We review the Moda Interval Ironman / triathlon bike
Moda has had an Interval in its range for some time, but this season’s bike uses an all-new frame, aero wheels and a carbon-rich kit package to go straight from the shop to the start line.
FRAME AND FORK
As you’d hope from a new frame, the Interval has plenty of contemporary touches. The short, straight-steerer head tube keeps the front profile narrow and a hunchbacked top tube smooths airflow behind the conventional stem. There’s a flush-fit stem option too, but that loses the spacer-based adjustment.
Rear brake and shifter cables insert vertically into the hump to reduce drag further back. The down tube is shaped to closely follow the curve of the front wheel, and the deep aero seat tube also uses a wheel-hugging shape, with the blade-style seatstays blending into it neatly.
The centre-pull rear brake is hidden under the big box-section chainstays in air that’s already disturbed by flailing feet. A twin-bolt block at the end of the top tube shelf secures the Barelli aero seatpost, and twin saddle clamp settings cater for the preferences of both TT and triathlon camps. There are only three frame sizes to choose from though, and the chassis isn’t Di2 compatible.
Moda prides itself on making its customers happy with the components they get as standard. The basic Interval is well equipped, with a stiff-cranked, slick-changing and durable Shimano Ultegra transmission accessed through Dura-Ace levers on the extension tips. This drives a set of 50mm carbon-and-alloy American Classic wheels, which are light enough not to hamstring acceleration and climbing but still handle well.
The own-brand Barelli carbon cockpit with its adjustable extensions and Batman-style base bar is well shaped, stiff without being harsh and comprehensively adjustable. The firmly padded saddle is something you
might want to change though, as it didn’t take long for numbness to set in during extended tuck sessions.
This isn’t a big problem though. While most bike shops are smart enough to tweak spec to personal preferences to clinch a sale, Moda makes a specific point of it – you choose what you want from various SRAM, Shimano or Campagnolo transmission, ITM cockpit or American Classic wheel options at your local Moda dealer. Once you’ve created and costed your ‘dream build’, the bike will be assembled and delivered to the shop ready to roll.
The default set-up of the Interval is already good and the initial fit of our sample – after we’d supplied Moda with our preferred reach and saddle height details – was spot-on out of the box.
The deeply curved armrests of the Barelli bars are big – they could be slightly restrictive if you prefer a flatter, smaller pad – but tweaking the angle and width goes a long way to getting a secure but not squeezed fit. The conventional (rather than flush-fit) stem lets you set a more neck-friendly ride height, or you can switch out the steerer spacers to get your preferred level of tuck.
There’s nothing nasty or surprising in the handling either. The Interval corners fine at slower speeds when you’re trickling through traffic, and the base bars are stiff enough for hard cornering or climbing
efforts. There is some flex from the skinny-hubbed front wheel if you really push it hard but, despite relatively simple rim aerodynamics, the wheels only ever nudged the bike off line slightly in sidewind situations.
Once we’d adjusted to pushing through the flex we never got trapped with straight-line stubbornness in fast turning or descending situations either. The most important thing is that you can feel them holding more momentum than conventional wheels when you’re head down and hauling into a headwind.
You could milk some more subtlety and speed out of the ride with a top-class set of tyres, but we’d say that about most bikes at this price so it’s more of suggestion than a criticism. The only real grumble is a rattly, ‘tinny’ vibration on rougher roads that can become tiring and made us wish we’d fitted a softer-nosed saddle.
The Moda isn’t very stiff through the pedals either, with chain rub on the front mech if you really labour the big ring round up climbs. Stick to flatter, smoother roads and it’s a good package for the price though, offering steady solo speed sustain. If proof were needed, the same bike we tested (but with a SRAM Red upgrade) has already had a top-five result in Abu Dhabi with Lawrence Fanous.
Moda’s Interval isn’t outstanding in any obvious way and it can chatter a bit in the rough, but as a well-priced, ready-to-race package with useful personalisation options it deserves to be racked up by a lot of riders.
- Frame and fork
Size tested: 54cm
Sizes available: 51, 54, 57cm
Weight as tested: 8.68kg
Frame weight: 1,539g
Fork weight: 380g
Frame: Moda high-modulus carbon
Fork: Moda high-modulus carbon
Chainset: Shimano Ultegra 6700, 53/36T
Bottom bracket: Shimano Ultegra 6700
Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 6700
Chain: Shimano Ultegra 6700
Derailleurs: Shimano Ultegra 6700
Shifters: Shimano Dura-Ace tip shifters
Front: American Classic Carbon 58
Rear: American Classic Carbon 58
Tyres: Kenda Kaliente Pro, 700x23c
Wheel weight: 1,210g/1,620g
- Other components
Seatpost: Barelli, twin-position, carbon, aero
Brakes: Shimano Ultegra 6700 side-pull front, TRP 920 centre-pull rear
+ Well-balanced frame and wheel package gives obvious aero gains
+ Comfortable ride position and useful component tweaking options
– Chattery in the rough without obvious power delivery payoff
– Not currently Di2 compatible – but it is in the pipeline