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Competition in the under £3000 full suspension electric mountain bike price bracket is hotting up. Last year’s Voodoo Zobop E was and continues to be a great seller. The 2020 model now uses a Shimano Steps motor (instead of the Bosch CX) and has been available for a little while now. Can it compete with the current crop of mid-drive full-suspension e-MTBs? Read my review below for the lowdown on the latest model.
I have had quite a bit of experience with Voodoo mountain bikes in the past, I’ve owned a couple and I have also converted quite a few to electric assist.
I’ve always been impressed with their quality and specification for the money. Recently I had a chance to have a quick spin on the latest 2020 Voodoo Zobop E-Shimano, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!
The sub-£3000 price category (for full suspension e-bikes) is incredibly competitive, and yet there are only a handful of manufacturers who currently have a bike in this price range, notably Giant, and most recently Decathlon with the new Stilus e-MTB.
There have been some changes from last year’s model, the main one being a switch from the Bosch CX motor to the Shimano Steps E7000 system***
The latest Zobop offers a lot of e-bike for the money, with the excellent Shimano Steps motor, SRAM NX 11-speed drivetrain, Rockshox forks and even a TanzX dropper seat post.
How does this latest model fair against the competition? Read on for more information.
***The latest version now has the better ShimanoSteps E8000 motor fitted
Shimano Steps E7000
When Shimano started producing electric bike motors a few years back, it was obvious from the start they were going to be a major player in the world ebike stage.
They had to get it right from the word go – How could the world’s number one manufacturer of bicycle components not make a decent e-bike motor?
The Shimano Steps motor is everything I hoped it would be, and it now adorns such prestigious bikes like the BMC Alpen Challenge and a whole host of other top brands.
There is no doubt about it, this is an incredibly well thought-out motor, from the narrow 177mm q-factor through to the lightweight design (only 2.8kg) and the smooth 60Nm of torque, delivered through an intuitive torque-sensing pedal assist.
Don’t be fooled by the lower torque figure – 60Nm vs 75Nm for the latest Bosch CX. I have ridden bikes with both motors and to be honest, I couldn’t feel any noticeable difference between the two. The Shimano seemed a little quieter, but that was about it.
The fact remains that the Shimano Steps E7000 is a great e-bike motor, the higher torque E8000 version is found on more expensive e-MTBs like the Scott Spark eRide 910 – but at £4699 it’s nearly £2000 more expensive than the Zobop!
The Shimano Steps display is also excellent – it is mounted in such a way as to be discreet, and out of harm’s way. Functionality is also a strong point with this display, and apart from the usual speed, trip and battery monitoring functions it also offers the following features:
- Bluetooth LE / ANT private
- 4 cm (1.39 in) LCD black-white display with a handlebar mount
- Display functions include time, assist mode, battery charge level, speed, gear indicator (Di2 only), distance,
- total mileage, riding time, estimated range, cadence, error messages
- Customise your preferences through a wireless connection from a smartphone or tablet using the E-TUBE app
A neatly integrated 504Wh battery is fitted to the Zobop. I did about 8 miles off-road, and I never even lost a bar from the display. The listed maximum range (on Halfords website) is 60 miles, but I would imagine this would be considerably further if the power is used conservatively.
I think if you are hacking it around XC trails in constant Boost mode, then you would probably deplete the battery in about 35 – 40 miles, but power usage is going to vary from person to person. If you want to get a good workout and only use the assist for the ascents, then your range is going to be higher, than someone who uses the assist all the time.
The Voodoo Zobop E-Shimano has an excellent list of high-quality components considering the price. For starters, you have SRAM’s NX 1 x 11 drivetrain with an 11-42 cassette, plus Rockshox forks and rear suspension, plus a TransX dropper seat post.
SRAM’s NX 1 x 11 drivetrain is reliable and provides a wide spread of gears, thanks to the 11-42 cassette. Shifting is flawless and the gears indexed well during my ride.
The Shimano BR-MT200 hydraulic disc brakes are one of the compromises you would expect at this price, I thought they did a good enough job of slowing me down on the descents, bearing in mind I weigh 17.5 stone!
Again, Voodoo has gone for Rockshox Recon RL front forks with a Rockshox Debonair at the rear. With 150mm for the front and rear. Although these are fairly entry-level Rockshox components, I felt very confident (and comfortable) riding the Zobop on some very rough terrain on Bodmin moor.
Wheels and Tyres
The 27.5″ x 2.8″ Maxxis Rekon tyres provided excellent grip, even when ascending steep rock-laden climbs. The downhill 32H double-walled rims with Formula hubs looked and felt like they could cope with anything you could throw at them.
The Kalloy AS-M03 stem with Kalloy 740mm riser handlebars provide excellent comfort and control for off-roading and the TransX dropper seat post with 125mm of travel works perfectly. The Velo High-Density mountain bike saddle seemed comfortable enough.
The Zobop frame looks very well-made and tough. The steep rake on the sloping top tube is nice and makes this e-MTB suitable for male and female riders.
|Approximate Weight (KG):||24.5kg|
|Brake Type:||Shimano Hydraulic BR-MT200|
|Forks:||Rockshox Recon RL – Diffusion Black|
|Number of Gears:||11|
|Recharge Time:||6-7 Hours|
|Battery:||Shimano Steps BT-E8010 – 504Wh|
|Battery warranty:||2 Years / 500 Charges|
|Bottom Bracket:||Shimano Steps FC-E8000 Crank Arm – 170mm|
|Cassette/Freewheel:||SRAM PG-1130 11-42T|
|Chainset:||Shimano Steps FC-E8000 Crank Set|
|Component warranty:||Electrical – 2 Year Warranty|
|Display:||Shimano SC-E7000 Steps Display|
|Display Features:||4 Modes – BOOST, TRAIL, ECO, OFF, WALK|
|Drive Type:||Shimano Steps E7000 Mid Drive|
|Electric Bike System:||Shimano|
|Front Brake:||Shimano Altus Hydraulic Disc BR-MT200|
|Front Hub:||Formula DC-511 Disc|
|Gear Shifters:||SRAM NX 11 Speed|
|Handlebar Type:||Alloy Riser Bar|
|Handlebars:||Kalloy Alloy Riser Bar 740mm|
|Maximum Range:||Up to 60 miles range|
|Motor Type:||Mid Drive|
|Pedals:||Wellgo LU-A52 with Replaceable Pins|
|Rear Brake:||Shimano Altus Hydraulic Disc BR-MT200|
|Rear Hub:||Formula DC-1248 Disc|
|Rear Mech:||SRAM RD NX 1×11 Speed Long Cage|
|Rims:||Downhill Double Wall Alloy 32 Holes|
|Saddle:||Velo High Density MTB Saddle|
|Sensor Type:||Tranzx Dropper Seatpost JD-YSP22 (125mm travel 30.9mm diameter)|
|Tyre Size:||27.5″ x 2.8|
Is the Voodoo Zopbop E-Shimano suitable for off-road riding?
The answer to the above question is most definitely! If you are a beginner, a weekend warrior or even a more serious mountain biker, the Zobop E is a very capable bike indeed.
I managed 8 miles of some very rough tracks on Bodmin moor, and tackled a couple of seriously steep and rock-laden climbs, and not once did I feel out of control.
Of course, as with all full-suspension electric mountain bikes, the Zobop could double up as a daily commuter e-bike – riding this on the tarmac with some Schwalbe Big Ben’s fitted would make for a very plush ride.
Although it was brief, I thoroughly enjoyed my ride in the 2020 Zobop E-Shimano. It exceeded my expectations, and I would say it is at least on par with the Giant Stance E +2 which is in a similar price bracket (although the Zobop is a little lighter at around 24kg).
For me, the Zobop offers better value for money, as it has a dropper seat post, an 11-speed SRAM drivetrain, and a Rockshox suspension.
Considering I weigh a lot more than the average mountain bike rider, I felt the Zobop handled very well, and not once did I feel out of control.
If I was in the market for a sub-£3000 full suspension electric mountain bike, I would give the Voodoo serious consideration.
Its main competitor is going to be Decathlon’s new Stilus e-MTB – this does have the better SRAM SX Eagle 1 x 12 drivetrain with an 11-50 cassette and Bosch’s latest Performance Line CX motor. I will be testing one of those shortly and will be better placed to do a direct comparison, but at a glance, the Decathlon bike looks to have a slightly better spec at £2699.99.