Wednesday, November 01, 2000
How would you like a 2.2lb mountain bike frame? No, we're not talking about Titanium, but Easton's latest alloy they call Scandium. The bike is the Voodoo Sobo. Voodoo is a small bike manufacturer in Southern California who has produced a big hit with the Sobo.
Scandium is a Soviet invention that recently became available thanks to the end of the cold war. Those innovative Soviets needed a metal that was strong enough to use as fins for missiles to be shot through the polar ice caps. Normal metal couldn't handle the shearing forces of breaking through the ice. Scandium was the answer.
Scandium is a derivative of Aluminum. It is lightweight like Aluminum, but has the strength and feel of steel. Aluminum bikes have always been light, but their ride is harsh. Scandium allows for an even lighter frame and avoids the harsh ride of aluminum.
We can't say enough good things about the Sobo. The quality and attention to detail is second to none. The welds are impeccable, the bike's curves are stylish and sleek. The bike is flawless right down to the perfect alignment of the etched Easton logos in the tubing. The cool metallic gray paint job sets off the frame's beauty perfectly.
Voodoo's whole marketing gimmick the occult surrounding voodoo magic. The Sobo's graphics help sell the theme. Best of all is the "Certified Hex Free" sticker that adorns every bike.
Voodoo advertises the frame at 2.2lbs and our 19.5" test frame weighed in at exactly 2.2lbs. I can't remember the last time that we hit a manufacturer's advertised weight with any product.
To achieve this weight, Voodoo did "cheat" a little. They use what is called a sloping top tube design that allows extra stand-over clearance. The result of this design is the need for a longer seat post which will add back a little of the weight saved. Though even with a seat post it is still the lightest mountain bike out there.
We found following Voodoo's Size Wishing data on their Web site led us to a smaller than necessary frame. For a 6'2" rider, Voodoo suggested the 19.5" frame. Their 21" frame would have been a better fit.
The Sobo uses a 27.0mm seat post tube which is smaller than the 27.2mm that is becoming a standard in the industry. As a result, you may find seat post selection slightly limited.
The 71 degree head tube angle allows for the perfect balance between quick and responsive steering and high speed downhill control. The seat tube length as mentioned is much shorter than normal but the added stand over clearance is great. The bike's frame size makes for great bike control through extremely technical terrain. The 23.5" top tube length on our 19.5" test frame felt a bit too compact for some, but others felt very comfortable.
One of the coolest things about the Sobo and any Voodo bike is its complete customizability. Sure you can buy a Voodoo off the shelf, but Voodoo also allows you to pick and choose from a myriad of quality components allowing you to build your dream bike. Voodoo's Web site Voodoo-Cycles.com allows you to customize your bike and have it shipped to your local dealer.
The bad news is that Voodoo is up for sale. As a result, the bikes are very hard to come by, but if you're lucky enough to find one, you won't be dissapointed.
If you're looking for a lightweight champion the Sobo is definitely worth a look. It's unrivaled construction and performance make it a definite winner.
Who's it for:
An elite cross country racer or anyone looking for a super light-weight frame.
Who isn't it for:
A Clydesdale, a newbie, or anyone afraid of lightweight.