Voodoo Wanga is a powerful malediction spell. If you carry a Wanga it will invoke what you desire and bring you good luck.
The Marin Frame was sold, which left me with the remainder of the metal and rubber bits. So what was to be done? Buy another frame I hear you cry! — oh all right (don’t need any encouragement there then). How about a Voodoo Wanga Jem, said Dave the manager of Cycleworks Leatherhead. After a lengthy chat with him about my lack of skill and finesse the recommendation was to buy the frame and run it as a single speed to improve the skill and fitness.
I can categorically say this is one mean bike, I love it. You are able to run it geared or singlespeed, as the frame has an incredibly simple but very effective sliding dropout system. This CNC machined ally-splined dropout slots into the frame and once seated cannot twist. So the chain stays tensioned well if you are running as a single speed.
I am vertically challenged and not of large proportions, sort of Richard Hammond size (short arse) without the looks or the money, possibly why Colin refers to me as the Jemster, not the Hamster. I’ve never asked, I’m not sure I want to know.
So finding a bike of the right size was very important to me. On my travels and having conversations with many male and female MTB’ers who share similar vital statistics, my findings were if a bike is too long for you (effective top tube) on climbing especially, the rear end can spin up very easily whilst leaning forward to stop the front from lifting.
Weight also has a large part to play in this scenario. The traction on the rear tyre is really important, having a shorter top tube helps if you’re not heavy and you can lean over the front and reduce the possibility of this happening. I only found out by researching heavily that many frames share the same size i.e; 16″, 18″ and so on, but differ hugely in reach (effective top tube length).
Back to the Wanga
The geometry on this frame is very XC,with a steep head angle at 71° and fairly steep seat angle of 73.5°. So this makes for a very responsive and chuckable feel to the handling, but beware on the fast descents as it will act like a thoroughbred racehorse and try to throw you off if you give it a chance. Once you’re at the bottom though, it does put a massive grin on your mug as the adrenalin rushes though your blood, the heart beats thump in your head and you’re glad you made it down in one piece once again: or you could just go slower! It certainly keeps you working hard on the trails, but boy is it fun.
I run a 16″ Wanga which has an effective top tube length of 21.5″ (546mm). Compare that to a 16″ On-One Inbred for example and the length is 23″ (584mm). You wouldn’t think that 1.5″ (38mm) would make such a difference (easy now – there had to be some smut somewhere for Lee).
Climbing is in my opininon where this bike really shines. Point it at a hill, head down, arse up, push hard on the climb, you’re rewarded as it propels you along and you feel each pedal stroke accelerating the rear wheels onwards.
The frame weighs in at 4.2lbs (16″) and is made of in-house Black Magic cromoly steel blend. You certainly get the feel of steel on the ride. The rear stays are thoughtfully curved and very compliant, they absorb rattly stones and roots to some extent. This helps to keep the momentum on bumpy sections. The mud clearance is extremely good, you are able to run up to 2.3″ tyres. V-brake bosses are standard if you wish to go that route, they are easily removed if not.
Geometry is optimized for 100mm forks, which is what I run. I have read that you are able to run up to 120mm forks without any adverse affects. Sizes range from 14″ through to 21″. I believe Ginger Fool Distribution (www.gingerfool.co.uk) are the main importers and would be the place to inquire on how to obtain a frame. Current cost I believe is about £350.00.
The paint job looks good in Rockstar Red, but does seem to scratch easily. The tube diameters are slight, which gives the look of a racey bike. All in all it is a nice retro looking frame for all of us older brothers.
So if you’re after a responsive steel frame, short reach, a bit of flex, a grin from ear to ear, you’re short, then go and buy one. Mine is definitely not for sale. Remember a Voodoo Wanga is not just for Christmas, its for keep’s.