Voodoo’s well received Bizango has seen a bit of an overhaul for 2022 seeing in a host of new kit and a fresh frame. While it has received a bit of a price hike, its balanced geometry and very well considered build makes for a perfect companion to begin your MTB journey.
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This year, Voodoo has made a handful of changes to the flagship Bizango's geometry in order to make the bike more capable but retain everything we know and love about the bike. As such, the bike gets a slightly stretched and slackened geometry but there are a few bigger updates that help futureproof the bike for any budding riders.
Kicking off with that frame, it’s completely new for 2022. This one is triple-butted, comes with a tapered head tube and the top tube gets a larger cross-section to increase torsional stiffness. It now also gets a dropped seat stay bridge and a new chainstay to make the rear end slightly more compliant and offer a bit more space for a fatter tyre; good if you end up looking for an upgrade later on.
Another really smart feature is that the frame is routed for a dropper post, even though it’s not fitted with one out of the box. This is a seriously considerate thought as if you catch the MTB bug after some time aboard the Bizango (which I’m certain you will) you can take full advantage of the plethora of stealth dropper posts on the market.
Moving onto its updated componentry, the 2022 Bizango is graced with an SR Suntour Raidon32, a bit of kit that I’m super pleased to see on this bike. I reckon that it’s a better performer than similarly priced forks from the big named brands.
While it doesn’t deliver its travel with the refined, buttery smoothness of pricier units and its small bump sensitivity isn’t up there with the big boys, it offers a very useful level of support that’s not to be sniffed at. I have found a small issue with its Q-Loc thru axle though. Most of the time, it’s really easy to use but every so often it can run into an issue that sometimes makes it a bit of a pain.
It works slightly differently from any other thru-axle. Instead of winding it out, as usual, you push in the non-lever side after releasing the lever and simply slide it out. 90% of the time, it’s really quick and easy to use but the bit you push can get stuck, either locking the wheel in place or not locking at all.
Again, it’s a super small issue. Give it a bit of a shake and you’re golden. The fork then comes with a super neat touch that'll please any rider, and that's a built-in mudguard.
As for the drivetrain, it’s a similar 1x11 affair that we saw on the 2021 bike but this bike now benefits from a wider range, 11-51t cassette from Shimano and the Deore lineup. That’s a very similar range to what we find on 12-speed drivetrains and that big 51t gear will be especially useful to uninitiated legs.
Around the rest of the bike, we’ve got a pair of Shimano MT200 brakes, a nicely modern 780mm bar, and a short 45mm stem. Oh, and there’s a pair of Voodoo’s own 29” wheels.
It'll be rude to forget the WTB Volt saddle that's been built with gel inserts, especially for Voodoo's range. It's a seriously comfy seat that I've gotten on really well with.
Those wheels are tubeless-ready, which, of course, is great but the tyres aren’t. Not all is lost though because tyres are something you’ll likely change down the line anyway so it’s good to see that the change to tubeless is at least possible.
The 2022 Bizango's bunch of geometry changes bring it bang up to date. While it’s nothing crazily progressive by today’s standards, it’s a very well balanced offering that’s as comfortable to crank up a hill as it is to throw it back down. It’s also a shape that’s fairly rare to see on a bike at this price point and even creeping north of the £1k mark.
The 66.5° head angle, while definitely modern isn’t too slack and it gives the bike super precise steering and a nicely supported front end. Something that’s incredibly useful when negotiating tight uphill switchbacks.
Climbing is improved by the Bizango’s new seat tube angle and very respectable reach. On this large frame, the seat tube angle has been shifted to 74.5° and it’s graced with a 461mm reach. The former places rider weight centrally and comfortably above the pedals while the latter offers plenty of room to shift that weight around.
Again, a 461mm reach isn’t massively long for a large frame but it keeps the front end well behaved, planted, and easy to weight when getting you up a hill.
Climbing is then made mega efficient thanks to those reasonably low profile Maxxis Ardent tyres and uphill efforts are only made easier by the small 30t chainring, an incredibly wise component choice that newer riders or those with unseasoned legs will definitely appreciate (although, the bike should come with a 32t ring as standard). All-in-all, it’s a pleasant and spritely bike to pedal up a hill.
Once the speeds increase, that balanced geometry is equally as useful. That taught feeling front end does take a bit of getting used to, having come from longer bikes but it’s nothing a quick riding style adjustment didn’t fix.
Lengthening and slackening the bike has really paid off as the Bizango is impressively confident downhill. I’ve been able to hang on, traveling at speeds with total control and complete composure.
It’s a bike that feels right at home over flowy trails, especially with this setup but that doesn’t mean it’s shy of a few technical trails here and there. You’ll have to be pretty calculated in your line choice as the skinny 2.25" tyres and narrow rims can be persuaded offline but the bikes reasonably lengthy geometry offers up enough confidence to get the job done without too many dramas.
Get the bike into some corners and that quick handling front end translates into a bike that’s eager to change direction. It offsets a 29ers inherent reluctance to initiate a turn, allowing the bike to change direction without too much effort.
Long, sweeping corners is where this bike becomes great fun, and once leant in, you’re rewarded with a confident grip-ridden ride.
However, if you’re looking to edge into riding more natural trails, or if your trails are looser than hardpack you’ll want to look at bunging a more aggressive tyre, at least onto the front wheel. While mega grippy over hardpack, the Maxxis Ardents struggle to bite through layers of gravel or wet mud. They do roll quickly though and if you're riding groomed trail centre tracks you'll be perfectly happy.
The one thing I’ve found really holding me back aboard the Bizango is that while the bike encourages some impressive speeds, the brakes aren't quite powerful enough to scrub momentum in emergency situations. Unfortunately, they're the not most efficient which can lead to some puckering moments. For newer riders, the speeds may not be as high so there won’t be an issue there. It just takes a bit more forward-thinking for those used to burlier brakes. I reckon that bigger brake rotors wouldn't go amiss.
Thanks to Voodoo’s impressive overhaul of the Bizango, it’s become a solid bed for upgrades, and is a bike you can hang onto and build up to become even more capable along with you. However, if you’re looking for a more capable ride straight out of the box, there’s the Bizango Pro to take a look at.
Even though the bike has seen a small price hike it still holds excellent value for money, mainly due to its sorted geometry but also because of its useful build kit and easy upgradability.
A similarly priced bike is the Whyte 604 V3, sitting at £725. Though, it offers a bit less for your money, coming kitted with an SR Suntour XCR-LO fork, a two-by drivetrain, and Tektro brakes. While its geometry is close, it’s not quite as relaxed as the Bizango’s.
The real competition comes in the form of the Carrera Fury, another Halfords bike. For just £600, you get a Shimano 1x10 drivetrain, a Suntour Raidon Q-Lo air fork but there’s a dropper post on this bike. That’s a big deal as it’s the one thing I’ve found is missing on the Bizango.
Like Voodoo’s bike, the Fury gets a 460mm reach on a large which is great news but other measurements such as the steeper 67° head tube angle and slacker 73° effective seat tube angle gives the Bizango a solid argument. Making the case for the Bizango even stronger, the Fury’s seat tube is quite tall, as Jon found in his review so even though the Fury rocks a dropper, the Bizango will give you an easier time when shifting weight rewards.
The Bizango’s shorter seat tube will also allow riders to run a longer dropper post if and when the upgrade comes.
We mustn't forget the excellent aftercare that's offered with the Bizango. If you were to stack it and truly wreck the frame, Halfords will sort you a brand spanking new one free of charge. You'll only be charged the labour of the frame swap. That in its own right is pretty darn special.
Adding even more to the Bizangos awesome value is that if you buy one, you'll automatically get access to Voodoo's VIP Members Area. That means you'll benefit from exclusive deals and will be able to buy Voodoo accessories only available to owners of Voodoo bikes. That's done through a unique number found on the top tube.
For the money, you'll be hard pushed to find something as confidence-inspiring as the Voodoo Bizango. Its excellently balanced geometry makes for a quick, easy, and pleasurable ride up a hill and an impressively capable blast back down. Its componentry is well sorted from the get-go but thanks to a few forward-thinking choices, it's futureproofed if you end up looking to upgrade the bike as your riding progresses. For 2022, it remains the bike to beat at this price.