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Tifosi Scalare review

5 Oct 2018

Page 2 of 2Tifosi Scalare review (2015)

Verdict:

A robust performer with a solid front end whose limits beg to be tested in fast corners

Cyclist Rating: 

Tifosi Scalare review (2015)

Cyclist

7 May 2015

Tifosi Scalare review

Tifosi has a reputation for great value bikes that ride well, but they’ve always appeared to be a utilitarian option. Mudguards, sensible aluminium frames, and even front racks in some cases, have traditionally marked them out as a purchase you’d make with your head, not your heart.

But it looks like that’s about to change. The Scalare is Tifosi’s first carbon race bike, combining looks that pull at the heartstrings, and the same traits of value and common sense Tifosi has built its reputation on. ‘It’s actually the second carbon bike we’ve made,’ says Alex Rowling, marketing coordinator at Tifosi. ‘The first was more of an audax bike with mudguards, while the Scalare is very much a road racing and sportive bike.’

Scalare Range

Tifosi Scalare frame

Tifosi now has two lines, Heritage and Performance, and the Scalare sits at the top of the latter. There are five bikes in the range, from a Campag Veloce-equipped bike at £1,199 to the Ultegra version here at £1,550. It’s good to see two Campag-equipped bikes – the Italian brand is often overlooked in the world of complete bikes in favour of the Asian giants Shimano and SRAM.

‘We put Campag on most Tifosis as Chicken Cycles [Tifosi’s parent company] is a major Campagnolo distributor,’ says Oates, ‘but as big Campag lovers too, we feel it’s something we need to offer.’ The same frame is used throughout the range, and weighing in at a claimed 1,050g it’s light for such a keen price. Nice touches include the super-slender seatstays that should dampen some road buzz and provide a decent level of compliance.

Frame

Tifosi Scalare Miche chainset

The bottom bracket is the pressfit BB30 standard, which used in its intended way (an oversized axle running through large bearings in nylon cups pressed into the frame) isn’t much cop, but it’s versatile, and combined with conversion cups it’s both future-proof and reliable. Tifosi has used a Wheels Mfg reducer BB, which was creak-free, but once the bearings wear out, we’d be tempted to go with a standard outboard-bearing bottom bracket, as used on the Pretorius in our location test.

The riding position is quite aggressive, with a short head tube and fairly steep seat angle, making it good for racing and high-speed sportive riding. There are, however, plenty of spacers under the stem to raise the handlebar position to somewhere more relaxed. And because of the way Tifosis are sold through Chicken Cycle Kit dealers, riders can swap components at purchase, be that a different size stem or cassette, or a different saddle in the Selle Italia range.

Components

Tifosi Scalare wheels

Elsewhere, the components are nearly all Italian, in-keeping with the name. The saddle comes from Selle Italia, the tyres from Vittoria, the bars, stem and seatpost from Cinelli and much of the groupset – the cassette, chainset, wheels and front brake – comes from Miche. 

‘We put as much Miche stuff on as possible,’ says Oates. ‘It’s all made in Italy, so it’s nice to keep with that Italian theme.’ We don’t see a huge amount of Miche coming through the Cyclist.co.uk office, but it’s all good gear. The front brake works well (the rear is a Shimano 105 direct-mount unit, located under the chainstays) and the chainset marks the whole bike out from the Shimano-equipped crowd. The chain didn’t mesh with the cassette quite as smoothly as the Shimano versions, but on a first ride review, that’s hard to criticise – get a good weekend of riding in and they may well have worn in, working together perfectly.

At 8.39kg and with a solid pedalling platform, the Scalare accelerates quite nicely. It also slows down well – having ridden a lot of £500 bikes with low-cost deep-drop brakes for this issue’s main bike test, it was a relief to be back on a bike that brakes quickly and predictably. The weight is a little more than we’d expect of a bike with such a light frame – we suspect you could shed a fair bit by upgrading the bars, stem and seatpost. And though the wheels are good for training, if you want to go racing or do some really hilly sportives, investing in a pair of lighter wheels for special occasions would be a good idea.

Spec

Tifosi Scalare Ultegra
Frame Tifosi Scalare, tapered carbon fork
Groupset Shimano Ultegra, 11-Speed
Brakes Miche, Shimano 105
Chainset Miche Primato
Cassette Miche
Bars Cinelli DNA
Stem Cinelli DNA
Seatpost Cinelli DNA
Wheels Miche Race 707
Tyres Vittoria Rubino Pro
Saddle Selle Italia X1 Flo
Contact chickencyclekit.co.uk
Price: 
£1,299.99

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Page 2 of 2Tifosi Scalare review (2015)