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The Momsen Vipa

Before jumping into the review of this beast I would like to offer you a glimpse into the vision and mission of the brand, which goes by the name of Momsen. In their own words: “We’re not the biggest – or smallest, for that matter – bike brand on the trails. But, we’d like to think we’re one of the most committed and passionate bunch of bike geeks you’ll ever meet. We love bikes. We love riding them. Most of all, we want to share our passion and ideas with you. For as long as we can remember, it’s always been about the trails, the mountains and the freedom of riding on them. You get the idea. We’ve been INSPIRED BY THE MOUNTAIN.”

The History

When logging onto the Momsen Website (http://www.momsenbikes.com) you will discover that every bike has a story, and people buy into a journey and not just a product. Victor Momsen’s bike brand was still an infant in the scary world of big names when he sourced (as most bicycle manufacturers do) his frames from vendors in Asia. Victor had a much bigger dream though, a vision of developing his own bike designs. He set out to develop a full-out racing, all-carbon, full suspension, lightweight-but-tough, mountain devouring cycle machine. He seeked out the advice of Patrick Morewood, a suspension expert, and between Morewood, Momsen and Mark Hopkins (of Morewood’s new bike brand, Pyga), they came up with the Vipa.

The Specs

The Vipa features a monocoque-type carbon frame, with T800 and T1000 carbon lay-up, a rear thru axle, tapered headtube, single pivot (positioned on seat tube), shock mounted to the top tube, 80mm travel, external brake and shifter cable routing and internal dropper seatpost cable routing. Although dropper seatposts are not mainstream in South Africa as yet, we at Audaciously predict an exponential rise in the popularity of this modern day marvel in the near future, as Saffers catch up to the world trend.

The Ride

If you read one sentence in this whole review, read this: it’s really good. In fact, before saddling the beast it is clear that this machine is a serious one. Momsen understands the psyche of the South African mountain biker well. His typical customer is race-mad, and is after performance and value in equal measure, and lots of it. His answer is the Vipa. On the first few rough climbs it will become clear that this bike is designed to be pedalled hard. There’s no lull on a sudden application of power, or any sluggishness under consistent load; it just leaps forward. This is a VERY BIG feature in the Momsen arsenal, something currently lacking on Deon Van Eeden’s Trek Superfly (Hallo Deon). Of course, it helps that it’s super-light, at under 2 200g including the rear shock (RockShox Monarch).

For those who like to chuck it about a bit, the Vipa isn’t a hardcore trail bike that’ll rival the Pygas and Santa Cruzes of this world in terms of versatility. It’s a single-purpose machine – which is more a compliment than not; it’s still fun to ride (chiefly because it’s so fast! – Ask Mike Bolton). Turn-in is among the quickest in the market, but under speed, the big wheels still keep things stable. Eighty millimetres isn’t a lot of travel, but somehow it feels like more. On those crazy, loose, rocky downs characteristic of the Western Cape races, it’ll protect your butt from a beating and keep things under control. As a stage racer, this is a serious threat to the more well known Sparks, Anthems and Epics.

The Verdict

If you are keen to live audaciously, try new things, experience all that South African ingenuity has to offer, and gain serious street-cred from your mates, the Momsen Vipa is the beast you want to saddle. We never expected anything less from a company dedicated to the mountain.

Editor’s Note: This is a post written by our resident mountain bike guru, Francois Liebenberg.