There was only ever going to be one bike to beat in the sub-£600 category of our recent mega-test of budget bikes, and surprise surprise, nobody could match the VooDoo Bizango, which so impressed our testers two years ago.
As much as we don’t want to kick the competition when they’re down, it’s fair to say the other bikes didn’t just fail to match it – they weren’t even close. Our end of test photoshoot saw the VooDoo embarrassing other bikes not just in the £800 category but the £1000 category too. So what is the magical recipe that this witch doctor uses to charm the rider and hex its rivals?
Big wheels keep on rolling
The 29erwheels are undoubtedly a big part of the equation. They take more effort to get rolling but once they’re trundling they just don’t want to stop. That’s because they have more inertia keeping them turning and the shallower contact angle reduces the ‘stopper’ effect of rocks and roots.
Where VooDoo has another advantage is though the tyres. While most bikes south of £1000 are running around on hard-compound rubber that has grip characteristics better suited to Lego, the Bizango gets big volume, usefully grippy compound Maxxis Ardent 2.25in tyres.
To stop the larger wheels and longer fork legs fumbling turns, the Suntour Raidon fork has a slide-through 15mm Q-Loc axle that keeps the tips locked tightly together. That’s another feature that would still be impressive on a bike costing £200 more.
Proven frame and price-busting kit
Even astonishing value parts are no use if hung off a crap frame but the Voodoo rides brilliantly. The well-balanced 29er frame handles, smoothes and sprints remarkably well.
The Bizango is well specced and delivered a poised and balanced ride
The Raidon fork features an easily adjustable, smooth stroking, weight saving air spring in one side and a consistently controlled adjustable damper in the other. The Deore gears, which are the next grade up from bikes at a comparative price, deliver smooth durable shifts without chain rattle and you get a twin ring Octalink splined chainset to simplify gear choice.
Shimano 355 brakes give much better feedback than you’ll get from most other brands at this price. Even the grips are proper lock-ons rather than slip on, slip off price savers.
It’s stable without being boring, transmits power efficiently without kicking you up the arse and it fits fine too. The final kick in the teeth for the competition is that despite bigger wheels and through axle fork its over a kilo lighter than anything else we've tested in this bracket.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.