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Just in: Moda Stretto (2013)

Hi mod carbon speed machine, assembled in Derby and available in a variety of builds

This Moda Stretto we have just started testing is the standard brochure build, combining a high modulus carbon frame and fork with an American Classic aero wheelset, SRAM Force gears and brakes and house brand Barelli parts from Moda supplier Eurobike. The emphasis is on low weight: the web site claims 16.4lb/7.43kg, our 56cm test bike tipped our scales at a few grams under the 7.5kg mark (no pedals) and will set you back £2699.99.

I've emphasised the fact that this is the standard build because Moda, who assemble their bikes in Derby, say they have the ability to build to a customer's requirements and budget, using either SRAM, Shimano, Campagnolo or Microshift groupsets and a choice of finishing parts. They call this their 'Dream Build' service. So if you fancied a Stretto but you wanted a different drivetrain that wouldn't be a problem. Other than the spec list and the geometry Moda don't give much clue as to who the bike is aimed at on their website, but working on those clues we'll go out on a limb and say it's a bike designed for riding fast.

There are 14 models listed in Moda's road bike range, from £749.99 to £3899.99. This includes some overlap from previous years and an interesting frame mix of aluminium, titanium and carbon. The previous Stretto model has become the £1999.99 Molto and this new version gets a full carbon fork and a few subtle tweaks to the geometry. The head tube is now tapered and shorter than on the 2011/12 Stretto, the top tube and the chainstays have been made shorter to sharpen up the handling, the bottom bracket has been upgraded to a press-fit BB30 unit and the main-frame gear and brake cable routing is now internal... sheathed for ease of fitting. The matt finish is described as 'Smoke, Primer and Chalk'. Opinion is a fickle thing but most riders liked it, with some mixed feelings over graphics overload, but on the wheels and componentry rather than the frame itself. The finish wipes clean easily and first impressions are that it's pretty tough.

We asked Moda about the construction configuration of the Stretto frame. It's a tube to tube rather than monocoque process, with reinforcing layers added at all the crucial joins (head tube, seat tube and bottom bracket) for strength and stiffness. The raw frames are sanded, sent for painting and decals then finished in a clear matt lacquer. The seat tube is shaped around the rear tyre, keeping the back end short and presumably offering a tiny aerodynamic boost to complement American Classic Aero 3 420 wheels. Close clearances mean that fitting tyres bigger than 25mm would be a problem. The tubing aesthetics of the frame and fork are a pleasing mix of aero and oversized, with a slightly sloping top tube producing a semi-compact look with an extended seat tube: the 56cm size refers to the seat tube, bottom bracket centre to the top of the seat tube. We measured the horizontal top tube reach to be exactly the same.

We haven't had any long term experience with the Barelli finishing kit fitted to the Stretto. The carbon cranks look classy, and come fitted with a 53/39 tooth 7075 heat treated alu ring combo, and the seat post, saddle, stem and short drop handlebar are all well finished. Your local dealer can use Moda's 'Dream Build' option for different bars, stems etc and supplier Eurobike can also offer ITM, Deda or Selle Italia finishing parts. Our test bike arrived with Schwalbe's Lugano tyres fitted but the standard specification is with 23mm Kaliente Pros from Kenda.

Full test report to follow after we've put some decent miles in.

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