The Furtado Segundo is the second-from-the-top of the Furtado range of bikes from Juliana Bicycles, sister company to Santa Cruz. It’s an absolute dream to ride, if your idea of a dream is a responsive, manoeuvrable, sleek machine which climbs like a demon and descends with stability and style.
Named in honour of ex-DH and XC racer, and Olympian Juli Furtado, the company set out to make bikes that make their riders feel like queens. Juli herself was nicknamed ‘The Queen’, and that’s where the crown logo comes from.
Providing a lot of input into the look and feel of the bikes, Juli wanted each bike to achieve three things; she wanted them to be the most comfortable, to perform the best and to be the most beautiful. Did they live up to those criteria? It’s a resounding yes!
The Furtado Segundo is described as the ‘Monarch of the Mountain’; an aluminium-framed full-suspension bike able to deal with climbing, descending and riding fast in between, so to give it a fair and extensive test, I took it to two different trail locations.
Firstly Swinley in Berkshire with it’s flow-y, smooth-surfaced trails, tight, rooty singletrack through the trees, and gentle rolling terrain. Then onto the rougher stuff with a visit to the Peak District and its natural, rugged, rocky paths, steep climbs and rough, technical descents.
Juliana Bicycles use the highly rated Santa Cruz frames as a basis, and over the full range look at the important aspects like contact points, crank lengths, size options and wheel sizes to ensure excellent fit for women.
It clear that Juliana Bicycles have focused a lot of attention on these contact points, which translates into a comfortable, secure ride. Bars, grips, brake lever wedges and saddle are all female-specific.
Generally, the bike lives up to all the modern standards you’d expect – tapered head-tube, internal dropper post cable routing, through axles front and rear etc – making it quite future proof; look after it, and this bike will do your proud for years.
The bike has a low standover height – in the case of the Medium, 28.2", complemented by a dropper seat post. Overall, the geometry is aimed at trail riding; not so steep that you feel too far forward on descents, not so slack that you can’t ride uphill, and it works well with the handlebars and stem length to provide a ride that feels controlled, stable and confidence-inspiring.
At 5’8, I’m at the upper end of the size range for the Medium, and personally I think a larger size may suit me better – so as ever it’s worth taking one out for a test ride if you are tempted, particularly if you are at the cusp of two sizes.
The first thing I noticed round the trails of Swinley was how responsive this bike is in tight, twisty, conditions. If I wanted the bike to go somewhere, it did it – instantly. Any concerns about the slightly bigger 27.5/650b wheel size affecting maneuverability were lost immediately.
Climbing is something the Furtado Segundo does exceedingly well. Don’t be put off by the +30lb weight; the larger wheel sized combined with the Santa Cruz suspension set up makes this bike power up hills.
The bike has a virtual pivot point (VPP) rear suspension set-up that performs incredibly well; when you apply power to the pedals, you can feel the forward thrust instantly. This even holds true when riding in all gears, even the granny ring up steep hills – which I use a lot!
Unlike some suspension systems, the Juliana VPP tends to sit up high in it’s travel, so the pedal power translates straight to the drivetrain, rather than bobbing you through the suspension first. In practice, this meant that if I stopped on steep climbs, I could get going again easily where usually it takes a couple of attempts to get enough forward motion to get my other foot off the ground.
I was sceptical as to how big a difference, if any, the 27.5/650b wheel size would make when climbing, but was surprised to find that it provided a small, but noticeable, benefit. It was also noticeable riding over uneven, rocky terrain, which it rolled over just that little bit more smoothly.
The Furtado Segundo comes with Fox CTD 130mm forks; not top of the range, but what you’d expect at this price-point, and in conjunction with the rear suspension and overall geometry, this bike feels like it can take tougher terrain than you’d expect from a 130mm travel bike.
The CTD stands for Climb/Trail/Descend – you can set the forks to suit the environment you’re riding in, with the Climb setting mostly locking out the suspension to give you maximum forward drive, for example.
The bike geometry and bar/stem combo really came into their own here; being able to keep a secure grip on the handlebars while also reaching the brake levers, coupled with smooth responsive suspension AND the great quality grippy tyres this comes with meant by the end of the ride I was flying down wet, loose rocky paths faster than I’d usually dare, and feeling completely confident doing it.
The drivetrain is a reliable mix of Shimano SLX and Deore, which performed smoothly even when changing gear on tough ascents. The clutch mech helped keep the chain on when the going got rough, and a triple chainset provides a huge range of gears that cater to all levels of terrain and fitness. Not once did the chain drop off, or the gears fail to change when required.
The Deore brakes are at the lower end of the Shimano range, and it would be nice to have slightly higher spec like SLX at this price point. That said, I can’t really fault them in action; they performed almost as well as the top-of-the-range models I’ve tried, and I had no issues with slowing, stopping and speed control on descents.
Another well-thought-out feature here are the pre-installed wedges, which bring the brake levers closer into the bars, meaning less of a reach and complimenting the narrower handlebars. Great if you have small hands.
Handlebars and saddle
The Furtado Segundo, like the other Julianay Bicycles, have their own proprietry handlebars. At 685mm, these sit at the narrower (in terms of length) end of the trail spectrum. The bars are also thinner (in terms of diameter) profile on their proprietary handlebars.
These narrow bars combined with a 68 degree head angle means the steering feels light and fast. I’m quite a broad shouldered woman, and expected the bars to feel too narrow for me, but in practice they were fine, and steering felt responsive and nimble.
The thinness of the bars was alien at first; my fingertips touched my palms when I gripped them, which never normally happens on any of the other bikes I’ve used. The feel rapidly became natural, and being able to grip more of the bar, more securely, while still easily reaching the brakes helped my confidence on steep, technical descents.
The thinner bars also solved a problem I hadn’t realised I’d had, or at least thought it was just part of riding. Namely, I used to find my thumb knuckles got achy and stiff if I’d been riding for a while. With the thinner Juliana bars, this problem disappeared.
In addition to their proprietary handlebars, Juliana Bicycles also do their own saddles. As saddles are a very personal thing, I wasn’t necessarily expecting to get on with this one – boy was I wrong! I actually think I’ve found a new saddle that suits my derriere; it was comfortable, cushioned in all the right places and low profile where it should be.
A bonus piece of info, particularly if you like the sound of any of the above is that you can actually buy the Juliana Bicycles saddles, handlebars and grips as separate parts.
I want this bike. I’ve never ridden anything that’s made me feel as confident, stable and in control as the Juliana Furtado; it goes where I want, when I want it to. It climbs amazingly, eats up technical descents and is so comfortable to ride that I took to cycling in town on it just so I got to ride it more (though I did look out for steps to ride it down).
At £3,299 it’s an investment, but for that you also get a 5 year frame warranty, lifetime crash replacement and pivot bearing warranty – and a known reputation for excellent customer services through Santa Cruz to compliment this.
- Excellent climbing performance due to the VPP suspension system and larger wheel size
- Female-specific contacts points, bar, stem and pre-installed wedges on the brake levers, increase comfort, control and confidence
- Well-thought out geometry combined with the cockpit set up gives confidence and stability on technical descents
- Maxxis High Roller 2 Tubeless Ready Kevlar tyres come as standard on this bike; grippy, tough and great for UK riding.
- Doesn’t come with a dropper seat post (though you can add a Reverb post for £230rrp)
- Shimano Deore brakes and chainset perform well, but slightly higher spec. Shimano SLX would have been good to have at this price-point.
Sizes: S (5"0 to 5"5), M (5"4 to 5"9), L (5"8 to 6"1)
More info: Juliana Bicycles
UK Distributor: Available from Santa Cruz retailers
What Juliana Bicycles say;
Using the latest in Virtual Pivot Point suspension technology, Furtado also adopts the new 27.5" wheel standard to create a snappy, agile ride that descends with ease and defines a whole new era for all mountain bikes.
Climbing with all the efficiency of an XC bike, yet with more love on the rocks than Elizabeth Taylor, this bike marries a unique geometry, spec and design not found anywhere else in the women's bike industry.
Available in Segundo and Primeiro models, be prepared to see Furtado become "Queen of the Mountain" at enduro races around the globe.