Voodoo Canzo first review

The Voodoo canzo mountain bike showing the front wheel and handlebars with the sun and forest in the backgroundWith the sun gleaming from the sky above, there was only one thing I had planned to do today and I couldn’t wait to get moving.

Therefore, out came the Voodoo Canzo. A £999 mountain bike which performs well above its pay grade. Compared to my road bike, the Canzo is a sumo of the cycling world – ready to take on the meanest opponents with ease.

For such a beast of a mountain bike, only the best would do. Therefore, it was time to head towards what has been voted Britain’s Best Mountain Bike Trail.

Oh yes, it was time for the Voodoo Canzo to meet Swinley Forest.

The challenge is on

Ground up view of the Voodoo Canzo with front wheel in slight blur showing the speed and mud on the rider

In the right corner we have Swinley Forest. Miles and miles of muddy goodness situated in a woodland area an hours train ride from central London.

In the left corner is the Voodoo Canzo. A full suspension mountain bike, packing high end components, beefy 26 inch wheels and at the same time remaining nimble enough to fight its way around the trail.

I wanted to discover if the Canzo would be able to take on hair raising steep drops, challenging deep muddy sections as well as uphill struggles.

Getting a feel for the Canzo

voodoo canzo suspension

The ride started off gently as I prepped myself for what was ahead by getting a feel for the Canzo. The first few bumps over tree trunks were handled with ease. The Rockshox Ario R rear suspension making light work of obstacles and keeping me riding comfortably.

Picking up some speed and navigating around I noticed the steering felt good. The bike was obeying my moves and I felt comfortable to move on to bigger challenges. Soon the first big challenge presented itself.

A steep drop with a fairly tight line. The margin for error was minimal. As I gulped at the prospect ahead, I cowardly edged myself forward, the bike took over and despite the adrenaline raising speed everything went smoothly. The wheels combined with the suspension gripped perfectly and I was able to steer my way to the bottom. As I came to a firm halt, courtesy of the disk brakes, I surveyed the section I’d just completed. I didn’t know whether to pat myself on the back or give the bike a gentle pat on the frame.

I decided that would be weird so I set self-congratulating aside and pedalled onwards.

Stepping things up a little

canzo mountain bike with jumps

I also wanted to take on a few jumps and really fun sections of the trail. Again the bike performed beautifully. With excellent grip and tight control. Only on one particularly large jump did the suspension travel the full way, where you hear that horrible clonk sound. Although, this isn’t an issue and to be expected in all mountain bikes.

What about heading uphill?

Close up of the knobbly tires on the Voodoo Canzo with mud and other debris

Heading on to the next part of Swinley Forest, an uphill section presented itself. I’d already tried lifting the bike and was impressed with the weight for a mountain bike. All signs pointed towards another great performance by the Voodoo Canzo. Unfortunately, I really had to put a lot of strength into the climb. Considering the relatively dry ground, the strength required seemed disproportionate.

I’m still trying to put my finger on why this is and have yet to decide if the disk brakes need some tweaking. Another theory is perhaps as someone who comes from a road cycling perspective, I’m unaccustomed to the muscle required to hill climbing on a mountain bike. Maybe a more experienced mountain biker could bestow me with some of their knowledge on this?

Time for some quick reaction tight cornering

Pedalling uphill on the Voodoo Canzo

Despite the small disappointment over hill climbing I ploughed on and came across an excellent downhill section. This required some very tight cornering. The Canzo really shined through and it felt completely natural taking on tight bends at high speeds.

Voodoo Canzo Initial Review

Overall, it is safe to say the Voodoo Canzo took on Swinley Forest and emerged victorious. It outperformed my expectations and the only thing seemingly holding things back was the riders ability. This makes me think perhaps the Voodoo Canzo is a mountain bike a little too good for someone who’s still learning the ropes. However, herein lies another strength. At the end of the 10 mile ride I was taken aback with how good I felt. My arms, wrists and hands certainly didn’t feel like they’d taken on some seriously rough terrain. This means I’d be comfortable to head out again on another ride tomorrow.

Over the coming months I’ll be trying out more trails and report back with a full review on the Canzo. However, if you are already convinced and want to take it for a spin yourself then it is worth mention that there’s currently 10% off via this page.

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11 Responses to Voodoo Canzo first review

  1. phil 29/09/2011 at 11:05 am #

    What did you take, did you make it over to the “baby maker” section, or the tank trap area.
    Those were my favourite routes when i used to ride there. It always amazed me that while there is no serious long climbs you could blast round there in 90 minutes and be knackered.

  2. phil 29/09/2011 at 11:16 am #

    sorry meant to say what route, accidentley missed a word

    • Andreas 29/09/2011 at 11:47 am #

      Hey Phil – I’ll post up my route next week for you to take a look at!

      • phil 30/09/2011 at 12:20 am #

        Cool, This used to be my typical route through the area http://g.co/maps/n9v5g (link to google map)

        • Andreas 30/09/2011 at 10:10 am #

          Thanks for heads up on your route. I was surprised to see there isn’t some better map of Swinley Forest to make it clearer but I guess it’s part of the fun just pedalling around and getting lost. Think it takes a good few rides to discover the best locations.

  3. Jay 16/10/2011 at 1:50 pm #

    Fantastic, well written insight for us all to admire, will have to check this one out soon, also seen many a good youtuber uploading from here – Fantastic stuff! :O)

    • Andreas 17/10/2011 at 1:32 pm #

      Thanks Jay – feedback is appreciated!

  4. karl rodgers 18/10/2011 at 3:02 pm #

    I recently purchased a voodoo canzo and im perplexed by the disproportionate amount of effort to speed ratio i previously owned a much lesser saracen mantra 3 but prefer its ease of use to the voodoo think it might be the groupset. Any ideas? however it wins hands down in every other aspect unfortunately the ride is all that matters to me!

  5. MJ 23/11/2011 at 5:38 pm #

    Nice blog Andreas. Swinley is great fun – combined with Dorking/Peaslake – one of the two best London fringe locations IMHO. Regarding uphill effort – it’s gonna be a mix of the heavy, fat DH tires the bike comes with and the fact you’re pushing almost 15kg bike up a slope using a 140mm fork. From what I gather, the Canzo is a mid-weight build aimed more at an all-mountain style with a DH bias, rather than a light XC or Enduro style AM. Things that may help would be some all-round tires (try the WTB Velocity Raptors or the Maxxis High Roller EXception series), the lock-out function on the forks, and eventually maybe swapping the fork for a travel-adjust air fork such as Revelation Air U-turn, which will allow you to drop the front end for climbing (there is a brisk trade in these forks on Ebay). I’m not sure if the Ario rear shock has a lock out function? Again, if not this might sap some of the energy you put in on an uphill climb. Eventually, I would buy a 36T middle ring and convert to a double-chainring set up at the front, allowing you to run a shorter chain and a short cage rear mech and therefore increasing efficiency and saving some weight. In all honesty, I wouldn’t say the bike is too good for someone starting out – I’d say its a lot of bike for someone starting out. But hey! You’ve not had the bike long and there are always teething problems – so I’d say ride it a lot more first before taking any drastic action. Those are my thoughts for future reference anyway 🙂

    • Andreas 24/11/2011 at 9:37 am #

      Hey MJ – That’s some really good tips there on how to speed up the MTB and make it more appropriate for Swinley Forest riding. Thank you for taking the time to post them up.

  6. Daniel Hull 30/11/2013 at 9:24 am #

    I have recently bought a voodoo canzo frame, will be building the bike from scratch using upgraded everything, lockout front and rear shocks, formula r1 hydraulic 180mm disc brakes, shimano deore xt shifters, chainset and freewheel.. i will post my results and cost as i think its worth building a bike to get the performance you want at the price you want

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