OUT OF AFRICA

THE MOM­SEN VIPA RACE TWO

Australian Mountain Bike - - Tested - AMB PHO­TOG­RA­PHER: TIM BARDLEY-SMITH TESTER: MIKE BLEWITT

Mom­sen bikes are new to Aus­tralian shores, and hail from some­where due west. Not just Perth where the im­porter is based, but all the way from South Africa. South Africa might be known for Rugby, boere­wors, braais, but bikes are also a pretty big deal. Moun­tain bikes in-par­tic­u­lar. With names like Greg Mi­naar, An­drew Neeth­ling, Erik Klein­hans, Mariske Strauss and of course the late Burry Stander, South Africa has some se­ri­ous moun­tain bike pedi­gree con­sid­er­ing their size. The strong point of South Africa’s moun­tain bike scene is stage rac­ing and marathon rac­ing. Hav­ing hosted the XCO and DHI World Cham­pi­onships in 2013, then the Marathon (XCM) World Cham­pi­onships in 2014, and now a World Cup in Stel­len­bosch, South Africa is still best-known for the Cape Epic. The eight-day UCI HCS (be­yond cat­e­gori­sa­tion, which is iron­i­cally a cat­e­gory it­self) race has live tele­vi­sion cov­er­age, and a huge fol­lowong. Yet, this is just one race in South Africa. Erik Klein­hans once com­mented that he could do a stage race ev­ery week­end, and through many weeks, with­out leav­ing South Africa. From 2-day events to 9-day events, and im­mense chal­lenges like The Munga – South Africa has an ad­dic­tion to en­durance moun­tain bik­ing. And that’s ex­actly where bikes like the Mom­sen Vipa Race Two fit. Mom­sen Bikes is the brain­child of Vic­tor Mom­sen, who launched the bike brand in 2009. With a back­ground in the bike in­dus­try and qual­i­fi­ca­tions in me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing, the brand was in it’s in­fancy as 29ers took off, and by of­fer­ing a frame kit at a great price it was easy for peo­ple to up­grade and re-use much of the run­ning gear from their cur­rent 26” wheeled bike. With a lot of suc­cess at home, Mom­sen are now branch­ing into Aus­tralia and Europe.

INI­TIAL IM­PRES­SIONS

The Mom­sen Vipa Race is one of about eight full-sus­pen­sion moun­tain bikes on the mar­ket that can take two wa­ter bot­tles in­side the main tri­an­gle – and only about 4 of those are read­ily avail­able in Aus­tralia. This might not seem like that big of a deal, but on longer rides, or more de­mand­ing events like the Cape Epic, Croc­o­dile Tro­phy, Joberg2c or even The Pi­o­neer, fluid car­ry­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties can make or break your day on the bike. The sil­hou­ette of the Vipa Race looks a lit­tle un­gainly at first to some of it’s coun­ter­parts, un­til you look closer to seethe de­tails. The head­tube is quite tall, but not overly so, which helps add stiff­ness to the front end. The down tube is over­sized and the press-fit bot­tom bracket shell is as well for added rigid­ity. The top tube drops for clear­ance, with a strut to re­in­force the seat tube, and the chain and seat stays are both full-car­bon. For a bike at about $5500 this isn’t al­ways the case, typ­i­cally you will find a car­bon main tri­an­gle with al­loy swing arms. Spac­ing in the back end is 142x12, and the Rock­Shox SID RL fork is 15x100 up front. Both have tool-free op­er­a­tion which is a lit­tle heav­ier but a nod to­wards race use – as it’s faster that way. The ge­om­e­try is pretty spot on for the pur­pose, with a steep 73.5 de­gree seat an­gle keep­ing you on top of the ped­als, a moder­ate 40mm bot­tom bracket drop of­fer­ing a good mix of sta­bil­ity and pedal clear­ance, and a head an­gle of 70.5 de­grees keep­ing the bike quite ag­ile. Reach on the large I tested was 436mm with a 615mm top tube. I have long arms and typ­i­cally ride a large when oth­ers my height might pre­fer a medium. It’s worth not­ing this is the largest frame size. The ca­bles and hoses are in­ter­nally routed, and the bike is routed for and equipped with a SideSwing Shi­mano front derailleur, for a 2x11 Shi­mano XT M8000 group set. Like any Shi­mano 2x11 group, strip­ping the front shifter and derailleur off and swap­ping out to a sin­gle ring (and maybe trade the 11-42 cas­sette for an 11-46) is an easy change. But if you are look­ing at longer events, the

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