We've just taken delivery of the 2013/14 Moda Finale (£3,899) at BikeRadar. With the majority of bike manufacturers having at least one aero bike in their range, Moda have joined the party with the new Finale.
Debuting on this year's model is the aerodynamic tube shaping seen on the company's time trial bikes – the Interval and the Sharp. The Finale gets an enlarged, teardrop profile top tube, head tube and down tube junction. The aero tube shaping continues on the down tube, seat tube (which has a cutaway section) and seatpost.
"We've had great success with these as conventionally specced TT/tri bikes, but as soon they were launched we started receiving requests from dealers and consumers asking if we could build drop bar versions," Moda designer James Ryan told BikeRadar. "This was easy for us to accommodate, as the bikes are built in Derby [UK], and we ended up building a large proportion of the Interval and Sharp to what we later called 'sprint' specification.
"We realised then that it was the beginning of a consumer demand for aero-sympathetic road frames, naturally leading to us investing in what has become the new Finale. It's something in the office we joke about, but it's true that many cyclists, competitive and recreational alike, are after any and all marginal gains."
The Finale is finished in matt black
The entire Moda range has had a facelift for 2013/14, with bikes getting new colours and decals across the board. The Finale is finished in matt black and charcoal grey with colour-matched wheels, but it’s the frame changes that make it stand out, particularly the super-thin seatstays. Moda call them 'blade stays'; their side profile is in line with what we're used to seeing, but walk round to the back of the bike and there’s very little to them.
With bike designers talking up the improved 'vertical compliance' from thin seatstays, the Finale should shine in that department – these are the thinnest we’ve seen. Their minimal size should also help shave a few grams of weight, too.
"This was something we wanted to develop in the new frame but needed to change considerably, as we decided to use a standard seat pin over the integrated seatpost and had to think about airflow," said Ryan. "The eventual result was the blade stays, which both transfer load and offer as little drag as possible within the working range of the material.
The blade stays serve both to provide some rear triangle cush and minimise drag
"The head tube and fork combination is also very important. We've spent quite some time on fork development for the Finale and are really happy with the end product, so much so that we're using them again on a new alloy model, which will launch towards the end of the year. The fork was developed alongside the lower section of the head tube to work in conjunction with and transfer airflow over and down the down tube.
"With airflow in mind for this model from day one, it meant we had to work with a set of fixed principles, which can be a blessing and a curse in equal measure. Any changes to the frame had to be carefully considered as they have a knock-on effect elsewhere in the frame, meaning that you end up changing one thing to then change another, and another, until you've come full circle."
The aero look continues at the rear, with the seatpost also being aerodynamically shaped. It’s made by Barelli, Moda's in-house brand of finishing kit. The handlebar, stem and saddle also bear that name.
The Finale features a SRAM Red groupset
The Finale is specced with SRAM’s top-end Red groupset, although Ryan was clear on the fact that Moda are flexible when it comes to some aspects of the Finale's build: "Other spec options are almost endless. We have accounts with all the major component manufacturers – Shimano, SRAM, Campagnolo and Microshift – and with the frame Di2/EPS ready, it's totally up to the consumer when it comes to groupsets.
"The same applies to finishing kits. We're the producers of the Barelli kit on this sample and can offer different stem lengths and bar widths on other carbon and alloy kits. As well as these, we're now the distributor for ITM in the UK, and can fit anything from their extensive range, alongside Deda and Sella Italia.
"Wheels are a different matter, as we can only fit with American Classic but can spec bikes with carbon tubs through to cheaper clincher wheelsets to reach a consumer's budget. When designing the frame we took into consideration the most likely wheelsets that will ship with the bike.
"We had two possible wheels that we were going to fit as standard. The first were the 420s – the staple of the AM range and a fantastic all-round wheelset suitable for training or racing, with a reasonably deep clincher rim.
"The second were the carbon 44s, which lend themselves to the frame design. But with them being a tub and also having a carbon braking surface, we didn't want to put consumers off. The 420s won out, but it's not an issue to use another wheelset.
For more information see the Eurobike website.