First Ride: Juliana's New 29er - the 2020 Maverick

Jul 2, 2019
by Sarah Moore  

The Juliana team fully acknowledges that the Maverick is more similar than it is different from the new Santa Cruz Hightower. If you don't get why Juliana is a separate brand from Santa Cruz, they're totally fine with you completely ignoring this article in favour of Mike Kazimer's review of the Hightower. In fact, they welcome it, which may seem counterintuitive but actually makes their followers that much more ardent.

Some women love women's branding and product, some women hate it. Turns out, women are not a homogeneous group and Juliana is unapologetic about the fact that their brand only speaks to a small group of women. You'll know if that's you, and if it's not, they're more than fine with you moving along.
Juliana Maverick
• Wheelsize: 29"
• Travel: 140mm
• Head angle: 65.2° or 65.5°
• Chainstay length: 434mm
• Threaded bottom bracket
• 12 x 148mm rear spacing
• Fork offset: 44mm
• Sizes: S, M, L
• Color: Hot Tomato Red
• Weight (claimed): 29.81 lb / 13.52 kg
• MSRP: $8,299 USD as shown

The Maverick, which means "rebel" or "an unorthodox or independent-minded person," is a new model for Juliana, and the first longer-travel 29er in the brand's lineup. It's also the first bike that they're offering in a size Small through Large instead of XS through Medium. There are four price points available, all of which come with a 140mm rear shock that is tuned for lighter riders, a Juliana women’s saddle, and Juliana grips.

2020 Juliana Maverick
Riding on Buena Vista's rocky 'Vitamin B' trail with Juliana Brand Manager Katie Zaffke.

The base model complete Maverick C R is priced at $4,299, with a parts kit that includes a RockShox Yari RC fork, Fox Float Performance DPS rear shock, SRAM NX 12-speed drivetrain, and Guide R brakes. The $8,299 Maverick CC X01 Reserve above is the one that I rode during the bike's two-day launch in Buena Vista, Colorado. It gets a SRAM X01 drivetrain, Code RSC brakes, a RockShox Lyrik Ultimate, RockShox Super Deluxe Select Ultimate shock, and Santa Cruz's Reserve carbon wheels.

2020 Juliana Maverick
2020 Juliana Maverick
The Maverick uses the same VPP design as the Strega and Roubion.

Frame Details

The Maverick's carbon frame with its lower-link mounted shock VPP design looks similar to the Roubion, but has bigger wheels and 10mm less travel front and rear. It's available in both the high-grade carbon frame known as the “CC” and the regular "C" carbon.

Coil shocks are not compatible with the frame, and neither are the Fox Float X2 or Cane Creek DB Air. Juliana recommends the RockShox Super Deluxe, Deluxe, Fox DPX2, or Fox Float DPS.

Other frame details include a shuttle guard, a downtube protector, a fender that keeps mud away from the shock, a ribbed chainstay protector, room to mount a water bottle on the top of the downtube on all sizes, a threaded bottom bracket, and ISCG-05 tabs for mounting a chain guard. You can run up to a 36t chainring on the Maverick.

2020 Juliana Maverick
Deep purple accents on the Hot Tomato red. The color is named after the pizza shop in Fruita, Colorado, which is run by two women and is a favourite post-ride spot.

2020 Juliana Maverick
Women's specific Juliana saddle.
2020 Juliana Maverick
Color-matched Juliana grips.


2020 Juliana Maverick

You can ride the Maverick in one of two geometry settings, High or Low. There's a flip chip on the link where the shock mounts that allows you to switch between the two settings. Juliana recommends starting in the Low setting, which gives the bike a 65.2° head tube angle, and then if you find yourself hitting your pedals, moving to the High position.

Juliana's geometry chart for the Maverick is based off of a 150mm fork with a 44mm offset. They don't recommend riding the bike with less travel than 150mm as the bottom bracket will get a bit low, but they have no problem with riders bumping up the travel to 160mm if that's your preference. In fact, the Juliana-SRAM Pro Team riders have all been riding their Mavericks with a 160mm fork.

The Maverick is compatible with 27.5 x 2.8" tires in addition to the 29 x 2.4" spec that comes on the bike. If you do decide to ride smaller wheels on this bike, Juliana recommends that you ride in the High BB setting with a 160mm fork to keep the BB height in the right range.

This is the first Juliana offered in a Large, but you'll notice there's no XS frame size for the Maverick. Juliana says that the longer travel in a 29” platform makes it hard to make that size. Product Manager Amy Nelson is 5'1" though and she looked comfortable riding a size small.

The Small size comes with a 125mm dropper, the Medium comes with a 150mm dropper and the Large comes with a 170mm dropper. That being said, I was able to throw a leg over the Medium that Juliana-SRAM Pro Team's Brittany Phelan was riding and found I could comfortably fit a 170mm RockShox Reverb Stealth with a 27" inseam.

2020 Juliana Maverick
The RockShox Super Deluxe on the Maverick has a custom shock tune.
2020 Juliana Maverick
The Maverick comes with a 150mm fork.


The custom shock tune of the RockShox Super Deluxe was developed based on the leverage rate curve of the Juliana Maverick and the intended user of this bike. The DebonAir air spring has 1 volume spacer, a light check valve, and a light rebound compression tune.

• 1 volume spacer – corresponds to the progressiveness of bike’s leverage rate curve. If the rider is looking for a more linear feel they can remove this token. More progressive? Just add a token.
• Light check – provides less damping (for a “fluttery” or lively feeling) at slow shaft speeds (rider input, pedaling, light braking, moving the bike to change directions, etc.).
• Light rebound – provides the best range for a lighter air spring setup given the bike’s leverage rate curve.
• L1 compression – provides the best damping combination of support, comfort, and control that still allows the wheels to get out of the way upon impact.

I rode this bike for two days in Buena Vista, Colorado, at the Juliana launch event. The first day was spent on the aggressive cross-country "Downtown" trails, which were dry and dusty, with lots of smooth high-speed sections, flat corners and great names like "Bacon Bits" and "Broken Boyfriend."

The second day, we took a shuttle up to the Vitamin B trailhead, which sits at just under 10,000 feet and drops down to about 8,000 feet. The trail was a succession of chunky rock moves, short but steep rolls, and high-speed traverses littered with rocks. It was the kind of trail that felt awkward the first time we rode it, but then flowed really well the second time we went down it and knew all the places to huck, keep left and stay wide. With a good mix of technical and smooth climbing and high and low-speed descents, it was a great testing ground for the Maverick.
Cannondale Habit
Sarah Moore
Location: Squamish, BC, Canada
Age: 29
Height: 5'7"
Inseam: 27"
Weight: 155 lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @smooresmoore

Photo by Adrian Marcoux Juliana Maverick


Despite being way above sea level and never having quite enough air in my lungs, climbing was a pleasant experience on the Maverick. I rode the bike in the Low setting for the two days and had no issues with pedal strikes. The bike felt light underneath me and was easily maneuverable on the tight switchbacks and rocky climbs we encountered. The biggest difference I found between the Maverick and the Roubion was the ease at which I could roll over uphill obstacles and trail features. Initially, I kept pedaling too hard and building up too much momentum and flying over rocks I expected to only just make it up and over.

There was a bit more movement in the rear shock than I had anticipated when climbing on wide-open fire roads, but dialing in a couple clicks of compression provided the support I was looking for. I didn't notice the movement on singletrack and the bike had great traction. On the slower steep climbs, I found that if I just kept moving my legs, I could trust the bike was able to crawl up features I didn't think I had the energy or speed to make it up.

Adrian Marcoux Juliana Maverick


Looking at the big wheels and 450mm reach numbers on paper, I didn't think that the Maverick would be as much fun to descend on as it was. Fast? Quite likely. Fun? Leave that to the smaller wheeled Roubion... At least that's what I thought would be the case. However, as soon as I pointed the bike downhill all of my preconceptions were proven wrong, and I found that the Maverick was at least as playful as the Roubion, if not more. It didn't take me any time to get used to riding the bigger wheels on the corners and I felt comfortable on the bike almost immediately. So familiar in fact, that I had to remind myself that that probably wasn't a good idea to really push into corners and pop off trail features and ramp it up to 100 on my first lap on the bike.

The Maverick is not a "hold on and pray" type bike, and allows you to carefully choose your lines. It won't have you wishing for more bike when you're tired at the end of a long day and have a long descent to get back home. The 140mm of travel on the Maverick hits a sweet spot, where I never felt like the rear wheel got in the way of my riding and instead I just benefited from the smoothness over chunder and plushness on square edges and sharp runouts.

My initial impressions are that the Maverick is well-suited to someone who wants a bike that's fast and efficient for long days in the saddle but won't have you wishing for something burlier on the descents. It's a bike that is capable, fun and equally well suited to racing enduro as it is to all-day excursions in the backcountry.

Adrian Marcoux Juliana Maverick

Regions in Article
Buena Vista

Author Info:
sarahmoore avatar

Member since Mar 30, 2011
1,286 articles

  • 114 1
 Man the juliana colors consistently blow the SC colors away. Of course just my opinion.
  • 12 1
 I couldn’t agree more. Lovely colour this bike.
  • 4 19
flag karoliusz (Jul 2, 2019 at 1:13) (Below Threshold)
 @jaame: that’s so cute indeed. Looks like fuchsia to me...
  • 19 0
 Shame it's not available in XL/XXL. If I were looking into new Hightower I would pick this red Juliana instead.
  • 1 0
 I was going to write this exact thing. They last good colored boys bike by sc was that yellow tall boy lt imho.
  • 5 1
 its true and so many dudes would buy them if it wasn't labeled womens. I bet lots of women don't want to buy them because they won't be able to resell them as easily too
  • 2 0
 @Dangerhill: agreed. Although i fell in love with the Bronson light matte blue.
  • 2 0
 This looks like the color of the original Hightower
  • 1 0
 @theredbike: I thought that way when it came time to get my new bike. It's a real thing. I learned Juliana's go way faster then size small Santa Cruz bikes (I previously had a gen 3 nomad sz small). I now currently have a Roubion and it was the best decision ever!
  • 2 0
 @theredbike: Had about a gajillion offers on my small frame Juliana Roubion within about a day of posting it for sale on PB. Have to disagree on the resale train of thought as nearly all of my friends who have sold their Juliana's have found stoked AF new owners rather quickly!
  • 35 1
 Top tip: Julianna bikes are worth significantly less 2nd hand, so if you're a male shorter than 5'10 and after a bargain, give it 6 months and these "cheap Hightowers" should be the one to go for. They'll also be a much bigger chance that they won't have been hucked-to-flat repeatedly.
You're welcome!
  • 2 0
 Don't even have to be shorter than 5'10". The large Juliana has the exact same geometry as the large Hightower. But ya, there would probably be more availability of the small and medium sizes for shorter guys.
  • 15 2
 Maybe rather than dancing around it being "more similar than it is different" you could just say "it's a Hightower with different suspension tuning," That way your readers will be able to better differentiate between manufacturers that actually make distinct women's bikes and manufacturers that put different paint on their men's bikes.
  • 5 2
 It's always hard to account for how much branding plays into the decision making process.
  • 3 2
 @sarahmoore: what's the reasoning behind segregating male and female specific models if they are the same frame? I've always seen bikes as non gender specific....
  • 3 1
 @makripper: You can read the reasoning behind it on the Juliana website here.
  • 1 3
 @sarahmoore: so they have different numbers then the santa Cruz bikes?
  • 7 1
 @makripper: I just read there website and it seems super thin. It sounds like the only real difference is grips stem saddle and suspension tuning. Basically everything that can be done and swapped on a SC. To me this is so dumb because woman make up about 20% of the mountain biking market and once you label it women specific you make it unsellable to 80% of the market. It also pigeon holes uneducated woman to thinking they need something women specific which drastically narrows there option. Then on top of that its going to be harder to resell.
  • 1 0
 @makripper: It's simple, shock tune... I'm pretty sure the vast majority of guys would be bummed on a super light shock tune.
  • 10 1
 Do you guys have daughters? They want their own thing, even if it's just a different name on the frame and a different color. The guy thing to say is "its just suspension tuning, what's the difference?" You just don't get it.
  • 2 0
 @fpmd: I don't get it because i think everyone's different. Gender is only relevant for marketing. Why can't a woman ride a size small hightower? If the frames have a shorter reach or different geo that in someway helps women i guess that's cool but would that also be great for shorter males? My partner rides a medium trance with a shorter stem and she's happy with it. Why all the fuss? I consider bikes gender neutral. Why push the slight differences? Let's just all enjoy biking and not worry about if it's a bike for guys or girls. I'm seriously missing the point here.
  • 1 0
 @makripper: Shock tune... the article clearly states it is tuned lighter than the SC version. Also in the Hightower review it said that the tune was the key to how it rides. So if this is intended for lighter less aggressive riders, it needs the lighter tune to feel proportionately similar and not overly harsh. I'm a small guy with a 28" inseam and I ride a small frame but I also weigh 170lbs and ride pretty hard. I highly doubt the tune on this bike would feel right for me but the sizing would be just fine.
  • 1 0
 @millsr4: I'm still not getting it. In know guys in the 150 range that might benefit from that kind of tune. Adversely, you can tune any shock for relatively not much money. You can alter the feel alot with an air shock with just preload and volume spacers anyway.
  • 2 0
 @makripper: Then they should buy the Juliana lol. I would be bummed to drop thousands on a bike and then have to spend a few hundred to get my shock tuned. Altering feel through settings will only get you so far...
  • 1 0
 @millsr4: i always need to custom tune my shocks. A few hundred isn't much at all. Hell, my new helmet cost that. You can maybe get a set of tires for that lol
  • 2 0
 @makripper: It's the principle more than anything. Most people who buy a complete bike want it to be ready to go when they walk out of the store for the kind of money these things cost.
  • 1 0
 @millsr4: the principal of riding something not tuned for them? A 140lb guy needs a different tune that a 230lb guy
  • 5 0
 @makripper: perhaps it's because this way, their target audience can go I to a bikestore and walk out with what they want instead of having adapted for them. Saying we make bikes for women is different than saying we make stuff that's unisex but generally works better for men, but we'll be happy to adapt it to work just as well for women.
  • 1 0
 @g-42: that's the thing. It's always generally worked for both men and women. All of a sudden a woman can't ride a santa Cruz instead of a high tower?
  • 1 0
 @g-42: I mean instead of a Juliana hah
  • 8 1
 @fpmd: Yes, this exactly! It's the same in the ski/snowboard world. Us women love to feel like we "belong to brand" and stand out from the other brands (such as the male equivalent brand). I'm 5'5 and a 160lb female who rides pretty aggressively. Sure, I could ride a small SC Hightower or a small Juliana Maverick. And yeah, the light shock tune is a bonus for those who run lower psi in their shock (male or female). But, the bike is much more than a lighter shock tune. It's what the bike and the brand stand for...a sister-company to Santa Cruz with four female employees who want to see more women on bikes and for them to enjoy their ride experience. If you can resonate with the brand's efforts to employ more women, build up female racers through the Juliana team efforts (Pro and Free Agents), build more mountain biking advocates through their ambassador program, and go into the field and partner with local communities to put on Ride Out events to allow women to network and ride with one another, AND, if you like the bikes, then go buy one and join their brand. If you want to run the SC version, then that's fine too. Juliana is just providing another option for women, just like the ski/snowboard world does.
  • 1 0
 @makripper: I don't know how sudden this is, there have been women's specific bikes for over a decade...
  • 2 0
 @sarahmoore: My point was that there's a fundamental difference between what Santa Cruz and others are doing with paint and what Giant (and anyone else?) is doing with an entirely different line of women's frames. I'm not making the case that women have different enough frame needs that that's necessary, but not noting that the "women's bike" is the men's bike in a different color is where the disservice to readers comes in because, as others have pointed out, a pigeon-holed version of basically the same thing will have lower resale value.
  • 12 0
 If I wasn't 6ft 2, if probably buy a juliana to get a decent colour!
  • 6 0
 Maybe I'm missing seeing it, but this review doesn't have the usual height, weight, etc...measurements for the rider like the other reviews on here. I would like to see this as fitting a bicycle to a female is something I know little about and I would like to know more. As for the light shock tune, I would like to know what their weight specs are for that. Here in the south, I can see those simply not applying to the stout she-beasts that graze this land, and a men's model might be more appropriate.
  • 5 1
 I've added it in now.
  • 1 0
 @sarahmoore: thank you Sarah. This was a Medium you tested?
  • 2 0
 @JohanG: Yes, I ride a medium.
  • 5 0
 From a brand perspective, even though I am not part of their audience, it appeals to me that they aren't trying to be "all things to all people (or women)", and are "unapologetic" about it... Good for you gals/guys/or whatever!
  • 4 1
 Pardon me, but I don't get the difference between Santa Cruz and Juliana... Price is almost the same and the frame looks exactly the same. Why to purchase one of these instead of a SC?
  • 6 0
 The main difference is in the suspension tuning. Lighter tuning for lighter riders. Beyond that there isn't a whole lot of difference, just brand preference from there.
  • 3 1
 Oh, you can only fit 29x2.4 on the Hightower/Maverick? That's kind of a bummer. I feel like that's an important note on the "Hightower vs Stumpjumper" comparison. The SJ will fit up to a 29x3.0 tire and comes stock with a 29x2.6 which makes it feel very bulldozery on the descents.
  • 6 1
 Missed opportunity to call this bike the Rapunzel.
  • 3 0
 Where’s the duc32? Uh, mr. Paul Turner and your wave surfing in Maui need to represent. Your a needed and much missed part of our industry yo.
  • 2 2
 "There was a bit more movement in the rear shock than I had anticipated when climbing on wide-open fire roads, but dialing in a couple clicks of compression provided the support I was looking for. I didn't notice the movement on singletrack and the bike had great traction."

this is funny, because i can tell you from experience that the LSC knob on the SD Ult doesn't really do anything.

sponsor-friendly codewords for it didn't pedal as well as I'd like.
  • 6 1
 It's actually an efficient pedaller, it's just that the light check on the RockShox Super Deluxe Select Ultimate shock makes it feel more fluttery and lively at slower shaft speeds than I was expecting.
  • 3 1
 You must have a blown shock. I've got a SD Ultimate, and the LSC definitely changes the low speed compression, from fully open to a decent platform when closed.
  • 2 0
 @rickon: maybe so. Light tune FWIW. we will see what it's like when vorsprung is done with it.
  • 2 1
 just change the spacer in the shock in the juliana and its the same as the SC. ive been looking to get one cause they are cheaper and always in better condition!
  • 1 0
 Don’t get me wrong, vitamin B is great for slower techy stuff but it’s kind of a shame when Hooligan, Sand dunes, and Uncle nazty are right down the way.
  • 2 0
 Yeah but those BV vibes. Probably easier to shuttle from an event standpoint, too.
  • 3 1
 What if it was ridden by a male?
  • 48 0
 They just remove the A so it says “JULIAN”
  • 28 1
 @jaame: Being male myself I would prefer riding Juliana instead of Julian, but each to his own. No judgment here. Big Grin
  • 2 0
 @jollyXroger: it takes all sorts!
  • 4 2
 So what if SC and Juliana gave riders either shock tune option?
  • 1 0
 Such a good trail, plus the views of the Collegiate Peaks are an added bonus (for your insta story, obviously).
  • 1 0
 Looks like a blast. I dig the color too.
  • 1 0
 next build, replace with my name "mokydot's".
  • 1 1
 I prefer the original definition of Maverick: an unbranded calf. This bike appears far from unbranded though.
  • 7 9
 wonder what santa cruz pays to get two reviews for the same bike.
  • 11 1
 No one's paying for reviews on Pinkbike!
  • 2 6
flag mm732 (Jul 2, 2019 at 13:49) (Below Threshold)
 @sarahmoore: really? still waiting on that Jamis Portal/Hardline review with the Chris Curry suspension
  • 1 3
 @sarahmoore: Currie*
  • 1 0
 @sarahmoore: variety... Its the spice of life
  • 1 3
 Sounds like they paid for a trip to Colorado for two reviewers. Pinkbike got two articles out of it and we read them (and then see ads), so probably a good deal for both
  • 7 1
 @sarahmoore: Sarah Moore you're the best thing to happen to pinkbike in ages. Don't listen to these fools.
  • 1 0
 @sarahmoore: I really liked the review. That said, it does seem that big advertisers get a lot more review space, and I'm assuming advertising with pinkbike isn't free. The new bronson got 3 articles, and literally every SC bike gets reviewed.

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