Best Hardtail of the Year under £750!
After going AWOL from Hardtail of the Year test last year, the Voodoo Bizango is back in our line-up for 2018 and the break seems to have worked wonders.
Why? Because the new bike not only looks stunning in its red livery, it’s been updated it nearly every department.
Voodoo Bizango review
To save weight, every frame tube is now butted and the old sliding dropouts have been replaced with the new 141x9mm QR Boost standard, which increases tyre clearance and allows Voodoo to run a wider-spaced hub that results in a stronger rear wheel. The company has also worked in some new geometry, including a slightly slacker head angle, longer reach and wheelbase. You also get a tapered head tube, routing for a stealth dropper post and the frame is now designed for a 1x drivetrain. The final addition is the 22in frame size for taller riders.
Although the Suntour Raidon suspension fork still has 120mm of travel, it seemed to bed in quicker than the fork we tested two years ago and there’s was also zero play in the bushings. The Q-Loc thru-axle also seems less temperamental or maybe we’re just getting used to its action. The best thing about the Raidon fork though, is the air spring, which can easily be tuned to different rider weights, and with adjustable rebound damping you can also tweak that to match.
A year ago, we said entry-level hardtails would benefit greatly from 1x drivetrains and Voodoo is one of three companies in the £750 category to take the plunge. The 11-42t SRAM NX cassette and 32t chain ring offer a wide spread of gears with the added bonus of excellent chain retention, reduced weight and less noise.
The very best hardtails blend stiffness with compliance and Voodoo has totally worked its metallurgical magic on the latest Bizango. The bike is nippy and responsive but there’s also a real softness to the frame, which is good for absorbing the chatter you typically find at trail centres. With its low weight and fast rolling Maxxis Ardent tyres, the bike rockets up climbs and has a real turn of speed on flowing singletrack. It also feels incredibly well balanced and has bags of confidence if you choose to venture into more technical terrain.
What’s new for 2019?
“The evolution of the current Bizango started in 2011. I was convinced we cold make an amazingly fast and fun 29er. We focused on affordability, because up until that point the only 29ers that I’d ridden and really liked were expensive superbikes. I think we achieved that with the Bizango 29.” Justin Stevenson, Head of Cycle Design, Halfords
In a blind test with the other bikes here the Voodoo Bizango would easily come out top because it has a superb frame with good geometry, lots of tyre clearance and it’s configured for modern 1x drivetrains. It also has the best performing fork on test, weighs the least and is a total blast to ride. That’d easily be enough to win this test but the Bizango 29 is also a £100 cheaper than the competition and just recently we’ve noticed that it is discounted to £530, making it one of the best value hardtails we’ve ever tested.