British outfit Moda’s Chord has a road bike heritage. It’s pretty much a road bike with a flat bar – and none the worse for that. And Moda have taken a very unusual – but still effective – route in kitting out the Chord.
They’ve gone for V-brake stoppers, not that often seen but still very effective, requiring very little pull on the SRAM levers for quick, controlled and powerful braking.
But whereas with some other city bikes the money is put into the hubs and gears, a lot of your cash buying the Chord goes into the wheels. The 28mm Kenda tyres are okay, if perhaps not living up to their Kwick Roller name, but they’re paired with a £350 set of American Classic Victory wheels.
These are head and shoulders above not only those usually found on a one grand hybrid, but the they’re actually higher spec and lighter than those on some £1,000 road bikes. They’re not the stiffest wheels around, and under hard torque, high gear climbing you can get them to flex very marginally, but not enough to detract from their appeal. And anyway, any lack of stiffness is rarely likely to be an issue zinging through city streets, the Chord’s natural environment.
A generally mix and match approach to kit takes in SRAM brake levers, Avid brakes, Microshift levers and derailleurs, with Barelli providing most of the rest, including a decent forged compact chainset. Barelli are the home brand of Moda’s distributor, Eurobike UK, and the bar, stem and seatpost are all reasonable quality, with the saddle – made by Velo – up there with the best for comfort, with less padding than some.
One piece of kit included that we really appreciate – simple and cheap but very effective – is the set of bar-ends. Riding any distance, they give you the option of using different hand positions. They come into their own when you’re climbing and cranking up the speed, assisting you to get out of the saddle and honk, and when descending they allow you to get lower, if not necessarily that aero, as they spread your upper body wider.
Moda have created an excellent bike with their Chord. It has loads of mudguard clearance, all the mounts for ’guards and rack, and lovely light wheels. It might not win in the comfort stakes, but if it’s flat-barred performance you’re after, that’s got the Moda’s name on it.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.