Voodoo Bakka £339.99

Voodoo designer Joe Murray is a name that's been synonymous with sweet handling since he worked on the first Kona bikes. He's taken that hoodoo with him to Voodoo, and the Bakka is the maddest hardtail incarnation of the whole incantation.

BikeRadar score 4/5

Voodoo designer Joe Murray is a name that's been synonymous with sweet handling since he worked on the first Kona bikes. He's taken that hoodoo with him to Voodoo, and the Bakka is the maddest hardtail incarnation of the whole incantation.

Frame

The Bakka is the maddest hardtail incarnation of the
whole incantation

The underlying ingredient in this particular potion is the steel frame material. There's nothing magical or alchemic about the fact that steel is more forgiving of repeated flex and doesn't need big tubes for strength like alloy ones. Both of which create a more spring loaded, twangy feel than the aluminium masses.

You'll realise that the minute you press your feet against the pedals of the Bakka, too. There's just a slight softness as the frame loads up then uncoils your effort into the ground and off you go. It also makes the Voodoo a comfortable all-day option, and it's certainly not too heavy for robust XC work, either.

Ride

The flipside is that the softer feeling back end does sometimes come up short on power delivery just when you need it most. Several times on test we hit the crux point of slow speed technical climbs and the slim tapered stays just couldn't put the power through hard enough to get us up a lip or over a rock.

The natural flex of the front end is locked down with the two massive 'VOODOO' cutout logo sideplates, which noticeably increases fork tracking accuracy against unbraced 5in steel bikes we've ridden, too. It also holds everything together if you plough into the ground head fi rst.

Equipment

This underlying strength and resilience is backed up by the fact that Voodoo list jumping and serious dirt work high on the Bakka agenda, and we've no reason to doubt that it'll take it. Steel is also far more repairable than alloy if you really bend it. Adjustable dropouts slide backward and forward for singlespeeding if you want to eliminate chain slap or maintenance fuss. There are optional V-brake and carrier bosses for full versatility and masses of tyre room, too.

We'd probably fit a QR seatclamp for easy height change, but the clamp faces forward to stop mud ingestion. It's also the cheapest frame here, which is always a bonus. Big thanks to Sideways cycles for building up a totally complementary spec for the test. No complaints about any of it, especially the perpetually plush 130mm travel Fox Vanilla fork.

Overall, the steel build immediately splits the Bakka away from the alloy pack, which is both a good and bad thing. It's a good thing if you like playful, spring-loaded bikes with a forgiving, enthusing skip and twang to the way they react to the trail and you don't like big day backache. It's a bad thing if you like every single watt of energy to go straight from your spine to spinning the rear wheel, and prefer a clipped, clinical but potentially more clattery feel.

The wild animal spirit of Voodoo combines real steel spring with a heavy duty front end. Adjustable dropouts and ride all day comfort add to its versatility.

This sweet steel singletracker mixes springy shimmy and serious strength

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