Best Hardtail of the Year under £750!
MBR Editor’s Choice 2019: Voodoo Bizango 29, £650
There’s nothing magical about the meteoric success of the Bizango 29. Voodoo didn’t hex the competition, and you won’t find finger-bikes of its rivals with pins sticking out of the tyres if you visit Voodoo’s design HQ.
Instead, Voodoo had been rewarded with multiple test wins for being one of the first brands in the sub £750 category to blend the improved roll over of 29in wheels with trail bike geometry.
It was also an early adopter of lighter and more reliable single-ring drivetrains. The latest Bizango 29 coming with a slick shifting 11-speed SRAM NX transmission, where the narrow/wide tooth profile on the 32t chain ring improves chain retention.
There is something magical about the ride quality of the Bizango though. It’s fast and direct when you drop the hammer, but the unique blend of aluminium tubing makes it forgiving too, resulting in a ride quality that it is not as jarring on rough technical terrain, so your body takes less of beating.
Like most perennial winners in our Hardtail of the Year test the Voodoo had the best fork in class. The 120mm Suntour Raidon benefiting from an adjustable air spring and proper damping, where both can be fine-tuned to perfectly match rider weight.
Front-end tracking is improved further by a stiff 15mm bolt-thru axle, rather than a spindly 9mm quick release options found on the competition. This, combined with the Maxxis Ardent tyres gives you the ability to navigate the most technical terrain with confidence. And given that riding is just as much about mind-set as rider skill and fitness, the Voodoo Bizango 29 is one bike that won’t mess with your melon.
What’s new for 2020?
One of the key reasons the Bizango 29 is so competitively priced, is that Voodoo operates a two-year model cycle. So rather than updating the specification or colour of the bike every 12 months, Voodoo gets the bike dialled, then passes the saving on to the rider. So the bike you see here is identical in every way to the one that scored a perfect 10 rating back in July.
Sub £750 Hardtail of the Year: Voodoo Bizango review
Voodoo Bizango is the winning bike from 2018 and nothing has changed, not even the price, although it’s supposed to be £670 but pricing seems pretty fluid.
Voodoo Bizango review
Either way the Voodoo Bizango bike is the cheapest on test but it has the best stuff on it. It’s built around one of best frames too, which is butted 6061 aluminium tubing and features 141x9mm Boost dropouts. Basically, this is a Boost standard designed for bikes with QR and means you get a stronger rear wheel and increased tyre clearance.
The Bizango has a reasonably slack 68-degree head angle, a long reach and a long wheelbase. What this adds up to is the bike that is more stable, more confidence inspiring.
As normal the Suntour Raidon 120mm suspension fork took a ride or two to bed in but, unlike most of the forks here it is air sprung and gets proper rebound damping, which makes the Bizango so much more capable when blasting techy trails. The fork also comes with a bolt thru axle and, while there’s knack to locating the SunTour’s Q-Loc design, it’s stiffer and more convenient than a QR.
To hit the £750 price point, bike companies often mix-and-match the drivetrain components but Voodoo has kept it simple and fit SRAM NX throughout. This is a 11-speed ensemble, combining a 11-42t cassette and 32t chainring with the narrow wide tooth profile to improve chain retention.
We could use dozens of metaphors to describe the magic of the Voodoo Bizango but there’s no dark arts. Voodoo has simply built a bike with modern geometry that is also really comfortable and it’s been able to do it for less cash than anyone else.
We back-to-back all the test bikes and when we jumped on the Bizango after a 12-month break it’s like greeting an old friend. The Bizango instantly feels welcoming, allowing you to push harder and take a few more risks. It’s blisteringly fast on the climbs and has urgency on the singletrack no other bike could match. If there’s one thing we’d change it’d be the handlebar – it’s just needs to be 760mm or wider.
Making a really good hardtail is not hard because they’ve been around for ever. The difficult bit, at this level, is trying to build the best bike you can with a limited budget. The Bizango is a great bike because Voodoo is essentially a direct sales brand, which means it has a bit more budget to play with. That’s has been spent wisely but it doesn’t cost anything to weld the tubes in a different place and Voodoo nailed that too. The Bizango is the best shape, has the best spec, and the best price. If you’re looking for a £650 hardtail this is it, end of.