Since the initial release of the Roubion and Furtado, a host of changes have taken place in the trail bike market. For 2016, Juliana is updating both the Roubion and the Furtado to reflect these evolutions in design, including slacker head tube angles and steeper seat tube angles coupled with a longer, lower top tube and short stems.
Juliana mountain bikes have always shared technology with its sibling company Santa Cruz. The new Roubion and Furtado are no different, sharing a frame design with the Bronson and 5010, respectively. With that said, Juliana focuses on detail-level design changes in terms of colorways, touch points and a lighter wheel set. When it comes to components Juliana bikes are always spec’d with the same top-shelf components as the Santa Cruz models.
These updated models implement the quickly growing standard of 148 x 12 mm rear hubs and 110 x 15 mm front hubs, known as Boost. In conjunction with the wider hub spacing, Juliana was able to update the VPP link arrangement, tucking the lower link neatly around the bottom bracket. This redesign makes it possible for shorter chainstays, 17 inches on the Roubion and 16.7 inches on the Furtado. Beyond geometry, the new link arrangement adds a level of refinement to the frame’s appearance.
The suspension has been tuned to utilize a higher initial leverage ratio and a flatter curve overall, making it supple on small bumps, ramp up quicker in the mid-stroke and aggressively ramping up at the end of the stroke to prevent bottoming on large hits.
These new frames also have a shorter seat tube to increase standover height, however the company encourages all riders to buy based on reach opposed to standover height. Women of a shorter stature will be stoked to hear that an extra small Furtado will be available in April 2016. All current frames sizes have a mount for a water bottle.
The sibling bike companies are known for pushing the envelope in terms of colors and it’s always a guessing game on what they have up their sleeve for new models. This year it’s Stonewash Purple for the Roubion and Spearmint for the Furtado. At first glance, the Spearmint resembles the Evergreen color of the 2015 Roubion, but in person it’s lighter. Both colors are a matte finish.
I had the opportunity to ride both bikes in Downieville, California. The local bike shop, Yuba Expeditions, has worked extensively with the forest service to build and improve the mountain bike trails in the area. Mountain bike tourism is helping to keep this quaint little town on the map; bringing in riders to experience their ever-growing trail system in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountain range.
We rode the Roubion on the Downieville Classic. Shuttling to 7,102 feet this picturesque ride rewards riders with a fourteen mile descent into Downieville with an elevation loss of nearly 5,000 feet. The trails offered a bit of everything; fast, flowy singletrack, hairpin turns, punchy climbs, burly rock gardens and loose rock descents.
Saddling up on the Roubion I was immediately comfortable and the bike, finding it to be a perfect fit for this classic Downieville ride. Beginning on the Sunrise trail you find yourself on fast, flowy, singletrack. The sheer stability of the bike begs you to go as fast as you’re able and it was immediately clear that the Roubion could be pushed far beyond my comfort level.
The Butcher trail revealed a technical descent. Lofting the front wheel over rocky terrain came with ease and the Roubion excelled in the most technical sections, offering great traction and agility. Regardless of the terrain the suspension felt supple. It ramped up nicely and offers ample bottom out resistance for aggressive riders.
The Roubion felt stable climbing and the front wheel stayed on the ground, the updated geometry places the rider in an efficient pedaling position. We rode this trail twice back to back, so I was able to experiment on the longest sustained climb with the suspension set in both Climb and Descend mode. While Climb mode firmed things up, the Roubion climbed exceptionally well in Descend mode, with almost no pedal bob.
Mills Peak, was the destination for a first ride on the 130 mm-travel Furtado. This 9.1-mile gradual descent presented fun, flowing singletrack with moderately technical, rocky terrain.
Like the Roubion, the Furtado felt like a perfect fit. It was snappy and super-fun on weaving forest singletrack. The Furtado’s agility gave it a lightness beneath me and encouraged popping off small rocks and roots.
I was able to maintain momentum through technical sections and it ripped down descents with confidence and stability, easily absorbing small bumps and ramping up through technical terrain. The suspension even felt supple bombing down what was a punishing, loose rock fire road.
The short 16.7-inch chainstays aided in lofting the front wheel over larger rocks and helped the rear wheel snap around tight corners at speed.
Positioned up over the pedals the Furtado climbed with ease, maintaining traction and absorbing small bumps along the way.
You can expect the Roubion and Furtado to arrive in shops next week. New this year, Juliana is offering both CC carbon and the slightly heavier, less expensive, C carbon model for both bikes.
All images except for lead courtesy of Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz also released its versions of the new bikes today. Get all the details about them here.