The first thing you notice about the Stretto is the sharp, aggressive aero-influenced frame. It looks from the outside like a monocoque design, so we were surprised to find that it’s actually built using tubes.
This has enabled Moda to reduce the mass of those tubes and use a high modulus carbon to reinforce the joints at the head tube, seat tube and – most importantly – the bottom bracket, while still keeping the weight down. Our 58cm test bike weighed a mere 7.45kg
Highs: A lightweight bike with handling prowess in spades
Lows: Not the most refined in the comfort stakes
Buy if: You want a quality race machine that will stand out from the crowd
The Stretto’s tubing is laden with neat touches. The triangulated down tube switches from a deep vertical profile at the head tube to a horizontally broad profile at the bottom bracket junction; the seat tube features a cutaway for the rear wheel, keeping the wheelbase tight. This shape also broadens at the cutaway, creating an aero-efficient fairing for the wheel. The chainstays are large and ovalised for power transfer, the seatstays are slender for rear-end comfort, though it scores more highly for the former.
The moda’s seat tube has a massive cutaway for the rear wheel: Robert Smith
The Moda’s seat tube has a massive cutaway for the rear wheel
The sharpness of the ride results from its racy 73-degree parallel frame angles. Matched to a regular 45mm offset fork the Stretto offers a great feeling of balance, making it easy to push the bike harder into corners, where you can make the most of the superbly stiff frame.
The gearing is also all about moving you fast. It comes with a standard 53/39 chainset rather than a more relaxed compact (though this is available as an option), and it’s paired with a tight 10-speed 12-26 cassette. This doesn’t make the gearing that friendly to climbers, but that’s balanced out by the low overall weight and lightweight wheels when the terrain does steepen.
The wheels and much of the kit come from brands supplied by Moda’s UK distributor. The all-carbon cockpit from Barelli is suitably classy, and we particularly appreciated the bar’s semi-compact shape and stiffness, which aided the Stretto’s direct handling.
The slender, deep rims of the American Classic Aero 3s are rapid on the flat, but their skinny boots and narrow rims don’t do much to reduce vibration from poor roads. The tendency of those V-shaped rims to catch sidewinds also detracts slightly from what is a great racing chassis.
SRAM Force shifts rapidly accompanied by a vocal snap and the braking is similarly positive, but then again Force is the same design as the former Red, SRAM’s top-line groupset.
Moda has delivered a quality, lightweight race bike, though in its present guise it doesn’t quite have the smoothness of some of its rivals. But it’s a good-looking bike at a good price and one that’s exciting to ride. And swapping to wheels with shallower rims, shod in larger volume rubber, the Stretto immediately felt much more accomplished. So with just a few changes the Stretto really does have the potential to be a class leader.