Hardtail of the Year, MBR Bike of the Year… there's nothing this fantastic little 29er hasn't won
Launched just weeks before the start of our 2013’s Hardtail of the Year test, the VooDoo Bizango 29er instantly impressed us with its superb handling and top-notch parts. Here’s how it earnt its spot at the top of the class.
Featuring the latest oversized XX44 head tube for increased steering precision and adjustable rear dropouts that let you fine-tune the handling and balance of the bike, the stealth black Bizango frame wouldn’t look out of place on a £1,500 bike.
Without doubt, the Raidon fork is the best in this £600 test. It’s the only one that’s air sprung, so you can easily match the firmness of the fork to the rider’s weight by adjusting the air pressure. It’s also the only fork with adjustable rebound damping. This ability to fine-tune the fork settings, combined with a smooth, controlled action, means the front wheel stays stuck to the ground like glue, improving steering control and making for a noticeably faster and more comfortable ride.
Fast-rolling Maxxis Ardent tyres have plenty of cornering grip, and their large-volume casing provides ample cushioning that helps take the sting out of any hardtail.
Smooth, with a very light action, the nine-speed Shimano Alivio shifters never missed a beat. All the VooDoo needs now is the latest clutch design rear mech to stop the chain slapping on the chainstay, but we’d settle for a neoprene chainstay protector.
At this price-point, there are no better disc brakes than Shimano’s 395s. The lever shape is excellent and the action’s not grabby, but there’s still stacks of stopping power at your disposal. They are 100 per cent hassle free, too. Even swapping worn pads is child’s play, so disc-brake newbies needn’t freak out at the thought of occasional maintenance.
Once again VooDoo gets it bang on the money: a nice wide bar and 80mm stem, rounded out with lock-on grips that won’t start spinning when they get wet. The saddle, however, isn’t the best — the padding is too soft and you can feel the hard plastic base.
From the very first ride we had an inkling that the VooDoo Bizango was going to be one of the top bikes in this test. It had us instantly up to speed, attacking every climb, boosting every jump and slashing every corner. The more we rode it, the more we fell in love with it, and when it came to doing back-to-back runs with the other test bikes, the VooDoo set the benchmark so high that no other bike even came close.
On test in our Hardtail of the Year competition:
It’s rare that we test a bike that totally wipes the floor with the competition, but that’s exactly what happened with the VooDoo Bizango 29er. Thanks to the superior performance of the Suntour Raidon fork, a no-holds barred spec and an attitude that screams ‘bring it on’, the VooDoo isn’t just better than its £600 rivals, it bests most of the £1,000 hardtails too. Fast, fun and up for anything, it poses the tricky question: why spend any more when a £600 hardtail is this good?