When we dropped of the sky blue Juliana Joplin at Debbie Stopforth’s Dynamicbikefit Studio we could tell she couldn’t wait to give it a go. And she promised to take it for her Tuesday group ride to give it a proper shake down. Photography by Julia Andrade.
My Tuesday group of riders, The Trail and Tar Tarts, were keen to see how the bike would handle on our planned 50km ride. We include road and off road riding as part of our Sani2C training so it’s a good first test ride. Most of us were a little skeptical as women’s specific bikes are not usually as well specked as the men’s bikes. So I was extremely excited to see the Joplin had some amazing features.
I’m 1.72m tall and fortunately the bike arrived all ready for me to jump onto! A 90mm stem and medium frame were perfect. So we headed out towards the Constantia greenbelt. I loved the CTD adjustments and three-step Trail Tuning Range. I could really feel the difference between the climb, trail and descend settings and had fun playing with these. The VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) suspension gave an amazing balance of pedal efficiency and the suspension was so smooth. I was delighted at its ability to eliminate the feeling of “bobbing” that one gets when the suspension is not sensitive to its settings.
The Juliana Joplin is a carbon women’s specific 29er mountain bike and I was delighted with how comfortable yet rugged it felt, all in one. I personally prefer a longer reach and the ability to get into an aggressive racey position. The Joplin felt very spacious in the cockpit area but still allowed me to power up the hills and descend over rough terrain with ease. The front fork on the test bike had 100mm of travel but the bike comes standard with a 120mm travel fork. The suspension is awesome, and I felt in total control at all times.
The bike comes with Shimano Deore XT drive train and disc brakes. The one feature that I did not enjoy though was that it has been designed to have small handlebar tube to facilitate thinner grips for women. My hands are not particularly large, but I battled with the smaller grips even experiencing numb hands after the ride. It’s definitely a feature I would change when setting the bike up for a client who does not have tiny hands.
The test model weighed in at just under 12kg’s (when we washed the mud off) which helps it climb. I will certainly recommend it to the clients who are looking for a bike to carry them through the trails with comfort, confidence and ease. This 29er rolls over anything and if you are looking to play in the forest on the trails or tackle a three day stage race, the Juliana Joplin will do both with ease.
The Juliana has the same frame geometry as the Santa Cruz Tall Boy. I have ridden the Tall Boy and have always recommended it for clients who are looking for a more comfortable ride and a slightly more upright body position. I will now suggest the Joplin for women who are looking for these same features in a bike. After riding the Joplin I can now say with extreme confidence that the Juliana Joplin is an amazing Cross Country bike for women.
There are three symbols on the top tube which puzzled us all at first. I went back to my Studio and looked up what they meant. The three symbols stand for POWERFUL: BEAUTIFUL: NATURAL. Definitely sounds good, but I have to admit and great as the bike made me feel on my ride I still enjoy the good old “PEDAL DAMMIT” sign.
Sus the Geometry:
All measurements in mm or degrees for a medium frame.
|Bottom Bracket Height||331.1|
|Seat Tube Angle||72.4|
|Head tube Angle||70.2|