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

Meezo, Aug 20 2014 12:44

wow waa wee waa

Mkay, Aug 20 2014 12:55

Nice!!!!!!!

chim50, Aug 20 2014 01:00

Do you Know if we will be able to Purchase this bike or is it just a Prototype?

EdGe, Aug 20 2014 01:01

That is SICK!! Love it!

Kuys, Aug 20 2014 01:08

Why no Kashima Fox shock?

And whats up with those spacers ontop of the stem? Looks like a quick Friday night build...

Headshot, Aug 20 2014 01:26

No man, get real. "Ready to shred" - what, some paper?

Slowbee, Aug 20 2014 01:47

what is all that stuff on the front fork ?

Headshot, Aug 20 2014 02:07

what is all that stuff on the front fork ?

Rubber bands?

Mellow, Aug 20 2014 02:18

Service on that front suspension should be a little less than a specialized +R2000 fork service I hope

Gandalf, Aug 20 2014 02:22

I wonder how that front fork feels and performs.

Slowbee, Aug 20 2014 02:56

I wonder if they will sponsor one for a back of the pack rider to "test" at Sani2C and training leading up to Sani2c.

:whistling:

ThePubSA, Aug 20 2014 03:38

No man, get real. "Ready to shred" - what, some paper?

Rubber bands?

KILLITWITHFIRE!! .. #dirtroadiesDREAMunicornbike!

NotSoBigBen, Aug 20 2014 03:43

Why no Kashima Fox shock?

And whats up with those spacers ontop of the stem? Looks like a quick Friday night build...


I assume they were putting together a concept/prototype bike to show off some 'new' tech, not something a cycling anorak will analyze to death?

Louis for real, Aug 20 2014 04:07

The bolts on top of the top tube? attach a co2 bomb holder?
concession made for internal routing but not used?
routing of the front brake hose on the fork may end in tears?

picture of a guys eye?

best bike for dirtroads ever?

maybe i should ride it first before i comment?

DJR, Aug 20 2014 04:14

Please explain to me, in simple terms, how that fork works.

Louis for real, Aug 20 2014 04:18

Please explain to me, in simple terms, how that fork works.

not like a "normal' one? :)

Helpmytrap, Aug 20 2014 04:30

Please explain to me, in simple terms, how that fork works.

http://www.laufforks.com/

Helpmytrap, Aug 20 2014 04:34

PS, the fork is ZERO maintenance.

Leaf Springs
Posted Image
The heart of the Lauf Trail Racer is the leaf springs - we call it the Lauf Spring System (LSS). The LSS is made of high-performance composites, which are shockingly flexible and very impact resistant. There is no friction in the leaf springs as there are no moving parts. Therefore the LSS is energy effective and feels equally at home on rough trails or cobblestones, without the need for a lock-out function.

Travel
Posted Image
The Lauf Trail Racer has 60mm of travel with progressive spring rate. The initial part of the travel is the softest and most sensitive as it moves slightly backwards.
The mid part, and the longest, is almost linear for great handling and comfort while filtering out larger bumps. Towards the end the suspension stiffens up to prevent the Lauf Trail Racer from bottoming-out harshly and help keep all carbon parts safe.

Helpmytrap, Aug 20 2014 04:39

Posted Image

Piston ZA, Aug 20 2014 04:46

I wonder how that front fork feels and performs.

http://www.bikeradar.com/mtb/news/article/lauf-tr29-forks-video-review-42120/

Helpmytrap, Aug 20 2014 04:51

Nick, Aug 20 2014 05:02

Do you Know if we will be able to Purchase this bike or is it just a Prototype?


Probably not, the bike is a once off concept build.

Why no Kashima Fox shock?

And whats up with those spacers ontop of the stem? Looks like a quick Friday night build...


The rear shock used was apparently lighter than the Factory Kashima they had in the workshop. Being a weight weenie build, they went with the lightest option.

The fork is on loan from Mannie's Bike Mecca in Namibia. So cutting the steerer wasn't an option unfortunately.

EdGe, Aug 20 2014 07:18

I have returned to this article a second time. Makes me want to ride a Vipa!

Flowta, Aug 20 2014 07:51

Do you Know if we will be able to Purchase this bike or is it just a Prototype?


You could buy all the parts separately, I doubt that will be released as a production spec

Mr X, Aug 20 2014 08:04

Gonna sell my house for this!