VooDoo’s outstanding new 29er trail hardtail proves that great design and smart spec choice doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you do it right.
Ride & handling: Trustworthy and tough
While many 29ers undermine their naturally enhanced stability and use a super-steep head angle to mimic a 26er, VooDoo have totally embraced the trustworthy 29er vibe.
The mid-travel fork also has enough strength to fight off rocks, roots, ruts and other treacherous trail trouble. The Ardent tyres are some of our favourite fast but tough all-rounders.
A well-weighted rider position gives impressive confidence in fast or loose situations despite the relatively narrow bar. It can feel slightly ungainly in the tight stuff, but it never trips over its wheels and you’ll soon learn to compensate with wider lines and more back brake steering.
At just over 30lb (13.6kg) it’s lighter than a lot of 26er hardtails at this price, so acceleration is bearable despite the big wheels and tyres. It’s the sustainable momentum – particularly over rougher ground – that makes the Bizango our new benchmark for speed and control at a bargain price.
The bizango is a stand-out bike and excellent value: Steve Behr/Future Publishing
Frame & equipment: Incredible value for entry level
The Bizango matches many frames that cost as much as the complete bike when it comes to detail. The head tube gets inset steering bearings to maximise stiffness while minimising stack height, and is joined to butted and hydroformed main tubes with neat smoothed welds.
The seat tube is curved just enough to tuck the back wheel in tight without fouling the clamp-on front mech. The bolted dropouts are adjustable with a locking Allen key bolt to change wheelbase or tension the chain in a singlespeed setup. There are also threaded mounts for a rack and mudguards if you need them, leaving the limited three-size range as the only downer.
VooDoo bikes are normally great value, but the Bizango is pretty much faultless for its price. While most 29er hardtails under £1,000 get a 100mm (3.9in) travel quick-release fork that wanders into ditches or washes out on roots, the Bizango has a 120mm (4.7in) travel fork with a screw-through 15mm axle. An air spring and hydraulic rebound damping make it fully adjustable, and it’s surprisingly controlled over the full hit range too.
The wheels are sturdily built and never flinched. The big Maxxis Ardent tyres roll well, take a lot of sting out of the trail, plus they’re a proper grippy compound. Raised profile grips and a comfy and supportive saddle keep hands and bum happy hour after hour too.
The Shimano crank is stiff enough and the Octalink bottom bracket will likely last for years. Shimano Deore and Alivio mechs are great for the money and you even get Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.