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

FrankG, Aug 23 2014 05:31

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


Are we going to get into the Apple vs Windows debate as well now?