FOFFA Prima, £450, www.foffabikes.co.uk
What started out at a small flat in south-east London has turned into a thriving business producing colourful fixed gear, singlespeed and vintage bikes. Its signature singlespeed Prima range comes in a variety of colours, sizes and components, but this typical build was centred around a double-butted steel frameset with Sakae vintage 46T crankset, Weinmann rims laced to Quando/Formula hubs, Schwalbe Blizzard tyres and finishing kit from Wellgo, Oury and the like. You can, however, ‘pick and mix’ everything to suit your taste or budget.
Our test machine proved a sturdy, lightweight (around 9kg) and fast commuter. After several weeks of bombing around town and several much longer rides, our novice singlespeeder was totally hooked and found the bike slashed her commuting times. She did find the Ventura racing saddle too narrow for female ‘sit bones’ so switched it for a Brooks.
As for hills, our tester hasn’t found the high and lows of London any harder to get around on this bike than any other. She’s cycled it on cobbled streets, up not-insignificant gradients, down scary slopes and wound comfortably for miles through the busy inner city and along the Thames. What’s more she’s found it a doddle to clean and maintain. Foffa’s Prima bikes come with a 12-month warranty, plus five years on frame/forks. You can also hire before you buy.
PROS price, lightweight
CONS you can get carried away with spec