Bloomfield Fixie

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As a young man in the early 2010's, it was hard to ignore the attractiveness of fixies as a concept, and it was equally obvious that most of the actual bikes were hideous. The exception, a bike that always managed to turn my head when I saw one about town, was that bright-yellow speeding streak that was the first-generation Bassi Roma-Tokyo, running fixed with track handlebars. Such beautiful lines, and such handling!

Sadly, by the time I could afford a brand-new frame of my very own, the Roma-Tokyos had sold out. Since then, I've been agitating for its return, and got my wish this year, though it bears a different name now, to underline that it's more capable, flexible and useful than the old super-skinny, super-zippy track frame: Bloomfield, named after a street in Outremont.

You may be aware that the Bloomfield is compatible with the new hotness, the trendy 650B size of wheel, which allows one to use higher-volume tires given the same frame size than the old, stodgy, boring 700C wheel size. I'm happily tall enough at a 86cm PBH not to have been eternally underserved in terms of proportional wheel sizes for my bikes, but 650B and 26-inch wheeled frames are a godsend for shorter or medium-height people! They're not necessary everywhere, however, and I've found I'm happiest with larger wheels with a mid-sized tire, in this case 32mm width. They roll well, have plenty of volume for comfort on streets and crushed-stone and dirt paths, have less rotating weight than a wheel with more rubber, and have a better-shaped contact patch. Of course, the benefit of the updated Bloomfield frame compared to a Roma-Tokyo is that I don't have to use unpleasantly harsh super-skinny tires, and could get one size skinnier tires if I wanted to have room for fenders. Luxury!


  • Super-cheap Alexrims on the smooth Bassi Classic track hubs, 32-spoke for that nice symmetrical pattern.
  • Bassi Classic track crank to match.
  • Gatorskin 700x32mm tires, which is very exactly the largest tire that fits in this frame.
  • All-City 17t track cog. I liked the cutouts, not that the saved grams are worth anything.
  • My old 13t steel cog is sitting on the other side, but I may not be young enough to push that one anymore. Call it nostalgia.
  • Izumi track chain cause I always wanted one.
  • The saddle is my first-ever Brooks, it's been going for about 8 years of city riding, long tours, rain and sun, and looks awesome. Well worn in, but still holding its shape to perfection. Sadly they stopped making this B17 Narrow with cut-out.

  • Nitto Noodle 42cm handlebars, Nitto Technomic 9cm stem, I have yet to find anything prettier or more comfortable than Nitto's very careful and refined shapes.
  • Newbaums cotton bar tape, covered with shellac, which I enjoy for its grippiness and slim look. The little piece of tape on the seatpost is its original colour, the shellac darkens it a little or a lot, depending on the grade you're using. This was super-blonde shellac.
  • The brake lever is an old interrupter (cross-top) lever that I had in my parts bin. I wore straight through the pivot of the left one on an old bike, so this is the right-hand one, inverted and installed on the left. It was black but I removed the anodizing and sanded and polished it. This is an all-silver-parts build, after all.
  • The housing is the same as on my Appaloosa, I had a little scrap left over.
  • The Mafac Racer brake was a miracle find at a friend of a friend's bike garage that I had to insist on paying for. It's very nice to have bike friends! I took it apart, cleaned and polished it (try doing that with disc brakes!), and modified it a little to fit the recessed nut fitting on the Bloomfield's fork.
  • Last, but possibly my favourite part on this bike: the 1994 Dura-Ace SPD pedals. They were a trash-score of a colleague, but he wound up hating the way they always hang at the exact same angle upside-down. It does require patience at first but now it's quite automatic muscle-memory to flip them up and clip in. They've been ridden regularly for decades now, are scuffed everywhere, have never been serviced as far as I know, and they're still going strong. And Graeme Obree uses the same ones!

One of these days I'm sure I'll put a rack on the front since it's got the eyelets for it, but I enjoy having a minimal bike. It's a nice change of pace from my other whips and I can always put my Carradice on the saddle loops.

Photos and words by yours truly

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