Project BLACK: Part 1 - The Weight Weenie

South Africa’s “first superbike” has created conversations around the world. The forum pages of The Hub erupted in equal parts with praise and criticism since its launch, but the bike geeks at Momsen Bikes have continued to graft away in their offices on perfecting this proudly South African full suspension race weapon.

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Racing on the UCI’s MTB World Cup in 2014, the VIPA has competed on equal terms with the world’s biggest bike brands and hasn’t shied away from the ruthless competition in Europe and at home. But, we’ve always felt that the VIPA wasn’t just an out-and-out race bike for XCO racers. We headed to Momsen Bikes offices in Port Elizabeth to meet Project Black. This now fully reveals the concept that is the VIPA.

[blockquote]One bike, three personalities.[/blockquote]
This three-part series by the bike boffins originated with a clean sheet and boxes of special toys from the world’s best component manufacturers. The clean sheet also extended to the clean, all-black Medium VIPA frame without decals and paint: murdered out, it saved 40 grams!

Their first build was one aimed at the weight weenies. It tipped the scales at just 8.35kg, without pedals but with a water bottle cage nogal, with trick carbon bits from Schmolke, Tune and MCFK, as well as the new Stan’s NoTubes Valor carbon wheels.

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The unique and controversial Lauf Leaf 29er suspension fork does duty upfront, with the lightweight properties of this radical carbon fork used to good effect on the VIPA. An efficient short travel rear suspension design offers 80mm of travel with a low leverage ratio for the Fox rear shock. The guys dropped a complete SRAM XX1 drivetrain onto the bike with a trigger shifter instead of gripshift, and a KMC X11SL chain. On the Schmolke carbon seatpost was affixed a Tune carbon saddle – which is not as uncomfortable as its looks may suggest. An MCKF stem (all very beautiful in carbon) was mounted with a Schmolke flatbar that weighed just 80 grams. Rounding out the trick bits was a prototype water bottle cage and Momsen Design Silicone Race grips.

The result? A 8.350 kg full suspension bike!

The cost of this build can be worked out with the help of Google, but that’s not the point of this article. Radical? Actually, not. This Project BLACK build is rideable on some rough trails and makes light work of any climbs. Versatility is the Momsen Bikes’ VIPA’s trump card: this is just one of the three personalities of the VIPA. Ready to race; ready to shred; ready to hack it with your mates on your favourite trails or destroy your Strava KOMs. It is easier to define it than that: ready to ride!

Next week we’ll bring you part two. Not to be missed!



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51 Comments

Graham 5, Aug 20 2014 09:59

What breakset were they using and was it tuned aswell?

DJuice, Aug 20 2014 10:13

Was also wondering about the brake set?
The designers must have read my mind, was dreaming of a custom black on black paint job, matt frame with gloss branding and checkerd decals, gun metal bolts, hanger and cable guides. The Momsen Vipa in silver and SA flag in different shades of grey, that wil be my dream Vipa frame!!

Skylark, Aug 20 2014 10:31

That fork is apparently fully functional and awesome(for racer types), pity it's so bloody ugly and ungainly looking. Hopefully they'll manage some engineering trickery to make it look more racy and less garage steampunk hodge bodge.

Hairy, Aug 21 2014 09:43

As I understand it, that fork has no rebound properties and can be a pogo stick on repeated hits ... but then again it should perform well on the Grond Pad

Iwan Kemp, Aug 21 2014 09:47

What breakset were they using and was it tuned aswell?

Brake Force One would've have been killer on there!

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koukie, Aug 21 2014 09:52

That stem currently on mcfk's website retail for 298 euro. That is almost R4500! This bike is going to cost quite a bit.

ThePubSA, Aug 21 2014 10:30

As I understand it, that fork has no rebound properties and can be a pogo stick on repeated hits ... but then again it should perform well on the Grond Pad

Well.. he said if it gets to rough it pogo's and no dampening ,+lateral flex... rekon it would be cool on a road bike... sure WCXCO rock gardens are to rough for this ?

Bman, Aug 21 2014 10:56

Wow - what a bike! Here I was thinking Vipa was bought for the ride - a lot like the Pyga. Builders producing this for the weight watchers proves otherwise. Amazing looking.

Nick, Aug 21 2014 11:09

What breakset were they using and was it tuned aswell?


The brake set is stock Avid XX World Cup.

Rocket-Boy, Aug 21 2014 11:14

I understand the fork for the build and weight saving but to me it looks terrible on it.

MTBc, Aug 21 2014 11:16

contacted Lauf last year, they do not sell forks on their own, and were only looking at partnering with manufacturers. Not sure if things have changed since then, but it would be pretty difficult to get your hands on just the fork, i would imagine.

They look like awesome forks. The only maintenance that would ever be required is that if one of the "leaves" breaks, remove and replace it.

Marius, Aug 21 2014 12:10

I love the look of the fork, especially the red one, will look awesome on my all black sworks!!

IdeJongh, Aug 21 2014 12:17

contacted Lauf last year, they do not sell forks on their own, and were only looking at partnering with manufacturers. Not sure if things have changed since then, but it would be pretty difficult to get your hands on just the fork, i would imagine.

They look like awesome forks. The only maintenance that would ever be required is that if one of the "leaves" breaks, remove and replace it.


See you can order directly from their site now, $65 shipping anywhere in the world.

Go fit it :thumbup:

Headshot, Aug 21 2014 12:23

Mmm, 60mm fork travel - I'd be tempted to leave it off altogether and run a fat front tyre. Would look better too. And weigh 8kg instead of 8.5 :-) Shredtastic.

JohanC, Aug 21 2014 12:28

Awesome!!

MTBc, Aug 21 2014 01:00

See you can order directly from their site now, $65 shipping anywhere in the world.

Go fit it :thumbup:


oh wow, i gave up on it. Awesome, thanks :D

GetafixCycles, Aug 21 2014 02:45

Bolts on top tube are for Momsens integrated tubby bag

splat, Aug 21 2014 03:14

Bolts on top tube are for Momsens integrated tubby bag


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  • Momsen Bag.jpg

Hairy, Aug 21 2014 04:47

SWAT they do that for?

feetup, Aug 22 2014 12:26

GO GO GO SA!

Still gotta get sold on the front suspension look but what a frikkin great project SA

Mr X, Aug 22 2014 10:37

Yeah, something to be proud of, yet for every Vipa 1000 Spaz Epics gets sold in SA for some reason, don`t know why.

Iwan Kemp, Aug 23 2014 08:34

Yeah, something to be proud of, yet for every Vipa 1000 Spaz Epics gets sold in SA for some reason, don`t know why.


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Iwan Kemp, Aug 23 2014 08:34

...and also

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Louis for real, Aug 23 2014 12:04

Yeah, something to be proud of, yet for every Vipa 1000 Spaz Epics gets sold in SA for some reason, don`t know why.

my 1c
seeing as cycling is the new golf, and there are a lot of beginners these days. these buyers are buying "spes" because all they ever rode before was their bundu basher bought from the local "fietswinkel" in highschool.
now a buddy starts riding he buys a "spes" tells his buddy its the best bike he has ever riden and he should get one ....see it's like a circle.
so they never try another bike because compared to a bundu basher the "spes" is the best bike in their world.

BenReaper, Aug 23 2014 03:56

I dont think this is a propper fork for a Vipa,you should have alot more travel than 60mm.

I would rather run a fork like this on a comuter,where I dont want the maintanance of a normal suspension fork and I am not a big fan of rigid forks.

But with the initial cost of that fork I wouldnt bother with it at all.