VooDoo Cycles was founded in 1994 by a handful of cyclists, including Shinji Mizutani, a Japanese businessman who has owned the company since day one. The bikes were designed by Joe Murray, a bike designer, framebuilder and hall of fame professional mountain bike racer. In 2000, VooDoo shut down their Silicon Valley headquarters, but Mizutani continued selling bikes in Japan. In 2004, he brought Joe Murray back on board and established the new VooDoo headquarters in Flagstaff.
While VooDoo is primarily a mountain bike company, keep in mind that the chief designer was a champion racer in the 1980′s. If you know anything about the early professional mountain bikers, you know they did it all. They raced hill climbs, downhill, cross country, dual slalom and quite often road and trials, too. Sometimes all in the same day! In other words, they were supremely well-rounded cyclists. And while that’s not altogether unheard of today, it certainly afforded Joe Murray a wealth of experience when it came to designing bikes.
The Maji is VooDoo’s take on the urban singlespeed. Sold as a frame only with an optional fork, the Maji brings the vibe of a classic hardtail mountain bike to the street. When I get on the Maji, I just want to start jumping curbs and popping wheelies (which I admittedly kind of suck at). The frame is stiff enough to make it an efficient climber, but the Maji is most in its element bombing a long downhill stretch.
Built from tried and true 4130 chromoly tubing, the frame is a shining example of contemporary Taiwanese manufacturing. The TIG welding is clean and the paint job is a flawless metallic black. In other words, the quality belies the very reasonable price.
Much like a mountain bike, the bottom bracket is high (278mm) and the top tube is short (520mm on the 52cm model). The frame weight, for those wondering, is just about 5 pounds even. The rear end is spaced at 120mm, and the cast track fork ends feature micro adjustable chain tensioners. The frame has clearance for up to 40c tires, though the largest I tried were 35c. Though regular caliper brakes will work with up to 28c tires, 47-57mm long reach calipers are recommended.
As far as nits to pick, my number one complaint would be that the Maji uses a 26.8mm seatpost, which meant that I couldn’t just reach into my spare parts box and grab one of many 27.2 posts. My next minor gripe is that the fender mount on the seatstay bridge foiled my plans of running big tires and a super short chain. Sure, I know lots of commuters will boo and hiss at me for wishing there weren’t rack and fender mounts getting in the way, but I just didn’t feel like they fit the vibe of this bike. Regardless, I ended up splitting the difference by installing a half link. And finally, I kind of wish the fork came in black. Sure, the red fork actually looks good with the parts I’ve chosen, but as they say, once you go black…
The Maji is available in 52, 54, 56 and 58cm sizes (black only). The frame retails for $250 and the optional straight blade chromoly fork is $80 (red only). Visit www.voodoo-usa.com for more information.