VooDoo Dambala 29 SS 29er Hardtail

  • Reynolds 853 butted steel tubing with head badge
  • Adjustable aluminum rear dropouts with built-in tensioners
  • Sloping top tube, extended seat tube, offset machined headtube
  • Detachable brake bosses

User Reviews (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9  
a0014291   Cross Country Rider [Jun 19, 2010]
Strength:

Versatile design, steel frame.

Weakness:

Frame broke completely in two.

I really enjoyed this bike. I was looking for something different, and I got it. The 29 wheels are great, really helps grip the trail and roll over stuff. But after almost two years the frame broke, luckily while I was traversing a small dip in the trail. The frame broke on the down tube about a half foot from the head tube, a clean broke probably from fatigue, though I haven't ridden it over anything I would consider extreme, usually avoiding the "expert" section of trails. I called JensonUSA and they helped me with the warranty process (I was just a couple of months under the two year limit) and Voodoo sent me a new Soukri frame with Reynolds 631 tubing. I hope I have better luck with it, and I'll let you know how it turns out.

Similar Products Used: None, though I own hardtail and a FS supension bikes
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
Seth   Cross Country Rider [Aug 27, 2009]
Strength:

Single speed or geared, disc or rim brake, this frame has accommodations for it all. Love the Reynolds 853 steel frame; great ride and mega tire clearance. Sliding vertical dropouts are awesome.

Weakness:

A little better routing for hydraulic lines to rear end would be nice; had to use several zip ties to secure hose.

This frame is a great value for the money; it's too bad they don't still make them with Reynolds tubing. The versatility of the frame makes it a winner either way, and the weight is very reasonable for a steel 29'er frame. I'd recommend this frame and/or complete bike to anyone.

Similar Products Used: Independent Fabrication Deluxe, Surly Cross Check.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Ithacan   Cross Country Rider [Mar 29, 2009]
Strength:

Solidly built and handles well. Plenty of room for fat tires (mine are 2.35", and I have room to spare.) Removable V-brake studs. And a subtle detail which I just noticed: the rear dropouts allow you to mount a rack even when you have disk brakes. The sliding dropouts are handy if you're going single-speed (for me, I would have preferred regular vertical dropouts, since it's just one more thing to adjust - but so far, I've only had to adjust them once, when I assembled the bike.)

Weakness:

Older frames (like the one I have) have the down-tube too close to the front wheel, which means there's not enough clearance for some suspension forks (this problem has been corrected on the newer models.)

A solid, versatile machine.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
29Inches   Cross Country Rider [Jul 08, 2008]
Strength:

Slider design, PRICE!

Weakness:

Paint, Reba Clearance

Love the sliders! No more slipping EBB for me. I wish the frame (older version) had room for the Reba without the HS spacer.

I was really liking this frame until it cracked at the chainstay BB weld. Working with Voodoo to get a replacement.

Similar Products Used: Q-Ball, GF Rig, Niner SIR9,
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
Z   Racer [Feb 06, 2007]
Strength:

Handling!, Light for a steel frame, Tire Clearance, Geometry, Versatility - you can run it SS/geared/V-brake or Disc brake, Paint job is catchy

Weakness:

Sliding Drops require attention to detail to get the right setup but once you figure it out it's a nice feature. Be Careful to use a strong skewer on the rear wheel as I had problems with my chain getting loose from movement at the actual dropout not the sliders...I tightened more than normal and had no problems

Disclaimer - I was once a 29er skeptic but had to get one to see what the rave was all about. For reference I'm 6'3" and race at about 195lbs. I ride and race everything from DH, super D, XC, marathon, Cross, and yeah the occasional roadie thing.
THIS IS THE BEST HANDLING BIKE I HAVE EVER RIDDEN...PERIOD!
That is a bold statement but I was blown away the first time I rode it...I am used to anywhere from 4-7" of travel and I was completely amazed how well this bike rode as a full on RIGID. As a comparison I went out the day prior to building up the Voodoo on my all Mt 26er w/ 4-6" and rode a planned 4.5mi loop on a climby, rocky, flowy trail with as much up as down and timed myself at a moderate pace. The next day I rode the same loop for the Voodoo's cherry ride. When I hit my stop watch at the end I was bewildered. Almost 4 minutes faster on the Rigid SS...I didn't believe it so I rode the same loop the next day at the same percieved exertion with a time only a second off the previous day. To sum it up: the same rides I did on my 26er trail bike averaging about 7.5mph, I now average about 8.5 with no increase in percieved exertion...My bottom line is this: if you are over 6' and want a fast, awesome handling XC bike try a 29er...If you want to catch air and drop sick hucks...26er still rules...until they perfect the 29er Freeride that is!

Similar Products Used: I have to admit I have been a 29er skeptic...I own 3 26er Mtbs and my only off road experience on anything bigger than 26" has been on my cyclocross bike.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
John Baker   Racer [Jun 10, 2007]
Strength:

Low maintenance. Easy adjustments. Very easy to add front fork and hydro. brakes.

Weakness:

None yet.

This bike rolls, handles and rides like nothing I've had. Been riding since 1985. Off the hook sterring in tight spots. Climbs like no ones buisness. Added a Reba Race and Hays Hydro's and I'm still only into the bike for $1100.00. Other 29'r singlespeeds retail for $1200.00 to $1400.00 and you'd still have mech brakes. Totally awesome ride. I've put around 300 miles on it in a few weeks without any problems.

Similar Products Used: Salsa Juan Solo singlespeed.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Brian   Cross Country Rider [Oct 15, 2006]
Strength:

Good S/O clearance given the wheels. Love the chain-tensioning design. Climbs well. Handles even better.

Weakness:

Fork doesn't clear the downtube. Toe over-lap (had to shift the cleats all the way forward on the shoes and may try a 170mm crank arm to minimize this).

I'm very happy with the bike and setup. The highlight is how it carves through turns. The extra ground contact inspires confidence.

Similar Products Used: First SS 29er.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
james hill   Cross Country Rider [Oct 24, 2006]
Strength:

light weight, outstanding handling and bump compliance, versatile since you can run it SS or geared, sliding rear dropouts are brilliant for SS use since you don't have to fiddle with brake bits just to get the wheel on and off or adjust the chain tension.

Weakness:

None that I can see

The Dambala rocks! With the IRD fork it steers quickly and precisely at low-to medium speeds, and seems to still have no problem holding a line on fast, loose nor-cal fire roads. I am constantly impressed. The feel of the frame is on par with the ride quality of high-end steel 26ers I’ve ridden (i.e. outstanding—springy, lively, comfy), and the 29” wheels soak up the lumps and roll fast. I recommend this frame to anyone who wants a not-too-expensive intro to 29" riding and for sure for and for sure for anyone who wants a great single-speed rig.
Readers of these reviews don't really need to keep hearing this, but I gotta say it anyway: 29" tires are the perfect invention for single speeds! Their bump-smoothing qualities allow you to use more rigid frame and fork bits without suffering as much of a beating---and since you're pretty much standing up most (almost all, for me) of the time you're climbing on a one speed, any suspension you can do without makes riding faster and more fun.
I originally started this as a one speed project aimed at using a few of my old parts and getting my wife’s old Marin steel Bear Valley frame off the wall and back into use. I bought the 29” fork and made a 69er out of it with a derailleur for a chain tensioner, and it rode so great I went looking for a frame that would fit me better…now I ride the Dambala almost exclusively and the full sus bike sits in the garage waiting for road trips to the Sierra where altitude and really big rocks make a rigid hardtail SS a bit silly.
Don’t get me wrong, the FS is a trusty steed, (a Jamis dakar xc-pro w/ Fox RLC 130 fork)but the 29 SS Voodoo is just so much fun!
I chose the Voodoo after checking out the reviews and specs of the four major US-designed/taiwan built frames —Soma, Surly, Salsa, etc, ---because of the sliding dropouts, and I’m glad I did, since I’m fairly lazy and I know I’m going to be happier once the bike’s set up with discs. I’ve fiddled with chain tension/disc caliper adjustment on a few horizontal-dropout/disc mount frames and it’s a bit more of a hassle than I like for my own bikes. The Salsa EBB method looks fine, too, but the Dambala was just a bit cheaper, and a tiny bit lighter… and it turned out to ride so nice that I have no regrets!
(budget considerations prevented me from getting the US handbuilt frame that I will almost certainly be, ah, ahem, needing fairly soon… I’m thinking one of those nice Black Sheep ti frames… maybe I’ll start with a ti fork…)

Similar Products Used: other steel 26" hardtails: Kona Explosif, Bridgestone mb-1,
Jamis Dragon Pro, Marin Pine Mountain, steel Marin Bear Valley, all great bikes...
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Peter   Cross Country Rider [Jan 03, 2008]
Strength:

Superb fit and geometry, reasonable weight, low price, good quality, Steel is Real ride. Nice touches like the well thought out sliding dropouts and removable V-brake studs. Also, excellent product support!

Weakness:

The paint on early frames!

I'm a convert to the 29er movement. I built this bike to have a rugged SS alternative to my 26" Ellsworth Id. The Id now sits in the garage almost every ride. This bike climbs like crazy. I don't miss the rear wheel tracking of the ICT suspension at all. Once I'm out of the saddle, the bike just goes! Lovely ride.

Thanks Joe and the team at VooDoo.

Similar Products Used: Niner One9, Ionic JR
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-9 of 9  

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