UK-based Moda Bicycles are new on the scene. They've got two full-carbon time trial/triathlon bikes in their lineup: the £1,800 Sharp and the range-topping Interval that we’re testing here.
The fully aero equipped Interval combines a competent ride and decent-value package, and offers good control and confidence in gusty conditions, but it'll only suit less aggressive riders.
Ride & handling: Ticks most aero boxes, but soft frame hinders power delivery
The slick looks and comprehensive kit package of the Moda deﬁnitely create an appetite to get on and sample the ride, and ﬁrst impressions are good. The handling and position are certainly ﬁne, with the short head tube giving the potential to get low, even with the tall tri bars and arm pads fitted.
The aero shaping is done without any obvious loss of control or conﬁdence in gusty conditions either, so the Interval isn't going to terrify you on the ﬁrst few rides in less than perfect weather. The steering is equally balanced and vice-free out of the saddle on climbs or cruising along at a high cadence.
Long-haul comfort is aided by the carbon layup of the frame, which takes some of the sting out of gravelly sections or rough back roads. The Interval is no heavyweight, at 18.38lb (8.34kg) so it spools along comfortably on steady climbs once you’ve got the wheels up to speed.
You’re probably thinking ‘so far, so good’, but as soon as we started sprinting the bits between corners, hammering the hills and bike brawling on group test rides, the Moda felt out of its depth.
Frame softness plus the twangy cockpit and ﬂexy wheels mean a vagueness to the handling when you’re pushing it hard through turns. There’s also a springiness and bounce through the pedals when you’re giving it big licks that becomes demoralising when other bikes start opening gaps you can’t close.
Chassis: Striking-looking but basic frame that lacks prestige detailing
While it’s not a performance-enhancing trick, the red and white livery and sponsor’s logos up the rear stays certainly give the Moda a very ‘pro’ look. All the basic aero shape boxes are ticked nicely: short head tube, teardrop down tube, aero seat tube with wheelhugger cutout and blended wishbone for the rear stays.
The top tube also gets extensive proﬁling behind the scalloped head box, while the triangulated, curved-in stays give a muscular look to the rear end. As well as the various shapes, the Interval uses a load dispersing carbon ﬁbre weave designed to screen out more road buzz than usual.
We recognised the bulged nose on the head tube and open window rear dropouts with large thumbwheels on the stop screws from bargain-orientated frames we’ve tested recently though. You’re also getting riveted external cable stops rather than internal cable routing, although barrel adjusters up front mean easy gear cable tweaking.
Both frame (3.46lb/1,570g) and full-carbon fork (0.97lb/440g) are a reasonable, if not remarkable, weight, and there’s a range of ﬁve sizes. The aero Switch Pitch System seatpost also gets a fore/aft adjustable Ritchey-style cradle to alter the effective seat angle.
Equipment: Aero wheels are a welcome sight but flexy bars affect handling accuracy
SRAM’s Rival is excellent mid-range kit. The tip shifters are particularly snappy and positive, even if you don’t get the absolutely splendid shift and return R2C action of the top SRAM levers.
The American Classic wheels are a decent set of rolling stock too. The puncture protected Iron Cloak Kenda tyres are on the clunky side for a race bike though, and we’d be tempted to get something more supple and stick them on your training wheels.
The Moda own-brand Barelli kit is a mixed bag too. The seatpost gets a grippy surface covering inside the frame to stop slippage. The saddle is a potentially numbing conventional style seat, rather than a speciﬁcally soft-nosed time trial / triathlon saddle that better suits use in a tuck.
The tri bars are also very basic and the rubber-faced pads get sweaty really quickly. The long-horned base bars ﬂex noticeably when you’re giving it beans out of the saddle, which makes the whole cockpit a disappointing way to interact with a £2,400 bike.