Best Hardtail of the Year under £750!

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 10

Voodoo Bizango 29

Weight:
Weight:

Pros:

  • The best shape, the most supportive fork and overall the cheapest bike on test

Cons:

  • Sticky shifting, thru-axle is temperamental and it’s slightly pedestrian on the climbs

Product:

VooDoo Bizango 29 (2016) review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£599.99

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.

Buy now: Voodo Bizango 29 from Halfords for £625

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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.

Suspension

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.

The VooDoo’s and don’ts of hardtail design: do pick a great fork like the Raidon

The VooDoo’s and don’ts of hardtail design: do pick a great fork like the Raidon

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.

>>> How to revamp your budget SunTour fork (VIDEO)

Components

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.

>>> The best cheap bikes: ridden and rated

Simple but effective, a short stem keeps you in control on descents

Simple but effective, a short stem keeps you in control on descents

Performance

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.

>>> Hardtail of the Year 2016: £500-£1,000 (VIDEO)

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.

Buy now: Voodo Bizango 29 from Halfords for £625

bizango

Verdict

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.

Details

Frame:Double-butted aluminium
Fork:Suntour Raidon, 120mm travel
Wheels:Formula hubs, VooDoo Alloy rims, Maxxis Ardent 29x2.25in tyres
Drivetrain:Suntour XCM chainset, Shimano Deore shifters, r-mech and f-mech
Brakes:Shimano Acera
Sizes:16, 18, 20in
Weight:13.01kg (28.68lb)
Size tested:20in
Contact:halfords.com
  • M Lucas

    Thanks for that, I’ll have a look at them. It should make a good difference.

  • DaveCarter1000

    I use a set of Shimano M785 XT wheels off road. Light, stiff and UST tubeless. Easy to set up tubeless, even with the stock Ardents.

  • DaveCarter1000

    Fit some slicks and it makes an excellent commuter. I have two sets of wheels: one for off road and one for commuting.

  • Samuel Spottiswoode

    Hi,
    Never got an answer to this but I bought the bike any way.
    It was a little small for me yes but not unbearable. I changed the bars to risers, positioned the seat back as far as possible and pulled the seat post up high for climbing.
    I am actually in the process off selling the bike now as i have upgraded.
    It was an amazing first bike and has my totally hooked on mountain biking.
    Hope this helps.

    Sam

  • Sherford DeLorean Makk

    Hey Samuel,
    Did you ever get an answer to this?
    I’m the same height and wondering the same thing.

  • paulfeakins

    Probably will be good for communting – I use a mountain bike for that at the moment. You might want to get road tires though.

  • paulfeakins

    The wheel diameter might be 1.5 inches bigger than a 27.5, but it will only increase the height of the bike by the difference in radius which would be half the difference in diameter – 0.75 inches, which I doubt would even be noticeable.

  • M Lucas

    Hi there, I bought the Bizango last year and am very happy with it. I would like some advice on upgrading the wheels though. I normally ride at Cannock Chase with the odd 12 mile commute. I am looking at about £300 for a wheelset. I am about 100kg.

    Has anyone got any suggestions?

    Cheers

  • Barnaby

    Hi I’m looking at purchasing this bike I am an enthusiastic biker and I do a lot of off road biking. I do commute on my bike alot too though and I’m wondering if this bike will be good for that too, I cant tell if it has a suspension lock which will make biking on the road much nicer. If someone can get back to me on this that would be great. Also does the HooDoo come with a suspension lock?

  • tom

    Hi guys just set up my forks I weigh 83 kg 5 foot 10.5″ tall riding a 18″ frame Bizango
    80 psi gave me 30% sag 90 psi 25% 100 psi just under 20% which is what I set the bike at it worked well on fast descent with sharp bumps I stopped half way down run to adjust the rebound from the mid point which was a bit bouncy to a full turn off full positive + which made the rest of descent feel great really smooth like my old DRZ 400 trail bike. Thought this might be useful as there is not a lot of rough guide to suspension set up available [ originally last week the guys in Halfords set me at 125 psi which was to hard] so I did the sag test in normal riding position standing on level pedals with elastic band on the stanchion tube. Total tube 135mm sag 25mm at 100 psi
    so 18.5% sag.
    Cheers Tom

  • tom

    Clips may need a bit of getting used to agree but overall v happy. Got to have a bit of a play with the suspension tonight mid setting on rebound approx 20 percent sag I’m aiming for to start with.

  • Paul Hughes

    I bought one 2 weeks ago and very pleased with it. Although the 20″ frame is small, only just fits on the bike rack but the D-lock wont fit. Not a fan of the plastic clips either.

  • tom

    JUST BOUGHT THE NEW ONE IN 18″ ITS GREAT NEW DOUBLE FRONT SPROCKET WORKS WELL AND THE BIKE FEELS LIGHTER THAN BEFORE
    VERY HAPPY TIME TO GET IT MUDDY!

  • Paul Hughes

    does anyone know the spec of the new model due in next week as Halfords dont!

  • Samuel Spottiswoode

    Hi
    I’m 6’5″ and wanting to get my first mtb. Will the 20″ frame be too small for me?

  • James

    I can confirm for anyone ready this, that I am 6ft 3′ and the 20 incher is a perfect fit. Just got it yesterday and even with the seat fully down, I can touch the ground with the balls of my feet.. just. Really comfortable positioning and knees are firmly away from the handlebars. Even with a tight turn (which with my first 29’r seems harder to do) My legs are well clear of intefering.

  • Karlm

    Hiya, what is better this bizango or the trek mamba? Thanks

  • Danny Milner

    You definitely won’t fit the 20in and even the 18in might be a bit big for you.

  • Darren Handley

    Before I purchase one of these could you tell me if the 18″ would be the
    correct fit, I am 5’7 and a 29″ inside leg, cheers guys…

  • Imran Mughal

    Hi Danny,

    I am currently at a crossroads between the bizango and the bordman comp 2014 29er. I’ve read your review here on the boardman pro 29er. I believe the comp and pro share the same geometry and design with the only major differences being that reba fork on the pro and the recon silver on the comp. Taking this into account – would you say that the comp is just as good as the pro but with just a lower spec?

    And would it therefore also be a better buy than the bizango if the budget can stretch to it?

    Thanks!

  • Imran Mughal

    Hi Danny,

    I am currently at a crossroads between the bizango and the bordman comp 2014 29er. I’ve read your review here on the boardman pro 29er. I believe the comp and pro share the same geometry and design with the only major differences being that reba fork on the pro and the recon silver on the comp. Taking this into account – would you say that the comp is just as good as the pro but with just a lower spec?

    And would it therefore also be a better buy than the bizango if the budget can stretch to it?

    Thanks!

  • Nick Schneider

    Is see a very magnificent cons to this bike of the year, simply its unavailable and the company seems to have shut down.. Therefor it should be disqualified in the reviews

  • 1000km

    14kg is very heavy

  • Danny Milner

    Hi Oly,
    Have a look at the Trek X-Caliber 7 review elsewhere on the site to see what we thought of that bike. Better to get a bike that really suits you than just go for the cheapest deal. If you can get a test ride on the Trek, that might help you make a decision.
    Cheers and good luck!

  • Oly Jackson

    Great review guys. Question for you – I’m just getting
    back in to mountain biking so the Bizango sounds like a great option. Would you
    go for this or the Trek X-Caliber 9? Reason I ask is that there are a few deals
    around on the Trek. Cheers.

  • Alan

    Thanks Danny. Is there anything else out there that you would recommend as an alternative to these two?

  • Danny Milner

    Hi Alan, the Boardman has better spec, and a lighter, more comfortable frame, but the Bizango is more fun to ride. You pays your money and you takes your choice…

  • Alan

    Hi…. Bizango or Boardman Comp – which offers best spec., best value at this price break & why? Intended use cycle paths, trails.

  • Danny Milner

    We’d still go for the Voodoo at that price, if you can get hold of one in the right size.

  • Sion

    Thanks Simon! One more question!! I am tempted by the Vitus Sentier 275 which seems to have better spec and is reduced from £800 to £640 – is this a better option? Many thanks

  • Simon Collis (MBR editor)

    Yes. Only problem with Bizango is that there are only two sizes (18in and 20in) so won’t suit very tall or very short riders.

  • Sion

    Great review! Would you recommend the Bizango over Trek X-Caliber 7 or Specialized Rockhopper?

  • Simon Collis (MBR editor)

    The VooDoo is definitely a great bike as long as you’re not very tall or short — there’s only two sizes.

  • MikeyD

    Thanks for your quick response. Crazy that Vitus has sold out so easily. As a seasoned but now heavily rusty and out of touch trail rider is the voodoo the bet option if I can’t get the Vitus?

  • Simon Collis (MBR editor)

    Hi Mikey. The Bizango is sold exclusively through Halfords — you should be able to find it on their website. The Vitus is sold through Chain Reaction Cycles — had a quick look and I think the VRS may be out of stock for 2014. There are some cheaper hardtails and some slightly more expensive full-sussers on there instead. Hope that helps.

  • MikeyD

    where o where can I buy a bizango or a vitus 275 as I cant find them anywhere 🙁

  • Simon Collis (MBR editor)

    Hi Tom. We haven’t heard any plans for a smaller-wheeled Bizango. Personally we wouldn’t really worry about it – 29er hardtails are really great to ride and there’s no reason why the wheels would be too big for you.

  • Tom

    Any chance anyone could tell me if bizango will be coming with a smaller wheel anytime soon as am 5,8 and heard the 18 frame will be ok but I reckon the 29 wheels might be abit big so wondered if the 27.5 would fit the frame.

  • Lorenzo Troè

    i wonder if the 20 would suit me, im 6,3ft 🙁

  • Paul Skipper

    The 18 inch should fit you fine.

  • Danny Milner

    Hmm. It might be a bit big for you. You may be better off going for the Canyon that won our women’s hardtail category, or the Vitus which has been discounted to £700.

  • ANNA STEPHENSON

    Hi guys,
    I am desperate to get the new Bizango but cant find it anywhere to try it. Unfortunately I am 5’6″, inside leg 30″. Usually comfortable on an 18″ frame but I have read the Voodoo’s are particularly long? Do you think it would be suitable for a “strong” female rider? x

  • Danny Milner

    Hi Charlie,

    We’re around 5’10” so you’d probably be better off going for the 20″.

  • Charlie

    Hi, thank you for your review. I am curuious what height were test men if they rode 18″ size? I am 6ft tall and cant try it in the shop. What size of Bizango would you recommend to me? Inseam is 34,4″. Thank you!

  • Danny Milner

    Hi Chris, glad you’re having a blast on the Bizango.
    The fork is definitely 120mm of travel. You might not get full travel all the time though. To check, put a zip-tie around the upper legs, deflate the fork fully and compress it. Extend the fork again (pump it back up) and measure the height from the seal to the zip tie. If you run a high air pressure, and less sag, you may not get full travel.

  • Chris Green

    I’m pretty new to mountain biking, and I bought a Bizango off of the back of the rave reviews here, and elsewhere. I can say I am not disappointed. It is a great bike.

    Only small issue I’ve had is that the fork lockout lever has fallen off (and been lost) a couple of times. I’ve now resorted to super glue.

    The only small point I’d make is that I don’t think the fork is 120mm travel. Rather 100mm.