Tifosi is the house bike brand of Chicken Cyclekit, purveyor of Campagnolo, Deda and Miche among others. So it’s no surprise to find its Auriga aero road bike decked out with a Chorus groupset (save for a Miche cassette), Miche wheels and Deda bar and stem.
I wasn't expecting a set of carbon aero road hoops, a stark contrast to the budget offering on Bianchi’s aero road machine. The Auriga has been ridden to a good deal of success by the Spirit Tifosi road team over the last few seasons, and is also available with Campagnolo Potenza or – whisper it – Shimano Ultegra. The frameset costs £900.
Launched in 2000, Tifosi may lack the history of other more established brands, but its Auriga is a modern, high-quality affair.
It’s constructed from Toray T700 and T800 carbon and has numerous aero features, including a sculpted head-tube, huge Kammtail profile down-tube, a seat-tube with rear wheel cutaway and a carbon aero seatpost. Dropped seatstays add to the striking look and add rear-end comfort. The fork is a tapered 1 1/8-1 1/2in full-carbon model.
One unusual touch is a neat little headset cover that’s designed to smooth airflow, obviously, and the rear brake is tucked behind the bottom bracket for the same reason. That said, Tifosi’s designers actually dialled down the Auriga’s aero qualities a fraction after the 2017 season after feedback from the team to up the comfort, which may account partly for its excellent ride quality. I’d also argue the new straighter seat-tube improved the Auriga’s aesthetics.
On the road the Auriga offered a fine balance of speed, handling and comfort. At just under 7.5kg it’s light for an aero road bike, which is just as well when I hit the hills, as the 36x27 bottom gear is equivalent to a challenging 34x26, but that’s one of very few negatives, along with the placement of the rear brake. Yes, it’s more aero but it’s still harder to access and quicker to gunk up.
The Auriga coped with gusty sidewinds, the Miche’s aero rims deflecting the wind nicely. I didn't get the chance to test the braking in the wet, but the Campagnolo Chorus brakes worked well in the dry. Shifting was precise, and the carbon-clad drivetrain decorates the frame elegantly.
The Auriga’s main quality is speed, which suggests (not having a wind tunnel handy) that the aerodynamic qualities are effective.
At 20mph or so this just purrs along smoothly like a big cat. The compact rear triangle, chunky down-tube and hefty head-tube mean you can put your power through the frame without a murmur of complaint, acceleration is excellent and it’s not overly harsh.
A fair amount of carbon seatpost is exposed, and the dropped seatstays add a little give to the rear end. You can also run 28mm tyres for more cushioning if you want.
Tifosi’s Auriga is every inch a pro race-level bike, but its geometry isn’t so extreme that you can’t use it for training, sportives or any other distance riding. It’s light, aerodynamic, fast, handles like a ‘proper’ road bike and doesn’t leave you feeling beaten up. It’s very good value, too.