At A Glance
The South African brand, Momsen, might not be one that you’ve heard much about, if indeed anything, but that is set to change over the next year, thanks mainly to this bike, the Vipa and it’s new rider, regular World Cup XCO top ten finisher, Emil Lindgren.Buy XC Bikes on
The Vipa is the first full-carbon, full suspension bike to be designed and developed in South Africa. Aimed at Stage, Marathon and World Cup level XCO racing, this 29er with 80mm of Fox travel is all about putting in the miles.
Some of you might be a little wary about trying out a bike from a brand you haven’t heard of, but don’t worry, there is a very established name behind this model. Patrick Morewood, of Morewood and Pyga fame, has been involved in developing the Vipa for Momsen, so you might not know the name, but you know the pedigree.
Available as frame-only for custom builds, or a full factory build, ours was of the custom variety. Although, when the bike arrived I was a little concerned that they’d only sent a frame, as the box was so light!
On The Trail
Built with a light weight mix of Magura forks, Formula brakes, Stans Wheels, SRAM XX1 and a stunning looking carbon Momsen Design Down’R stem, it was ready to eat up those miles!
With every trail head seemingly at the bottom of a hill whilst testing the Momsen, the bikes climbing prowess was first thing to go under the microscope. Although I’m no World Cup XC racer, I was able to give it enough to confidently say that it climbs with the best of them, both in and out of the saddle - a prerequisite of a race bike. There was no discernable bobbing, or locking of the rear end, allowing the Vipa to glide up the hills with ease.
With such strong climbing skills, would it fall flat and lead to awkward and uninspiring descents, a trade-off that is often the case on a race bike? Thankfully not, and the outcome was a very positive one. Momsen’s claim of a bottomless feel to their rear suspension thanks to a low leverage ratio wasn’t wrong. It was easy to forget that there was only 80mm of travel at the back, so much so that I was encouraged to give this 22lb race machine a lot more abuse than it was designed for and it didn’t complain once.
Being a fan of smaller wheels, I did find flat open corners a little more pedestrian than I would have liked, but that is a small trade-off for the rolling and climbing prowess that the 29-inch wheels give and is often the case with bigger wheeled race bikes. It would be interesting to see what a 27.5 version would be like though.
Overall the Vipa is a bike that climbs, rolls and descends well and allows you to get away with a lot more than you would expect from its 80mm of travel. If you want a race machine that stands out from the crowd, then it’s definitely worth a look.
Momsen Vipa - Medium
Seat tube: 432mm
Effective top tube: 595mm
Chain stay: 440mm
BB drop: 40mm
Head angle: 70.5
Seat angle: 73.5
Weight: 2.15kg (medium frame, shock, hanger and fittings)
This review was in Issue 34 of IMB.For more information visit Momsen Bikes