The Mossa is a totally new alloy aero bike from Moda, adding an even more affordable option to their existing Sharp and Interval pairing. Light wheels and sorted rider position help it overcome obvious component compromises to deliver a usefully quick and upgrade-friendly solo starter bike for a sensible price.
Ride & handling: Good handling and comfortable to ride – very novice friendly
Perhaps inevitably for an aero bike at this price there are plenty of details to ﬁnd fault with, but the Mossa is still a very positive place to spend your time. For a start, once we’d nudged the saddle forward it was a naturally conﬁdent and relaxing bike to ride aerodynamically, which is the key thing we’d look for in a long distance, non-drafting race bike at any price.
While the creak in the spokes as they settled in was spooky at ﬁrst, the soft feeling wheels and smooth fork helped comfort over longer distances and rougher surfaces. Even with its basic tyres it didn’t feel as abusive over less-than-perfect asphalt as alloy test bikes often do.
Although the tracking is slightly vague and we didn’t want to push the tyres too hard in wet corners the Mossa certainly never gave us any twitchy or tramline steering issues if we treated it with adequate respect. The softness in the crankset and wheels, and the generally slightly inert bike feel overall, is only an issue if you’re trying to really push hard.
Yes, it’s not as snappy as others when you’re gunning it, but the low weight means it’s easily efﬁcient if coaxed rather kicked. In terms of comfortable cruising on longer rides on ﬂat, smooth roads the Mossa deﬁnitely exceeded our expectations when considering the price.
Frame: Aero position and reasonable weight create an efficient ride
The chassis is the heart of any bike and in time trial/triathlon bike terms that also means the heart of any aerodynamic advantage in terms of tube proﬁling and rider body position. A relatively short head tube certainly gets things off to a good start, letting you drop the cockpit low for a ﬂat-backed aero tuck.
Smoothed welds at the front and top junctions give a very carbon-ﬁbre-esque look and it’s not too heavy given the price. The forks are aero proﬁled from tip to straight-gauge carbon ﬁbre steerer and they’re impressively light too. Down tube, seatstays and seat tube all get teardrop style aero proﬁling and there’s a wheel following cutout in the latter too.
The lack of horizontal dropouts to let you slide the wheel right into the curve reduces the wheel shrouding effect, but the vertical slots are a lot easier to get your wheel out of in a hurry. Similarly, while the externally routed cables aren’t as aerodynamic as hidden cabling, they’re a lot easier for a novice home mechanic to work with. The same also applies to the conventionally positioned brakes, which is lucky as the cam-driven Barellis are tricky to centre predictably.
Twin bottle mounts are a bonus for longer races but it’s the position the frame lets you set up that really shines on extended rides. While the seat angle isn’t super-steep at 76°, the sliding seat clamp on top of the aero post lets you slap the saddle right forward for a run friendly ‘open pelvis’ position.
Equipment: Softness in wheels, crank and brakes dulls performance
The Barelli tri cockpit is another vital part of what makes the Mossa a fully ﬂedged aero bike. The oval bare-faced pads are certainly basic, in a sticky-when-sweaty, potentially arm-pinching way, and there’s not much adjustment potential on the proﬁled base bars. The extension shape is good though, and there are very few proper aero cockpit bikes at this price.
The base bar horns come taped too which offsets the fact that the ﬂat ends are potentially unnerving on steep descents when you’re braking hard. Once they’re set up drag-free the brakes are just about acceptable, but their capability is reﬂected in the price and are spongy in feel compared to the Shimano and SRAM anchors on other bikes at this price.
The skinny bottom bracket axle of the SRAM chainset is also noticeably soft underfoot when you’re really giving it the beans. The Mossa can be supplied with either a compact 50/34-tooth chainset or a full size 53/3t setup depending on your likely terrain and/or leg strength. The lightweight American Classic wheels help on hills, although again you can feel ﬂex when you corner or crank them hard. The Kenda tyres are also sturdy and durable rather than subtle and speedy in feel, making them the ﬁrst thing we’d upgrade.
While we’ve used the Microshift tip shifters before, this is the ﬁrst time we’ve used the front and rear mechs. The white colour and fancy drilled jockey wheels certainly look smart, but there's noticeably more grind and guidance needed when changing gear compared to better known brands. Overall weight of the bike is very good for the price.
This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine.