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Bike Review: Juliana Furtado

Aptly named the Queen of the mountain, the Juliana Furtado is perfect for the all-day, all-mountain adventurer

The Furtado is one of the newest editions to the Juliana family. With its 27.5″ wheel-size and 130mm travel, I was excited to take it for a spin on the trails in the Welsh mountains to see how it would perform – and  I wasn’t disappointed. 

The Juliana women’s specific bike brand emerged in 2013, sister company to the legendary mountain bike manufacturers, Santa Cruz. Founded by the godmother of mountain biking herself, Juli Furtado, the range has made waves in women’s cycling for producing industry leading bikes.

Juli Furtado was the first woman to win the Women’s World Cup MTB championship in 1991 and paved the way for female riders everywhere. Owing to injury, Furtado left the race scene and headed into developing mountain bikes to the highest quality.

juli furtado

The Juliana range of bikes are renowned for being the largest women’s specific bike range on the mountain bike market. Being a sister company to Santa Cruz, many models share the same frames – for example the Juliana Roubion and the Santa Cruz Bronson are near identical in terms of frameset. However, that’s certainly not something for Juliana to shy from – they’re proud to be partnered with such a reputable brand like Santa Cruz.

Out of the Box

The Juliana Furtado is stunning. There’s not much I can say about the aesthetics of this bike without drooling too much. The matte carbon frame is a brilliant colour of spearmint which matches perfectly with the grips and fork decals. There’s such a high degree of detail in this bike, such as the laser engraved “Juliana” handles, the Santa Cruz badge and perfectly built frame.

The shape of the frame alone is what sets it apart from the norm. The perfectly formed recesses and smooth contours firmly plants itself in the big leagues of MTB.

juliana

Fitted with 130mm Rock Shox Pikes, which are arguably the best in the industry, Fox Float rear shock, SRAM GX gears and shifters with a Shimano SLX brake system, this bike invokes nothing but excitement. As soon as I had assembled the Furtado, all I wanted to do was ride.

How it Rides

November has been one of the wettest and windiest months I can remember, so ride conditions presented the perfect challenge for the Furtado and I. Together, we took to the mountain trails of Brechfa and eased the bike in on the Gorlech red trail… in the howling rain.

The Juliana Furtado is a fantastically comfortable bike to ride. Firstly, the women’s specific saddle isn’t as horrendous as I imagined it to be. Usually factory saddles are painful and hard, but this one was surprisingly well fitting and it didn’t cause me any major issues.

carry

Usually I ride a 2x chain ring system, so I had some reservations about dropping down to a single 32T front ring. However, the bike seemed to glide up the ascents and I felt negligible difference in difficulty from my own bike. The Maxxis tyres provided great traction in the muddy climbs, and the 1×10 gear ratio didn’t feel clunky on the down-strokes.

What comes after the uphill? The downhill. With 10mm less travel than my own bike, and 20mm less than its sister model, the Juliana Roubion, I was intrigued to see how it would handle some rough muddy downhill riding. The Gorlech trail has some very tight hairpins and technical sections which made it the ideal route to test the agility of the bike.

I would like to say that I rode the bike pretty hard down the trail, but in all honesty, the bike rode me! The Furtado took me on an adventure with the Rock Shox Pike’s eating up the rocks and bumps of the trail, making for a smooth and controlled ride. The short 35mm stem enabled nimble handling through the tight switchbacks and narrow single track’s. The chain-stay is slightly shorter than what I’m used to, but I could still feel the high level of responsiveness throughout the ride. The Shimano SLX brake system controlled the speed with ease, and responded to the slightest of lever movements.

bike

The Juliana Furtado is the perfect trail bike, a strong climber and nimble downhiller, it was a pleasure to ride the entire way round. Juliana has an extensive range of mountain bikes for all styles of rider, so if you’re a more aggressive all-mountain rider, then perhaps the Roubion would be better suited for you with the extra 20mm of travel. They also have the Joplin 29″, and the hard-tail Nevis bike, so there’s really something to suit everyone.

Changes From Last Year’s Furtado

Between Juli Furtado and the Juliana-SRAM race team, Juliana Bikes have a dedicated team of female riders who have a lot of input into the design and construction of the bikes. There’s been some improvements to the Furtado model this year…

The chain-stay has been shortened by 10mm to enable a more agile bike for cornering and to easily manoeuvre through difficult sections with ease.

In addition to this, the top tube has been lengthened to enable the use of shorter stems. In this case, the stem measures at 35mm which is preferred by many riders. A shorter stem allows for better control and handling of the bike, something which is very noticeable when riding.

Juliana Bicycles have slackened the angle of the head tube to 67 degrees which aids in stability for the downhill sections, without compromising on the riders ability to climb. In comparison, the Roubion has a slightly more slack head tube of 66 degrees.

Conclusion

Another brilliant piece of engineering from Juliana Bicycles. There’s little I can fault the Juliana Furtado for, it’s comfortable to ride, looks great and it’s fun. I felt very stable with the geometry and set-up of the bike, being able to fully throw my weight around on the flowy downhill sections, whilst being capable of sailing up the climbs, even with a single 32T ring.

juliana furtado
Yep, I took my cat with me. He approves.

Sizes

The Furtado is available in 3 sizes, I’m 5’7 and I was very comfortable on a medium sized frame:

Small: 5ft – 5’5ft / Medium: 5.5ft – 5’10ft / Large: 5’10ft – 6’1ft

Specifications and Prices

With the whole range of Juliana bikes, there are a number of build options, 6 in the Furtado’s case, which come with varying price tags. Juliana Bicycles, like Santa Cruz, do come up in the higher end of the price spectrum for mountain bikes, but the build and component quality justifies the cost in most cases.

Furtado C R – £3099 – Lower End

Sektor Gold RL 130 Fork

XT Derailleur

Shimano Deore M615; RT66 Rotors; 180mm Brakes

Shimano 627-B, 22/36 Cranks

Furtado C S – £3999 – The Tested one

Rock Shox Pike RC 130 Solo Air Fork

SRAM GX 1×11 Derailleur

SLX am Brakes

Race Face Aeffect; 32t Cranks

Furtado CC – £5999 – Top End

Rock Shox Pike RCT3 130 Solo Air Fork

Shimano XTR M9000 GS Derailleur

Shimano XTR M9020; RT86 Ice Tech Rotors; 180mm Brakes

Race Face Next SL, 24/34 Cranks

Furtado CC – £2799 – Frame Only

Additional Info

All Juliana bikes come with a lifetime warranty on the frame and bearings whilst making replacement parts available and easy to obtain. Hurray for peace of mind!

Distributor: Jungle Products

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