The first thing we did after unboxing the Vivo was to hang it off some scales. In a world where a stock race bike can be under six kilos, seven and a half might not seem that impressive, but for an alloy-framed machine with a mid-level groupset, it’s none too shabby.
Highs: Light wheels; good performance; attractive, well made and impressively light frameset
Lows: 10, rather than 11-speed 105 groupset; some road buzz; price
Buy if: You want a bike with a classy alloy frame that won’t need a wheel upgrade anytime soon
The Vivo is Moda‘s replacement for the carbon-framed Prima, and it makes no apologies for the return to metal. It’s an attractive chassis, with neatly welded triple butted tubing and a satiny finish in ‘flame, smoke and chalk’ which, translated from bullshit to English, is red, black and white. A slim bladed, tapered full carbon fork keeps things current up front whilst at the rear, the seatstays flatten delicately between the brake bridge and the dropouts, presumably in aid of compliance.
There’s a certain grace to the bulging chainstays too, further demonstration of what’s possible with modern metal manipulation techniques. They end at a BB86 bottom bracket shell, a natural match for the Shimano groupset. Moda has chosen to route the rear brake outer through the top tube, keeping the gear cables external. It’s a good trade-off between looks and ease of servicing, although the cable stop plate bolted to the down tube is a tad agricultural.
Make no mistake, the vivo’s an attractively finished ride: make no mistake, the vivo’s an attractively finished ride Robert Smith
Make no mistake, the Vivo’s an attractively finished ride
Before we talk about the spec, it’s worth noting that Moda will supply more or less any build you want, including electronic groupsets, which the frame will accept without complaint. Our tester is the so-called ‘factory build’, which entails a Shimano 105 10-speed groupset (complete but for the brakes, which are Barelli-branded), American Classic Victory 30 wheels, and Barelli finishing kit. Barelli, incidentally, is Moda’s house brand, and while it’s no-frills stuff, it’s well enough made; the leather-effect bar tape is a particular highlight.
Alloy bikes suffer from an abiding stereotype – harshness on the road. We’re pleased to say this isn’t an accusation we’d level at the Vivo. Despite the metal seatpost and skinny 23mm rubber, it struck us, if anything, as being remarkably comfortable. Where it does lose out slightly is in vibration damping – there’s certainly more of it than most carbon frames in its class suffer, and that can be wearing on longer rides.
Ours has 105, but moda will supply any build you want: ours has 105, but moda will supply any build you want Robert Smith
Ours has 105, but Moda will supply any build you want
The Moda’s geometry is standard race bike fare, with a shortish wheelbase, just under 97cm on our 52cm tester, and a head tube length that will give most riders room for adjustment. The bike responds well to power input without excessive frame flex, the American Classic wheels supplying plenty of zip thanks to their low weight. Their rim section is a pretty standard 30mm V that doesn’t particularly like crosswinds, but most riders won’t be troubled unduly.
We’re slightly torn over the Vivo. On the one hand it’s an attractive, impressively light bike that comes with quality wheels and is fun to ride; on the other, it’s a little too expensive for what it is. If it were specced with the latest 11-speed 105, or cost a little less, it would be a stronger contender. But at this price point there’s some fierce competition – and we’d be sorely tempted to look elsewhere.