Moda’s Bolero is designed as a winter training bike but we found it to be much, much more than that over the weeks that we spent testing it. It’s a less racy sibling to the similarly equipped, similarly priced Moda Rubato. It has the same positives – it’s light for the price and has great wheels – but is a more versatile and practical machine, coming specced with mudguards and eyelets for a rear rack. In fact, it’s a great choice for somebody looking to buy just one bike for a multitude of cycling duties.
The Bolero has a slightly longer head-tube than the Rubato, resulting in a more upright, slightly less aggressive riding position. But the bike is pleasingly light for the price and the American Classic Victory wheels and Kenda Kaliente tyres are lighter and better than most seen on £1000 bikes. SRAM provides a compact chainset which contributes to a beautifully smooth, near silent transmission.
This is part of of an interesting component choice, based around a 10-speed, Shimano-compatible Bona groupset from the Taiwanese company Microshift. It works well too, and is lighter than 105. The shifting is noisier and has a more ‘industrial’ feel than either Shimano or Campagnolo, but it’s crisp and accurate. It’s not as pleasing to the eye as 105, the nearest Shimano equivalent, and the smallest of its three levers can rub against your hand when you’re riding on the hoods. But rear mech upshifts are a breeze and can be done using the side of your knuckle with minimal effort. Downshifts do need you to push the paddle lever through quite a wide arc though.
The Bolero delivers an extremely comfortable ride, the frame and fork doing a great job of smoothing out road buzz. The result is a bike that would be great as a year-round commuter, training bike or audax option, even having mudguards for those events that insist on them. It would also make an excellent sportive bike, that combination of high comfort levels, lightweight wheels and decent tyres being a winning one where long-distance, fast riding is concerned. Getting all this for under a grand makes the Bolero a bit of a bargain.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.