The Moda Senza immediately stands out as a rare breed of track bike – one hewn from titanium.
With a brushed finish and clean graphics, the frameset proudly announces its credentials and instantly raises eyebrows and demands questions, in particular about its stiffness and strength when considering the demands of track riding and racing.
Fortunately, the Senza answers many of these the instant you get on and ride it, feeling not only light but responsive too. It weighs in at just 6.8kg.
The balance struck between the material and the geometry gives the bike an alert yet relaxed feel, leading to a surprisingly comfortable but efficient ride, somewhat lightening the mental load that might be associated with a more hyper-reactive machine.
For endurance track riding, where multiple sprints and changes of pace are required, this bike offers the surprising advantage of conserving rider energy – physical and mental – an unexpected but valuable performance advantage.
Out of the saddle, the bike’s light weight really comes into its own, such that as you pull on one handlebar the other lands in your opposite hand instantly, reducing your reaction time – especially useful for lighter riders or those with less upper body strength.
Not only is the bike responsive left to right but it offers a more comfortable ride in a straight line too, compliant when following wheels and adjusting for a change of pace, reducing the stress of overcompensating for sudden ‘kick-backs’. This is especially helpful at higher speeds in close company, such as when following a Derny bike, or when racing.
By comparison to its more mainstream aluminium brother, the Moda Forte, which I tested in 2011, it has identical geometry and a very similar specification; high-grade load-dispersing titanium (LDT) in the frame makes all the difference to the ride.
This titanium is aerospace-grade titanium, and the forming process during manufacture allows for strengthening in some areas through altering the profiling, while keeping other areas thinner to give the combination of lightness and stiffness that might be unexpected with a titanium frame.
Another upgrade from the Forte is the 8mm socket head bolts that secure the rear wheel into the stays and the fine-tuning screws that allow tailored adjustments to the wheel position for faster and more accurate centring, whatever size the chainring and sprockets.
The frame we tested came drilled for front and rear brakes, a detail a little incongruent with the racy design of the bike as a whole, but perhaps a feature that would make it attractive as an eye-catching fixed road machine. The Load Dispersing Carbon fork that comes with the Senza is a part shared with the Forte.
The American Classic 420 aero track wheels that serve both the Senza and the Forte bikes are definitely good enough to match this upgraded frame, and fit perfectly on this higher-spec bike. These aero wheels are tried and tested, with 34mm-deep aero rims weighing in at only 1,585g for the pair, offering an ideal combination of rapid acceleration and aerodynamics on an alloy clincher rim.
The benefit of the light feel of these wheels is added to by the lightness of the Senza frame and together with the overall sensitivity of the bike is exceptionally good. Acceleration and deceleration both in and out of the saddle is easy to control, enhancing your overall sense of mastery of the machine.
The only other upgrade in the spec from the Forte to the Senza is from an aluminium seatpost to the Barelli SPS carbon version. Other elements completing the build are the solid Miche Advanced Pista chainset (49t), Barelli aluminium bars and carbon stem, cro-mo rail saddle and FSA sealed cartridge headset.
We felt that the handlebars supplied with the 52cm frame were a little too wide, given the size and style of rider likely to use this bike (42cm), but otherwise we’d not change anything in the set-up.
Aside from its riding performance, the overall look of the Senza is quietly understated but classic, with the slim tubes and subtle finish giving it a simple but elegant look, perhaps attracting those who prefer their personal performances to shout louder than their bike.
At almost double the price of the Moda Forte, coming in at just under £2,000, you could argue that the Senza might appeal to a more committed track racer, but equally it might also entice those wanting something that both performs and looks a little more special than your average track bike.
American Classic Road 420 Aero Track
Kenda Kaliente 700 x 25c
50-60cm in 2cm increments
Barelli SPS carbon
Barelli cro-mo rail
LDT butted titanium/carbon fork
Barelli alloy 31.8mm