A British-designed bike from the Italian-sounding Tifosi, this updated Scalare aims to provide high-level benefits from a mid-priced bike.
To this end, the frame and fork are built using high-grade Japanese Toray carbon fibres and the frame is graced by Shimano’s latest hydraulic disc version of the venerable 105 group, while quality aero wheels from Vision round out the package.
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Tifosi Scalare Disc 105 frame and geometry
The Scalare is Tifosi’s entry-level carbon platform. There are two models available, this being the most expensive, with a cheaper Shimano Tiagra-equipped model at £1,499.99. You can also buy the Scalare as a frameset for your own build at a cost of £949.
This bike looks striking with its soft, matte finish and slick graduated paint. The frame follows a traditional diamond shape – no fashionable dropped stays here – but it certainly isn’t dated, and with its neat, flat-mount disc fittings, thru-axle compatibility and UK-friendly mudguard mounts, it’s a great year-round option.
The geometry is classic road bike: parallel 73-degree head and seat angles, a low (563mm) stack (the vertical distance from the top of the head tube to the centre of the bottom bracket) for a racier ride position and mid-length (388mm) reach (the horizontal distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the centre of the head tube) on this size large test bike.
Its short 990mm wheelbase, when combined with the 46mm-offset on the fork, gives a 54mm trail (the horizontal distance between the tyre’s contact point and the steering axis; more trail means a slower steering response).
These figures all add up to a bike that boasts quick handling alongside a smooth ride.
|Seat angle (degrees)||75.5||74.5||73.5||73||72.75|
|Head angle (degrees)||72.25||72.5||72.75||73||73.25|
|Seat tube (cm)||47||50||53||56||59|
|Top tube (cm)||51.5||53||54.4||56.5||58.5|
|Head tube (cm)||11||12.5||14||16||18|
The front end is aided in the smoothness stakes by the slender fork, which offers the ability to flex fore and aft, yet the handling remains sharp because of the low trail figure and head tube stiffness.
At the rear, the bowed seatstays morph from an ovalised cross section at the dropout to an almost flat, very thin shape that joins into a flat plate-like section just before the seat tube.
This gives plenty of compliance when combined with the most flexible carbon available from Toray. Toray carbon is used by some of the most respected bike brands, such as Pinarello.
In stark contrast to this is the oversized down tube, bottom bracket and boxy chainstays that all serve to provide a solid platform, giving plenty of pep when it comes to pedalling response.
Tifosi Scalare Disc 105 wheels
The Scalare rolls on Vision’s Team 30 tubeless-ready disc wheels. These are great workhorse hoops with hardwearing hubs that weigh in at a middling 1,900g a pair.
They have a nicely shaped rim that’s an aero 30mm deep and nigh-on 19mm wide internally. Wider internal rims shape the tyre better – run bigger tyres on too narrow a rim and the tyre can take on a lightbulb shape, causing unstable handling in corners.
The wheels are shod with 25mm Impac RacePac tyres, but on these rims they come up much broader. I measured them at 27mm, but they are very compliant and add a lot to the Scalare’s standout comfort, although they don’t have quite the pace of Schwalbe’s 25mm One Performance or Vittoria’s 28mm Rubino Pro Graphene tyres, which I also had on test.
I do have one niggle with the wheel package and that’s the thru-axles. There should be minimal interface between chassis and wheel, but here the thru-axles have a bulky handle that protrudes over 30mm from the dropout, which is unnecessary and, in my opinion, ugly.
Tifosi Scalare Disc 105 ride impressions
When it comes to hills the Scalare’s smooth demeanour makes for very capable climbing, even though it’s carrying well over a kilo more ballast than every other bike I had on test.
The weight is surprising because the Scalare chassis isn’t heavy: a frame weight of a little over a kilo and a circa 400g fork. The extra grams come from the build – a Shimano 105 drivetrain carries more heft than Ultegra, but the performance difference isn’t really noticeable.
It shifts as smoothly and brakes as well (despite cheap steel rotors). Even FSA’s mid-level Omega chainset doesn’t scupper shift smoothness or speed.
Tifosi’s bar, stem and seatpost are all decent alloy items. The Selle Italia saddle is well-shaped but the plastic skin is slippery when wet, making it difficult to hold position riding in rain. The bars are clad with thick rubbery tape, which in contrast provides great grip in the wet.
Tifosi Scalare Disc 105 overall
The Scalare is a great ride but it isn’t the best value for money compared to other similarly priced road bikes.
How we tested
When it comes to performance road bikes, it’s very easy to be blinded into thinking you need to buy a pro-peloton bike with glamorous cutting-edge design and top-of-the-line components.
For most of us, bikes like that are simply out of reach and, in reality, you really don’t need to spend huge amounts to get a great performing bike straight out of the box – one that you’ll cherish and even want to upgrade further down the line.
So we’ve selected four bikes costing between £1,999 and £2,600, a far more achievable budget for many of us, and put them to the test on our local roads.
Also on test
|Available sizes||XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Tyres||Impac RacePac 25c|
|Stem||Tifosi alloy 100mm|
|Seatpost||Tifosi alloy 31.6mm|
|Saddle||Selle Italia X-Base|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano 105|
|Handlebar||Tifosi alloy 440mm|
|Bottom bracket||Shimano BB86|
|Front derailleur||Shimano 105|
|Frame||UD Toray T500 & T700 carbon|
|Fork||Full UD carbon|
|Cranks||Shimano 105 50/34|
|Cassette||Shimano 105 11-32|
|Brakes||Shimano 105 flat-mount hydraulic disc|
|Wheels||Vision Team 30 BT Disc|