“WOW, that’s a beauty! “Exclaims our test rider Lisa as she sees the Juliana Furtado for the first time. The bike named after the two-time world champion in cross country (1990) and Downhill (1992) really convinced us with its awesome looks. But how does this beauty perform on the trail, you’ll find it out here in our review:
The specification of our test bikes looks very solid and effective at first glance. The Shimano XT drivetrain works as expected, and changes gear perfectly and very fast. The ergonomic lever of the XT brake can be well adapted to small hands and are an ideal choice for a womans bike. However, on alpine trails Lisa would like to have a 180mm disc at the rear.
The bike has been optimised for women, especially the handlebars, grips and saddle. The bars comes directly from Juliana and have a special feature: it tapers down again after the brake and shifting levers and allows the installation of ultra-thin grips (also from Juliana). But for Lisa these were too slim and the handlebars at 680mm width were too narrow. Here Juliana have reworked the bike for the upcoming season and offers the handlebars now in 720mm width.
The suspension of the Juliana Furtado Primeiro consists of a high-quality Fox 32 Float Kashima fork with 130mm travel in the front, and a Fox Float Kashima CTD shock at the rear. The most important thing for a women’s bike is that the spring elements are adapted to significantly lower rider weight of women.
Here is the first little disappointment: The shock of the bike was significantly over dampened at the beginning for our 62kg test rider. The result was way to slow a rebound even if it was completely open. On our Inquiry Juliana Bicycles said: That they completely revised the shock for the next season by reducing the air volume and building in a way faster rebound tune. After upgrading to the new shock the problem was significantly decreased, and an adequate setup was possible.
The Juliana Furtado on the Trail
Now to the main point: How does the bike perform on the trail:
Once up on the Furtado, Lisa feels right at home. Neither overly stretched, or super compact, the position feels just right. Thanks to the 73 ° seat angle, the position is also centrally located on the bike and so efficient pedaling action is possible. The only things that slows down the uphill performance are the Maxxis High Roller II tires, which in turn convinced at the descent with massive grip – that’s why we gladly accept the slightly higher rolling resistance.
In the downhill the Furtado impressed with very agile and balanced handling. Change of direction sets the bike readily and accurately. The 125mm bike has a good dose of smoothness and stability, and coping well with the rough sections. Only the head angle could be a little bit slacker to offer more security in steep terrain for the taste of our female tester. The high standover height and the great freedom of movement on the bike provide much security.
Fork and dampers show a very similar characteristics and harmonize very well. The rear reacts fine even on small bumps and offers its travel willingly on bigger hits. A effectively ending progression prevents the shock from bottom outs. Also in the open position of the CTD-lever the bike rides in a very neutral manner. But during longer uphills, Lisa still used the climb mode for maximum efficiency.
The Juliana Furtado thrilled with a very elegant look and balanced handling characteristics. Criticism are only available for the narrow handlebar and to the shock setup. But both factors, were already revised by Juliana for the coming season. However, this beauty has its price: €6,720 for the bike in the version we tested is not a bargain.
If you would like to learn more about the bikes of Juliana Bicycles visit: www.julianabicycles.com.
Words & Pictures: Christoph Bayer