It looks and feels very dated; the sizing and geometry are both from a bygone era
Voodoo has three full suspension bikes. The Munster at £850, the Voodoo Canzo at £1,000 and the Zobop at £1,250. All three use the same 130mm alloy frame.
Think performance mountain bikes, and Halfords probably isn’t the first name that springs to mind. But with VooDoo as one of its exclusive bike brands, Halfords has proved time and time again that it can deliver the goods. Indeed, its £675 VooDoo Bizango 29 is one of the most decorated hardtails ever produced.
Voodoo Canzo review
Can VooDoo deliver the same level of performance from the 130mm-travel full-suspension Canzo? Well, with its SRAM Eagle 12-speed drivetrain and RockShox suspension components, it certainly looks the part.
Halfords offers the Canzo in three frame sizes and we went for the largest 20in option. We’re glad we did. Take one look at the geometry chart and it’s clear that the Canzo is the shortest bike in test. It’s also the tallest, with the higher BB and shorter front end resulting in a riding position that feels more upright and less stable than the Vitus Mythique 27 or Calibre Bossnut.
It’s also the only bike here to come with a 135mm quick-release rear end. And that’s not the only way the Canzo frame is showing its age. One look at the width of the main pivot, and it is clear that the Canzo still has other hangovers from the past; namely front derailleur compatibility.
Despite the 20in seat tube length, we had to chop nearly 100mm off the post to lower the saddle, but then there wasn’t enough seatpost left to meet the recommend minimum insertion when we raised it again. It’s a good thing then, that the Canzo is the cheapest bike on test, as you’ll instantly need to upgrade to a dropper post. Thankfully, there’s a seat tube cable port and guides under the down tube for doing just that.
Nowhere on Halfords’s website does it state how much travel the Canzo frame has. That’s not a problem though, as we measure the travel of all the test bikes. At 133mm, VooDoo is actually over-delivering, as claimed travel on the rear is 130mm. The exact amount isn’t that important though, as VooDoo hasn’t quite nailed the tune of the RockShox Monarch RL shock. On rolling terrain the rear suspension feels soft and wallowy, so much so that we increased the rebound damping to reduce the risk of motion sickness. Conversely, get the VooDoo on anything fast and rough and it exhibits a surprisingly harsh response.
It’s a very different story with the 140mm-travel RockShox Recon RL suspension fork. Smooth and composed, the only sound you hear is the rebound damping wheezing as the fork recoils on bigger hits. If anything, this is a good indication that it is working well, but even with the rebound set fully open the fork wasn’t lightning fast, so lighter riders running lower pressures will struggle to achieve an optimum setting.
The highlight in the Canzo build kit has to be the 12-speed SRAM SX drivetrain – the 11-50t cassette offering a gear range to match all gradients and fitness levels. Shifting wasn’t quite as slick as on the Calibre though, and we suspect that’s due to flex in the Canzo frame.
We gave VooDoo a massive leg up in this test by fitting our top-quality Maxxis control tyres to the Canzo. Sure, the stock 2.25in WTB Trail Boss is a decent rear tyre, but up front it lacks the edge needed to really carve turns. The shorter fork offset doesn’t do the Voodoo any favours either; the Canzo could do with the extra stability of a longer front end.
The Canzo is very efficient at covering ground, but it’s much less adept on anything steep, be that up or down. The shorter, more upright riding position makes the bike less stable, and at times the frame flex was so pronounced that we thought the rear tyre had gone soft, when it clearly hadn’t.
Not that long ago, the VooDoo Canzo would have been in with a fighting chance in this test. Today, however, it looks and feels very dated. The sizing and geometry are both from a bygone era, the Clarks Clout brakes are woefully inadequate and the ride quality of the rear suspension doesn't match that of it’s rivals, even of the specification is every bit as good. If you simply focus on the individual components the VooDoo Canzo looks like a great proposition, but taken together shortcomings in the ride quality really overshadow it competitive pricing.