The Zobop had us shredding descents every bit as fast as we would on bikes costing considerably more money
Pop into your local bike shop and you won’t see the VooDoo Zobop gracing the showroom floor. If, however, you’ve been hunting for replacement windscreen wipers, the bright green Zobop will probably have caught your attention, because VooDoo bikes are sold exclusively through Halfords.
Don’t think for a second though, that this means the Zobop isn’t legit. VooDoo’s mtb heritage stretches all the way back to the 80s, and combined with Halfords’ financial clout, the 140mm-travel Zobop is a force to be reckoned with.
The sleek frame sports sculpted tubing, and with a dramatic kink in the top tube, there’s ample standover clearance, even on the larger frame sizes. A less obvious advantage of the low-slung design is that it’s much easier to move around on the bike and maintain balance in technical terrain.
Unfortunately, the kinked seat tube is less accommodating, and even with the seatpost chopped down, the range of saddle height adjustment is restricted. So if there’s one bike in this test that’s crying out for a dropper post upgrade, it’s the VooDoo.
Up front, the VooDoo has RockShox’s familiar 140mm Solo Air Sektor fork, with slippery, chromed steel upper tubes and stiff 15mm Maxle lowers. And just like other Sektor forks in the test, the rebound damping was quite sluggish, so we ended up running the adjuster wide open. With no O-ring on the upper tubes, you’ll need to slap a small zip-tie on the fork to make set-up easier. This will also let you see how much travel you use on each ride. Then you’ll need a second zip-tie too, to stop the cables wearing through the fork crown.
Less familiar, is the SR Suntour Epixon shock. With rebound adjustment and a lock-out lever that’s facing the seat tube, it didn’t take long for us to get acquainted. First time we flicked the lock-out lever open, the spring-loaded design made us jump, not least because it feels like you could easily get your fingers caught between the shock and the frame. That said, we still have all of our fingers. Equally annoying is the top-out knock in the locked position. Given how well the 140mm travel VooDoo pedals with the shock in the open setting, we’d reserve the lock-out for fire-road blasting.
We really struggled to get the front shifting accurate on the VooDoo. We adjusted the cable tension and played with the height and angle of the front mech, all to no avail. Then, by chance, we noticed that the little switch on the underside of the Shimano shifter pod was set to the triple chainring setting. Once in the correct position the shifting worked flawlessly, and more interestingly, we had noticeably less chain derailments with the Shimano clutch rear mechs on the VooDoo and Calibre than the SRAM kit fitted to the Boardman.
With a stout 60mm stem, wide handlebar and sofa-like saddle, the key contact points on the VooDoo are all sorted. We thought the lock-on grips were pretty good too, until, on landing a jump, one of them popped clean out of its lock-on collar and started spinning on the handlebar. Thanks to the outer clamp, the grip couldn’t fly clean off the bar, but we’d still recommend replacing the grips, as it will stop you soiling a perfectly good short liner.
Spinning grips and skid marks aside, the VooDoo Zobop really came into its own on more challenging trails. The extra buffer and traction afforded by 140mm of travel, combined with the excellent Maxxis Ardent tyres, had us shredding descents every bit as fast as we would on bikes costing considerably more money. Best of all, we were having just as much fun.
Given that the VooDoo is one of the longer travel bikes in this test, the rear suspension is still remarkably stable when you stand up to pedal, so it can definitely hold its own on the climbs too. All in, the Zobop is a cracking bike for £999.99.
As first impressions go, the VooDoo Zobop certainly has impact; the eye-catching neon green front end contrasting nicely with the gloss black rear end. It’s not just the Voodoo’s frame finish that’s sleek though. The riding position is also dialled, and the bike pedals efficiently and makes surprisingly light work of the climbs for a 140mm-travel bike. It’s on the descents however, that the Zobop reveals its true colours. This bike is a total shredder. With better grips and a dropper seat post, we are 100 per cent confident that it could keep up with bikes costing twice its price.