The acclaimed Bizango has a carbon stablemate but can Voodoo conjure up another classic? Read our first ride review of the Voodoo Bizango Carbon.
Voodoo Bizango Carbon need to know
- Carbon version of the award-winning MBR Hardtail of the Year
- Full 12-speed SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain with 32t ring to keep you legs spinning
- Boost axle spacing front and rear for increased wheel strength and tyre clearance
- Fast-rolling Maxxis Ardent Race 29er tyres
Over the last three years the alloy Voodoo Bizango has been the standout bike in the £750 category of our Hardtail of the Year test. It has the best specification, the best value and, according to all of our testers, easily the best ride quality. For 2020 it welcomes a stablemate – the Bizango Carbon – and on paper this composite 29er looks every bit as good as the aluminium original.
But before we get into the nitty gritty, this bike isn’t just a carbon copy of the alloy Bizango 29. Yes, Voodoo has retained the benefits of the bigger wheels but it has also made subtle changes to the geometry – it’s a touch longer and slacker than the alloy version, with a slightly steeper seat tube angle to help keep your weight over the front when climbing. All positive improvements then, and Voodoo was keen to point out that despite the material change and geometry updates, the Bizango Carbon still retains a trail focus.
One of the most noticeable features on the new frame is the ‘dropped’ chainstay. The main reason for the shape is it allows Voodoo to increase tyre clearance, while keeping the rear end as short as possible. Lowering the stay also minimises noise and any possible frame damage from chain slap, which explains why there is no chainstay protector on this bike. We reckon the chain could still spank the stay from underneath though, but if there is any damage at least you’re unlikely to notice it.
Like the alloy Bizango, the Carbon has an absolutely stellar build. With it’s slender 30mm upper legs, the RockShox Judy silver suspension fork is not the stiffest, but it’s supple and silky smooth so it really compliments the frame in terms of ride quality and also visually. What’s even more impressive is that Voodoo managed to get a full SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain fitted to a carbon bike, because you often see 10-speed at this price on alloy bikes. It even has a user-friendly 32-tooth chain ring rather than a standard 34t, so you’ll be able to keep the revs high on even the steepest climbs.
The two-piston Shimano MT400 disc brakes are entry-level but don’t let the price tag fool you, these brakes are powerful and consistently so, which is handy because the Maxxis Ardent Race tyres are some of the fasted rolling rubber we’ve tested. Thankfully, they also have a surprising amount of bite for tyres with such a shallow tread. If your planning to use this bike over the winter months however, we suggest swapping the tyres to something that will cut through the mud in search of grip.
There’s no dropper post on this bike but there’s no QR clamp either, so putting the saddle down means you will need to get the multi-tool out, but then you will also need that for the bolt-thru axles on both wheels if you get a puncture or need to break the bike down to squeeze it into the back of your car.
Voodoo Bizango Carbon: first ride review
For a £1,000 hardtail the attention to detail on the Bizango Carbon frame is truly amazing. All of the tube profiles are orientated to increase chassis stiffness but at the same time the wafer thin chaistays really help boost ride comfort. So while this bike is efficient, it’s also has a smoother than expected ride quality. It’s quite too thanks to the dropped chains stay and the simple bolt-in plastic inserts that secure the internally routed cables but still make everything easily accessible.
As a complete package the Bizango Carbon is 1.5kg lighter than the alloy bike, so it’s a real boon on the climbs. And thanks to the steeper seat angle I was still able to keep the front wheel down and point in the right direction even when navigating the steepest climbs. The real advantage of the carbon frame though, is that the bike really springs to life when you hit the gas and when you do hit the rough stuff, it’s also way more forgiving. Factor in the improved sizing and geometry, and the Voodoo appears to have worked it’s magic once again.