Juliana Furtado Primeiro - Review

Jul 16, 2014
by Rachelle Frazer Boobar  

The focus and attention directed at Juliana Bicycles of late may be rallied around the recent launch of the Roubion, a 150mm trail bike intended to be an all-mountain, competition crushing enduro weapon, but before the Roubion there was the Furtado Primeiro, a 125mm AM/XC ride and the original queen of the Juliana court. We've had the Furtado out on the trails for some time now and it bears worthy of delivering a report.

Before we get into the details of the bicycle though, let’s rewind for a second and talk about just what the premise of Juliana Bicycles is. In 1999, the cycling industry’s most successful female competitor, Juliana Furtado, with the assistance of Santa Cruz Bicycles, launched the first Juliana Bicycle. In those days, Juli was a dominating force, competing and winning in road, XC, and downhill disciplines at a national and international level. It was fitting that she should have a bike in her namesake, since she put many titles under her belt during the 90s and was a near unstoppable force until a diagnosis of lupus led her to an early retirement. Fast forward to 2013, when Juliana Bicycles was re-launched as a fully-fledged women’s mountain bike brand, with Juli now at the helm of their very interesting and eclectic ambassador program and very much in touch with the direction and voice of the brand.

Juliana Furtado Primeiro details:

• Intended for XC and AM use
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Rear wheel travel: 125mm
• Carbon fiber frame
• VPP Suspension
• Fox 32 Float 130mm fork
• Fox Float rear shock
• Juliana Segundo Saddle
• Compact Bar & Grip System
• Shimano Deore XT drivetrain
• Lifetime Crash Replacement & Pivot Bearing Warranty
• Sizes: S, M, L
• Color: orange
• Weight: 27.81 lbs/12614 g (Size ??? - Check W Juliana)
• MSRP: $5999 USD

Julian Furtado Primeiro review

Furtado Primeiro Highlights

The $5999 Furtado Primeiro was launched as the star of the new Juliana family of bikes. Boasting carbon front and rear triangles, 125mm of Fox Float TD rear travel and a 130mm Fox 32 Float fork up front, the Furtado was designed to be efficient at pedaling yet provide its passenger with a plush enough ride to maneuver comfortably over more technical terrain as well. The frame used for the Furtado is the same as the Santa Cruz 5010, and an interesting side fact to know is that the Furtado was in fact launched before the 5010. So, are the boys riding girls bikes or the girls riding boys bikes? The answer is neither. Juliana’s intention is to deliver the best riding experience possible for women by incorporating women's specific elements into the spec of the bike. Design wise, the brand chose to use the proven geometries and engineering from their friends over at Santa Cruz. The VPP suspension system has had resounding success over the years and so it makes sense to harness that technology, but when it comes down to defining details and choosing finishing kits, Juliana has employed a whole family of women riders and female staff to take care of those decisions.

Apart from being generously spec'd with some pretty fancy parts including a RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post and Shimano XT brakes and drivetrain, the Furtado has been outfitted for the ladies with a Juliana Primeiro women's specific saddle, a 680mm tapered flat bar - that means the diameter of the ends of the bar are much narrower than that of a regular bar in an effort to make it easier for little hands to hang on to - plus a specifically designed compact grip system which fits the tapered bars. The Juliana has its own look as well, with a flash looking logo on the down tube and a colorway that stands out from the crowd without being obnoxious about it.

Price $5999
Travel 125mm
Rear Shock Fox Float CTD
Fork Fox 32 Float FIT CTD 130mm
Headset Cane Creek 40
Cassette 11-36 Shimano 10 speed M771
Crankarms Shimano XT 22/32/42
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT
Front Derailleur Shimano XT
Shifter Pods Shimano XT
Handlebar Juliana compact
Stem Easton EA70
Grips Juliana Mountain lock-on
Brakes Shimano XT
Hubs DT Swiss 350
Rim WTB Frequency Team i23 TCS
Tires Maxxis High Roller II 2.3
Seat Juliana Primiero
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth
Juliana Furtado Primeiro

bigquotesLike the friend that insists on riding features that are way above their ability level, the Furtado stubbornly rode scary, nasty, steep and unsuitable terrain and demonstrated far more aplomb than we ever foresaw to give it credit for.


Juliana claims that the Furtado should climb with the efficiency of an XC bike, although the fact that it weighs in at 27.81 lbs (M) may make you question this statement – but they are quite right. The Furtado absolutely loves going up hills. Be it undulating, rolling singletrack or steep long fire roads, the Juliana's ride kept the mind from going to deep, dark and horrible places with its pedaling efficiency and geometry. We took it up a lot of technical rooty and rocky climbs and the tracking was extremely reliable and kept us on our bike and very satisfied. The Fox Float rear shock worked well and even in the open position there was minimal bob. The Fox Float 130mm fork also came with CTD settings (Climb, Trail, Descend) and by the end of our testing we generally just left it in open as it didn’t seem too detrimental in leeching energy away from us during climbing. Our main gripe with the Furtado with regards to climbing was the triple-ring equipped Shimano Deore XT drivetrain, which, with the gear range available on double and single ring set ups these days, seemed like absolute overkill. We rarely if ever used our big ring except on road commutes and the granny gear only got the occasional turn when things got ridiculously steep. If anything, its removal would be a win in the weight saving department.

Juliana Furtado Primeiro
  The Furtado loves going up hills, and it's not fussy about what type either.


This is the area where we really put this little bike to the test. On our initial rides we kept the Furtado to some of the tamer trails in the Whistler Valley until we got our suspension just so, but once things were feeling balanced and forgiving we really got into the swing of putting the Furtado through its paces.

The terrain around Whistler bubbles with roots and rocks and there are multitudes of tight corners laced with punchy climbs followed by flowing rooty descents. Here, the Furtado excelled and tracked like a silent hovercraft over the choppy mess below us. The RockShox Reverb seat post came in handy, although combined with the Shimano XT brakes and shifters on the handlebar, things were fairly cluttered and between the three different levers on the bar we couldn’t get them into an order where the getting to the Reverb didn’t require us to have to half lift our hand off the bars in order to reach it.

Juliana Furtado Premiero
  The Furtado Primeiro excels through chop and chunder.

Although the Furtado had been working beautifully over the rolling fun trails we used to get acquainted with the bike, we hadn’t felt terribly assured in pointing it towards steeper terrain, and so in an effort to inspire confidence we removed the narrow 680mm bar and replaced it with a 750mm one that also wasn’t tapered. We would also liked to have put a shorter stem that that of the 60mm one on the front to aid in steering capability, but with the cockpit being on the smaller side for us we ended up leaving it on. Nevertheless, the additional width on the new handlebar allowed us to steer much more confidently into technical descents and to more evenly distribute our weight over the front of the bike. Suddenly we weren’t just piloting a climbing machine with a capable pogo stick strapped to the front of it, we were riding a trail bike, and a very enjoyable one at that. Although 130mm of travel in the front is not often seen on bicycles in this area, it really only slowed us down marginally.

The Furtado surprised us time and time again, eating up terrain we thought much more suited to a longer travel offering. On long, steep descents however, it became a little challenging to make sure the bike was going to stay true to the line we had picked and not pinball us off into the scrub. With some stiffer stanchions or a bit more travel this may not have been the case. Despite our challenges up front, the rear of the bike never complained and was more than happy to suck up the trail below. It was during these longer, rougher descents that we were often left dropping our chain which was a little frustrating. The Shimano XT brakes performed just fine, we had lots of control navigating into steeper features and they never felt too grabby. Eventually, riding the Furtado became like a game, and to see just what the little trail whippet could manage we raced it in a local enduro, we took it through the most technical day of the BC Bike Race in Squamish, and we packed it in the car for road trips afar. Like the friend that insists on riding features that are way above their ability level, the bike stubbornly rode scary, nasty, steep and unsuitable terrain and demonstrated far more aplomb than we ever foresaw to give it credit for.

Juliana Furtado Primeiro

Component Check - The Lady Bits

• Juliana Segundo Saddle: We don’t doubt the difficulty in choosing a saddle to spec for a women's bike and we can’t see everyone being happy, but for us, we actually really liked the Segundo for its medium to firm feel and its shape which wasn’t on the big and bulky side.

• Juliana Flat 680mm Bars: Unfortunately, we were not a huge fan of these bars for us they were just too narrow and hindered confidence over the front of the bike. We are glad to see that the 2015 models are coming with a wider 720mm bar.

• Juliana single sided lock-on Compact Grip : Juliana tapers their bars at the end so that smaller hands have an easier time hanging on to the compact grip system they use. We weren’t against the tapering and we could see how the choice would be a great bonus for women with smaller hands, but we don't fall into that category. We are glad to see that the 2015 models are coming with standard grips.

Juliana Furtado Primeiro
  Point, shoot and hang on, the Furtado stood up to all sorts of challenges on the trail.

Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesThis little bike left us delightfully surprised, not only with its climbing prowess but the level of descending it was capable of. We rode it on some pretty tough trails and although it may not have been the perfect bike for the job, it stepped up and had a bloody good crack at riding them anyway. In an ideal world we would have put a 140mm travel fork on the front to slacken the head tube angle and offer more forgiveness, but we're happy to note that in the 2015 spec a Pike 130mm will be on offer, which should increase the stiffness substantially and make for a more confident descender. We weren't a fan of the narrow bars, but that was an easy fix. Details aside, there's no doubt the Furtado Primeiro grew on us from ride to ride and proved itself in being a capable trail companion. If you live in a zone that is full of flow and with a healthy dash of tech you might really enjoy the Furtado ride. - Rachelle Frazer

Since writing this article Juliana Bicycles has announced their 2015 range of bikes which includes multiple build options for the Furtado and two different levels of carbon fiber frames. To find out more information visit www.julianabicycles.com


  • 35 0
 I love the 5010.
  • 7 1
 Wish it was still called the SOLO.
  • 17 0
 Ah, but have you ridden a 5010 with NARROW handlebars??
  • 28 1
 Let me get this right: The 2015 model will go back to a normal width bar and standard grips. So it's a 5010 with a women's saddle (easy to put on any bike) and triple chain rings (which no one really wants these days)? I don't get it.
  • 5 0
 No! You missed the whole point of the bike! It has tapered handle bars as well as being narrow.
  • 5 0
 If it gets more ladies on bikes, I'm for it, though if it's the same frame, shouldn't they try to at least make the colors more appealing to the ladies? This years "I left my bike outside until the paint faded and went all powdery" yellow can't really be appealing to anybody. That said, if I knew someone who was looking at one, I'd point out that it's the same frame as the 5010, and mention that they're cutting their resale market in half before they buy it.
  • 9 1
 I cannot fathom this getting more women into biking. It means a lady will likely have to wait longer for a warranty or an order in, as the Juliana colours will be lower counts. It means that shops won't be able to discount the frame as much, as they won't be doing such large volumes. It means resale will drop, as the used market is mostly men looking for frames. It means women (not every one) may become confused as to what a lady's bike really is, and may reject standard men's bikes with a woman's seat, not knowing any better. It means that shops have to carry one more bike in their inventory that's radically less likely to sell. It's making the task of choosing a bike more difficult, while bringing absolutely nothing to the table.

On basically every level; no. Here's one dude hoping that dealers protest this shit by ordering in woman's seats and Santa Cruzes...
  • 4 4
 All valid points, but for some women, " oh look, it's specifically for me!" can make a difference. Honestly, I'm not understanding SC's methodology lately at all. I rode a 5010, and was unimpressed. What's the point of making a 650b bike with no BB drop? Why do both the Bronson & Nomad exist in their lineup? Where's a new V10, or for that matter, a whole new DH bike, either as a replacement for the V10, or as a cheaper alternative like the Heckler & Bantam? They're famous for good performing single pivots, & DH is probably the place where single pivot gets the most love, so why cheaper single pivot trail & Enduro bikes, but no DH?
  • 5 0
 I think it will make a substantially lesser difference than you think. I feel I've sold more bikes to women who were actively avoiding pink and pretty than women looking for ivy vines and italics on their downtube. Literally nothing about this bike is appealing to a woman, and if you read the comments left by women on all the previous articles, you'll realize how right I am. Seems most of the comments are along the lines of "Does Santa Cruz really think women are stupid or something? IT'S JUST A 5010."

So, again, I will have to respectfully disagree and maintain this is only actively hurting business, and not just for SC, but for other companies doing more proper women's specific frames. This was a very poor move on SC's part.
  • 3 0
 " It means women (not every one) may become confused as to what a lady's bike really is, and may reject standard men's bikes with a woman's seat, not knowing any better."

I completely agree! Many people are caught up in women's specific geometry and think it's something magical. I have had customers reject perfectly fitting bikes "made for men" because it wasn't a women's specific model. I explained that they just need to be sized correctly to find a reach that fits their torso length and to find a seat that works for them (stock womens' seats can be far from comfortable). But no, they thought that there were some special angles and geometry despite my explaining that the head angle, BB height, and chainstay length stays the same whether it's an XS, or XXL, or men's or women's, etc. However, if they simply want an XS unisex model when the manufacturer only makes a S, then i understand.
  • 2 0
 @sherbet I think you misunderstand me: by and large, I agree whole heartedly: This will appeal to fewer people than they suppose, and the way they're going about it with one crappy color per year will just make it worse. But as rattpoison points out , there are people caught up in the whole "women's specifc" mythos, and they're a non-zero segment of the market.

Answer for shops is simple: only sell them on order, don't buy any floor models(provided SC lets you, I know they can be more strict with their dealer agreements than most brands.)
  • 1 0
 Then they won't get the name out in the first place? You need to have the models on the floor as people will want to see them. Bikes don't sell purely on internet pages. Also bare in mind shops are often given a quota for bikes they need to have on the floor. Some shops will be told they need to stock the Juliana bikes, and that's that.

I'm not sure if I misunderstand you, or you're miscommunicating. You've implied twice now that bikes like this help sales, and bring women into the sport, if this is what you said (and it was "If it gets more ladies on bikes, I'm for it") then I disagree, as I feel it will only harm the female specific market for the reasons above. It will make bike choice more confusing for women, while insulting what they know of bikes. I cannot fathom that being good for drawing women towards our sport. If you are saying you agree with this, and there is a smaller contingency that will buy into it, but overall this is harmful, that I can agree with. There will always be idiots to buy into hype; yes.
  • 1 0
 Essentially, yes, that's what I'm saying, though I would counter that if it get's some people into the sport, it's not exclusively detrimental, even if it's negatives outweigh it's positives.
  • 1 1
 I'm saying it would likely ward more people away from the sport rather than make it accessible to them.
  • 1 0
 That, I would have to argue with, as all the arguments against this come from either: an informed understanding of the problems with the idea(this bike is insulting because of this list of reasons, all of which require a fairly substantial knowledge of the bike industry or bikes in general.) or because of poor experience after sales (longer warranty replacement, poor resale value.)

Neither of which is going affect the reaction a first time buyer severely enough to dissuade them from getting a MTB completely. The worst possible reaction is that the look at this, & say "This bike is dumb, I'm just getting a 5010." or "SC is stupid & insulting, so i'll buy this Salsa/Specialized/Giant/RM/Etc instead."
  • 1 0
 Doesn't Spesh and Giant (the whole Liv thing) do the exact same thing in terms of women's branded bikes that are essentially the same as the men's version?

Obviously, these companies have some success with this. Does pretty much everyone on PB think its dumb? Sure. But there are obviously some chicks and some husbands, who buy bikes for their wives, buy/eat up this shit. Never underestimate the stupidity of the American consumer...

I don't think this is a good or a bad thing. If SC sells more bikes, good for them. If not, they'll drop the program. At the end of the day its not my problem, but the "PB CEOs" will definitely get worked up about it...
  • 1 0
 I'm pretty sure other manufacturers actually build a women's specific frame on their women's bikes though, not just repaint and rebadge their stock ones. I know the Giant Trance XW I rode was definitely smaller, and with a shorter standover, than the men's version (which I infinitely preferred, BTW). The Trek Lush is another bike which has no "male" equivalent.
  • 3 0
 There are good and bad examples of other brands' "Women's Specific" offerings and the length to which they go to differentiate the models. They're getting better, though - especially among the big three "A Level" brands. A brief example would be Trek's Lush. It replaced a "WSD" Fuel EX that was exactly the same as the main line version with a few component spec changes (narrow bar, saddle, etc.). The Lush (much like Specialized's Rumor, and Giant's LIV series) is a completely different platform.

That being said - I think the most important difference between main line and "women's specific" mountain bikes is suspension. Among the larger brands, there are different suspension kinematics and shock tunes to optimize the ride for the typically lighter weight gender. I'd be willing to overlook the fact that the Juliana's are the same as their Santa Cruz siblings if they had a different shock tune. That would make the whole exercise worth it in my opinion.
  • 2 0
 My wife test rode quite a few bikes and as soon as she got on her Trek Lush she felt more confident. Geometry and shock tunes for her small size and weight made it perfect for her.

That said, she didn't want the baby blue girls colored bike, she went for the nice black/grey combo. She didn't need a "girls" bike, but she did need a "short/light persons" bike. And the Lush delivered...
  • 1 0
 "I've sold more bikes to women who were actively avoiding pink and pretty than women looking for ivy vines and italics on their downtube"

1 of these women i want to ride with, 1 i do not
  • 21 1
 Wonderful! I'd buy one for the Mrs if she'd ever get on a fuckin' bike...
  • 11 0
 why would you not just buy a regular Santa Cruz 5010 and allow yourself a better and easier resale at the end of the day. This womans specific BS is long overdue. My gf is 5'7" and comfy on here DB mission with atlas bars cut down to 760 and a 23 TT.
  • 3 0
 Agreed. Pretty sure there was a recent story to suggest women don't gain anything from women specific saddles,....so I'm sceptical on frames too.
  • 11 0
 15 year old boys complaining about women specific marketing....lol
  • 11 1
 Hmmm... I like "Lady Bits." Cool
  • 4 0
 I can't believe in this day and age companies are sti speccing Women's bikes with really narrow bars. The Missus isn't particularly wide/tall/monkey-armed and she runs 750 wide bars on her Covert.
  • 3 0
 When my wife gets her next frame upgrade it will be to a 5010. No need to waste time and energy making a women's specific bike if you're just going to repaint a mens bike. My wife even told me she doesnt want a bike that makes her stand out as being "girly" on the trail.
  • 2 0
 The first component I swapped out when I got my Juliana was those God awful bars... Next lesson I learned was I could have gotten better components if I bought the Superlight 29'r. I believe it had the same geometry as the Premiero with better component package. FWIW The saddle is a keeper.
  • 1 0
 Optima Premeiro
  • 1 0
 Yeah but the Superlight is a single pivot, and the Furtado is a VPP. Apples to oranges.
  • 1 0
 Can't edit responses but I meant i was comparing the 29 Juliana Optima Primeiro to the Super light . The three "woman specific" items that make the bike a "Juliana- woman specific bike are the Bars-saddle-grips. Otherwise all the Juliana bikes are the similar geometry wise to comparable regular Santa cruz models. Lesser components on a frame geared to woman when I can spend the same money for a better spec'd bike that's not woman specific (has regular bars, grips and saddle)...
  • 1 0
 All Juliana models are exactly the same as their Santa Cruz counterparts. They are literally the same frames.
  • 5 1
 Kind of appalling, but not surprising how narrow minded the men are here... There's alot more to the brand than just offering a bike aimed at women. Doods are dumb...
  • 2 0
 Actually there is a lot less to it than that as it's just the paint job that's woman specific
  • 2 0
 As the husband of a woman rider who rides/races both XC/AM and DH, I have to wonder what the hell is the point of this. Hi, we re-painted one of our bikes and put a girly seat your wife isn't gonna like anyway on it. Give us some women specific geometry so my wife can stop riding mediums that are too big and smalls that are too small that I have to swap parts on and off all the time to try and find the right fit for her. Give her a seatpost/crankset measurement that fits her long legs with a top tube/stem/bar combo that fits her short torso and long arms.
  • 2 0
 I think you totally miss the point if you get wrapped up about minor things like handle bars and saddle. This is all about brand. Once you get past specs, serious riders get seriously religious about their favorite brands, men and women. And big props to Santa Cruz for spinning off a badass women's brand, recognizing that women want serious beefy bikes without being talked at like they're 20 year old boys. Or having their boyfriend/husband/guyfriend pick their bikes for them. This is the Furtado - backed and named after the first mountain bike world champion Julie Furtado, queen of the mountain, dominating the sport for years. And the Julian team have some seriously amazing women riders ripping it up. You guys might be right about the resale prospects, but I'm totally sold and stoked. I'm waiting on my 2015 Hella Yella version. Thanks for the great review.
  • 1 0
 As much as it is more work for the bike companies a bit better size specific and region specific options would be a great choice. Size specific, maybe have normal bars and grips on Medium and above. Region specific? a chain device with a boomerang like the Blackspire TwintyX is a sensible addition for BC Style single track, a clutch can only do so much especially on a 2x or 3x set up. Men's frame suggestions, sure not bad if you are selling just the frame but as the bike will most probably be built to fit a lady then it is still a ladies' bike when you sell it regardless of the frame (ie saddle, grips etc).
  • 1 0
 2 thoughts:
-Why buy a 5010 when you can get a Bronson? I've ridden both (own a bronson) and with a well-tuned VPP I see no reason to have less travel for a negligible difference in weight. More travel often means more confidence in technical terrain and definitely means more fun.

-Also, the new Bronson (Satin Black/Magenta) and Nomad (Aqua Blue/Magenta) have more women's specific color than this. I showed my wife and she said "Is that a girl's bike?" (she's not a mountain biker)

I don't care what she says, that Blue/Magenta Nomad is as rad the "Skate or Die" video game.
  • 1 0
 I've ridden this bike. I agree that the narrow, skinny handlebar was a bad idea. I have small hands, and even I thought the grips were ridiculously tiny. And I agree that the 3X chainring setup was a dumb choice. Maybe they just got a really good deal on a whole bunch of OEM 3X drivetrains…

That being said, I like the Julianas overall. I like that they're the same geo as the men's bikes. If I were to get one I'd probably get a Roubion (and yes, partly because I love the teal color, even though I love the black/green/magenta Bronson almost as much!). I just have to figure out which of my bikes I would sell off in trade. Three full suspension bikes in the garage is a bit much.
  • 1 0
 I may be a bit late at reading this article but I'm glad I did! This review reminds me exactly what I think of my Santa Cruz Bronson. No matter how much travel you have, having the VPP suspension design allows you to conquer an terrain! These bikes are beasts and will not back down from anything! I am glad I bought myself one tup
  • 4 1
 LOOKING GOOD, Santa cruz do a nice job, this is not reinventing the wheel, but tweaking it a bit?
  • 3 0
 Be nice if we had a frame only option.
  • 1 0
 You do now
  • 4 0
 its called a 5010
  • 3 0
 Riiight...back to the bong for me
  • 2 0
 That title on the fourth Pic. "Riding the Furtado" makes me think ... turn off the light turn off the light...
  • 4 0
  • 2 0
 why no flamboyant colours?!?
  • 3 2
 Considering the Santa Cruz bikes get reviewed, it doesn't make any sense to test this one. 5010.
  • 1 0
 At least you could have been honest and recognize you failed ti spell "primero" instead of deleting my comment...
  • 2 0
 great review, thanks
  • 1 1
 Isnt this considerably cheaper than its carbon 5010 counterpart? I'm unsure but it looks it too me
  • 1 0
 Would I like to ride in whistler.
  • 1 0
 Girls on bikes. sexiest thing there is.
  • 1 0
 You should get out more.
  • 1 0
 I do. have a gf actually. Unfortunately she does nothin but complain about being on a bike.
  • 1 1
 "Dude, what do you ride"
"I ride Juliana!"
  • 5 7
 ... or just buy a Nomad with a small frame with a short stem and narrower bars
  • 9 0
 Or buy this for ~4 grand less and not do anything to it
  • 4 1
 What I mean is get a smaller mens frame of any bike so that one day when you sell it you dont lose half your potential buyers
  • 4 0
 Why a nomad? If you want this, get a 5010, it's literally the same frame.
  • 1 0
 No no no sir. It's women specific. Just being ironic...
  • 1 0
 I like nomad 27.5 and V10c
  • 1 0
 I like 10 grand bikes too, just that many people can't afford them (aka don't have a bike as a priority)
  • 1 0
 In my impression, Santa cruz in a foreign country is very cheap
  • 2 5
 For what it's worth, the bike name is Juliana Furtado PRIMEIRO, not PREMIERO. Gosh gals, can't you even read the name from the frame or the brochure?
  • 2 5
 I fell down and whoops, nelly furtado my self.
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