Feature: Cycling Sheffield Race Moda Bikes

Keeping a team on the road is no easy task but former Prems rider and now team owner, Dave Coulson has a host of loyal sponsors and a new bike sponsor in 2021 and onwards, Moda Bikes

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Feature: Cycling Sheffield Race Moda Bikes

There is a team, Cycling Sheffield, who’s manager Dave Coulson I remember racing prems back in the early days of when I started out doing what I do. Dave went from being a rider to one who put a team together and year after year, he works hard to keep that team on the road. Even through a pandemic, Dave has managed to do that thanks to loyal sponsors.

He has at least two long standing sponsors in Burrows Mazda (Mazda UK) and Bioracer UK which is a result of the work he does to promote his sponsors. During the second half of 2021, a new sponsor came on-board from a legend of the sport in the 80s and 90s, Dave Williams of Moda Bikes.

At a photo shoot in October overlooking Sheffield, I spoke to Dave Coulson, who explained how his racing career and that of Dave Williams, overlapped. “Dave was always one of the characters in the bunch, cracking people up as well as being a classy rider winning a lot of races. To this day, he has his finger on the pulse of the sport and the type of bikes we need to race on”.

“It is great working with him and I’m looking forward to having my riders on his bikes in races in 2022”.

Asked what it means to an Elite team like Cycling Sheffield to have a bike sponsor, Dave replied “it’s incredibly valuable to have a bike sponsor especially from a company like Daves. As a former pro rider, he fully understands how difficult it is running a team and from day one, I knew it was going to be a good, easy working relationship. It’s great for the lads to be on the same bikes and as Dave from Moda says, it’s amazing what that does for morale. That team identity is key for a team”.

Keeping his team Cycling Sheffield on the road hasn’t always been straight forward. “I rebranded the team in 2017 as Cycling Sheffield at a point when the team was about to fold because we did lose important financial backing. It was a nice idea I had to create a team based on a geographical area (Sheffield) and the more I thought about it, I realised it has got to be more financially viable but it is still a lot of work.”

James, Ewan and George out for a ride on their new bikes

Dave Coulson signing on at the British Road Race Championships at Celtic Manor in Wales organised by Bill Owen

“All our partners are so supportive and there is a ‘connectiveness’ with the sponsors as a lot of them do business together just because of the connection through the team.”

Dave explained that he was pleasantly surprised about the amount of racing they managed to get in 2021. “The racing calendar has been far from normal and it’s not been possible to get into Europe which is a shame, but by the same token, I am pleased we had the level and volume of racing we have had. We hit the ground running getting some good results in 2021. In 2022, I’m hoping we get to have a ‘normal’ season starting in February/March and getting the opportunity to race in Europe as well.”

Anyone who knows Dave’s team Cycling Sheffield, will know unlike most teams, he is very concise with the number of riders he has to do the job of achieving success with in races. He usually looks to have six riders or perhaps a couple more in 2022.

“I have always tried to work more effectively with fewer riders so I can put a lot into the working relationship with the rider. When everyone is healthy, it’s great but when you have injuries and illnesses etc, we do look like the walking wounded. We have wondered about going to eight riders and we may do so next year as I have a lot of CVs right now.”

The Cycling Sheffield Mazda team car locked and loaded with Moda branded bikes 

Moda Bikes
The bikes the team were on in the second half of 2021 were the rim brake model, the Moda Vivo. The team are still working on what they will be on in 2022 as there are a lot of factors to consider for a team on a tight budget. I remember having this conversation with a cyclocross team many years ago who resisted disc brake bikes until they had everything in place to make that viable and not add to the financial issues for their team.

At the photo shoot, was the head of Moda Bikes, Dave Williams, who was won many of the country’s biggest races and who took over the British Moda brand in 2020. Dave remembers the prems when they were Star Trophys and probably far more prestigious than they are today. He’s also won a British championship and worn the stripes so knows the sport well from both sides of the fence, on the road as a rider and as a sponsor. On sponsoring Cycling Sheffield, who race the national series road events in this country, Dave explained that it was important for him to see his brand in the major British events.

“It is good to help out some young riders and get some brand awareness in national level races” he explained. “When the opportunity came up to sponsor them, it was too good to miss” Dave added. He also pointed out why they were on rim brake bikes explaining that the roof rack on the car was for rim brake bikes and also the team’s riders all had wheels compatible with rim brakes. So it made sense for 2021 at least, to provide them with rim brake bikes.

George Wood and his Moda bike on the cobbles of Lincoln in the biggest race for riders of the season, the British Road Race Championship

The Moda Vivo the Cycling Sheffield riders are racing on is an aero carbon race bike with a carbon monoque frame with race geometry and is a nice lightweight bike. “I wish I’d had something as tasty as that in my racing days” Dave added.

The Moda range includes rim brake and disc brakes bikes. They have bikes with a racy geometry as well as those with a more relaxed endurance geometry for road and for gravel riding. A titanium/alloy gravel bike is also in the range.

From the very early days of Dave taking on the Moda brand, I would see images of the staff there including Dave using them to ride to work on and general riding in the lanes near where they live. That was testament to the amount of testing each model went through before being added to the range of bikes going out to dealers.

“We have all been testing them thoroughly and the guys in the company will vouch for how fussy I am about frames. So there was a lot of testing before we came up with the models that would go on sale. We have had sensational feedback from the riders who use them. The legend Steve Joughin had a bike off us recently and phoned me on the Saturday after to say it is without a doubt the best bike he’s had so it’s good that some one as experienced as Steve can phone up and be excited like a schoolboy about the bike he’s riding.”

The race bikes for Cycling Sheffield have certainly had some tough testing of their own like the British Road Race Championships in Lincoln and all those cobbles on Michaelgate. Racing for now is done and dusted but 2022 is looking very exciting for Cycling Sheffield and their Moda Bikes. We’ll have more on the Moda brand in the coming weeks as well as the riders for Cycling Sheffield in 2022 … Good luck to the team and its riders …

A Moda bikes Disc brake model looking very smart indeed


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