If you love the aesthetics and functional simplicity of a singlespeed bike but you just can’t live without gears, then you will love the new Urban 7 from Foffa. It pairs the clean styling of Foffa's singlespeed bikes to a Shimano Nexus 7-speed hub and Revo rotary shifter, neither of which intrudes on the looks.
Complementing the added versatility of the gearing, the Urban 7 has bosses for mudguards, a bottle cage and a rear rack, so it has the potential to be a very useful and adaptable bike.
Seven-speed Nexus gearing is low-maintenance and accurate, though adds a little heft
The frame itself is made of 4130 chromoly steel. It has a low front end for a distinctly sporty riding position and the steering is rapid. That it doesn’t seem to have quite as much life to it as other bikes in this metal is more down to the build. The Nexus hub is heavy and it’s built into wheels that prioritise robustness over performance so the Urban 7 doesn’t leap forward with every firm pedal stroke. Retained is the compliance associated with 4130 – it’s no hovercraft but it doesn’t thump over bumps as harshly as anything made from high-tensile steel.
At 28mm, the tough and grippy tyres have large enough chambers to add to the comfort while still being skinny enough to roll quickly.
This is a good-looking and likeable bike
The highlight is that Nexus hub. It gives a range of 244 percent or, in real terms, a comfortable cadence at speeds of around 7-20mph. Bottom gear isn’t a winch for really steep grades but it will get you up most hills. Best of all is the shifting – it’s crisp and precise, much more so than Shimano’s more expensive Alfine hub gear so long as you back off the pedal pressure as you shift.
We only have a couple of niggles and the brakes, merely adequate, barely qualify. The main complaint is the saddle – disliked by all who rode it and badly matched to the grips. Fit a Charge Spoon and this is an easy bike to like.