Momsen Lady651

Momsen Lady651, 650b, 27.5 inch

There is more to catering for the women’s cycling market than a lick of pink paint. Momsen’s 651 brings some solid gender-driven design too.

First off, let’s start with visual appeal. Momsen have done a sterling job in the looks department. The Lady651 is an attractive little charcoal number with just enough pink to be alluring without shouting “don’t take me seriously”.

With a name like Lady651, it will come as no surprise that this is a women’s specific design. Usually women’s specific bikes have slightly shorter top tubes and longer head tubes than the men’s rigs to accommodate our anatomical variation. Girls tend to have proportionally longer legs and shorter torsos than the men folk. This distinction in design is meant to provide a more comfortable and less aggressive riding position.

When we first climbed on the bike these changes were apparent and it was nice not to feel stretched out on this medium size frame. A lot of recreational riders find this more upright riding position appealing, with much of the upper body weight positioned over the saddle rather than resting on the handlebar. This position gives you more confidence on the descent, in that you won’t feel like you may go over the front of the bike as easily, but it isn’t an ideal position for aggressive hill climbing.

We love the 27.5 inch (650b) tyre size. Without launching into the whole 29er v 27.5 inch debate, unless you are a particularly tall women with strong legs, the 650b is likely to suit you better than a 29er.

(With a 29er, the larger wheels result in a high final drive, which translates into less spinning and more power riding, regardless of your gear ratios. However, with the 650b you have the best of both worlds: a larger tyre, than the standard 26-inch, but better handling and more stability than with a 29er.)

Momsen Lady651, 650b, 27.5 inch

Impressions on the trail

We took Lady out when the playground was dry and again on a post-rainy day when the ground was like melted toffee. We thought we’d find out just how much of a lady she really is. Turns out she enjoyed getting down and dirty (according to our bike whisperer, anyway).

At just under 14kg, this hardtail doesn’t exactly float uphill and although it had its limitations, namely the fork (discussed below), we had a whole lot of fun bringing her down the singletrack at Meerendal.

Riding on familiar trails, there was no danger of disrupting a PB to the top of Stairway to Heaven set on a meaner, more racy machine, but the bike performed admirably for its class. Momsen really got the angles right on this model – it handles with confidence.

The upside of having to work a bit harder on the climb is that it’s free strength training. In all honestly, this bike is not designed for hard core racing. It’s built as a good-quality, entry-level mountain bike and although not competitive, it certainly is capable.

The components are reasonably well-specced for the price, with the highlight being the genuine Shimano crankset. It has a Shimano 3×9 groupset and the tektro hydraulic brakes provide nice stopping power. The frame is a good-quality aluminium frame using Race Tech 2 tubing. Momsen reserve the Race Tech 2 (lighter than the Race Tech 1) for their premium alloy framed bikes and you’ll find it on some of their more pricey 29er models.

The Kenda Honey Badger tyres gave us good grip on the trail (without being syrupy), unfortunately they’re wire-beaded tyres and so will need to be replaced if you want to run tubeless.

momsen-honey-badger

On the downside, the Suntour front fork just doesn’t hold up to aggressive mountain biking. It’s overly sprung with insufficient dampening for our liking. This could be improved by fitting an air-fork – any air fork. The seat post clamps where a bit dicky, not holding the saddle firmly in position. It tended to tilt upwards after a ride. The only real negative however, is the saddle (this is subjective, as each rump is uniquely configured) but in our case, perching on a wooden plank would have been more agreeable. The grips are comfortable but we found that they changed position while riding, so we have to say that we prefer the security of locking grips.

Verdict

A good-quality piece of equipment to introduce you to the joy of both jeep and single track riding that’s bound to provide you with hours of fun. In this price bracket you’ll struggle to find a better-quality bike – and it’s proudly South African too.

Price R6999
www.momsenbikes.com