle – and if it’s a fast, relatively affordable bike you’re after for the wetter months, the CK7 is a fine offering.
How we tested
Mudguard-equipped bikes have been a staple of road cycling for decades, with winter club rides likely to insist on covered tyres because there’s little worse than sitting in a chaingang with a constant spray of muck being delivered into your face.
Like all chaingangs, we covered the fiscal range by selecting four bikes for every budget to keep you riding outdoors through the dampest days and put them to the test on our local roads in the conditions they were designed for.
Also on test
|Available sizes||XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Tyres||Impac RacePac 28c|
|Stem||Deda Zero 100mm|
|Seatpost||Tifosi alloy 27.2mm|
|Saddle||Selle Italia Boost|
|Rear derailleur||Campagnolo Centaur|
|Handlebar||Deda Zero 44cm|
|Bottom bracket||Campagnolo threaded BSA|
|Front derailleur||Campagnolo Centaur|
|Fork||UD carbon with alloy steerer|
|Cranks||FSA Omega 50/34|
|Brakes||Tektro R559 long-reach rim calliper|
|Wheels||Campagnolo Calima C17|