Moda Sharp Carbon tri bike review

“UK born” tri bike that should turn a few heads in transition and offers a decent frame with basic aero trickery and a solid groupset

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
£1,999
Moda Sharp Carbon Tri/TT bike

Based in Derbyshire, Moda builds bikes with frames that bear a “UK born” decal proudly displayed on the top tube.

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But while they may be designed, assembled and tested on home soil, like most other brands the frames are actually made in the Far East. Being a smaller make means you’re less likely to run into someone with the same bike, but you still get big-brand back-up as the Moda frame comes with a lifetime warranty.

The build

With its black and white colour scheme, the Sharp is a good-looking bike that’s likely to turn a few heads in transition. You don’t expect bikes from smaller companies to come backed to the hilt with tunnel testing data, but the Sharp certainly ticks a few key aero boxes.

Bulging head tube on Moda Sharp Carbon tri bike

There’s a distinctive leading-edge bulge to the head tube, while the others are all noticeably profiled and the seat tube hugs the rear wheel. Externally-routed cables seem like a missed opportunity though, and both front and rear brakes sit out in the wind rather than being integrated into the frame. 

The colour-coordinated American Classic Victory 30 wheels should deliver a marginal aero edge with their 30mm rims and bladed spokes while, at a little under 1.6kg for the bare pair (without tyres, QRs and a cassette), they’re also reasonably light. Kenda Kaliente Pro tyres have never let us down and are a solid choice.

The groupset on Moda's Sharp Carbon tri bike is a mix of Shimano 105, Dura-Ace and Ultegra

The drivetrain is Shimano 105, but topped off with the ever-reliable Dura-Ace bar-end shifters. Sram Apex calipers are paired with Tektro aero levers to bring everything to a halt, which is a bit of an odd choice given the rest of the groupset is Shimano 105, but not a deal breaker. 

Furnishing the cockpit is an aerobar set-up from Barelli (Moda’s sister component brand), a fairly basic piece of kit with limited adjustment and very spartan pads. Barelli supplies the rest of the finishing kit, including stem, seatpost and saddle.

The ride

When you first ride away on the Moda you notice there’s a pleasantly surprising spring in its step. But as you stand up and put some weight through the front end there’s some unwanted spring too. You’ll also find some flex in the Barelli base bar, and even though the rest of the bike is stiff and responsive to injections of power, this noodle-like feel upfront is disconcerting.

SRAM Apex brakes on Moda's Sharp Carbon tri bike

Put it to the back of your mind though and the Moda handles impressively well for a tri bike. It’s predictable, surefooted and, descending through some tight bends, even shows a pleasing amount of nimbleness and flickability. Climbs and rolling terrain are easily conquered with out-of-the-saddle efforts while the American Classic wheels don’t have any floppiness issues. The cockpit disappoints again when you hit the flat and dive into a tuck, though. The elbow pads are just too small, leading to a feeling of insecurity that’s compounded by the flex of the base bar and extensions. 

It’s a real shame because, on the whole, the Moda purrs along efficiently with an extremely comfortable and buzz-free ride. Shifting is positive and reliable from the 105 groupset/Dura-Ace shifter combination and the American Classic wheels even give a note of aero hum on occasion, but no sidewind-induced shocks.

On long drags, there’s a sense of lively impetus from the Moda, with none of the grudging uphill reluctance that sometimes befalls tri bikes in this price bracket. It’s at its best climbing seated though as, once the gradient forces you out of the saddle, the flex in the base bar raises its bendy head again. But crest the climb and point the Moda downhill and it’s back to earning brownie points. The braking is good, helping you to really rail the bike through the bends; on a hilly technical course, the Moda won’t let you down.

220's tester out riding the Moda Sharp Carbon tri bike

Verdict

Handling: 80% 

Solid overall with some real highs. 

Spec: 78%

Decent frame with basic aero trickery, above-par wheels and a solid group set, but a low-quality cockpit.

Value: 75%

Not far off race-ready, but would it stand the test of time?

Comfort: 75% 

Physically smooth, but the flex in the bars and the small pads are mentally draining.

OVERALL: 77%

For news and reviews of all the latest tri kit, head to our Gear section

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Contact : www.moorelarge.co.uk