The VooDoo brand originated back in the early days of mountain biking. After lying dormant for a few years, the name has been resurrected by cycle and motoring chain Halfords. The bikes themselves have been updated, revamped and are proving popular, and Halfords has now released a new women's-specific full suspension mountain bike to add to the line: the Maji.
Ride and handling: stability with enough fun factor
The VooDoo Maji is a bike that outperforms its price. At £899, it's well within the cycle to work scheme loan amount, leaving you money spare to top up on gear and accessories. The quality of parts for the price is good, and on first ride it feels comfortable, stable and, dare I say it, fun on the trails.
The Maji features 27.5in wheels, which are rapidly becoming the popular choice over the larger 29er size. They are big enough to make rolling over uneven terrain easier, but small enough to be manoeuvrable on tight, twisty trails. Coupled with decent front and rear suspension, you have a steed that feels capable enough to take on trail centres, bridlepaths and general off-road terrain. I took the Maji for a spin on the bridleways of the New Forest, and the trail centres of Bristol.
The VooDoo Maji is a strong first full-suspension mountain bike
Suspension is more than up to the task of trail centre or off-road riding with a substantial 140mm of travel to play with – unusual at this price point. I'd highly recommend getting the suspension set up for you as soon as you get it, or getting the shop to do it, as this will make a huge difference to the feel of the bike, particularly if you are new to full-suspension bikes.
As well as setting the suspension to suit your weight, take time to get to know the various tweaks you can make to the rebound settings. Out of the box, I found the rebound was set high enough to nearly launch me out of the saddle, so dealing that through using the knobs on the rear suspension shock helped reduce this and made for a smoother ride.
The Suntour Epixon fork and shock perform well, handling various drops, bumps, rollers and trail features easily. There's small but noticeable pedal bob on the flat, and damping doesn't quite smooth out rough ground completely.
Frame and equipment: light and solidly specced
The alloy frame is partly responsible for the bike weighing less than I'd expected at this price point. Halfords claim a weight of 14.4kg (we'll update this first ride once we've popped the bike on the scales) but doesn't reference which size frame that measurement is for.
The Tektro HDM290 hydraulic disc brakes are perfectly adequate. They're effective, adjustable, and easy to maintain, though it's true you don't get as smooth and progressive a feeling from them as pricier options.
With 140mm travel front and rear, there's plenty of suspension to tackle technical trail features
Gearing comes courtesy of Shimano Altus M371 for front and rear derailleurs and shifters, complemented with a Suntour XCM front chainring and cranks, and a Shimano nine-speed cassette at the back, a fairly standard setup for this price point. The chainring is a triple, so combined with nine cogs at the back you get 27 gears in a wide enough range to get you steep inclines and power along flats and descents.
The VooDoo Maji is also noteworthy in that the frame has been designed for women specifically. In contrast to the VooDoo Canzo and Zobop, the Maji has a lower standover, shorter top tube to reduce reach, and a shorter head tube, plus narrower bars and shorter stem. It's available in smaller sizes – down to a 14in frame, suitable for riders from 5ft 1in or 155cm.
It's worth noting that while the Canzo doesn't have the female specific frame or smaller sizing options, it does have very similar parts and componentry, and is available for £799, a good £100 cheaper than the Maji – so worth considering. We'd recommend taking them both for a ride to see what feels best for you.
The triple chainring, combined with a nine-speed casette, is ample for climbing steep slopes and powering along on the flat
I'd always recommend taking a bike for a decent test ride, particularly if you aren't sure which bike or what size to go for.
Looks-wise, the silver finish and chunky geometric pattern is fairly inoffensive. I'd go so far as to say that it looks like a more expensive bike than it is. However, there is the default like-it-or-loathe-pink detailing, albeit in a dark shade.
The Maji package is finished with VooDoo bars, grips and women's specific saddle all in a complementary black and pink colour way, plus Wellgo pedals.
In summary, this bike errs more towards stability than liveliness, but has enough to pop to feel fun and fast on technical features and descents.The VooDoo Maji, and its companion the Soukri women's-specific hardtail, make excellent entry- to mid-level mountain bikes. To get a full suspension bike that feels this good at this price is a nice surprise.