Tifosi Cavazzo 1.2 review£1,475.00

British-designed, Italian-named all-road machine

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Tifosi is the brainchild of British company Chicken Cycle Kit, distributor of Campagnolo and Cinelli, alongside other – mainly Italian – marques.

It started out making audax and winter training bikes, but has now branched out to race bikes – and this disc-braked road-cum-gravel Cavazzo.

It comes with front and rear thru-axles, though the mix of a 15mm front and 12mm rear is one you’re more likely to find on a mountain bike than a road machine. However, it does ensure resolute rigidity with no disc rub at any point.

Understated good looks

The Cavazzo has a somewhat low-key frameset, though some described the combination of matt and gloss primer grey and black as ‘handsome’. The angular frame has pretensions towards being an all-road machine, but the geometry is very much standard road bike fare, with only minor nods in the direction of distance and rough-stuff riding.

The front end is just 10mm taller than Tifosi's out-and-out road bikes

The wheelbase is only marginally longer than on Tifosi’s road bikes, with the front just 10mm taller and the reach a mere 5mm longer. So when you’re in the saddle and pushing hard it still feels sharp and responsive, with just enough room to relax if you want to spin a little more and take in the scenery. And why wouldn’t you…?

The straight-bladed fork looks like it will be unforgiving, but Schwalbe’s wonderfully plush 30mm One tyres easily compensate for any potential harshness. Their circular dot pattern tread is superb in pretty much all conditions, and particularly impressive in the wet.

Tifosi has created a bike that handles well and that’s reasonably specced for the money: tifosi has created a bike that handles well and that’s reasonably specced for the money
Tifosi has created a bike that handles well and that’s reasonably specced for the money: tifosi has created a bike that handles well and that’s reasonably specced for the money

Tifosi has created a bike that handles well and that’s reasonably specced for the money

On noisy surfaces a bit of road buzz will reach your hands through the super-stiff Race One alloy bar, but it’s nothing we couldn’t deal with, and thicker bar tape or a layer of padding under the tape would easily cure it. The Cavazzo’s low-slung super-skinny seatstays do a first rate job of killing rear-end buzz, and the stiff alloy seatpost is topped by Selle Italia’s well-padded Novus saddle.

All-round capabilities

The Cavazzo is well set-up to take you off the beaten track. Its compact crankset and ultra-wide 11-32 cassette offer bail-out gears for even the steepest climbs, and a top gear big enough to power you down descents and along the flat. The wheels are from Weinmann, which was a big name back in the 1970s and ’80s, though its wheels are a much rarer sight today. The XC180 rim is a little wider than standard, and their 18mm internal width proved a good match for the 30mm tyres. The hubs ran smoothly too – even after being submerged in some of December’s flooded roads.

The TRP brakes are okay, but don’t compare with hydraulic options

The wheels felt less weighty on climbs than we expected from budget disc wheels. Their 437g rim weight is reasonable rather than light, but they held their speed well over rolling terrain. It’s only on descents that the spec starts to hold back performance. TRP’s Lyra cable disc brakes work well enough, but the feel at the lever is hard and a little numb, and they’re outclassed by TRP’s justifiably popular cable-actuated Spyres, and are a long way behind the hydraulic options out there.

But that’s the Cavazzo’s only obvious weakness. Tifosi has created a bike that handles well and which is reasonably specced for the money. The frame is easily good enough to justify some kit upgrades too, most notably those rather average brakes.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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