The Voodoo Bizango has always been the bike to beat at this price, and with the same basic spec and a wider range of sizes it still easily outclasses its rivals.
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Being part of the huge Halfords chain means that Voodoo has huge buying power, which it put to work to create an amazingly good value and extremely well thought out spec.
The aluminium frame uses double-butted tubing to reduce weight, with smooth-rolling 29erwheels. It comes with a SR Suntour Raidon fork with 120mm of travel that, amazingly at this price, has a proper 15mm thru-axle to boost stiffness. It’s also air sprung, allowing quick and easy adjustment to rider weight and it’s well damped and supportive too. As well as a fork-mounted lockout, you also get rebound damping adjustment.
Elsewhere, there’s a twin-ring Suntour chainset with a Shimano Deore 10spd transmission that’s got usefully wide 11-36T range and a clutch equipped mech that helps keep the chain from dropping over rough ground.
Even if the spec wasn’t this good, the Bizango’s ride would still impress. It’s properly confident and capable, with a short stem and wide bar encouraging you to push harder, while the Maxxis Ardent tyres are genuinely confidence inspiring on almost all trail surfaces.
At 12.96kg, it’s also respectably light, though climbing isn’t its forte. We did have a bit of an issue with the lock-on grips separating from their collars, but doing them up extra tight cured that, temporarily at least.
While we’re grumbling, the frame is pretty stiff and along with a larger diameter post transmits a fair bit of shock to your rump, though the rather over-large saddle does mitigate that somewhat.
On the plus side, it means you can upgrade to a dropper post at some point in the future, something that would definitely make the most of the Bizango’s intrinsically fun and inspiring nature.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.