Voodoo Wazoo Fat Bike – how to fix it.

I bought a ‘Halfords Special’ earlier this year.

I’ve had more than my money’s worth of fun with it since.

As these are built to a price (and it is a bargain as it stands) compromises were made:

  1. The headset bearings lasted about three months in the wetness of the Lake District. I replaced the factory-fit “thing” with a no-name clone of the Hope S.H.I.S. ZS44/28.6 (upper) and ZS44/30 (lower). This gives you cartridge bearings for your 1 1/8″ steerer. Some astute observers suggested that you might use a EC44/40 at the lower, to give you compatibility with tapered steerer tubes. You might want to replace the forks in the future. The factory fitted bearings had no seals installed, so it was not much of a surprise they failed soon.
  2. The bottom bracket failed after about 6 months. What was fitted was a 100mm shell, with a 154.5mm square taper spindle. Made by some cheap manufacturer with bearings made of cheese. This is where it gets weird. Halfords have told me their ‘technical records’ indicate the spindle length is 164mm. I know that one Wazoo left the factory with a 154.5mm spindle…
    Finding a replacement proved to be tricky, and the best that myself and my local LBS could find was an On-One 100x148mm BB. This fits, does not destroy the chain line, nor causes any mechanical issues. It looks like a superior replacement, with doubled-up bearings at each end of the spindle. [ I reserve the right to revise my assessment of the BB at the end of its life ]
    Halfords did suggest I order part number 153878 “BBS Wazoo 2015 BB” for the sum of £16. I have done that purely for the curiosity value.

I wanted to put these technical bits in to the public domain, in case they help other bikers dabbling with fat bikes. The nearest whole bike which can compete with the Wazoo costs around £1000, so it is a compelling choice for an alternative mountain bike.

(7/10/2016) The Halfords part number will provide you with a 154.5mm spindle BB, for a 100mm BB shell. I think I will continue buying the On-One part, on the basis that it is more likely to survive being wet once or twice.

Update 31/12/2016

3. Freehub info: The Halfords part number for the freehub is 341740 “FHB CB/Car/VD Splin F”. You need to insert a 12mm allen key in to the hub from the non-drive side to release the freehub. The seals on the cup-and-cone bearings are poor, so you’ll be re-greasing the bearings frequently (or never getting the bike wet).
There are some letters stamped on one of the splines “JdT”, I don’t know if this is a model designation or a maker’s mark.

As an aside, a Shimano 10 speed cassette (CS-M771-10) fits on that freehub, with what appears to be sufficient thread engagement on the lock-nut. I haven’t tried an 11 speed MTB cassette on it yet, only because I don’t have a spare sitting on the shelf.

Update 23/1/2017

4. The factory-fit cable to operate the rear dérailleur lasted a bit longer than my cynical self expected. I have replaced it with a sealed and continuous run of outer and inner, to keep the water and muck out.

5. Another recommendation; inspect the jockey wheels on the dérailleur. If they do not turn freely then disassemble, clean, pack with light grease before reassembly. When an entire rear mech. costs under £10, you get what you pay for.

Update 15/2/2017

Yes, a Shimano Deore XT M8000 (11-42) 11-speed cassette fits on the freehub, sufficient thread engagement on the lock nut etc. No obvious fouls or pitfalls to my (un)trained eyes.

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8 Responses to “Voodoo Wazoo Fat Bike – how to fix it.”

  1. Andy Simpson Says:

    I’m a Wazoo owner and like yourself have had way more fun with it than the purchase price reflects. After nearly a year of dragging it through the Scottish weather I’m starting to replace the wearing parts. I’m trying very hard to stick to the cheap as chips ethos of the Wazoo and your info on the BB and headset bearings is just what I need. Thanks.

  2. backonbikes Says:

    Thanks for the information so far.
    I’ve had my Wazoo since October and love it. I put Jumbo Jim tyres on when I could find them cheap enough, paid £50 each, this transformed the bike. The stock tyres, are, as I’m sure you noticed, pretty dire for anything but dry conditions.
    My headset is now on it’s way out so that information is greatly appreciated.
    Recently knackered the front mech and 38t chainring.Getting a replacement 38t locally was impossible so took the front mech and shifter off and put a 32t chairing that came with my single speed on. Works fine.
    Running it as a 1*8 for now to see how I get on with it before splashing out on a 1*11 set up if I can ever bare to spend that much on a cheap bike.

    • barrowbiker Says:

      Glad to know you found my observations and musings useful. Does your 32t chainring rub the tyre sidewall? I’ve a bit of that going on with the combination of chainring and OnOne 4.0 Floaters right now.

  3. backonbikes Says:

    No issues with the 32t chainring at all. It just works. Which is odd for me.
    I had the Floaters for a while, paid £15 each in a sale as they were the brown ones. I liked them but one tyre had a defect that resulted in the sidewall tearing when I was miles from home. . Couldn’t trust the other one after that.
    The Jumbo Jim are even better than the Floater.

  4. Andy Simpson Says:

    Weird about the Floaters, me and my mates are all running them and haven’t had any issues. I’ve just done my front chain ring, rear cassette and chain. I toyed with a 1x set up but really want to keep the Wazoo as a cheap and cheerful bike and try to keep it going with parts that are as cheap as I can get them. The only issue I had was getting the square taper retaining bolt to stay put. I ended up with some thread lock and a big allen key.

  5. backonbikes Says:

    Totally agree about keeping the cost down, that’s why I haven’t gone 1×11 yet, if ever. Way too much £ for a cheap bike.
    I was swapping my chain and cassette when I noticed that the chainring and front mech were ruined.
    So far the 1×8 is working well.

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