The Juliana demo van came up to Four Corners on Mt. Ashland on Sunday loaded with a full line up of beautiful bikes. Top-end builds in all colors of the rainbow. The turn-out was pretty impressive for our little valley, about 20 girls and even a few dudes.
Not only is it cooler at Four Corners at elev. 4,000’ – you also had the option of going down Catwalk and the lower trails, or pedaling up to the Links trails or to Bull Gap to stay out of the heat. Another plus was that you could easily get in a few laps on Lower Links on all the different bikes if you wanted to – and be able to sample them all in one morning. After everyone got set up on their 9am bikes, that is exactly what I did.
All bikes were ridden on Lower Links. This trail starts with pedaling up a fairly steep dirt road before coming to the single track for the descent. It’s important to note that Lower Links is a mostly smooth, fairly fast and tight, playful trail with some small jumps, lots of berms, pedal-y sections, and has some loose corners.
I took out the Roubion, the Furtado, and the Joplin. The Roubion is the twin sister to the Santa Cruz Bronson being a longer, slacker 150mm travel 27.5 wheeled steed; the Furtado is the Juliana equivalent to the Santa Cruz 5010 with 130mm of travel and 27.5 wheels; and the Joplin is the 110mm travel XC ride with 29’er wheels.
While it was great to get to sample all of these bikes at the same time on the same trail, it’s pretty clear that each one is made for different types of riding – so taking them all on just one trail isn’t entirely fair. What I can say consistently, however, is that all of them pedaled up that hill incredibly well.
The Furtado on Lower Links: Snappy, nimble, sticks to the ground, light, flickable, fun. Hands down the Furtado ruled this trail. It’s quick, stable and so, so playful. I think it’s great that you can also bump up the fork to the 140mm option if you want a little more travel in the front. But clearly, 130mm front and rear was very well balanced and made for a super fun ride. In my mind, this was a good example of how demo’ing a new bike can be dangerous… to your savings account.
The Furtado’s Habitat: Pretty much all of the Ashland trails for sure, but possibly minus trails like Timewarp where it might be slightly under-gunned.
The Roubion on Lower Links: It’s clear that this bike wants to gobble up and spit out rockgardens and rough terrain, so on a trail like Lower Links I felt like I had to be more aggressive with this bike and tell it who’s boss to be able to get it to respond to the quick maneuverability you need on this trail. I’ve taken the Roubion down Timewarp (our DH’ish trail in Ashland) and the thing absolutely ripped, making me feel like I was effortlessly flying over the all the loose chunder. Another plus is that the Roubion, when pumped for speed, accelerates very quickly.
The Roubion’s Habitat: anything rocky and rough – and it doesn’t mind pedaling up to get you there. It loves Timewarp or other more advanced trails.
The Joplin on Lower Links: I’ll be honest; the Joplin got the short end of the stick on this ride. This 110mm 29’er means business and isn’t really down to “play” on a trail like Lower Links. The Joplin wants to spend all day riding, covering some major ground very efficiently, not doing some trail you can lap in 25 minutes. Come on, that’s for weenies. It told me that. I can say, however, that my overall impression of this bike was that I felt like I was riding “in” it and not “on” it, which was a nice change to other 29’ers I’ve tried.
The Joplin’s Habitat: XC Races, Applegate Lake, Brown Mountain, Phil’s Trails in Bend