This suped-up version of the classic Bizango hardtail is Voodoo's best yet.
Since winning our 2022 Hardtail of the Year award, life has been good for the Voodoo Bizango Pro. So good, that the only thing that’s changed is the price has crept up by £25. Impressive, given that a bag of groceries has probably gone up by the same amount.
To improve the ride feel and save weight the alloy Bizango frame uses triple butted tubes in the front triangle. The last round of revisions ushered in a longer reach and a slacker head angle so the geometry is current, if not as progressive as the new Calibre Line-T3 27.
All of the standards are bang-up-to-date too. The head tube is tapered, the bottom bracket is threaded, the thru-axles are the up-to-date Boost standard and the cable routing includes a port for a stealth dropper post. And it’s the latter that we’d recommend pushing the budget a little higher to attain.
We can’t stress how transformative having a dropper post is to the ride quality, not least because the seat clamp quickly gets gunked up with grit.
With a RockShox Gold 35 leading the charge, the Voodoo easily has the best suspension fork on test. With big 35mm upper tubes and a 15mm bolt-through axle, it’s plenty stiff enough to hold a precise line without the steering ever feeling wayward or vague. Something heavier, hard charging riders will really appreciate.
The fork boasts 130mm travel, but delivers slightly less as it has a tendency to spike on bigger hits. There’s no faulting its performance off the top though. The RockShox Gold 35 delivers a buttery smooth action, so traction and comfort are both first rate. There’s also plenty of support in the middle of the travel, so the Bizango Pro feels very stable and composed even when the trail turns rowdy.
While we can pick small holes in the performance of the fork, Voodoo has really delivered on the specification. Let’s start with the contact points. The lock-on grips are secure and comfortable. Saddle choice is personal, but everyone agreed that the profile of the WTB Volt makes for the perfect perch.
Rest your index finger on the slender Shimano MT401 brake levers, and you have the ability to modulate your speed with absolute ease and complete control, even with the smaller 160mm rear rotor.
You get a Shimano Deore 12 speed drivetrain with a massive 51t rear cog that makes light work of even the steepest climbs. Shifting was swift and accurate and it never felt like something was going to break when we mashed down hard on the excellent two-piece cranks.
If there is one area where the build kit could be improved upon, it’s the tyres. The Maxxis Rekon rear tyre certainly keeps the tempo high, but traction in the wet – whether climbing or braking – was minimal and the skinny width did little to isolate us from bumps. You could improve matters by transferring the more aggressive front Maxxis High Roller II onto the rear and sticking a 2.5in tyre up front. With the bike in the workstand, we’d also recommend converting to tubeless, to save weight and help reduce pinch flats.
If getting from point A to point B in the shortest time possible, and with the least effort, is your number one priority, then the Voodoo Bizango Pro is the best option here. It has all of the efficiency of a high end modern XC bike on the climbs, but slam the saddle and it feels composed and capable on the descents too. Not as capable or as playful as the Calibre though, and you’ll have to stop to adjust your saddle height with annoying frequency.
With the high end specification, everything on the Bizango Pro works like a Swiss timepiece. It offers a blissfully quiet ride too, with no chain slap and cable rattle to distract you from the trail ahead.
The wide bar and short stem make it easy to pick your line, the RockShox 35 fork guaranteeing that you can stick to it. All that’s really missing is a fatter rear tyre to take the edge of the hits.
If ever there was a true all rounder, it’s the Bizango Pro. It’s the consummate professional, a modest 29er hardtail that’s strong in every department. The ride quality is superb and it has a blinding specification. And with every component part selected for performance and durability, you’ll get more quality ride time and less down time. Yes, fatter tyres would enhance the ride quality of the Bizango Pro further, but not having a dropper post is the real buzz kill here. Not enough to knock it down to a single digit rating, but it loses its hardtail crown to the Calibre Line-T3 27.