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

x_ROO4849

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