Thursday, 22 November 2012


The Tifosi CK7 Veloce Audax bike has arrived!

For £750 (sale price) you get a triple butted 7005 alloy frame with mudguard and rack eyelets, a carbon fork, Campag Veloce shifters and dérailleurs, a Miche compact chainset and brakes, as well as Miche Reflex wheels.

The original weight was 9.6Kgs so I raided the basement to see what weight we could lose by swapping components.

The original alloy seat-post and Selle Italia X1 saddle weighed 620g but I had a PZ 27.2mm carbon post and Fizik Aliante saddle that together tipped the scales at 420g, quite a decent weight saving to get things started. Weight now 9.4Kgs

The next and most obvious weight saving (over half a kilo) came from swapping the wheels & tyres.

The Miche reflex front wheel including Zaffiro tyre was 1.56Kgs and the rear wheel 1.68Kgs, making a total of 3.24Kgs.
Once I'd swapped them for my Zondas (with Continental 4 Seasons tyres) the weight of the bike came down to 8.86Kgs (without pedals) a further reduction of 0.54Kgs.

8.86Kgs is reasonably light for a winter bike. Apart from helping with the hills it also helps getting it up and down the narrow stairs to the basement. This was a virtually impossible task with my heavy old hack, a few years back.
I went straight out for a test spin and found the bike lively and responsive - and quite comfortable too. A really nice ride and even better than I was expecting.

One reviewer of the bike mentioned being able to 'feel a bit more of the road', saying fatter tyres would help, but I think that problem was solved with the use of my PZ carbon seat-post which really reduces road buzz. The only thing I might change in the future would be the bars as I have a few spares sitting around that might suit me better - although thicker (and less flesh coloured!) bar tape might help as well.

My issue with the front chainring shifting will go on the back burner during winter. On my test ride I shifted between the Miche big and little rings a lot without any problems so fingers crossed (I've got a couple of dodgy left hand fingers, so it can be an issue).


Take a look at the Bike Buyers Guide and you can compare weights and prices of most best selling bikes currently on the market.

Veloce shifters have the benefit over Shimano Sora and Tiagra of having under bartape cable routing. Much neater! 
I'll change the tape to black once it's a bit worn out.
Changed bars to ProVibe 42cm. Another small weight saving (and more comfortable for me).
I've also totally solved my front chainring shifting issue. I've learned to ease off the pressure just before the shift, and the chain is now changing from one ring to the other without a problem. It's taken me long enough to sort that out!
Overall I'm a big fan of this bike, but the wheel change has been the key. The Miche Reflex are fine if you just want a hack, but if you want a bike for sportive riding, winter training or fast commuting I'd highly recommend an upgrade.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


OK I think I may finally have stumbled across my perfect number of bikes. Not perfect as in N+1, but a practical arrangement that takes into account that I have to share my house with my wife and two rapidly growing boys - and limited space.

And it wasn't because of a cunning plan or months of research, but because it was raining.

To recap, I sold my Ribble with the SRAM Red groupset (frame and groupset sold separately) as well as my Rossin rebuild. And with the proceeds I bought a Canyon Ultimate AL 9.0 Di2, in the sale, for £1684.00 - and had a few hundred quid left over.

So far so good.
The electronic gears have solved my front chainring shifting issues caused by having shorter middle and ring fingers on my left hand (Serbian mortar bomb during the Bosnian conflict). The shifting is incredible.

But there is a downside. When I was asked if I wanted to go on a Sunday ride with the St John's Hill Cycling Club in the pouring rain I realised that the Canyon isn't the bike for a ride like that. The frame is white (black wasn't an option in the sale) with white bartape and a white saddle. It all looks very pretty I think, but not very 'weather proof'.
So what I needed was a 'winter' bike.
Now it's easy for the casual observer to conclude that no, you don't need a winter bike, you just need some clip on mudguards and away you go. Well no, I'm not going down that road, and here's my excuse reasoning:

1. The Canyon is here to stay for as long as possible. With electronic shifting and a weight of just 7.5Kgs what more could I want from the bike (wasn't it Bike of the Year 2012 for goodness sake?). If I can't get on with this one I might as well pack it in.

2. Using this bike throughout the year would drastically reduce its life expectancy. It doesn't have the thick paint and anti-corosion treatments of an audax/winter bike, and although electronic gears are supposed to be reliable enough, I think exposing them to a lot of rain, grit and salt is not a good idea. And clip on guards are never as effective as full length ones. It's not even a top end bike - I'm always amazed when I see a Cervelo or the like battling through the rain and the traffic. But the Canyon deserves to be treated with respect.

3. A good winter bike will be designed to take everything that the weather can throw at it. 
I actually dug out a few reviews collected from the cycling press before making my selection. It actually ended up as a choice between a Ribble Winter Training Bike and the Tifosi CK7 Veloce
The Ribble in its most basic form didn't appeal (not a massive fan of the Sora groupset) and equiped with a Veloce groupset it worked out at £750.00. The Tifosi is supposed to retail for £989 but a quick search online found one available for just £750, with slightly better componentry than the Ribble. It's also a much prettier bike IMHO, and that, combined with a couple of favourable magazine reviews tipped the scales in its favour.

* Frame: Tifosi triple butted 7005 alloy
* Forks: Tifosi carbon
Groupset: Campag Veloce/Miche
Wheels: Miche Reflex
* Cinelli handlebar and stem
* Vittoria Zaffiro tyres
* Cinelli alloy post

Overall a pretty decent deal, and weighing in at 9.5Kgs, not too heavy either.
I'll swap the wheels for my Campag Zondas left over from the sale of the Sportive Bianco, which should reduce the weight to below the 9Kgs mark (I'll let you know when I've weighed it).

In theory, both bikes should arrive next week and my cunning plan is to leave the Canyon in its box in the basement, to be brought out and built in March or April, at which time the Tifosi can be locked up safely in the secure underground bike park at work.
I seriously think that buying the winter bike saves you money in the long term, as it'll stop you exposing the pricier bike to the worst of the elements, meaning it'll last a lot longer (or be worth more when you sell it).
With this setup my chopping and changing days should be over, for a couple of years at least.


Commuter bike - Surly Cross Check 10 speed - flat bars for London traffic
Summer bike - Canyon Ultimate AL 9.0 Di2
Winter bike - Tifosi CK7 Veloce