It’s a testament to the sheer determined reliability of the Tifosi CK7 that it’s still running sweetly after six months of winter pothole-bashing, despite a maintenance regime best described as ‘park it in the hall and go make dinner’.
Since last November the CK7 has served as my main transport for the five-mile daily dash across London to the office. In that time it hasn’t skipped a beat: not even a puncture has interrupted its unflappable progress across the capital’s urban moonscape.
It needs new brake pads, but that’s not surprising after a winter of stop-start riding, especially given that what I laughingly call my riding style involves sprinting like an idiot from one set of lights to the next.
And it’s perfect for this variety of urban daftness. Its 7005 aluminium frame is plenty stiff; the carbon fork takes off the sting when you fail to see a pothole because you’re busy avoiding a bus; full-length mudguards help keep you dry; there’s provision for a rack so you can carry a load without a sweaty back; and the Miche wheels have proven tough as old boots.
The Tifosi CK7 has also been an enjoyable ride on longer distances. The CK7 isn’t just a great commuter. Its solidity and upright posture make it a good open-road cruiser, though if you’re determined to be the fastest sportive rider on earth, you’ll probably want something a bit lighter and racier.
The CK7’s attributes come from a mixture of a decent quality aluminium frame and a solid mixture of Campagnolo Veloce and Miche components. The geometry gives a nice combination of a fairly upright position with accurate handling. It’s a refreshing change from some sportive bikes that are so upright their lack of weight on the front wheel means they don’t want to go round fast corners. The CK7 is happy to hand you point and shoot grins when the going gets twisty.
Veloce is Campagnolo’s least expensive component group, but even so you don’t get a full set of it here, just the derailleurs and shifters. The chainset and brakes come from Miche but the resulting hybrid component collection still works well, with a couple of niggles.
The brakes were a bit squeaky in wet conditions, and there’s no way to toe in the pads without resort to the old-fashioned trick of bending the brake arms a little. Upgrading to better pads and holders when the original ones wear out would fix this and also improve overall braking as metal-bodied holders better support the pads.
The 50/34 Miche chainset is spot-on for the CK7’s intended use, providing low ratios for the hills and quick shifting. No complaints either about the Campagnolo Veloce gears and even though I have fairly large hands, I prefer the shape of the brake levers to Shimano’s cables-under-the-tape offerings. Campagnolo’s shifting, on the other hand, has a distinct firm clunk as you go from gear to gear, rather than the soft click of a Shimano shift. They have individual personalities, and which you prefer will depend on your taste.
It might seem like a sad and nerdy thing to get excited about, but one of the CK7’s greatest features is the SKS Bluemels mudguards. If you actually want to stay dry(ish) in wet weather, then you need full-length mudguards, not silly short ones. The CK7 has the longest mudguards we’ve ever seen, with a plastic extension on the front guard that almost touches the floor and a long rear section that stops a friend on your wheel from getting spattered. They don’t quite make riding in the rain a joy, but they sure make it more bearable.
One thing we’d change to make the CK7 a shade comfier and tougher still is the tyres. The Vittoria Zaffiros fitted are not bad, but they’re 23mm wide. There’s room in the frame for 25mm tyres and they’d help cushion the road buzz that’s an inevitable consequence of a stiff aluminium frame
There’s a lot to like about the Tifosi CK7 and very little to complain about. The package brings you decent gears and brakes on a versatile, accurate-handling frame with bombproof wheels and terrific mudguards, and the whole lot comes wrapped in great-looking green and white paint.
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