We’re big fans of the alloy-framed Voodoo Bizango (£650), but when Halfords revealed it was making a carbon version, I was sceptical.
I wasn’t convinced that a change of frame material would add much to the recipe, but it turns out that the Bizango Carbon’s got many other potent ingredients.
Voodoo Bizango Carbon frame
There’s nothing to back up the Bizango’s low price here; the frame looks sleek, with smooth lines, neat internal cable routing, modern geometry and Boost axle spacing to match high-end bikes.
The frame’s single-ring specific (there’s nowhere to mount a front derailleur), which helps drop weight and add stiffness. There’s a free port for a stealth dropper post, along with a 31.6mm seat tube, so it should be easy to upgrade to a dropper post if desired.
The bottom bracket is press-fit, which can be a worry from a reliability standpoint, but my experience of SRAM’s latest DUB bottom brackets gives me hope that it’ll last.
In an ideal world, I’d like a second water bottle mount for epic rides and, despite the symmetrical dropped chainstays, tyre clearance is a little tight, even with a 2.2in rear tyre.
There’s enough space for mud to clear, but there’s little scope to upgrade to a bigger tyre, which would improve traction, comfort and rough-terrain speed sustain.
Voodoo Bizango Carbon kit
I love the simplicity of SRAM’s single-chainring. Andy Lloyd
Those Maxxis Ardent tyres (2.25in front and 2.2in Ardent Race rear) keep the rolling speed high on smoother ground. The wheels are tubeless-ready and both use Boost axles, making it possible to upgrade to higher-end hoops for racing, but I felt no real need (and no major benefit) when I fitted pricier wheels.
Setting them up tubeless would improve puncture resistance and rolling speed, while saving a few hundred grams on the already impressive weight of 12.9kg / 28.4lb in an XL.
The 120mm RockShox Judy Silver fork makes the bike a little more capable than most £1k bikes, thanks to its stiff 15mm axle and adjustable damping and spring. It can be locked out for tarmac sprints too.
Shimano’s MT400 brakes provide ample stopping power for one-finger braking and boast a consistent bite point.
Meanwhile, SRAM’s 12-speed SX Eagle drivetrain offers all the gearing range you’ll likely need with the simplicity and reliability of a single chainring. It performed flawlessly during testing.
Given the bike’s impressive versatility, in an ideal world I’d prefer a quick-release seat clamp.
Voodoo Bizango Carbon ride impressions
The Bizango Carbon treads the line between cross-country and trail riding. On the one hand, the fast-rolling tyres, stiff frame and low weight (for the money) make it a responsive and fast-climbing bike.
When riding alongside XC-focused hardtails costing well over twice the price, the Bizango offers precious few excuses to not keep up. At 190cm tall, I never felt cramped on the XL when sprinting out of the saddle, despite that short stem.
On the other hand, the 120mm-travel fork, 66.5-degree head angle, 50mm stem and relatively long wheelbase (1,205mm in XL) make it far more capable on the descents than many XC-specific bikes. The handlebar measures up at 760mm with the single-collar grips included, which boosts confidence further.
All that makes it well worth getting an Allen key out to drop the saddle, letting the Bizango reveal its wild side.
The cockpit proportions, slack head angle and capable fork lead it down steep descents with surprising confidence and speed. Russell Burton
The cockpit proportions, slack head tube and capable fork lead it down steep descents and through tricky turns with surprising levels of confidence and speed. It doesn’t feel out of its depth getting airborne either.
It’s not a smooth ride though. There’s precious little give in the seatstay or seatpost (not that there’s much flex in many XC-biased hardtail frames), and the short back-end puts your weight a little further over the rear axle, making the ride rougher.
While a 2.2in rear tyre is standard for XC-racing, a larger tyre would boost the Bizango’s versatility even further and, based on our tyre-size testing, wouldn’t hold it back on the race course either.
There’s some chain rattle on the chainstay on rough trails too, so I’d recommend taping it up.
These are minor niggles for a bike of this price though. The spec is good enough to rival that of machines costing twice the price, and the ride leaves little to be desired for those who want to mix fast XC riding with more technical terrain.
Voodoo Bizango Carbon geometry
Sizes (* tested): S, M, L, XL*
Seat angle: 71 (actual) / 73 (effective) degrees
Head angle: 66.5 degrees
Top tube: 66.5cm
Bottom bracket height: 32cm