British firm Moda's high-end, thoroughbred road bike features a super-light carbon frame and fork set-up with lightweight peripherals and quality, reliable SRAM components, making for a seriously competitive race machine, but one that is just comfortable enough to consider sportive riding too.
Stiff. Fast. Surprisingly comfortable. And fast. That's the review right there. Did we mention fast? Well, you wouldn't expect much less just looking at that bottom bracket and considering the deliciously able American Classic wheels and head-to-tail weight reduction. Sprints are addictive on-board the Stretto and every junction, piece of road furniture or distant horizon becomes an instant finishing line in your imagination, as you instigate frenzied final 200m dashes amongst your fellow riders. Powering hard and flicking through the gears is an exhilarating experience, while corners seem to be taken fast, fluidly and with great confidence in that front end and in those perfectly suited Kenda tyres, which just hold on and promise to get you round, regardless of bumps and sudden direction changes.
FRAME AND FORKS
Moda's LDC High Modulus Carbon frame is a work of art and has had a complete redesign in line with the firm's two year product cycle, meaning this year there are big changes on Moda models. The biggest difference with the frame is the shaving of a huge chunk of weight, reducing around 25% of the overall bike's mass compared to the outgoing model.
On the road The Stretto is as stiff as any of its competition, while still offering a subtle degree of compliance, making longer rides, such as an endurance event, a distinct possibility. Its featherweight and taut design makes for a surprisingly responsive ride and acceleration is instant when you stand out of the saddle and put the power down.
Part of that aggressive weight reduction programme includes the LDC Modulus Carbon forks, which include a carbon steerer, and makes for a lively, responsive ride matched to the impressively taut frame.
Elsewhere on the frame, small details can't be ignored, such as the enhanced aerodynamics at every conceivable line, face and join of the tubeset. The seat stays are as skinny as drinking straws while the downtube flows into a super-fat, PressFit bottom bracket, aiding that stiff dynamic ability.
And it's all topped off with a sumptuous matt paint job, in Orca-esque monochrome, and adorned in the all-important UK-Born logos to remind you this amazing piece of kit is British made.
Part of the Stretto's secret weapon in reducing weight and being a supremely nimble tool is the American Classic wheelset. Moda are masters at creating a magical frame and wheel set-up, and these lightweight 420 aero wheels would cost near £600 alone and really aid this bike's sprinting abilities. They make a huge difference.
Elsewhere, the SRAM groupset, with the exception of the Barelli carbon chainset (53/39), delivers exceptionally slick and rapid shifting, with a spread of gears perfectly married to the lively nature and instant acceleration of the Stretto. SRAM levers operate in a different way to the usual Shimano system, requiring a double-tap operation, but are precise and intuitive once you adapt. SRAM Force brakes are progressive and powerful, and beautifully made items, while the Force levers are adjustable for span reach.
Barelli finishing kit offers the typically high-quality contact points, while the carbon bar and seatpost add to the frame's subtle compliance, bolstering this bike's endurance pretensions.
As the second in line in Moda's range, this is a top notch road bike, yet it offers substantial value over some of the competition due to its brilliant pairing of frame set-up and lightweight wheels. This would be the ideal bike for someone looking for a seriously competitive and very fast road bike but are still conscious of getting the best value for money they can. You certainly do with the Stretto. What's more, its underlying compliance offers the ability to ride for longer and therefore its worth a consideration for the committed sportive rider.
Buy British and you'll get no pony, just a super-light, perfectly considered road package that will surprise you with its sheer agility and performance and offer a high enough spec platform for you to use for many years while progressing your sport.
MODA STRETTO - FULL SPECIFICATION
- Frame - LDC High Modulus Carbon
- Fork - LDC High Modulus Carbon
- Rear Mech - Sram Force 10 Speed
- Shifters - Sram Force
- Brakes - Sram Force
- Chainset - Barelli Carbon 53/39
- Wheelset - American Classic Aero 3 420
- Cassette - Sram Force 10 Speed
- Tyres - Kenda Kaliente Pro 23c
- Handlears - Barlli Carbon
- Saddle - Barelli
- Seatpost - Barelli Carbon
- Weight - 7.43kg