Whistle Modoc Sora review

Stiff and aggressive road bike

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0
GBP £769.99 RRP

Our review

Uncompromising and stiff, the Modoc fails to shine compared to the competition
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US bike makers Whistle are an unfamiliar name in the UK, but they’ve now been added to the portfolio of brands sold through Halfords. That means they must compete directly with the Boardman Race, also sold through Halfords. What do Whistle offer to tempt buyers away from the British brand?

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  • Highs: Good power transfer, courtesy of the short chainstays and big down tube
  • Lows: The stiff and aggressive ride can become jarring on longer rides, and the so-so kit doesn’t raise the spirits
  • Buy if: You’re a strong rider bored with bland-looking bikes

Love or hate looks will help and hinder in equal measure. The vivid white and orange finish is anything but subtle. Underneath there’s a triple-butted and hydroformed aluminium frame. Welds are workmanlike, and there are no mounting points for mudguards or a rack. 

The big, flared down tube and short chainstays promise a stiff and efficient ride, and the looks aren’t deceptive. Despite the old-fashioned square taper bottom bracket, little energy is lost on the way from the pedals to the back wheel. Relatively heavy wheels take the edge off out-of-the-saddle sprints, but in the same situation there’s no sign of brake rub. 

Push hard through a corner and the Modoc’s carbon fork tracks accurately, but throw in a few bumps and the jarring through the bar can dent your appetite for speed.

This stiff, aggressive character feels fun on short rides and smooth roads, but as the hours pass by it can become wearing. This bike adheres closely to the stiff-but-harsh aluminium stereotype. Tackle rough roads at speed and there’s lots of vibration through the bar and even the pedals.

Grab a big handful of brake lever and the Alhonga brakes slow the bike well enough, but they’re not sharp enough when the pads first hit the rims, especially in wet weather.

The Whistle has Sora derailleurs and shifters, with the usual pros and cons: smooth, efficient shifting but awkwardly placed levers. The biggest rear sprocket is a 25-tooth – fine if you’re fit, but other bikes will offer lower bail-out gears.

Sora works well but shifting isn’t as easy in the drops as it is with tiagra:
Seb Rogers/Future Publishing

Shifting from the drops isn’t as easy with Sora as it is with Tiagra

It’s not a bad bike, but it’s up against talented rivals. The price is the real killer. At £769.99 (currently £749.99 online) it’s £100 or so dearer than Boardman’s Race. In our book the Boardman is the better bike, and you won’t even need to go to a different shop.

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This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Modoc Sora (12)
Brand Whistle

Description XS, S, M, L, XL sizes, Schwalbe Lugano 700 x 23 tyres
Rear Wheel Weight 1970
Top Tube (cm) 56.5
Standover Height (cm) 80
Seat Tube (cm) 51.5
Chainstays (cm) 41.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 26.5
Weight (kg) 10.25
Stem Byte forged alloy, 12cm, 11/8in steerer, oversized bar clamp
Shifters Shimano Sora STI
Seatpost Uno forged alloy twin bolt clamp, 31.6mm x 350mm
Saddle Selle Italia Q-bik, padded vinyl, steel rails
Rims Whistle machined aero 35mm alloy
Headset Type Sealed cartridge integrated 11/8in Aheadset
Bottom Bracket RPM sealed cartridge square taper, alloy cups
Handlebar Byte alloy oversized, deep drop anatomic 44cm
Front Wheel Weight 1470
Front Derailleur Shimano Sora long cage, braze-on front
Frame Weight 1780
Frame Material Tig-welded triple butted alu with replaceable gear hanger
Fork Weight 545
Fork Carbon blades, 11/8in alloy steerer, crown and dropoouts
Cranks FSA Tempo 3-piece square taper forged alloy, 50/34 steel rings, 170mm arms
Chain KMC Z 9-speed
Cassette Shimano HG50 11-25 9-speed steel
Brakes Alhonga forged alloy dual-pivot short reach
Wheelbase (cm) 101