Voodoo Bokor review£749.99

Halfords value makes for trail magic

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Voodoo have been around for over a decade, eschewing the usual range changes in favour of gradual development when it makes sense. The Bokor offers both spellbinding value and a bewitching ride.

Lighter, faster, better controlled and better equipped than most other bikes at this price and with extra transmission versatility thrown in, it’s a clear win all the way for the Voodoo Bokor.

Ride & handling: Top quality, top value and very versatile bike that you’ll enjoy on every ride

The Bokor is significantly lighter than many of its price peers, which immediately gives it a real edge in terms of responsiveness and acceleration for any given effort. The Geax Barro tyres are also usefully rapid without relinquishing too much traction, and they shrug off rock strikes well for their size.

Geometry is on the rapid and racy side, but balanced with a mid-length stem and well shaped, if slightly narrow, riser bar to put a reassuring amount of control into your hands. A steep seat angle and relatively short top tube also put more emphasis on the front wheel for plenty of cornering grip without having to think about it.

On some bikes at this price the forward weight bias would be a big problem in terms of showing up a substandard fork, but in this case it just showcases how good the RockShox Recon is. The air sprung internals reduce weight and allow accurate setting of spring rate to rider weight, but it’s the damping that makes the biggest difference.

While other low- to mid-range forks offer a grudging control of return speed at best, the Motion Control of the Recon keeps both compression and rebound strokes in check smoothly and consistently. It’s also more sensitive and more accurate in tracking and fine control terms.

The frame itself is no uncultured coat hanger either, with a reasonable amount of spring and shock absorption. This keeps the whole bike feeling coherent and balanced, and lets you work the tyres, traction and your skills to the limit.

Voodoo bokor: voodoo bokor
Voodoo bokor: voodoo bokor

Frame: Decent singlespeed-compatible frame with forward biased handling

While kit is the obvious eyecatcher, the Bokor frame is a quality chassis with unique transmission versatility. The head tube has a reinforcing ring around the top and an open backed gusset at the down tube throat to cope with potential mangling moments. The curved round-to-oval down tube has 5cm of shared seam with the round-to-oval top tube. There’s triple cable routing on the top tube while the skinny 27.2mm seat tube sports a forward-facing clamp slot and a bolted collar.

Untapered S-bend, A-frame braced seatstays and rectangular-to-round chainstays meet at big 3D-forged dropouts. Twin bolted sliding dropout sections mean the Bokor is perfect for going singlespeed, whether that’s as an only bike or as a winter second bike project. Mud clearance is sufficient for winter as long as you’re not trying to cram anything too big in there. While there are only three frame sizes in the range, there’s enough breadth in dimensions to fit most riders fine.

Equipment: Eyecatching kit selection; wider bar would be a bonus, but it’s not a ride ruiner

The really hypnotising thing about the Voodoo is the kit value. The Recon fork with its Motion Control damping makes a noticeable difference to overall control. It’s a simple system using a variable aperture kidney shim and plastic basket compression spring, which makes it extremely consistent and reliable.

A SRAM X.7 rear mech is added to an X.5 transmission with extra stiffness (if not longevity) added via the external bottom bracket Race Face crank. Avid brakes supply extra power courtesy of a 185mm front rotor.

Lightweight and durable Mavic rims roll on Formula hubs, and the Geax Barro tyres feed extra speed into the ride without being too treacherous in techy sections. They're long lasting, with good buoyancy and protection for their carcass size. While not the grippiest set around in damp root or rock sections, they hook up okay most of the time and clear fast in filth.

If all that wasn’t enough, the Voodoo is decked out with Race Face Ride finishing kit, which adds real pimp appeal. An extra 20mm or more each side of the bar would add more technical confidence though.

The voodoo features twin-bolt horizontally adjustable drop-outs complete with a beefy adjuster bolt to lock them in place: the voodoo features twin-bolt horizontally adjustable drop-outs complete with a beefy adjuster bolt to lock them in place
The voodoo features twin-bolt horizontally adjustable drop-outs complete with a beefy adjuster bolt to lock them in place: the voodoo features twin-bolt horizontally adjustable drop-outs complete with a beefy adjuster bolt to lock them in place

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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