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2015 Juliana Furtado Carbon CC XX1 (discontinued)

Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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Discontinued
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2015 Test Sessions: Juliana Furtado Carbon CC XX1

Rating: Vital Review

Reviewed by Courtney Steen and Amanda Wentz // Photos by Lear Miller

This being the pilot year for women's Vital MTB Test Sessions reviews it seemed appropriate to check out a bike from Juliana, a brand focused solely on women's cycling. The 125mm travel Juliana Furtado, twin sister to the Santa Cruz 5010, includes a women's specific saddle, narrower bars, and a few other touches that make it better suited to the ladies. Using the latest VPP suspension technology atop 27.5-inch wheels, this bike is touted as a snappy, agile ride that descends well and climbs with the efficiency of an XC bike. Sounds like she's more than just a pretty face, right? We hit the trails to find out.

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Highlights

  • Carbon CC frame
  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • 125mm (4.9-inches) of rear wheel travel // 130mm (5.1-inches) front travel
  • Tapered headtube
  • 68-degree head angle
  • 73-degree seat tube angle
  • 332mm (13.1-inch) measured bottom bracket height
  • 435mm (17.1-inch) chainstays
  • 73mm threaded bottom bracket with ISCG tabs
  • 142mm rear spacing with 12mm through axle
  • Measured complete weight (size Medium, no pedals): 25-pounds (11.3kg)
  • MSRP $8,199 plus optional $2,000 ENVE upgrade

This great looking bike is offered in two different carbon qualities. The slightly lower grade frames are designated "Carbon C" and the higher grade is a "Carbon CC." The high end Carbon CC construction method requires less material while still achieving high strength numbers. Our complete build weighed just 25-pounds and was the lightest of the 19 bikes in our Test Sessions lineup.

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Our test bike came spec'd so nicely we couldn't help but sing (in our head) "I'm so fancy" when looking at it. With the full carbon frame, Race Face Next SL carbon cranks, Juliana carbon bars, ENVE carbon wheels, Shimano XTR brakes, and SRAM XX1 drivetrain, this featherweight bike was a nice treat, especially when loading the truck. Though light on the scale, it won't be light on your bank account. The bike runs $10,199 including the optional $2,000 ENVE wheel upgrade. Don't despair if this is out of your price range as other complete carbon Furtado builds start as low as $3,599. The Small, Medium, Large size range covers riders from 5'1" to 6'1" tall.

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We really admired the attention to detail and how clean this bike looks. The "Hella Yella" color is matched throughout, molded rubber guards help protect the frame, internal seatpost cable routing keeps things tidy, external brake and derailleur routing make maintenance easier, and the threaded bottom bracket ensures that the bike will stay quiet. Nobody likes a creaky ride. There are also two bottle mounts for those that prefer to ride without a pack.

On The Trail

Our time testing the Furtado was spent in San Luis Obispo, California, which isn't just a place where you can spend your weekends at the beach, but also home to a huge variety of mountain bike trails. The riding options among the pastoral green hills ranged from fast and flowy to rough and rocky. A few days of rain leading into our testing period also meant the trails were going to be prime for riding.

Before heading out the door we had some setup to do. We adjusted the FOX Float CTD Factory shock to the recommended 30% seated sag and the RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air fork for its recommended air pressures based on rider weight. Both Vital test riders swapped out the Juliana Mountain Saddle for their own personal saddles, though Courtney did ride a day on it to see how it faired. A saddle's fit is a very personal thing, and the booty knows what it likes. Courtney swapped out the 720mm bars for something slightly wider at 750mm before heading out.

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Courtney felt pretty good at 5'7" tall with a longer torso and shorter legs on our size Medium test bike. The top tube length was comfortable when reaching from the saddle to the bars. The shorter reach than she is used to took a little bit of readapting to find her balance point out of the saddle. Be sure to consider the seat tube measurement if you have shorter legs or are at the lower end of the suggested size range, as the 432mm seat tube left her just a few millimeters of wiggle room for the 125mm dropper post. If your inseam is less than 30-inches, you might struggle with getting the post low enough for pedaling. Juliana wisely specs a shorter 100mm travel dropper on the size Small frame. Courtney also had just enough standover height. Amanda felt like she was reaching a little on the Furtado's top tube length at 5'6" tall with a shorter torso and longer legs, even with a short 50mm stem installed.

The comfortable 68-degree head tube angle prevented the dreaded dive-over-the-bars feeling when heading down some steeper sections, and when climbing it didn't feel like pushing a shopping cart uphill. Decently compact 435mm chainstays, a 1114mm wheelbase, and low 332mm bottom bracket height help strike a good balance of stability and playfulness in the geometry.

The Furtado felt decently capable while descending. On wide open and smoother trails it was stable, balanced in the air, reacted the way we wanted it to, and was quick while pumping which made for a super fun ride for the proactive rider. It wanted to rail corners and it wanted to have decisive rider input.

More rowdy descents showed a different side of the bike's personality, though, and we slowed up more than we probably would have on a larger travel bike. It tracked well through the super rough stuff and never surprised us in a bad way in spite of this. The suspension felt plenty supportive when rolling off drops and jumps. The times when we felt a bit buck-wild and pinballed around we were on some pretty rough and loose sections where you would probably want a bigger bike if it were part of your regular riding terrain.

Courtney felt the bike rode well at 30% sag with the FOX CTD shock set to Descend mode. Amanda let out a little more air from the shock, bringing it down to about 35% sag, which she thought felt better and mostly rode in Trail mode. In Descend mode she thought it was tough to balance front to back on the bike and wanted something to push against in the suspension, which at times felt a little muted and dull.

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On the climbs the Furtado did okay, though not as well as we expected the 25-pound super bike to do. It lands somewhere in the middle as far as efficiency is concerned - not as quick as a billy goat or as sluggish as a waterbed. Things improved some by flipping the CTD switch to a firmer mode, which was easy to do given the shock's position. Courtney would switch it to Trail mode for extended climbs and Amanda would go all the way to Climb. In either case the increased damping support helped quiet bike movement while putting power down.

The geometry also asked for a little more effort from us on the climbs. Both of us, short and long-legged, were a bit further back off the bike than we feel is ideal. Even with the saddle all the way forward our legs had to reach forward more than preferred, and as a result we were struggling more than we could have been. At times it felt like extra efforts were needed to keep the front end down on inclines that weren't even all that steep. Lowering the bars and stem as far as they go helped a bit.

There were a number of inclines where we wished we had more of a bail out gear than the 32-tooth chainring would get us. We kept checking the shifter, hoping for another gear like checking an empty wine bottle hoping there is still a splash more hiding inside. No luck. The ENVE rims did help make for some easier efforts to make wheels go around though, especially on slight inclines and flats.

Build Kit

Other than the awesome Hella Yella paint color, Juliana also included a few parts with the ladies in mind. For our lady hands they include a pair of grips with soft rubber padding. These came on 720mm wide Juliana carbon bars with a 60mm stem. We are stoked to see decently wide bars for women and a shorter stem coming stock. It is a combination that really does add stability, though some may still prefer something a bit wider. Also special for women, the Juliana Mountain Saddle has an ergonomic center channel to avoid pressure points and the width has been adjusted to provide more support than a typical saddle.

The RockShox Reverb seatpost with a luxurious 125mm of travel is another accessory we applaud. We like to get the saddle out of the way when descending so we can get low in corners and move around as needed. However, we did have a "well-this-just-won't-do" response to the Reverb remote being clamped to the shifter on the right side of the bars. The 1x11 drivetrain leaves plenty of open real estate on the left side just calling out for some love, and it's much easier to use over there. You'll need a new bar clamp to make the switch.

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The RockShox Pike fork was a fun ride. It was smooth off the top, sucked up smaller bumps incredibly well, and sailed over medium hits that might have caught up other suspension setups. It took a minute to get used to and trust that it wasn't actually diving because there is so little stiction and it goes into its travel so easily. It felt pretty good with the recommended settings, though Amanda softened it up a little extra which made the bike feel more balanced to her. It took the hits that we sent it over well and was supportive in corners.

ENVE's M60 carbon rims felt a bit more solid than aluminum when plowing over rocks. They also seemed more quiet as there weren't the pings you typically get from alloy, and we do like the improved acceleration due to lower weight. We also like the fast hub engagement - our track stands have never been so good.

The Maxxis HighRoller II tire up front and Ardent in the rear was a good combination. The HighRoller II gave us solid traction up front for pushing or cruising through corners and the Ardent helped improved rolling speed a bit.

Surprisingly, Shimano's new XTR M9020 brakes were a problem child. Their lever pull was very inconsistent as they pumped up over a super short period of use. It appeared that they needed a bleed, badly. We tried doing a partial bleed through the lever and got some bubbles out, but it didn't remedy to problem entirely. They seemed to have good grab, though. Unfortunately this translated to excess skidding as there was zero room for modulation when they pumped up (sorry IMBA). One the plus side, the ergonomics and length of the brake levers felt great. The bike is equipped with 180 and 160mm rotors.

We enjoy the simplicity of a 1X drivetrain and SRAM's XX1 system worked really well. It keeps the cockpit clean and reduces the number of cables running around everywhere. Shifting was quick, responsive, and smooth. The bike was also nearly silent while riding with chain noise and cable rattling pretty much eliminated. The Race Face narrow/wide ring up front and a clutch derailleur in back helped the chain stay on through all our rides.

Long Term Durability

With the exception of the brakes, all the parts on the Juliana Furtado seemed to be working as they should. There was some cable rub here and there on the frame though. Cable rub patches will definitely be needed to keep the frame looking pristine. We noted we had decent mud clearance but mud would get balled up a bit in the lower link of the frame, which could present an issue if you ride in the wet often. There is a grease gun included with the frame so the pivots can be serviced, and using this will certainly keep things running smoothly. Juliana backs the frame with a five year warranty, pivots for lifetime, and will help with the cost some in the event of a bad crash.

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What's The Bottom Line?

The Juliana Furtado is a really enjoyable ride through moderate tech and and on fast, flowy trails. It's best suited to those who like to ride proactively and fancy that low and quick slalom feel. It'll make it through really rough sections alright, but you'll likely have some white knuckles on the other side. The need for such decisive rider input makes it a bike that's best suited to experienced riders.

Geometry leaves a little to be desired for climbing and the overall dimensions may be a very close fit for some women - possibly a result of being a direct crossover from a men's frame - so we recommend trying one before buying.

The price point is very high on this bike with all its glitz and glam, but luckily you can get comparable performance from some of the less expensive builds. If smoother trails are your jam and you like pumping your bike and playing with the terrain, the Furtado could be a great ride for you.

Visit www.julianabicycles.com for more details.

Bonus Gallery: 19 photos of the 2015 Juliana Furtado Carbon up close and in action


About The Reviewers

Courtney Steen - Courtney has been at it for seven years and racked up some nice race results along the way in various disciplines. Today she travels the country in a RV in search of the next best trail and writes women's reviews for Vital MTB. Her technical background helps her think critically about products and how they can be improved.

Amanda Wentz - Over the last decade Amanda has soaked up all aspects of mountain biking and continues to push herself to progress. Just last year she fell in love with the rush of racing downhill. She recently turned her passion into a career by coaching riders to navigate the sometimes painful entry into mountain biking.

Which reviewer resembles you the most? Don't miss our Q&A with the testers for more insight about their styles and preferences.

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About Test Sessions

Three years ago Vital MTB set out to bring you the most honest, unbiased reviews you'll find anywhere. That tradition continues today as we ride 2015's most exciting trail, all-mountain, and enduro bikes in San Luis Obispo, California. Reviews can be accessed 24/7 in our Product Guide. Test Sessions was made possible with the help of Foothill Cyclery. Tester gear provided by Five Ten, Race Face, Easton, Troy Lee Designs, Club Ride, Kali, Royal, Smith, Pearl Izumi, and Source.

Specifications

Product Juliana Furtado Carbon CC XX1
Model Year 2015
Riding Type Trail
Rider Women
Sizes and Geometry
S, M, L View Geometry
Size S M L
Top Tube Length 552.5mm 584.2mm 609.6mm
Head Tube Angle 68° 68° 68°
Head Tube Length 90mm 100mm 110mm
Seat Tube Angle 73° 73° 73°
Seat Tube Length 414mm 431.8mm 469.9mm
Bottom Bracket Height 334mm 334mm 334mm
Chainstay Length 434.8mm 434.8mm 434.8mm
Wheelbase 1081mm 1113.8mm 1140.1mm
Standover 721.9mm 716.2mm 723.2mm
Reach 374.8mm 403.7mm 426.3mm
Stack 580.9mm 590.3mm 599.5mm
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details 27.5" Carbon CC
Rear Travel 125mm
Rear Shock FOX Float CTD Adjust Factory Kashima
Fork RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air with15mm Through Axle and Tapered Steerer
Fork Travel 130mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset Cane Creek 110 Series Tapered, Cartridge Bearing
Handlebar Juliana Flat, 31.8mm x 720mm
Stem Easton Haven 31.8mm Clamp
Grips Juliana Single Sided Lock-On (Compact Grip on XS)
Brakes Shimano XTR M9020 with Shimano RT86 ICE Tech 180mm Front /160mm Rear Rotors
Brake Levers
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM XX1, 11-Speed
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM XX1, 11-Speed
ISCG Tabs Yes
Chainguide N/A
Cranks Race Face Next SL Carbon
Chainrings 32 Tooth Narrow/Wide
Bottom Bracket Included with Crankset, 73mm Threaded
Pedals N/A
Chain SRAM XX1
Cassette SRAM XG1195 11-Speed, 10-42 Tooth
Rims WTB Frequency i23 (or M60/40 ENVE Upgrade Option, Pictured)
Hubs DT Swiss 240 (or DT 240s Option)
Spokes DT Competition Double Butted Spokes and Alloy Nipples
Tires Maxxis High Roller II, 27.5" x 2.3", Tubeless Ready, EXO Protection Front // Maxxis Ardent, 27.5" x 2.25", Tubeless Ready, EXO Protection Rear
Saddle Juliana Primiero
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth, 125mm Travel (100mm Travel on Size Small)
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Standard
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 142mm x 12mm
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Hella Yella
Warranty 5 Years Frame // Lifetime Pivot Bearing // Lifetime Crash Replacement
Weight 25 lb 0 oz (11,340 g)
Miscellaneous $10,199 with ENVE Wheels Upgrade // Fork Compatibility: 120-140mm
Price $8,199
More Info Juliana Website

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