Rosie Holdsworth has got her hands on Juliana’s 150mm travel, 27.5″ wheeled, carbon framed Roubion to see what it can and can’t do.
150mm travel, carbon frame, 27.5″ wheels… A combination that is overwhelmingly popular amongst bike manufacturers. Have Santa Cruz’s ladies’ specific wing got the numbers right? Rosie has been hammering the Roubion on home turf to find out.
Photos by Kieran Curran.
- 150mm VPP travel.
- 27.5″ wheels.
- Carbon frame.
- Fox Rhythm fork and Float DPS shock.
- SRAM NX drivetrain
- RaceFace Affect crank
- £3,899.00 RRP
Having tested (and loved) Juliana’s big green behemoth the Strega last year, I was excited to get my hands on its slightly less monstrous little sister. The Roubion is Juliana’s 150mm enduro slayer that’s piloted by Juliana’s team riders for EWS races.
The model I have on test is the Roubion C R, the cheapest model in the Roubion Range coming in at just shy of £4000.
Straight out of the box the bike felt incredibly capable. It usually takes me a couple of rides and a bit of tinkering to get the measure of a new bike, but I felt at home on the Roubion as soon as I hopped aboard. I was planning to avoid new bike fever setting in and keep a lid on the speed, at least for a couple of rides. But the Roubion feels planted and stable and so confidence inspiring that I had quickly thrown caution to the wind and was attacking corners and technical sections in full race mode.
Roubions in the mist.
Spectacularly dry weather at home made me suspicious that I was only enjoying the bike so much because the lure of sunny spring in Calderdale had made me soft. So I headed to the Lakes on a particularly claggy and hideous weekend to see if some slippery slate would dampen my enthusiasm. The Roubion was equally composed in this setting. Greasy polished rock was no problem and I was pleased to find I rode pretty much all of a route that’s tricky even in the dry. Another thumbs up.
Unlike last year’s long-term test bike the Liv Hail 1, the Roubion remains exciting and lithe through tight technical sections and the confidence inspiring feeling doesn’t dull any of the excitement that riding slippery steep stuff provides.
The longer descents of the Lake district did throw up a niggle with the Sram Level T brakes specced on the C R model but replaced by Sram Guide R or Shimano XT on the next models up.
The reach adjust for the brakes is via a niggly allen bolt hidden away and inaccessible with most multi-tools, for someone who likes to tinker with things on the fly and adjust as I go this was annoying. The Level Ts also don’t feel all that powerful, again compared to the Guide R or XT and they’ll be the first thing to go if I decide to swap things around.
Happily, the tyre spec on the Roubion is the same throughout the range and I’ve been really impressed with the Maxxis Minion DHF and DHR II combination. It’s a relief that cheap tyres haven’t been one of the cost-saving measures on the cheaper model.
A recent niggle has been the performance of the Fox Float Performance DPS shock. After a few weeks of riding I noticed a clunking whilst climbing on rough ground, I investigated the usual suspects, headset, bushings, even whether my saddle had worked loose but couldn’t find the source.
Eventually after much frustrated workshop experimenting I’ve found that the “clunk” comes when the shock is under compression or rebound, but for the time being it’s just an annoying distraction from an otherwise brilliant bike.
What do we think?
The Roubion, even in its cheapest guise, isn’t held back by a cheaper spec, other than the SRAM Level Ts which lack stopping power for longer descents. Larger rotors and sintered pads may well make all the difference.
Other than that and the noisy shock, the Roubion is a planted stable beast that goads you to go faster. Familiarity with the Juliana will only increase its speed over time.
- Confidence-inspiring ride.
- Quality tyres.
- Suspension feels sorted from the off.
Could do better:
- SRAM Level brakes lack power.
- Float shock noisy out of the box.