£550 now buys you a proper gravel bike

We check out the new Voodoo Nikasi from Halfords

The Voodoo Nikasi adventure bike is a new addition to the Halfords line for 2018 and, given its do-it-all attitude and incredibly low price of £550, we suspect this may be a wildly popular bike.

2018 Voodoo Nikasi spec overview

  • Frame: Voodoo Nakisi 7005 alloy frame
  • Fork: Alloy blades with chromoly steerer, quick release
  • Crankset: ProWheel RPS 48/32t
  • Front derailleur: Shimano Sora FD-R3000-F
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano Sora RD-R3000-GS
  • Shifters: Shimano Sora ST-R3000
  • Brakes: Tektro Lyra with 160mm rotors
  • Wheels: Alloy 32h unbranded
  • Tyres: Vee Rubber Speedster 40mm with reflective sidewall
  • Sizes available: Small (52cm), Medium (54.5cm), Large (57cm)

2018 Voodoo Nikasi highlights

The head tube junction looks similar to a number of Voodoo's bikes
The head tube junction looks similar to a number of Voodoo's bikes

The Voodoo Nikasi is built around a nicely finished 7005 alloy frameset that features a number of gravel-friendly tweaks — skinny-ish seatstays and flattened chainstays should help to improve comfort on rough terrain, with a slack 71-degree head angle and long-ish 425mm chainstays improving stability.

A full complement of rack and mudguard mounts should also mean the bike can be easily turned to commuting or touring duties.

40mm Veetireco Speedster tyres should improve comfort on rough terrain, though there's clearances for even more chunky rubber
40mm Veetireco Speedster tyres should improve comfort on rough terrain, though there's clearances for even more chunky rubber

The bike comes with plump 40mm wide Veetireco Speedster tyres, but the Nikasi has generous enough clearances that you shouldn’t have any issues fitting something a little chunkier.

Externally routed cables along the top of the top tube should make for simple home maintenance and, should such discomfort tickle your pickle, will make it easier to shoulder the bike if you fancy trying out racing ’cross.

Sora has impressed us in the past
Sora has impressed us in the past

Moving onto the build, the bike features a Shimano Sora R3000 groupset that is matched with a compact chainset and Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes.

Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes take care of stopping
Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes take care of stopping

We’ve been seriously impressed by the performance of the latest generation of Sora and it’s equally impressive to see it on a bike of this price.

The bars have a generous amount of flare
The bars have a generous amount of flare

...and enough reach to give you lots of useful hand positions
...and enough reach to give you lots of useful hand positions

The handlebars also look remarkably nice — with a generous amount of reach and plenty of flare in the drops, these ape the profile of a number of rather expensive aftermarket gravel bars.

The Nakisi is not a new name to the Voodoo brand — the original bike was a steel monster-cross bike that seemed like a total oddity when it was first released.

While it may bear little visual resemblance to today’s adventure/gravel/gnarmac wagons, bikes like the original Nikasi laid the foundations for the whole adventure bike ‘movement’, and the DNA of the original can clearly be seen in the 2018 Nikasi.

In an industry where we’re seeing prices for bikes becoming ever more astronomical, it’s also refreshing to see the opposite happening in the entry level market, particularly in the fashionable world of gravel bikes.

There are very few bikes out there at this price that have such an impressive spec list that is coupled with a genuinely versatile frame, so this is one we’re really looking forward to trying out.

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