Voodoo Zobop£1,599.99

One for the descents

BikeRadar score3/5

Voodoo's bikes are available as bare frames only in the US, but in the UK, Halfords’ buying power means complete bikes with tempting-looking specs are available off the shelf. The Zobop’s 10-speed transmission, twin air springs and 150mm of travel look good value for the asking price.

A bike that emphasises gravity-fuelled fun at the expense of cross-country pace, the Zobop is nevertheless well worth a look if you’re not bothered about getting to the top of every climb as fast as possible.

Ride & handling: Unflinching downhill performance coupled with excellent high-speed handling

At 13.9kg/30.7lb, the Voodoo weighs in the same ballpark as some of its shorter-travel competition. But with its compact ride position and big volume tyres, it’s not going to be setting any speed records on the climbs.

There’s plenty of grip and the RockShox Monarch rear shock does a good job of keeping the rear wheel planted, but slightly ponderous steering, heavy wheels and the stubby stem don’t encourage lactic burn. Coming down the other side is a very different story, though.

As the pace picks up the fork comes into its own, shrugging off the kind of rubble-strewn lines that’d normally be a reason to reach for the brakes and offering precise, wobble-free steering courtesy of the Maxle Lite axle. The rear end follows through willingly, giving the Voodoo a turn of downhill speed that’s bound to slap a grin on every rider’s face.

Frame: Extra travel and laidback angles will suit value-conscious big-mountain riders

The Zobop’s only visible concessions to current frame design trends are a large, tapered head tube and subtly ‘S’ curved down tube. The beefy front end does away with the need for any additional reinforcing gussets in spite of a geometry built to take a fork up to 150mm, while the straight seat tube makes it possible to drop the seatpost right the way down for really steep stuff.

At the rear, a simple swingarm rotates around a virtual pivot courtesy of a short linkage aft of the bottom bracket and drives the shock via a pair of bolted-together linkage plates. All the moving bits turn on sealed cartridge bearings for smooth running and longer life. The RockShox Revelation fork plugged into the front is supposed to be the 150mm version, although our pre-production test sample turned up with just 130mm on tap.

When we tested the Zobop’s cheaper counterpart, the Canzo we pointed out that its relatively steep geometry wasn’t best suited to a 140mm-travel machine. Interestingly, the Zobop doesn’t fall into the same trap. Even with the 130mm fork, a 66-degree head angle is on the money for the travel on offer.

Equipment: Good value for the asking price, with a decent fork and 10-speed drivetrain

A RockShox Monarch shock complements the front’s performance well, while a full Shimano 10-speed transmission is good to see, though it might have helped if Halfords hadn’t sent the bike with a chain five links too short. The difference over nine-speed is minimal though, and we’d prefer the 36-tooth large sprocket option over the Voodoo’s 11-34-tooth close ratio cassette.

The Allen key seat clamp fitted to our test bike is a minor irritation on a model that’s at its best being thrown down steep, lumpy bits of geology as fast as possible. The good news is that, if you ride steep stuff a lot, you can fit a height-adjustable seatpost and run a remote to the bars via the dedicated cable guides fitted to the top tube.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.

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