Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 9

Pros:

  • Great looking bike
  • Top quality frame and wheels
  • Good value

Cons:

  • Shifters not good for small hands
  • Serious riders may want better groupset

Product:

Tifosi CK7C Audax

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£719.99

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A huge variety of cycles, covering every riding discipline you care to mention, in every hideous paint scheme going, and made from every frame material in common usage, has lived by my front door over the years.

Some have taken up more room than others, some drop clumps of mud and grime on the floor, but all have been accepted with good grace and no fuss. But it couldn’t last. Arriving home with yet another bike and dumping in it the hall was enough to bring a remark from the mistress of put-downs.

“That’s a really nice bike.”

“I’m sorry?”

“That bike is really handsome. Lovely paint job. It looks like a classic racer.”

This was not expected. Not in the least. Having double-checked for any traces of sarcasm, I ascertained it was a genuine comment on the aesthetic appeal of the Tifosi CK7C Audax.

And she was absolutely right. Its cool grey paint job, white panels and unobtrusive transfers give the Tifosi a retro appearance without resorting to clichéd copying.

Unpacking the bike in the office brought comments from passing workmates regarding the huge head tube, but what do they know? It is a big frame for a big rider: it needs a big head tube. It is true the gently sloping top tube does give the appearance of a lot of unnecessary bulk at the front end of the XL size tested, but the pay-off is a comfortable bar position without dozens of spacers — a plus point in my opinion. And Mrs C agrees, so the office experts can get stuffed.

Tifosi CK7c Audax 

Putting the Tifosi CK7C Audax together, a couple of things struck me as unusual. It comes with a triple chainset, which seems somewhat unnecessary in the age of the compact. The Tifosi is marketed as an Audax-cum-touring-cum-training machine, so mudguard and rack brazings are a given, as are ample clearance and relaxed geometry. So why fit 23mm tyres when 25mm rubber will add to the comfort of the ride straightaway? The Vredestein Ricorsos were given a chance, but soon made way for Continental Gator Skins with noticeable improvement.

The 7005 aluminium frame and carbon forks not only look the business, they give a ride to match. Matched with Mavic Aksium hoops — solid performers at a very good price — the Tifosi CK7C Audax handled very well indeed. Not in a ‘seat of the pants, twitchy as hell’ sort of way: that would be silly. But in a solid, dependable, comforting sort of way — in Radio 2 terms, more Terry Wogan than Russell Brand. It gently coaxes you along with a hint of a smile, rather than hollering and blowing its own trumpet while making whoopee with your granddaughter.

It weighs in at 10.5kg — perfectly reasonable for a winter trainer — and moves equally well climbing, descending or hammering along on the flat. Meanwhile, the Shimano Sora transmission performed very well for such a budget gruppo.

The one gripe to report was not noticed until using the drops. The separate button for changing up is totally unreachable to anyone not possessing bizarrely long thumbs or the digits of E.T. Changing down requires a fairly good shove as well, so smaller hands just won’t hack it with these levers. Move up one position in the groupset hierarchy and you get Tiagra levers with the recognised paddle-and-lever set-up familiar to Shimano users — a far better solution for not a lot more money.

The remainder of the kit is all decent quality gear with nothing standing out as needing upgrading. It even comes fitted with mudguards, as a proper touring/winter bike should. A dry backside and feet are essential components of an enjoyable winter ride.

Tifosi CK7c Audax

Tifosi CK7C specification

Distributor    RJ Chicken, www.chickencycles.co.uk

Price    £719.99

Frame    CK Columbus double butted 7005 alloy

Fork    Tifosi carbon 11/8in

Size range    XS-XL

Weight    23.1lb (10.5kg)

Groupset    Shimano Sora

Alterations    None

Gear ratios    50/39/30 with 12-25

Wheels    Mavic Aksium Race

Tyres    Vredestein Ricorso

Bars    Cinelli Vai

Stem    Cinelli Vai

Seatpost    Selcof Mod 50

Saddle    Selle Italia XR

Size tested    XL

 

Verdict

Will the Tifosi CK7C work for Audax and touring duties? It is certainly capable, although the serious mile-eater might want a higher-end groupset than the Sora fitted here.

But as a winter trainer, this machine is very nearly there. Tyre choice is pretty personal, so the only real bugbear is the levers.

The frameset and wheels — the heart of any bike build — are quality gear and the rest is adequate. Meanwhile, the price is very good and the current economic climate may see us lowering our sights when seeking out
that new mount.

With the Tifosi CK7C Audax, you get a decent bike for around £700. What’s more, it looks mighty fine. There are only so many times you can walk past a handsome bike in the hallway before taking it out for a spin.

  • Nigel G

    I’ve been riding one of these on my daily commute for a year now and it’s a great performer, definitely worth 9/10. I binned the tyres and replaced them with Continental 4 seasons after losing front wheel grip in the wet. It’s stood up to the daily use really well with no real problems other than having to tighten the headset bearings more than once and tweak the front wheel after about a month. But then Bristol roads are pretty bad.
    It’s happy eating the miles on longer runs as well although it’s not going to break any records. A lot more fun than Terry Wogan though ;)
    Funnily the first thing my wife said when she saw it was ” That’s a nice bike, you can keep that one in the house” so it’s definitely got eye appeal.
    Yes, the Sora shifters are a pain. Tiagra groupset is on my wishlist.
    I’d recommend this as the base for a good fast commuter or winter trainer especially as it’s only available as a frameset these days so you can spec the rest to suit your taste and budget.