Moda Bikes’ UK Carbon Project has moved a step closer to production after the Derby-based firm unveiled a prototype of their first British-made carbon fibre frame.
We first heard about the project in September 2012, when we saw an early fibreglass model at the Cycle Show in Birmingham – but now the first full carbon fibre prototype is ready for testing and Moda’s James Ryan told us that he expects the frameset to be available from this autumn.
Derby-based Moda are proud of their UK roots but, like almost every mass market bike manufacturer, their frames have so far been made in the Far East. This project changes that and Moda have teamed up with a company in Stoke-on-Trent which has previously specialised in carbon fibre production in the automative industry to make the frame.
There’s still work to do before Moda hit the start button on production. Ryan expects to add a little more carbon fibre to beef up the seattube and bottom bracket, while removing a layer or two from the seatstays to add a little more compliance and shave off a little weight.
The 56cm frame we saw at the dealer show of Moda’s UK distributor, Moore Large, weighs just over 800g, according to Ryan, but take that figure with a pinch of salt for now. It’s not a complete frame and, changes to the carbon fibre layup aside, still needs internal cable guides and a brake bridge. It will be a sub-1,000g frame, he says, with approximately 900g the target figure.
The frame is designed as a race rig and, while the final geometry is yet to be confirmed, expect it to be low and long, as you’d expect from a frame for such intended use.
It’s taken a little longer than expected to get the frame to prototype stage – Moda were initially aiming for an early-2013 launch – but, having done the hard miles in getting the project this far, Ryan hopes to expand Moda’s UK offering in the future. It’s been a big learning curve and he now wants to apply that knowledge to another frame.
But back to the present and Ryan admits it has been a “dream project” to work on. “The principles behind the frame remain the same as when we first came up with the idea,” he says. “We want to make a UK carbon frame that’s not ridiculously priced. It has to be comparable in price with what we already have in the range but it also has to be a product that people want to ride.”
Pricing is yet to be confirmed but Ryan expects the frameset, which will be available in a number of colours, to cost in the region of £1,500. The first production run will be 54cm and 56cm frames, with 52cm and 58cm options to follow. Consumer demand will then dictate whether Moda open moulds for a wider range of sizes.
The UK Carbon Project isn’t the only new frame we saw at Moda HQ. Aluminium is enjoying something of a resurgence as a performance frame material and the Vivo is Moda’s take.
The new frame replaces the Primo in the range and is based around Moda’s ‘Elite Series Alloy Tubeset’, which is said to be lighter and stiffer than before. It’s a modern metal frame, with a tapered headtube, internal cable routing (for the rear brake cable) and a carbon-bladed fork with an alloy steerer.
The Vivo is available now as an off-the-shelf bike with Shimano 105 and American Classic Victory 30 wheels for £1,499.99, though a varity of builds are also available through Moda dealers.