While the more expensive Finale is aimed at the sportive market, Moda say the Stretto is a race bike, pure and simple. It certainly looks like it belongs on the start line, with its eye-catching black-and-white ﬁnish and the curved seat tube hugging the rear wheel.
The lively frame is a hoot to ride, while the American Classic wheels are light, stiff and aerodynamic, and wouldn't be out of place on a much more expensive bike. They help make the Stretto ride like a rocket. If you want your racing licence to jump up a category next season, the Moda will be a willing ally.
Frame & handling: One agile bike, with quick, predictable handling and precise descending
All the style in the world doesn’t count for much when the local chaingang turns the screw, but that’s when the Moda’s stiff and lively frame pays off. It’s the kind of bike that gives back exactly what you put in, leaping forward at the ﬁrst use of your fast-twitch muscles.
Stamp on the pedals like Mark Cavendish with 100 metres to the ﬁnish and there’s almost no ﬂex from around the bottom bracket, just rapid acceleration. The frame deserves a lot of the credit, but so does the Moda’s secret weapon: its American Classic wheels.
The 420 Aero 3s are light and aerodynamic, and the lightweight Kenda tyres are a good choice, too. It’s the combination of frame and wheels that makes the Stretto so addictive to ride. With so little inertia to overcome, it ﬂoats up hills, and the aero advantage helps you hammer along the ﬂat.
The wheels are stiff too and, along with stout seatstays, contribute to the ﬁrm, direct ride. You’re in touch with every surface change and can feel stones being ﬂicked sideways by the tyres. We kept bracing ourselves for the big hit that never came.
Whether carving a turn on the ﬂat or dropping down a steep hill, the Moda tracked precisely. Mid-corner bumps? No bother. A bend that tightens unexpectedly? Just lean the bike over harder, then stand it up and grab a higher gear.
Equipment: Light, aero and stiff wheels, comfy carbon kit and quality SRAM Force shifting
Although the Stretto is every inch the race bike, it’s not so stiff that it couldn’t be ridden all day. That’s partly thanks to the carbon bar and stem. Like the seatpost, these carry the Barelli name and help take the sting out of rough roads.
Go to the drops and really sprint, and the bar does ﬂex a bit, but you may well fall into the category of riders for whom the extra ‘give’ is worth this compromise. We certainly didn’t ﬁnd that it robbed the bike of steering precision either.
American Classic wheels are much better known in the US than in the UK, but we'd like to see them fitted to more British bikes based on this showing. It’s great to see hoops of this quality – you’d pay £499.99 to buy them separately – on a bike costing less than £2,000.
The 34mm proﬁle is deep enough to cut through the air efﬁciently without being pushed around by sidewinds too much. What’s more, since they’re made from aluminium, there’s none of the iffy braking associated with some carbon rims.
The Stretto's SRAM Force groupset is quality kit for a bike at this price. The DoubleTap shifting takes a little getting used to if you normally ride Campagnolo- or Shimano-equipped bikes, but once you get your head around pushing the same lever in the same direction to change up and down, shifts are precise and fast.