The Moda Nocturne is a versatile machine, with a titanium chassis sufficiently robust to shrug off harsh winter conditions, while offering a ride smooth enough to enjoy year-round.
We tested it at the tail end of a seemingly endless winter, where, on grimy roads, we were glad of the Nocturne’s surefooted handling and supplied mudguards.
An overall weight of 8.7kg, largely a function of the titanium frame, was a significant contributor to a pleasingly sprightly ride.
A frame weight of 1.42kg was respectable for the breed (compare and contrast with the recently-tested Enigma Excel, whose stiffer and more expensive 6AL-4V construction yields a saving in claimed weights of just 170 grams).
The titanium tubing (the 3AL 2.5v construction is de rigeur in bicycle manufacture, and used, for example, by prestigious American brand, Moots, across its road range) met our expectations for a smooth, forgiving ride.
The welding was neat, and we liked the cowling over the dropouts, as well as the mounting points for racks and mudguards. Versatile indeed.
We’re also happy to report the stiffness of the Nocturne’s construction, which was most apparent at the bottom bracket. Our 14-stone test pilot, a man ably equipped to find flex where there is any, reported none from his testing.
The most notable feature of the frame was not the material, however, but the geometry. Moda have pitched the Nocturne long in the top tube, short in the seat tube and tall at the head tube.
The seat tube on our ‘small’ test bike measured 52cm only when measured from the centre of the bottom bracket to its very top. A less generous measure, from the centre of the bottom bracket to the centre of its junction with the top tube, would put the seat tube at 48cm. Interesting.
The sloping top tube by contrast, one we measured at 54cm, yielded an effective length of 56cm, and the head tube was among the tallest we’ve encountered on a machine of this size: 170mm.
The upshot? Our 5’9” test pilot, long of body and short of leg [though not short of legs – ed] found the Nocturne a little long, even with the saddle set at the foremost point on its axis to reduce the distance from nose to stem centre to 51cm.
A broader summary would report a machine inclined to endurance rather than speed. Our advice is, as ever, try before you buy. (Moda are sold through independent bike dealers, so this should be easy).
The fork is carbon in blade only, and while we would have preferred to see a full carbon offering, we can’t claim to have been unduly encumbered by the additional weight of an aluminium steerer tube. Chapeau to Moda for fitting a carbon fork with a mudguard mount.
Moda have equipped the Nocturne with a mix of componentry, satisfactory in the drivetrain (SRAM Apex chainset, levers, and front mech; a rear mech from the upscale Rival groupset) but less so in the brake calipers (Tektro 538).
The chainset was sympathetically equipped with 50-34 chain rings. The compact ratios struck us as a good match for an all-rounder.
We liked the shape of the Barelli handlebar, but would question the need for a second bolt on the seat post, one that made it difficult to adjust the saddle when out on the road equipped only with a multi-tool.
American Classic rolling stock, the Victory, like the components, proved adequate to the task of comfortable winter training. Shod with Schwalbe’s entry-level Lugano, a 23c clincher with a light, stippled compound, they rolled smoothly enough.
We were uncertain about the disparity between the size of the hub flanges (the deep-sided rear hub looks large enough for use on a tandem, while the small-flanged front hub put us in mind of offerings common on mountain bikes in the early 1990s) but can’t report any performance deficiencies during our short acquaintance. The tiny bearings in the front hub are shouldering a burden normally handled by larger units, however.
The claimed 1648 grams per pair is respectable, and while most bikes will benefit from a lighter wheelset, this isn’t one whose performance is intended for pure speed.
We were glad of the mudguards, but if purchasing some on the ‘after market’, would seek a more robust offering. The stabilising rods were spindly, and the acetal plastic covers not overly attractive.
Comfort is the calling card of titanium and we found plenty to support its reputation in the ride quality of the Moda Nocturne. Critics point to flex and a ‘noodly’ feel in some Ti machines, but there was none here. It was sprightly rather than electrifying, and the geometry might not appeal to everyone (the top tube felt ‘long’ for the size) but considered as a package, there’s little here to fault. The relatively low weight and comfort make it an obvious choice for endurance sportives, while the presence of rack and guard mounts offer versatility and possible deployment as a light tourer.
Website/UK distributor: Eurobike UK
Sizes: 44, 48, 52, 56