Best Hardtail of the Year under £750!
Over the last few years the VooDoo Bizango has won numerous mbr awards, and it’s easy to see why, but it’s up against some strong competition this year. Even so, it still managed to weave its magic once again.
In terms of geometry the VooDoo Bizango remains unchanged from the bike we tested last year but there are a couple of minor tweaks to the frame.
It’s now made from a different grade of aluminium and several of the tubes are now double butted, which saves weight and actually makes the frame a little bit more forgiving. It also has a lower tube tube, which increases standover clearance, and VooDoo has finally introduced a 16in to go alongside the 18 and 20in frames.
The Bizango is the only bike that comes with a 120mm suspension fork. The new Suntour Raidon has lost weight but we’ve ridden it enough to know it still takes a while to free up, and the seals need regular lubrication.
Their bushings were loose from the get go, and the Q-Loc thru-axle often got stuck in the dropouts, but this fork is easily the most supportive and stiffest on test.
The low price is going to hurt the Bizango at some point, and the budget is most obvious in the choice of components.
VooDoo specs a Shimano Deore 2×10 drivetrain but it’s paired with a budget Suntour XCM chainset.
The gear cables also seemed to become contaminated during riding and, by the end of our testing, just getting the shift lever to move took a bit of effort.
Once again the Bizango felt the most sorted out of the box. Crashing through braking bumps, we couldn’t feel any more give in the new frame, but the shape and geometry are totally dialled and, when you combine this with a fork that’s incredibly stable, the level of control is a step-up from any other bike here.
Despite featuring lighter wheels the bike is a little pedestrian on the climbs, but the Maxxis Ardent 2.25in tyres are quick rolling and offer loads of grip in all but the wettest conditions, and work particularly well at trail centres.
Like most of the bikes in our test, we couldn’t drop the seatpost down far enough in the frame, because it has a kinked seat tube. There’s not a lot of give in the post, either, but the big, fat saddle does a great job at isolating you from the bumps while seated.
In the £750 category there are better made frames than the Bizango, better components, lighter wheels and suspension forks with better damping, but the Bizango is our test winner because it has the best frame shape and feels like a proper trail bike. Even the 725mm handlebar on the Bizango is fairly narrow, but the 60mm stem is the shortest here, so you’re never fighting for control when you’re trying to pick your way down a technical trail. Despite the name, there’s no black magic going on here; VooDoo has just got the basics right and it really shows in how the bike feels. Killer value with a great ride quality, this bike easily deserves top marks.