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2020 Juliana Joplin X01 Carbon CC Bike

Vital Rating: (Spectacular)
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2020 Juliana Joplin X01 Carbon CC with Reserve rims
2020 Juliana Joplin X01 Carbon CC Bike 2020 Juliana Joplin X01 Carbon CC Bike 2020 Juliana Joplin X01 Carbon CC Bike 2020 Juliana Joplin X01 Carbon CC Bike 2020 Juliana Joplin X01 Carbon CC Bike 2020 Juliana Joplin X01 Carbon CC Bike 2020 Juliana Joplin X01 Carbon CC Bike 2020 Juliana Joplin X01 Carbon CC Bike 2020 Juliana Joplin X01 Carbon CC Bike
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Bridging Worlds - The 2020 Juliana Joplin Reviewed

Designed to pedal with XC-like efficiency and descend with the confidence of a bigger trail bike, the new Joplin takes center stage after five months of varied rides.

Rating: Vital Review
Bridging Worlds - The 2020 Juliana Joplin Reviewed

Downcountry, underbike, upduro... whatever you want to call it, it’s a different breed of mountain bike. For 2020, the Juliana Joplin and its twin brother, the Santa Cruz Tallboy, are among a handful of exciting new-school, super slacked-out, short-travel (125mm max) 29ers. The fourth-generation Joplin joins the party with slacker n’ longer geometry, flip-chip adjustability, increased travel, and a lower-link VPP suspension design. Like getting in a swimming pool, some riders are jumping right into this new variety of mountain bike while others are waiting to hear the reports. We’ve taken the plunge with the Juliana Joplin and are here to let you know how the water is. Come on in!

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Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Lightweight feel
  • Responsive, accurate steering
  • Stable at all speeds
  • Good traction a solid connection to the ground
  • The progressive suspension is fun and playful
  • Efficient climber with ample traction and good balance for technical moves
  • Adjustable geometry options
  • A glutton for punishment
  • Can feel harsh at times
  • Can get a bit pinballed through square chunk
  • A glutton for punishment

Highlights

  • 29-inch wheels
  • 120mm (4.7-inches) rear travel // 130mm (5.1-inches) front
  • CC carbon frame in XS, S, and M sizes
  • Lower-link Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension system
  • Hi/Lo flip chip in the lower shock mount
  • Metric 190x45mm shock with rear bearing mount
  • Rear-axle flip chip for 430 or 440mm chainstay length
  • 29x2.5" or 29x2.6” (long chainstay and Lo BB mode) max tire clearance
  • Internal cable routing with hose guides
  • Threaded 73mm bottom bracket with ISCG05 mounts
  • Boost 12x148mm rear axle spacing
  • Integrated 41/52mm headset
  • 160mm post brake mount
  • Water bottle mount inside the front triangle
  • Shock fender, shuttle guard, downtube protector, and ribbed chainstay protector
  • Lifetime warranty on frame and Reserve carbon wheels
  • Lifetime bearing replacement
  • Actual Weight: 29.2-pounds (13.2kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $8,199 USD as tested

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In the new Joplin, the Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension design migrates to a new lower-link mounting position. This configuration is more progressive with good small-bump compliance, mid-stroke support, and bottom-out resistance. This lower position also lowers the center of gravity for the bike, contributing to improved stability.

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Adding to the capability and comfort of the ride, the Joplin 4’s travel increased from 110mm to 120mm in the rear and from 120mm to 130mm in the front. Catering to women, the shock of the Joplin is custom-tuned for the typically lighter-weight rider. A “light” tune gives a plush, smooth feel throughout the travel. The saddle and grips are also spec’d to suit women.

Geometry

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Adjustable geometry via the flip chip in the rear shock mount changes the bottom bracket height by 3mm. Going from “Hi” to “Lo” also slackens the head tube angle by 0.2-degrees and adds progressivity, giving more bottom-out resistance to the shock. The Hi position would complement the more climbing and pedaling focused rider while Lo would complement the rider focused on descending. Additionally, there is a second flip chip in the rear axle that changes the chainstay length by +/-10mm. This flip-chip option is good for riders looking to change the ride quality of the bike or are on the upper end of the height range. The shorter chainstay position is more playful while longer is more stable. The rear axle flip chip also allows the Joplin to fit 29x2.6” tires when in the Lo and long position.

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Based off the size medium in the Lo position, geometry changes made for round four of the Joplin include an 18mm longer reach and 42mm longer wheelbase. This sizable increase in length, plus a 2.5-degree slacker 65.5-degree head tube angle, contributes to a stable ride at speed and on descents. A shorter seat tube length offers more clearance for longer travel dropper seatposts while the 3.3-degree steeper 76.3-degree seat tube angle improves pedaling position.

On The Trail

The Juliana Joplin was primarily ridden on our favorite trails around Durango, Colorado, including the Ned Overend/Test Tracks trails and Horse Gulch. It was also ridden in the high-country along the Colorado Trail for a true test of its pedal-ability and performance in square-edge rocks. Bend, Oregon brought more pedaling and fast, swooping trails into the mix and we couldn’t get enough of the Joplin on Tyler’s Traverse. In Moab, Utah and Phoenix, Arizona, we tested the far end of the bike’s capabilities on things like the slickrock of Captain Ahab and rugged gnar of South Mountain’s trails.

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Our favorite ride quality of the Joplin 4 is its performance in corners. It offers very intuitive steering, stability, snappy responses, and plenty of traction. Lean it over and then lean it over more because you are 100% in control. It’s balanced, maneuverable, and encouraging. The progressive suspension is fun and playful, complementing its ability to smash turns and hold a line. You’ll feel like a freakin’ hero on swoopy, turny trails aboard the Joplin. It begs you to mash on the pedals and push into the terrain. It also earned our trust by continuing to hook up when things got loose.

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29-inch wheels are certainly helpful when it’s time to cover some ground. Compared to the Transition Scout this bike replaced, we had the energy to ride further and longer, setting new records on numerous climbs. With a bit less travel, a carbon frame, and well-chosen components, the Joplin feels light and keeps chugging away uphill with minimal effort. Whether putting in power from the saddle or standing, we feel balanced, traction is good, and the front wheel tracks where directed. The Joplin is also a great technical climber. With the updated geometry, transitioning to standing, shifting your weight, and staying balanced while getting up rocky moves is easy and the movements are quick. We've ridden tricky uphill segments we never had before and it felt like cheating compared to memories with other bikes.

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The Joplin is considered "short travel" by trail bike standards and certainly excels on smoother terrain. When descending chunkier trail, there are going to be occasions you’re reminded it’s a smaller bike. It doesn't suck up every hit or provide endless amounts of travel to work with. Certain scenarios will have you uttering a quick “Ow” where a longer-travel bike would have barely flinched, but it has been a surprisingly rare occurrence on our rides. Still, when leaving flow for more rugged terrain we were impressed by how much rein we could give the Joplin to run with. On bigger, rounder rocks it felt like you could let loose. A glutton for punishment, the Joplin would barely protest to the abuse. We had to remind ourselves that it might be prudent to slow down. It's on square edges and loose rocks, however, where things can feel a bit pinballed and jarring.

Though it might not keep up with a full-on cross-country rig while climbing or a longer-travel bike on rough descents, its blended capabilities work well for a pretty broad range of rides.

Overall, the lighter shock tune achieved what we needed it to, improving performance and comfort for lighter riders. The FOX Float Performance Elite DPS shock was supportive and comfortable while climbing and pedaling and didn’t bottom harshly while descending.

Build Kit

The Joplin X01 Carbon CC features a high-end build on a lightweight CC-level carbon frame. It slots in at $6,999 with aluminum DT Swiss/Race Face wheels, and $8,199 with the Reserve 27 carbon wheel upgrade. It includes a SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain, SRAM G2 RSC brakes, carbon handlebars, and Juliana chooses contact points for female riders.

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Shock setup was easy using the pressure charts available on the Juliana website as a starting point. Given how tucked away the shock is in the frame, it’s a challenge to measure sag otherwise. We did get down in there to confirm though, and 156psi had us at 14mm of sag in agreement with their table for a 150-pound (68kg) rider weight. As for the shock's three compression modes, we didn’t need them. Wide open all the time with a middle-of-the-road open setting was the way to go. Depending on the ride and temperature, just 1 to 3 clicks of rebound remained in the faster direction for our tester, meaning riders less than about 140-pounds may need a re-tune.

We were plenty satisfied with the performance of the RockShox Pike Select+ fork. Like the shock, the fork was supportive and comfortable, and the setup was easy using the recommended pressure table on the back of the fork leg. We are also fans of the short 42mm offset and what it adds to the ride quality of the bike. The 130mm travel did the job and we were right in the middle of the rebound range. We liked adding a few clicks of low-speed compression on the Charger 2.1 RC damper, especially for those flowy trails where we were pushing the bike the most. One minor weakness of the fork was experienced when hitting more technical trail, such as Captain Ahab. There’s a slight vibrating twang feeling that comes up through those 35mm stanchions when descending steppy sections that push its limitations. If the Joplin were intended to be ridden on this type of trail often, it could benefit from a bigger fork.

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A tried and true combo, the Maxxis Minion DHF and Maxxis Minion DHR II tires had great traction on everything we pitted them against. Running around 19 and 21psi front and rear for most rides, the 2.3-inch width rolled well and the tires didn't deform oddly through angled surfaces. The EXO casing proved sufficient up against the rocks, though we were conscientious to avoid EXOstential crises by adding some safety pressure when needed and going a bit slower on particularly rocky trail segments. Leveling up to a beefier EXO+ rear tire wouldn’t be a bad idea if you intend to ride the Joplin on rough terrain often.

The upgrade to Santa Cruz Reserve 27 Carbon rims with DT Swiss 350 hubs and Torque Caps seems worthwhile. The wheels are all-star components with numerous standout qualities. They are easy to keep turning over and little effort is needed to get them up to speed. They have great accuracy which was especially notable on the off-camber slickrock surfaces of Moab. Because the Joplin is a glutton for punishment, we did have a few rim hits. Despite the abuse, the wheels only have some surface scratches and the lifetime warranty is good reassurance. Lastly, the hub engagement was fast enough for technical moves and effectively ratcheting through tricky bits.

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SRAM's reach and contact point adjustments on the G2 RSC brake levers are a couple of our favorite features because they offer riders the ability to personalize the lever feel – even those with smaller hands. With 4-piston calipers and 180mm rotors, we had enough braking power to feel in control and shut it down in a pinch. After several months there is a bit of lever fade on the rear brake, indicating it's time for a bleed. There is also an odd amount of rattle from the brake pads, and this noise makes the bike seem more fragile and "at its limit" than it is.

The SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain ran smooth as butter. As expected for this upper-level system, it shifts smoothly through its gears, has no perceptible drag, and chain slap was only audible when landing hard to flat. The wide 12-speed range paired with the lightweight-bike feel made the Joplin an engine that could, all the way up the mountains.

RockShox's latest generation Reverb Stealth seatpost developed no extra play or squish during the test period, and the 1x lever is oh so wonderful for those with smaller hands. The medium-sized Joplin comes with a nice, long 150mm travel dropper, just be aware that things may be tight with less than a 29.5-inch (76.2-cm) inseam.

We’ve heard several women say they love the Juliana Primiero saddle. For us, it wasn’t a favorite. It’s a bit firm for riding without a chamois, but to each their own! Saddles are probably the most personal component. We simply swapped it out for a WTB Koda saddle.

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Adding cushier grips might help with occasional “Ow” moments, but the Juliana grips quickly become an afterthought. They are a comfortable diameter, have good traction with gloves, and a decent amount of damping for rougher rides.

The 35mm diameter, 760mm width carbon bars make for a stiff, stable connection to the bike and contribute to keeping the overall bike weight down with no trimming necessary. Be warned though, the matte finish on the handlebars is very easily scratched. Be sure to really loosen control clamps before moving them to prevent marring the matte finish.

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Long Term Durability

After five months of use, the bike has hung in there well. The integrated rubber protection played a big role in preserving the frame, deflecting at least one doozy of a flipped-up rock we feared would be a coup de grace. Adding a vinyl protector to the downtube is a prudent move for those who use tailgate pads. It's easy to maintain the linkage. As for the components, we’d expect all but the easily-scratched handlebars to wear at an expected and reasonable rate.

The frame, its bearings, and the Reserve wheels are backed by lifetime guarantees and no-fault replacement.

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What’s The Bottom Line?

The new Juliana Joplin is a very fun bike, and in many ways it feels like it bridges two worlds. Though it might not keep up with a full-on cross-country rig while climbing or a longer-travel bike on rough descents, its blended capabilities work well for a pretty broad range of rides. If you're not constantly seeking gnarly trails, flow is a favorite flavor, and you're looking to put down some miles, it's very much worth considering. The big wheels, shorter travel, and lightweight feel of the X01 Carbon CC build make for efficient pedaling while the slacked-out head angle, added reach, and progressive suspension welcome you to really enjoy the descents.

We’ve loved our time on the Joplin, and from our experiences during local ladies’ rides we think many other women will love it too.

Visit www.julianabicycles.com for more details.

Vital MTB Rating

  • Climbing: 5 stars
  • Descending: 5 stars
  • Fun Factor: 5 stars
  • Value: 4 stars
  • Overall Impression: 5 stars - Spectacular

About The Reviewer

Courtney Steen - Age: 32 // Years Riding: 12 // Height: 5'7" (1.70m) // Weight: 150-pounds (68.0kg)

"Going downhill puts a smile on my face and I climb for beer." Courtney routinely shocks the boys with her speed and has experience in various disciplines. A silent force behind the scenes for Vital MTB, she's posted up in Durango, Colorado and has ridden dozens of women's bikes. Her technical background helps her think critically about products and how they can be improved.

Photos by Brandon Turman

Specifications

Product Juliana Joplin X01 Carbon CC Bike
Model Year 2020
Riding Type Trail
Rider Women
Sizes and Geometry
XS (Low, High), SM (Low, High), MD (Low, High) View Geometry
Size XS (Low, High) SM (Low, High) MD (Low, High)
Top Tube Length 398mm, 400mm 423mm, 425mm 448mm, 450mm
Head Tube Angle 65.5°, 65.7° 65.5°, 65.7° 65.5°, 65.7°
Head Tube Length 90mm 100mm 110mm
Seat Tube Angle 76.5°, 76.8° 76.4°, 76.7° 76.3°, 76.6°
Seat Tube Length 370mm 380mm 405mm
Bottom Bracket Height 332mm (41mm drop), 335mm (38mm drop) 332mm (41mm drop), 335mm (38mm drop) 332mm (41mm drop), 335mm (38mm drop)
Chainstay Length 430mm 430mm 430mm
Wheelbase 1128mm, 1129mm 1157mm, 1158mm 1187mm, 1211mm
Standover 678mm, 681mm 692mm, 696mm 704mm, 708mm
Reach 398mm, 400mm 423mm, 425mm 448mm, 450mm
Stack 593mm, 592mm 603mm, 601mm 612mm, 610mm
* Additional Info Geometry adjustable via flip chip in lower link shock mount. Chainstay length adjustable via flip chip in rear axle; above values are for shorter chainstay length; longer length adds 10mm to chainstay and wheelbase values.
Wheel Size 29"
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details "CC" carbon, includes molded down tube and chainstay protectors
Rear Travel 120mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT DPS Performance Elite, light shock tune, 190x45mm
Fork RockShox Pike Select+
Fork Travel 130mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered, 1.125" top, 1.5" bottom
Headset Cane Creek 40 IS Integrated
Handlebar Santa Cruz AM Carbon, 35mm bore, 760mm width
Stem Race Face Aeffect R, 50mm length
Grips Juliana
Brakes SRAM G2 RSC, Avid Centerline 180mm rotors
Brake Levers SRAM G2 RSC
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
ISCG Tabs ISCG05
Chainguide N/A
Cranks SRAM X1 Eagle Carbon, BOOST DUB, 165mm length (XS), 170mm length (SM, MD)
Chainrings SRAM X1 Eagle, 32 tooth
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB 68/73mm threaded
Pedals N/A
Chain SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
Cassette SRAM Eagle XG1295, 10-50 tooth, 12-speed
Rims Race Face ARC Offset 27
Upgrade option: Santa Cruz Reserve 27 Carbon
Hubs Front: DT Swiss 350, 15x110mm BOOST, Torque Cap, 28 hole
Rear: DT Swiss 350, 12x148mm BOOST, 28 hole, XD driver
Spokes DT Swiss Competition Race
Tires Front: Maxxis Minion DHF, 3C EXO TR, 29" x 2.3"
Rear: Maxxis Minion DHR II, 3C EXO TR, 29" x 2.3"
Saddle Juliana Primiero
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper
Seatpost Diameter 31.6mm
Seatpost Clamp Single bolt, 36.4mm
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 148x12mm Boost
Max. Tire Size 29" x 2.6" (in longer chainstay setting only)
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes (double)
Colors Aquarius Green and Pink
Warranty Lifetime frame and bearings
Weight
  • 27 lb 9.3 oz (12,510 g)
  • 27 lb 14.6 oz (12,660 g)
Miscellaneous Lower Link VPP suspension
Set up tubeless with Stan's NoTubes Sealant
Geometry adjustable via flip chip in lower link shock mount; suspension is more progressive in Low setting
Internal cable routing via internal tubes
Includes extra brake caliper mounting bracket and derailleur hanger necessary for alternate axle flip chip setting
Price
  • $8,199
  • $6,999
More Info

julianabicycles.com

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