Moda Rubato review

Affordable race bike

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £999.00 RRP

Our review

An excellent out-of-the-box race bike for the money
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The Moda Rubato is very much a race bike, with no concessions to versatility or commuting practicality. Look elsewhere (at Moda’s own Bolero for example) for mudguard eyes or clearance for big tyres. This would be annoying if the Rubato didn’t do such a damn good job of being a budget race bike, but it delivers so much fast and furious fun that it’s easy to forgive what might otherwise be seen as deficiencies.

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  • Frame: Light and rangy, the Rubato’s frame is a classic road racing configuration that demands you hammer it and rewards you with gobs of speed (9/10)
  • Handling: Massively flickable without being twitchy – a tricky balance to achieve that makes it heaps of fun in any downhill twisties (9/10)
  • Equipment: Individual mix of own-brand parts. Microshift transmission works well out of the box and is Shimano-compatible for future upgrades and replacements (8/10)
  • Wheels: Stiff and light, the American Classic wheels are head and shoulders above most wheels on sub-£1,000 bikes. Light Kenda tyres aid the bike’s overall feel (9/10)
Moda Rubato
Moda rubato: moda rubato
Russell Burton

Put simply, the Rubato loves to go fast and is easy to spin up to speed and keep there. Point it up a hill and it forges ahead with a flattering enthusiasm, jump on the pedals on the flat and it surges forward, and tuck into the drops and you’re rewarded with insanely confident line-holding and easy flickability into turns.

The Rubato’s frame is built from double-butted 7005 aluminium, long the most common material for medium-priced bikes, with a carbon fork. There are no frills or gimmicks here, just a classic, long top-tube road racing layout with a short head-tube to allow the rider to get into a flat-backed racing stance.

That singlemindedness is emphasised by Moda’s choice of a long stem and traditional bar with a long throw and deep drop. It all speaks of a bike designed for hammering, and that’s exactly what the Rubato inspires: heads-down, no-nonsense lactic acid boogie.

The wheelset aids and abets these high-octane shenanigans. The American Classic Victory wheels would set you back £300 on their own, and they’re shod with light, grippy Kenda Kaliente tyres. The combination breezes along easily and there’s no brake rub under hard efforts – often a problem with middleweight wheels.

Where most £1,000 bikes have Shimano 105 transmissions, Moda doesn’t so much go against the flow as get right out of the river with its Microshift gears. The combined brake/shift units use a large lever behind the brake lever to pull cable and a button on the outboard edge to release it. They work well after adapting from whatever else you’re used to, although the shift feel is a little mushy compared with Shimano or SRAM.

From the drops, it’s also harder to reach the release button to shift up the rear gears. Nevertheless, Moda deserves respect for taking the risk and fitting components that aren’t from the big players.

Also intriguing are the single-pivot Barelli brakes. Single-pivot brakes are light but don’t work with levers designed for dual-pivot brakes (which is all modern brake levers). To get round this, these brakes have a built-in cam, which increases the leverage without adding much weight. The practical upshot is plenty of well-modulated, easily controlled stopping power, which is exactly what you want when you succumb to the bike’s seductive speed.

The Barelli name – Moda’s own brand – carries through to the finishing kit, which is once again decent mid-range gear with one notable exception. The Rubato has an infinitely adjustable seatpost, so you can tweak the saddle position to get your exact preferred angle.

What you’re getting here is a great frame and wheels – the heart of any good bike – with a good chainset and a functional collection of other running gear. Based on previous experience of the Microshift gears we have concerns about their longevity (we’ve seen premature corrosion on front derailleurs) but as they’re entirely Shimano-compatible you can always swap them out one at a time as they wear.

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The Moda Rubato faces some stiff competition at £1000, but it stares it down and leaves most of its rivals in the dust. Its frame and wheels are the equal of our benchmark, the Cube Attempt – and it’s racier and half a kilo lighter than the Cube. If you want a thoroughly racy bike and you’re prepared to take a chance on the unusual components, the Rubato is well worth the risk.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Rubato (11)
Brand Moda

Bottom Bracket SRAM Power Spline sealed cartridge, steel spindle
Saddle Barelli padded vinyl with steel rails
Top Tube (cm) 57
Standover Height (cm) 81
Seat Tube (cm) 52
Chainstays (cm) 40.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27
Weight (lb) 18.9
Weight (kg) 8.59
Stem Barelli forged alloy, 11cm, 1 1/8in steerer clamp, oversized bar clamp
Shifters Microshift White integrated brake and shift levers
Seatpost Barelli forged alloy, 31.6x350mm, twin-bolt clamp
Seat Angle 72.5
Rims American Classic Victory machined alloy aero rims
Brakes MicroShift 10
Rear Wheel Weight 1527
Rear Derailleur Microshift White short cage
Headset Type Fully integrated sealed cartridge 1 1/8in aheadset'
Head Angle 72.5
Handlebar Barelli aluminium shallow drop anatomic, oversized clamp zone, 440mm
Front Wheel Weight 1050
Front Derailleur Microshift White
Frame Material TIG-welded double butted 7005 alu, forged dropouts with replaceable hanger
Fork Carbon blades, aluminium 1 1/8in steerer, crown and dropouts
Cranks SRAM Power Spline forged alloy compact 3-piece cotterless, 172.5mm arms, 50t/34t alloy rings
Chain SRAM PC1031 10spd
Cassette SRAM PG 1050 11-26 10spd steel
Wheelbase (cm) 99