WORDS: Mary Moncorgé
ACTION PHOTOS: Gary Perkin & Sven Martin
If you are a female rider and haven't paid attention to what Santa Cruz has been up to over the last year, or you are male and you don't belong to the targeted market, Santa Cruz Bicycles has launched Juliana Bicycles, a new brand, dedicated to cater to female mountain bikers. You will not find "women specific geometries" here as Juliana models are using the same molds. Juliana is more about philosophy and spirit, with good components and girly colors.
Juliana Bicycles is the first brand to launch a fully decked out AM/Enduro bike for women: no entry level components, missing dropper post or heavy parts here. Only "la crème de la crème" for the adventuress in you or the lady in your life. We had the opportunity to get Juliana Roubion between our legs and take it for a few days of riding in the tiny village of Roubion, its namesake, nestled in the high mountains of the Maritime Alps in France. We tried it out on all the different terrains the area had to offer: steep, slick, rooted bikepark tracks; natural style singletracks; rocky terrain; and nice flowy trails. Available in sizes S, M, and L, the 27.5" wheeled Juliana Roubion starts retailing at $6599 USD. Juliana Bicycles
Shimano XTR brakes, carbon handlebar and
ENVE M60 wheels.
Juliana Roubion Details
• Intended use: all-mountain/enduro
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Rear wheel travel: 150mm
• Carbon fiber frame, forged aluminum links
• VPP suspension
• 2 x bottle cage mounts
• Standard or direct mount rear derailleur hanger option
• ISCG-05 tabs
• Stealth and external seat post cable routing
• 73mm threaded BB
• Molded rubber frame protection on downtube and chainstays
• Size: S, M, L
• Shock: Custom tuned Fox Float CTD, Factory with Kashima coat, upgrade: Cane Creek Double Barrel Air CS
• Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air 150mm fork
• Drivetrain: SRAM X01 - possible to upgrade SRAM XX1 (32T chainring)
• Handlebar: Juliana 720mm
• Stem: Easton Haven 55mm
• Brakes: Shimano XTR, 180mm rotors
• Wheelset: WTB Asym i23 rims, upgrade: ENVE M60 rims with matching decals
• Tires: Maxxis High Roller II
• Saddle: Juliana
• Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
• Weight: 25.8lbs (w/o pedals)
• MSRP: Four models from $6599 to $10,299
• MSRP Frame and shock: Roubion C Float CTD Adjust - $2,899, with Cane Creek DB Air - $3099
The Roubion's carbon frame is created using semi-rigid inserts and molded bladders to ensure that the carbon layers are compacted and wrinkle free during the molding process. The front section has a dramatically sloping top tube, which helps with stand-over clearance, according to Josh Kissner, product manager at SCB, and also allows the shifters/brakes more clearance, so they don’t hit the top tube in case of an involuntary barspin. A quick look at the head angle and you may notice it is slightly steeper than some more aggressive AM/Enduro offerings. This makes it a more versatile bike, one that is not a raked-out mini-DH bike, although it handles DH trails really well, but will be a good climber too. Chainstay length is slightly longer than some bikes in its class, so you can put wide tires on the frame and there will be plenty of room left over.
Cable routing is only done internally for the seatpost, with an option of routing it externally. All the other cables and hoses are routed externally, which may seem a bit old school in this day and age of having everything internally routed, but it is a hassle-free option for those who work on their bikes often. The frame comes with a five-year warranty, which is always appreciated on frames aimed for AM and Enduro. A lifetime bearing and crash replacement warranty is also offered. Three frame sizes are available, but, and this is an unfortunate fact, if you are shorter than five feet tall, the small-size Roubion will be too large for you and Santa Cruz has no present plans to build a fourth size for smaller riders.Suspension
The Juliana Roubion uses Santa Cruz patented VPP system. The Virtual Pivot Point suspension has short links connecting the rear triangle to the frame. Combined with a lockout fork and shock, it makes a decent climber and really smooth descender. The Pike RCT3 Solo Air fork is pretty straight forward. Set it up with a 30-percent sag while unlocked, and then you tweak the rebound and low-speed compression to your liking.. It has a three-position compression adjustment: 'lock' for when you climb, 'pedal' for the more traversey bits, and 'open' when you are ready to pin it on the descents.
To match the suppleness of the front suspension, our test bike had the Cane Creek Double Barrel CS shock. Cane Creek offers specific tuning instructions for each bike on its website that tell you how many clicks or turns needed to be applied for a specific bike. So a quick look taught us how to properly set-up the high- and low-speed compression, as well as the high- and low-speed rebound. Once again, a sag of 30-percent provided us with a nicely comfortable suspension. CS stands for Climb Switch: which is a little lever on the Cane Creek shock to lock it up for the climbs.
First Impression: Juliana Roubion
Testing on natural trails, as well as in the bike park of Roubion, allowed us to push the Juliana hard. Unlock the suspension, point it down and the Roubion will gobble everything you throw at it in the descents - steep chutes, wet roots, rock gardens or simple flow trails. With its very plush suspension, it doesn't take long to feel at home on the bike and to want to go bigger. We didn’t get much opportunity to climb the Roubion during the couple of days of the launch, as we got a few shuttles up and then tested it in the French bike park of Roubion. But, at only 25.8 pounds for a medium size, and with the suspension locked, for a 150mm bike with 27.5" wheels, it is a really easy bike to pedal up. The ENVE M60s are not too rigid for carbon wheels and are quite responsive to acceleration. With the SRAM 1 by11 drivetrain mounted with a 32T chainring, it can haul you on day-long pedally adventures and leave you asking for more. Where we enjoyed the Juliana the most, was at the park, where its confident let us attack almost everything there. Pinkbike's Take:
| We tested the fully pimped version of the bike with a Cane Creek DBA shock, ENVE wheels and a SRAM XX1 drivetrain. Everything was top-notch on the bike, from the Shimano XTR brakes to RockShox Stealth dropper post. A part we weren't a fan of was the saddle, It never felt quite right, though it never prohibited us from enjoying every bit of the ride. The combo of the Pike fork and DB Air CS shock for the suspension was quite amazing: it was really efficient for climbing, once locked, and so plush on the DH. Once you took the time to set it up properly, it gave us extra confidence to attack the trails. The 720mm bars were too narrow, especially combined with the short top tube of the Roubion. It is nice to have some chest room on an AM/Enduro bike and we found ourselves a limited by the short width. A wider bar that could cut to your desired width would have been a better option. Overall, It is nice to finally get a women's bike with the best components out there in stock form. The Juliana Roubion bike is ready to handle flowy trails as well as the gnarly ones - a great adventure companion. - Mary Moncorge|