The Vipa’s come a long way, thanks to years of R&D in partnership with suspension guru Patrick Morewood, and feedback from elite-level riders – currently the Kargo Pro MTB team, and world XC masters champion Nico Pfitzenmaier. – By Oli Munnik
Exciting news from Kargo is the recent signing of Swedish XC national champ and World Cup front-rower Emil Lindgren. Victor Momsen is ecstatic to get Lindgren’s feedback: “There’s no better acid test for the Vipa than World Cup racing – it will certainly drive future development.”
Like Specialized, Scott and Giant, Momsen have put a lot of energy into designing their own parts – stems, handlebars, tyres, and grips. This allows easier integration when speccing their bikes. The beefy 90mm DOWNer carbon stem, with -20° angle, makes for a striking-looking cockpit; and the clever UP/DOWN handlebar can be run with either a positive- or a negative-5° rise, for a tailored race position.
A highlight was the brand-new Shimano XTR 1×11 drivetrain and brakeset. Shifting is superb, crisp and accurate throughout the shifting map. With a slightly smaller gear range than SRAM’s 1×11 10-42T cassette, Shimano’s 1×11 drivetrain (with 11-40T cassette) is more for XC lap racing than marathons, where the routes are more diverse. But if you want a wider gear range, you could swop the 1×11-specific chainstay for a front-derailleur-compatible version. Conveniently, Momsen can supply these chainstays (for R4 550), and will assist dealers to perform the change without charging you (ask your dealer for more information).
Alternatively, the Team Issue is also available as a frameset (30% of Vipas are sold as framesets), so you can buy the chassis and build up your dream dual-suspension with gearing suited to the terrain you ride.
The (size large) frame felt relatively small compared to the rest of the test fleet, but a few tweaks achieved a suitable set-up. The full-carbon chassis was a pleasure to ride, stepping up when asked to deliver speed. With its top-end, kashima-coated Fox suspension, the bike handled very well throughout. Fox’s CTD system doesn’t offer complete lockout (it’s more a stiff damping, with slower compression), so technical climbs were a breeze, as traction was aided by the subtle activation of the rear shock in lockout mode.
TECH: Shimano’s new 1 x 11 XTR Groupset; Kashima-coated Fox Fork and rear shock