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First look: Tifosi Mons

6 Dec 2017
Verdict:

Tifosi's 'pet project' has finally seen the light of day, and it's been worth the wait

Price: 
£9,000

Its name makes it sound like a classic Italian brand, but Tifosi is thoroughly British. Founded in 1999, it used to be known for producing robust, good value workhorses designed to cope with UK riding conditions. Note the phrase ‘used to be’.

‘About three years ago we sat down and had a discussion about where Tifosi needed to go,’ says Josh Lambert, Tifosi’s technical specialist.

‘We couldn’t lose sight of what Tifosi stood for, but we wanted the brand to move forward. Our local team, Spirit Racing, now called Spirit-Tifosi, is an excellent youth development team that was in need of a bike, so we designed one for them.’

The result was the Tifosi SS26, which Cyclist tested back in 2016. Lambert likens it to ‘a sort of phoenix from the ashes’ that represented how Tifosi wanted to develop.

The SS26 kickstarted Tifosi’s ‘race programme’, the initiative the brand has used to steer its transition in focus from modest workhorses to thoroughbred race bikes over the last few years.

‘You hear a lot about the “trickle-down” of technology, but for us it was the other way around.

‘We had that solid base and have used it as a platform to refine and build up from,’ says Lambert.

On the backburner

If Tifosi’s race programme was on the main hob, the new Mons was on the backburner – always present but not the brand’s main focus.

‘The Mons was this little sketchbook project of mine,’ says Lambert. ‘I pitched it to the managing directors at the start of our transition and they said, “It isn’t a priority but it fits with where we want to go, so see what you can do.” We had it on the go for ages.

‘It just so happened that as we were developing the race programme we learned more and more about the best construction processes and what materials were best to use, so the Mons, simmering away on the periphery, kept getting lighter as a byproduct of our learning curve.’

That curve must have been steep indeed, because the Mons tips the Cyclist scales at a mere 4.91kg.

Considering the exotic componentry adorning the bike that weight is understandable, yet Tifosi claims a frame weight for the Mons of only 780g.

That’s on a par with many of the lightest frames on the market, so Tifosi is in good company. And it could have gone even lighter still.

‘The top layer of unidirectional carbon fibre has no structural relevance. We could peel that back and take almost another 100g off the weight, but the bike wouldn’t look as pretty,’ says Lambert.

‘For the Mons we employed some consultants whose sole task was to advise on lightweight carbon layup techniques.

‘The frame is predominantly built up with Toray T1000 fibres, balanced with T800 to make it less brittle, but there are eight different fibre types in the whole design.’

Comfort factor

The decision to go with carbon wasn’t simply about creating the lightest bike possible.

Lambert explains that despite the brand’s move towards a more performance-oriented focus, it didn’t want to lose sight of its original ethos – that of creating desirable bikes with a ride quality good enough to ride every day.

‘Believe it or not, light weight wasn’t the only priority for us,’ Lambert says. ‘The Mons isn’t supposed to be an out-and-out racer – for that we have the Auriga, which is aggressive and aero enough for use in competition.

‘The Mons trades in a little stiffness in return for comfort and light weight.’

Built to ride

Remarkably this build is not just for show either. You will be able to buy this exact model for yourself, complete with AX Lightness wheels, Fibre Lyte carbon chainrings and all, and each Mons purchase includes a custom paintjob from London-based paint shop Cole Coatings.

‘The nature of the techniques used by Cole to apply the finish means that each scheme is unique,’ says Lambert.

‘We think that echoes the ethos of the bike – minimalist, yet special.’

If the ride of the Mons reinforces its promise on paper, we’d have a hard time disagreeing with that.

£9,000 | chickencyclekit.co.uk

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