Designed specifically for the ladies, the Juliana is a wicked fast, full suspension bike sporting custom-butted aluminum tubing, 100mm (4 inches) of rear travel and a tuned suspension that allows it accelerate, climb, corner and descend like no other.
Strengths: Bounds up and down hills effortlessly. Where other bikes might get stuck on rocks or slide off with the rear wheel, this puppy just keeps on going. Nice balance. Like the rear shock position. Reminded me why I like cycling so much!
Weaknesses: Heavier than my '03 Trek Fuel 90, which has V brakes, but it's still disappointing. Hard to notice at first, but after a couple miles of uphill, it's a real drag to get up the hill and I'm losing time. Sort of makes up for it by clearing tough sections, but I think I'll stick with the Trek for the races this year.
Not as "superlight" as Santa Cruz thinks it is, but that's hard to do without going carbon. A real pleasure to ride!
Bike Setup: Fox R32, Fox Float R, Juicy 5 brakes, LX, XT components.
from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
Date Reviewed: April 7, 2006
Strengths: Excellent bike. It took awhile (6 weeks) to arrive after ordering but was well worth the wait. The full-suspension feels like it slows me down a bit, but I think it's just because it's more comfortable and doesn't bounce off everything like my HT does. The fork is wonderful, I feel like I can ride down anything--it's super forgiving, hmm...dit might be making me a bit sloppier. Being able to build the bike with different components and order different frame colours, and see the bike weight and prices, right on the Santa Cruz website is excellent.
Weaknesses: Low bottom bracket, and in my opinion, long cranks for the M frame size. I ordered a M after lots of consultation (5'4", 291/2" inseam) and it came with 175mm cranks. Nowhere on the SC website (which is otherwise excellent) are the crank lengths given for a particular frame size. As all of my other road and mtn bikes have 170mm cranks, I noticed a big bad difference pushing the 175s for a season, I ended up not being able to climb over everything I would normally be able to because the pedals hit lots of stuff, and pedal revolutions felt weirdo. I've replaced them with 170mm for this season and so far pedaling feels better, but the deep snow that's still on our trails hasn't let me test them fully yet. SC will change the crankset for you, so make sure to request your ideal crank size when you order.
Fantastic cross-country bike. I'm sure it's not the cheapest bike for it's components, or the lightest bike for it's price, but it's made in NA and it's solid on all kinds of terrain. I ride it on the twisty, flowy trails at Hiawatha and the rocky, rooty, downhilly stuff at Bellevue (S.S.M, Canada). And I spent a couple weeks last summer riding it on trails all over BC, where it performed well on everything from boardwalks on the sunshine coast to steep, long climbs into alpine (and the descents) near Squamish and Whistler to the super flowy twisty stuff and downhill runs at Sun Peaks. I've raced in two 24-hour races on it (4-5 laps total, not solo). It's lots more comfortable than my HT for the long haul rides.
When you order, know what crank length you want and request it.
Similar Products Used: Nothing similar but I still love my hardtail Rocky Mountain Stratos (with Mavic Crossmax wheels).
Bike Setup: Fox 100 RLT fork, RP3 shock, XT drivetrain, DT xr 4.1 rims with Onyx hubs, Avid Juicy disk brakes and levers...
a Cross Country Rider
from Sydney Australia
Date Reviewed: January 30, 2006
Strengths: Light, Great Handling, Comfort, Colour Options
Weaknesses: Disc pads wore out after 8 hours of racing (very muddy conditions). Bottom bracket is low and does hit the occasional log or rock. Pedal scraps the ground too easily, if you lean too hard into a high speed corner.
An excellent bike! Tailored for women who want a mixture of great handling, comfort, confidence on rough xc tracks and light weight. My wife has gained in confidence as a result of riding a Juliana Superlight.
a Cross Country Rider
from Boston, MA
Date Reviewed: June 3, 2004
Strengths: Light Frame, effortless pedaling uphill, great control and speed.
I thought I would die and go to heaven riding my hard tail IF, after a test ride on the Santa Cruz Blur, I knew I had to take a chance with the Juliana SL. I raced last weekend and did very well in the mudd and rain of New England, the Juliana just glided over the rocks and through the mudd with little effort. The Juliana SL must have a little motor somewhere her in frame that kicks in when the going gets tough. The female specific sizing and comfort is a must for anyone who rides and wants to keep riding in the years to come.
Similar Products Used: 1996 Independent Fabrication Special
Bike Setup: Full Shimano XT kit, Marzocchi Marathon SL 120, Fox float w/lock out, Crossmax enduro disk wheels, Maxxis highroller tires, Haynes hfx disk brakes, Easton monkey light carbon bar, Thompson elite seat post and stem, Shimano XTR 959 pedals, WTB speed she seat.
a Weekend Warrior
from Charleston NC
Date Reviewed: May 26, 2004
Strengths: stock seat is actually comfortable excellent handling great climber light weight (24.5lbs)
Weaknesses: none as of yet
At 5'1", It's needless to say that I didn't have many bikes to choose from. Most small frames might as well have had "Large" written on them as far as I was concerned.
So, since there weren't many designs to pick from, I started looking at the female specific bikes. Most (GF, and Trek for example), only went up to about $1500 in range, and I was looking for just a little bit more. Than, I came across the Juliana. It seems that Santa Cruz was the only company taking Girl mountain bikers seriously. I picked up the small frame w/ super x kit and have never looked back. I am so impressed with this bike! My handling has dramatically improved, and I know that I'm riding faster than on my old hardtail. The 5th element shock is great, especially for riding on all the roots here we have in VA.
Bike Setup: 04 frame, XT drivetrain, avid juicy brakes, sid team fork, thompson elite post, easton 50 stem, mavic 717 wheels, time atac xs pedals, 5th element shock, terry butterfly ti seat (put stock seat on my hardtail)
a Weekend Warrior
from Summerdale, AL, USA
Date Reviewed: May 17, 2004
Strengths: Tight frame handles great, smooth ride, love disc breaks, the women's specific geometry rules.
Weaknesses: The seat is O.K., that is the worst thing I can say about this bike!
This bike rules, I'm so much faster on this bike! I've been riding for almost 7 years on a Caloi hard tail (it's a Brazilian version of Canondale), and rode a few months on a Sugar 4+ which was half the experienc of my superlight. I can't believe how well this bike sticks turns. I'm approaching 40 years young and need a bike that eats bumps and this one does a great job of it. My husband is trying to talk me into racing, I might consider it now that I have a set of balls call Santa Cruz. I definitely recommend this bike if you a woman who enjoys riding and is tired of riding bikes made for big hairy guys!
Favorite Trail: Oak Mountain (Birmingham), University of South Alabama Trails (Mobile)
Duration Product Used: 6 months
Purchased At: Cahaba Cycles (Birmingham)
Similar Products Used: Gary fisher Sugar, trek fuel wsp(tested on a 10 mile ride)
Bike Setup: Duke XC fork, Float rl shock, Easton EA50 stem/seat post, Juliana bar and seat, Avid mechanical disc brakes, LX shifters, XT fr. & r. deraileurs, Mavic UST hubs & Crossroc UST rims, Michelin tubeless tires, stans no-tubes, Lx cranks, shimano clipless pedals, & a set of night lights (yeah!)
a Weekend Warrior
from Los Angeles, CA
Date Reviewed: April 12, 2004
Strengths: Women specific design, SUPER light, It's MY size! Strong, reliable frame. It's a Santa Cruz! It's really pretty too.
Weaknesses: It doesn't clean my house or pay the mortgage.
I have found my soulmate. This bike makes me want to quit my job. Climbing is effortless...I don't even bother to lock out the shocks (lockout is great for "road" riding, but not necessary for the trails). Downhill is an E ticket (uh...that's an old Disneyland reference...not a drug reference, you freaks!). I thought it would be hard to find a bike that matched my Joshua's handling (believe it or not, the Joshua was EXCELLENT on technical downhills), but the Juliana delivers. I point it, and it goes effortlessly. As far as comfort goes, I feel like this bike was custom built for me...oh wait...it was! So far, it's worth every single penny. I'm sure I'll eventually upgrade to XTR components, but for now, the XT set up is perfect for my experience level. If you're looking for a bike that's truly built for a female, this is THE one. Don't waste your money on any other bike.