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Our junior testers felt the need, the need for speed, and the Moda Minor is a well-specified choice for your child's first 'proper' road bike.
Weighing in at a fraction over 9 kilograms it might be heftier than your own carbon steed, but this aluminium bike is of a comparable weight to its junior road bike peers. One of our testers was graduating from a hybrid kids' bike and she certainly noticed how light and nippy the Moda Minor felt in comparison. The more experienced children also noted the speed compared to their other road bikes; the Moda Minor certainly nips along a pace on its 24 inch Kenda tyres.
The 15-inch frame fitted our tall 8 year old tester well. Her 11 year old friends were also able to ride the bike, albeit with the saddle near its upper limits. The stand over height was 24 inch and this was something our youngest tester found a little difficult to get used to as most children's bikes, especially those aimed at girls, have more dramatically sloping top tubes. When on the bike, however, the riding position worked well for all the children, placing them in a racy stance but not so far crouched over that they couldn't easily look up.
They also enjoyed the wide gear range on offer. The Moda Minor has a 44/36 double chainset and a 11-26 9-speed cassette, giving an 18-speed gear (more than most of its peers) with a bias to the low range, making it easier for youngsters to get up hills. Unfortunately living in Cambridge our testers didn't get any really tasty climbs to try, but with a 33-inch low gear they should be able top cope with most.
There are mudguard eyelets on the frame and fork, but there's not a lot of space for them in the short-drop brakes. That's a pity, because I would have been tempted to fit some for winter riding to stop the children from getting spattered in the recent damp weather.
The saddle was appropriate but not noticably comfy. If this is your child's first road bike then they need to be prepared for the different feeling that comes from a race position and supported to work through that.
Nevertheless, there's lots to like here for the younger rider, and our testers were soon cheerfully zipping about enjoying the lightness and speed of the Moda. Compared to the fat-tyred boat anchors that are most kids' bikes, it's a dream.
Vitally, they all liked the colour scheme too, a mainly white coat with with dark red and blue accents. They commented that it would suit either boys or girls.
However, one component did give all our testers problems: the Microshift brake/gear levers. Although the Moda Minor claims components chosen to fit a junior rider, all the children agreed that the brake levers were quite hard to pull and all struggled to reach them from the drops. None of the testers felt entirely confident about braking from the drops so tended to avoid them unless there was clear road for miles ahead, and riders with smaller hands struggled to brake from the hoods.
Gear shifting with the Microshift brake/gear levers is accomplished with a pair of plastic levers behind the aluminium brake lever. Again, testers with smaller hands had trouble with these as they're a long way down the lever.
The problem here is that nobody makes an integrated gear/shift lever that's scaled down properly for kids' hands. One tester remarked that the shifting was easier on her Islabike, which has Shimano levers. The lighter action works better for less strong young fingers.
There's surely an opportunity here for a manufacturer to come up with a Shimano-compatible brake/gear lever that's suitable for riders with smaller hands. They wouldn't just be for kids. Plenty of women with small hands would like not to have to use levers intended for blokes with big hands.
At £470, the Moda Minor is in the mid-range for children's road bikes of this size so the bike should be expected to last a good deal longer than a couple of seasons.The Moda has decent quality components and seems to be well built so you could expect it to last through a couple of children once handed down.
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Make and model: Moda Minor Junior road bike
Size tested: n/a
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame: Butted 7005 Aluminium
Fork: Butted 7005 Aluminium
Front Derailleur: Microshift FD-R729
Rear Derailleur: Microshift RD-R42 9 speed
Number of Gears:18
Shifters: Microshift SB-R092 9 speed
Chainset: Black Alloy 44/36 tooth 145mm
Bottom Bracket: Steel Cartridge
Cassette: SRAM PG950 11-26 tooth
Front Brake: Shimano Sora
Rear Brake: Shimano Sora
Handlebars: Alloy drop racing bar
Stem: 3D forged alloy
Headset: Sealed Cartridge, semi integrated
Grips: White gel cork tape
Rims: Alloy, black anodized
Front Hub: Quick Release
Rear Hub: Quick Release
Spokes: 14G steel
Front Tyre: Kenda 24 Inch
Rear Tyre: Kenda 24 Inch
Seatpost: Alloy micro-adjust
Seat Binder: Alloy
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
The Moda Minor 24 2012 Kids Road Bike is a 24" specific road bike designed to give the next generation of road pro a head start on the competition. With geometry and components chosen to fit a junior rider, these bikes offer a great introduction to the world of road cycling.
Full-size brake/gear levers are a problem for small hands. Not entirely Moda's fault as there aren't many options out there.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes.
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes, if and when our 8-year-old's hands could reach the brakes from the drops.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes, but to test ride first for size.
Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?
The sizing of the gear and brake levers needs to be scaled down significantly to suit some testers in the age group.
Age: 36 Height: 5'7 Weight: size 16
I usually ride: Trek 7.5 WSD My best bike is: Turquoise Cruiser
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Novice
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, Leisure