Introducing the brand new Juliana Roubion and Furtado, launched today.

The Roubion is a 150mm, 27.5″ women’s mountain bike that is designed around the Santa Cruz Bronson. The Furtado is the 130mm, 27.5″ sister to the 5010.

Rosie Holdsworth reports from the official launch…

Photos by Robin O’Neill.

I was cutting about the wonderful woods of East Burke, Vermont earlier this month trying out an exciting selection of Juliana’s 2019 range whilst avoiding chipmunks and moose.

North Eastern America’s wildlife alone would have been enough to distract me from anything other than wildly exciting bikes, fortunately though the 2019 Roubion and Furtado are very much in the wildly exciting camp.

I tested out a Juliana Strega last year (and had a blast) and this year my longtermer is Juliana’s 2018 Roubion C R. So I was excited to see what’s changing for 2019 and most importantly, how much bicycle fun I could cram into 2 days of riding.

Jetlag madness sufficiently suppressed by a big sleep courtesy of Vermont’s finest 8.5% IPA; it was day one and time to try the Furtado CC for size. Juliana’s most popular bike and a well established member of their range, the Furtado is described as their do-it-all bike. At 130mm travel it’s shorter travel than any bike I’ve ridden for a good while, so I was keen to see how it handled.

Furtado Key Features:

  • 130mm VPP® rear travel
  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • Frame clearance up to 2.8-inch tires
  • Available in CC, C carbon and aluminum
  • XS to M
  • Reach grows by 15mm
  • 66.2-degree head angle in ‘Low’ setting, 66.5-degree in ‘High’
  • Flip chip in link

For 2019 the Furtado has altered geometry, with longer reach, a steeper seat tube, slacker head angle and new DPX2 shock. For the first time the Furtado will come with a choice of standard or Plus tyre sizes and a “flip chip” at the shock mount to lower the bottom bracket and alter tolerances accordingly. There’s also a shorter seat tube to accommodate a longer dropper post and provide a lower standover height for smaller riders.

For 2019 the Furtado range will also incorporate aluminium frames available in sizes XS to M, broadening the spectrum of availability. It’s also got a bold new look; new graphics and colours which shouldn’t make a difference, but which I was pretty into.

The Furtado felt superb. I was immediately at home on the bike as soon as I hopped aboard. The suspension felt settled and stable and buttery smooth whilst the whole bike was fabulously good fun. The Furtado felt so agile and nimble that it had me pushing faster and faster, loving the gentle climbing and descending and ribbons of singletrack that the Kingdom Trails provided.

The afternoon’s trails took in some more technical terrain with roots and little drops but rather than expose any weaknesses which might have become apparent on this relatively short travel bike; it just got even more fun. The agility of the bike blew my mind, it really was a blast and had me grinning and pedalling hard all day despite the heat and dust.

I only had chance to ride the Furtado for a day but on the strength of that I’d seriously consider it as a “one bike to rule them all” for UK riding, I would love to see how the Californian engineered carbon and bearings really hold up against Calderdale winter slop-grit.

Roubion Key Features:

  • 150mm VPP® rear travel / 160mm fork travel
  • Linearly-progressive leverage ratio
  • 27.5 wheel bikes
  • Frame clearance up to 2.8-inch tires
  • Available in CC, C carbon and aluminum
  • 3 sizes: XS to M
  • Reach grows by 15mm per size
  • Lower standover (~30mm on S and ~15mm on M)
  • 1-inch shorter seat tube
  • 65.1° head angle, 75° seat angle,

Day two and it was time to let the Roubion CC out to see what it was capable of. I was excited to see what was new, and how it compared with the 2018 Roubion I currently have on test.

Freewheel clearanceFreewheel clearance bikes

One look and it was clear that the Roubion has been drastically re-imagined for 2019. The suspension set up and geometry have changed a lot and are now more akin to the Strega that the Roubion’s Furtado little sister. The suspension linkage has been redesigned so that the shock now sits much lower in the frame and there’s longer reach, a slacker head tube and steeper seat tube.

As with the Furtado, standover height has been reduced with a shorter seat tube. There’s now a 160mm fork with a 150mm travel shock and the shock has fancy bearing eyelets rather than bushings, standard at all price points in the Roubion range.

The longer fork and redesigned suspension should make the Roubion even more confidence inspiring and capable, but a better all-rounder than the Strega for those (like me) who loved the Strega but felt it was too much bike for the majority of the riding they do. The Roubion will be available in an XS and there’ll be aluminium versions available, again widening the accessibility of the Juliana range.

The Roubion took a little more tinkering to get right for me, I did quite a lot of fiddling with the compression of the fork to get it feeling right but once I had done, the Roubion flew. We’d headed further from town to trails at Victory Hill, the riding here was fantastically varied with trails being more technical that the previous day and even more fun. The Roubion climbed wonderfully on the steep and rough fire roads and felt really smooth on the rooty singletrack climbs through the trees.

As soon as it was tipped downhill the bike sprung to life, it felt incredibly capable and the roots and rock gardens were no trouble at all for it, I was having a blast. Another trail had some pretty enormous jumps and gaps, and again the Roubion felt wonderfully capable and confidence inspiring, I could actually imagine wanting to do some of the bigger jumps on this bike, something must have been working right.

In the afternoon we headed back to East Burke to stock up with maple syrup and get shuttled to the top of Burke Mountain, a small ski-racing peak just outside town. The view from the top was spectacular and the prospect of riding the whole way back to river-level was pretty inviting.

We took one of the area’s more sketchy trails off the hill; a wonderfully rocky and rooty affair which reminded me of riding in the Alps and had me beaming immediately. The Roubion really was the tool for the job here, off-camber roots and tricky rock sections were no problem at all.

The bike took it all in its stride and soon it was goading me faster and faster down the hill. Further into the woods and the trail got somehow even better, the cat and mouse games with Juliana’s brand ambassadors let me try out the Roubion at race pace and the bike really delivered, racing enduros on this bike would be a dream. All too quickly we were back in town for beers, I was hot and tired but the Roubion was so much fun I’d have loved just one more run from the top.

Both bikes were a huge amount of fun to ride, and the trails out in Vermont really were something special.

As an all-rounder for UK riding I can see the Furtado becoming even more popular and I’m sure that the Roubion will become ever more prominent on the Enduro scene.

For full details on the 2019 Juliana Furtado and Roubion models, head over to Juliana’s website.

Keep an eye out for Rosie’s full review on the current Roubion coming soon on our bike review page.


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