Tifosi is the in house brand of one of the UK’s oldest cycle distributors, Chicken Cycle Kit. The butted titanium frame is nicely finished with satin main tubes and logos that stand out in a contrasting mirror polish.
The oversized tubes certainly give the CK8 plenty of rigidity, so they Tifosi's designers haven't resorted to an oversized tapered head tube or bottom bracket shell. This results in the CK8 still retaining a bit of life and spring to its ride.
The frame features plenty of bosses to make it a very versatile all-rounder. The full carbon forks have mudguard eyes (and the CK8 comes with full guards as standard). At the rear, meanwhile, it has mudguard eyes, rack mounts and a neat threaded brake bridge, enabling the rear guard to be mounted directly (so no flimsy bracket needed).
Both frame and fork have been designed around clearances for 28mm tyres with guards, so the CK8 could easily be put into service as a fast light tourer capable of the occasional jaunt onto unmetalled road territory.
The Tifosi sports a Campagnolo Veloce 10-speed groupset
The CK8’s ride is surprisingly swift. The low-slung sloping frame (a 4cm drop in the top tube from head tube to seat tube) feels eminently chuckable. Add snappy gear response, positive brakes and wheels that are stiffly built and quick to pick up speed under pedalling, and you’ve a bike that rides with real vigour.
Despite its middling weight and tight ratio cassette, the Tifosi is a very capable climbing companion with the positive stiffness inherent in the chassis helping the bike to pulse forward with every pedal stroke. The frame may be laden with bosses that give the impression of a tourist's cruiser, but the bike's geometry is a very much sportier affair.
With its 73-degree head angle and 73.5-degree seat, the CK8 has plenty of sharpness in its steering. The effective top tube length of 55cm makes for a racy ride position while the 173mm head tube offers a higher on-the-hoods ride position than an out and out racer, but perfect endurance bike positioning.
Chicken has a long history of involvement with Italian brands, so it's no surprise the CK8 comes fully laden with Italian components. That means Campagnolo providing wheels, in the form of handbuilt Khamsin hoops, shod with Vittoria tyres and a drivetrain that mixes 10 speed Veloce (Campag’s rival to 105) with Miche brakes and cranks.
Selle Italia's X1 saddle is slender but still a comfortable perch
Veloce has a rapid, punchy gear change that swaps easily between sprockets with a satisfying clunk every time, and the Miche Primato chainset is a good match for it, with well machined chainrings that ensure shifting is slick and smooth. The all-black painted finish of the cranks however isn’t the most hardwearing and we can already see signs of the paint scratching and scrubbing off after just nine-hours of riding time.
Khamsin wheels aren’t the lightest around but the stiffness and pickup is impressive, which aids plenty in offsetting the extra grams carried over pricier hoops.
Vittoria’s Rubino tyre has been around for a long time, and in the slimmer 23c size they have in the past left us a little cold. The larger 25c version however with its diamond cut slick tread feels heaps better. The bigger volume means more suppleness and the patterned surface grips very well in all but the foulest wet conditions.
The cockpit is a basic all-alloy affair from Cinelli, all very well made and finished but on the weighty side. The bars don’t lack for stiffness though, and we appreciate the mid-compact drop. The alloy DNA post is topped with the Selle Italia X1 saddle – a slender shape but one that’s comfortable and well finished.
The kit overall is very competent then, but it's the kind of spec we’d expect on a bike a fair few hundred pounds less. That said its reasonable value, as the CK8’s chassis is the big surprise in this package. Its very well put together, with a great ride feel that’s much more exciting and fun than the sensible ‘winter’ trainer orientated finishing kit would have you believe.