Moda Presto £1999

New brand to UK shores

BikeRadar score1.5/5

The Presto has its fair share of big name parts listed in its spec but you might not have heard of the company behind it, Moda. They’re a small, in-house brand belonging to distributors Eurobike, who also bring American Classic wheels into the UK.

No surprise then that the Presto features a top-notch American Classic 350 wheelset. We like these hoops – our long-term test set are apparently indestructible despite being racily light – but a wheelset alone does not a quality bike make.

While the Presto’s spec list shows a safe Shimano XT drivechain, Deore brakes and Kenda rubber combo, the ride itself leaves plenty to be desired. The overall package is light on paper, but on the hill it lacks sparkle and turns even smooth hardpack climbs into slogs.

Put the power down and it feels as though the bike is trying to hinge around its middle; there’s a chronic imbalance between fork and shock that we never managed to tame, and while you might not find it an issue if all you ever want to ride is trail centre ribbons, on rougher ground it’s a real hindrance to forward progress.

Things aren’t any better when the gradient tilts the other way, either: the Presto’s cockpit setup feels like a total anachronism now that comfortably wide riser bars positioned within easy reach are the norm.

The 610mm bar with minmal sweep robbed us of any control we might have been able to wrestle from the poorly damped rear end, and with weight distribution already upset the flawless RockShox Reba SL fork was overshadowed.

The Presto failed to conjure up the magic its name promised and left us in the hinterland between underwhelmed and terrified – we spent more time scared on this bike than we have on any other for quite a while.

Despite the presence of desirable kit from big names on the spec list, the long, narrow setup and wallowing compression made a mockery of the entirely acceptable 26lb weight and left us hanging off the brakes more often than not.

An upgrade to a sharper handling setup of wide bar and short stem would make the most of its lightweight flickability, but it was way out of depth on serious trails where sequenced hits overwhelmed the RockShox Ario shock's limited abilities and left us feeling like it was trying to saw itself in half.

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