Juliana Furtado Carbon 27.5+ S Review
Cons: Uncomfortable saddle, 2.6" tires feel sluggish at times, only offered in 3 sizes, expensive
Our Analysis and Test Results
Should I Buy This Bike?
The folks at Juliana have been cranking out crowd-pleasing and user-friendly mountain bikes for years and the Furtado is no exception. This easy-going mid-travel trail bike hits a nice middle ground between XC efficiency and all-mountain mastery with its 130mm of front and rear-wheel travel. This bike encompasses the meaning of full-tilt enjoyment on the trail and possesses the pep to light up most terrain. Running strong in the mid-travel full-suspension bike category, the Furtado is a bike that will shock you with its performance and ability to handle most terrain. The VPP suspension platform provides a solid pedaling platform for spirited and efficient climbing with good small bump compliance and a progressive feel when the going gets rough on the descents. The moderate length wheelbase and reach, short chainstays, and 66.3-degree head tube angle combine for precise and responsive handling and a zesty and playful downhill experience. It remains quite stable at speed and can handle just about any steepness of pitch or roughness of terrain under the right pilot. It doesn't charge quite as hard as some of the longer travel models we tested, but it makes up for that with its solid climbing performance, playful attitude, and all-around capabilities. The Furtado's moderate travel and user-friendliness make a lot of sense for a large portion of the riding population who are looking for a bike that can do it all pretty well.
The Furtado Carbon C we tested features Juliana's Carbon C frame which is the less expensive of their two carbon fiber frame layups. Both the front and rear triangles are carbon fiber. The Furtado has 130mm of front and rear wheel travel and utilizes their time-tested VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) suspension platform. Santa Cruz/Juliana has been using the VPP platform for well over a decade. VPP is a twin-link system that uses a rigid rear triangle attached to two links, one by the bottom bracket and another attached to the top tube just in front of the seat tube. When the suspension is compressed, the two links move in opposite directions and the entire rear triangle rotates up and in, as opposed to pivoting on a fixed axis. Juliana has also integrated a flip-chip into the rear lower rear suspension mount that allows the user to adjust the head tube and seat tube angles by 0.3 degrees. The frame features internal cable routing and integrated down tube protection. They have also included robust chain and seat stay protection to reduce chain slap noise.
In the high setting, we measured our size small Furtado and found that it has a 574mm effective top tube length and a 412mm reach. The head tube angle is 66.3-degrees with a 74.9-degree seat tube angle. The wheelbase is 1148mm with 429mm chainstays and a 336mm bottom bracket height. Moving the flip-chip to the low setting slackens the head and seat tube angles by 0.3 degrees and lower the bottom bracket height by approximately 4mm. Our test bike tipped the scales at 29 lbs 10 oz without pedals and set up tubeless.
- Available in Carbon Fiber and Aluminum frames
- 130mm of VPP rear suspension
- Designed around a 130mm travel fork
- Flip-chip to adjust geometry
- Clearance for up to 2.8" tires
- Light shock tunes for lighter riders
- Aluminum builds starting at $2,699, Carbon builds from $3,999 up to $6,799
The Furtado descends with cat-like precision and a nimble yet firm grip. Handling is direct and precise, and this bike is highly maneuverable with a flick-able and playful attitude. The 130mm of front and rear wheel travel feel balanced and is plenty for most riders in most places. The geometry translates to great high-speed stability and stellar rear-end maneuverability. The VPP suspension platform is time tested, and the Furtado is plenty capable for all but the most aggressive of descents.
The Furtado's geometry plays a significant role in how it handles and performs on the descents. Overall, its measurements are relatively moderate when compared to some of the heavier hitting and longer travel bikes we tested. This includes the 1148mm wheelbase, 412mm reach, and 66.3-degree head tube angle in the high setting. When combined with the shorter 429mm chainstay length and modest 130mm travel numbers, this provides a notably snappy and responsive feel that lends itself well to ripping tight corners and getting playful on the descents. Despite its agility, the Furtado still maintains composure and tracks well at speed on smoother sections of trail. It also has a flip-chip that allows the user to put the bike in high and low settings; it adjusts the head tube and seat tube angle by 0.3 degrees.
Juliana/Santa Cruz has been using the VPP suspension platform for well over a decade. It offers solid small bump compliance and a nice progressive ramp up that can handle mid to larger sized hits with good bottom-out resistance on mid-sized drops. Testers noted, however, that in more chundery sections of trail at higher speeds, the Furtado did get a little squirrely, something we've noticed while testing other VPP bikes in the past. High-speed chunder isn't this bike's ideal terrain, though it performs well when the impacts come in slightly slower frequency. Otherwise, the loyalty is shocking, and it does an excellent job at maintaining a line and staying grounded. The Juliana Furtado has outstanding cornering capabilities no matter what the trail scenario is. It handles well whether you are attacking a high-speed swooping berm or have to slow it down to snap into a tighter rock padded corner. Its control and precision gives you the confidence to push harder and really hone in on cornering skills.
The S build of the Furtado we tested is quite nice and plays a role in how well this bike handles and performs on the descents. The suspension package is solid and includes a Fox Float 34 Performance Elite fork and a Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite rear shock. The cockpit setup is comfortable with a nice wide bar, short stem, and a Reverb dropper seat post to get the saddle down and out of the way on descents. The Race Face AR 35 wheels have a wide 35mm rim width that is perfect for the 2.6" Maxxis tire combo. The wheels and tires combine to offer huge amounts of predictable traction and great initiation into turns and corners. Like most of the other bikes we tested, the Furtado came equipped with SRAM Guide R brakes that provide ample stopping power and reliable performance, though they can fade a bit during especially long descents.
The Furtado isn't playing any games when it comes to climbing. This bike is all business on the uphills and instills a vibe of accomplishment for its rider. It's moderate geometry numbers come together for a comfortable climbing position and direct steering while the VPP suspension platform makes for a very supportive and efficient climb. Ultra-responsive climbing abilities in more technical terrain solidifies this bikes a true character as a confident climber no matter what is ahead.
The Carbon C frame of the Furtado is nice and stiff and power transfer feels very direct and efficient. The VPP platform provides ample support when climbing with the shock in the open position while seated or out of the saddle. With an effective seat tube angle of 74.9 degrees in the high setting, the rider is positioned almost directly above the bottom bracket in a comfortable position for pushing straight down onto the pedals. The moderate reach measurement also allows for a relaxed upper body as you crank away on the climbs. The Furtado's more conservative 66.3-degree head tube angle provides razor-sharp handling, and this bike tackles technical uphill terrain and tight switchbacks with the best of them. The suspension platform is excellent with ample support while in the seated position. Even when the trail gets a tad bit punchy and you find yourself out of the saddle, the suspension continues to deliver support and remains solid.
Juliana has equipped the Furtado with a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain that features an 11-50 tooth cassette paired with a 32 tooth chainring. This setup provided ample range for our testers, and anyone seeking lower gears can easily replace the chainring with a smaller one. The 2.6" tires have loads of air volume and provide loads of traction, although the Rekon tread has somewhat low profile tread and can be prone to spinning out in very steep/loose conditions. Testers didn't love the Juliana Segundo saddle, as they found it to be relatively flat and not the most comfortable for extended periods of seated pedaling.
The Furtado is offered in a dizzying number of build kits in both carbon fiber and aluminum frames. Juliana offers it as a frame only in aluminum for $1,999 or in carbon fiber for $2,999. The Carbon C 27.5"+ model we tested with the "S" build falls in the middle of their range of price for the carbon-framed models. All of the builds are offered in 27.5" or in 27.5"+. The difference here is in the width of the tires, with the plus version getting 35mm wide rims and 2.6" meats as opposed to the 27mm wide rims and 2.3" tires that come on the non-plus sized models.
The Carbon C R and R+ builds retail for $3,999 and come with a Fox Float Rhythm 34 fork and a Fox Float Performance DPS rear shock. They have a SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain and come with SRAM Guide T brakes. The wheels are WTB ST i25 and i35 with SRAM MTH hubs, and the dropper seat post is a Race Face Aeffect. The aluminum R and R+ builds are identical but paired with the aluminum frame for $3,399.
The top of the line Carbon X01 and X01+ models come with Juliana's Carbon CC frame. The suspension is upgraded to a RockShox Pike Select+ fork and a Fox DPX2 Float Performance Elite rear shock. The drivetrain is SRAM X01 Eagle with SRAM X1 carbon cranks. They come with SRAM G2 RSC brakes and a Santa Cruz AM Carbon handlebar. They also give you the option of upgrading to a Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheelset.
The most affordable Furtado models are the aluminum D, and D+ builds that retail for $2,699. These come with an aluminum frame, a RockShox Recon RL fork, and a Fox Float Performance DPS rear shock. The drivetrain is SRAM SX Eagle with a SRAM Level brakeset. This model does not come with a dropper seat post.
With a retail price of $4,899, we feel that the Furtado S+ is a relatively average value. This is a great mid-travel trail bike with a solid component specification that will definitely put a smile on any gals face. Whether you can justify the expense or not is up to you. There are several other builds at various price points to suit a large range of budgets.
The S+ build is pretty spot-on, and there isn't much about it that we feel needs to change. That said, the stock Juliana Segundo saddle to be somewhat uncomfortable for extended periods and would likely be the first upgrade if this bike were ours. The Maxxis Rekon rear tire is another potential upgrade. The Rekon is a fine tire in the right conditions, but testers found that doesn't offer the cornering grip or braking traction they seek in aggressive terrain or loose conditions.
If you're like most riders and you don't aspire to get "super gnarly" on your mountain bike, then the mid-travel Furtado is a sensible option. This bike is nimble and playful with a more moderate modern geometry and 130mm of front and rear-wheel travel. It climbs like a goat, handles technical terrain with precision and composure, and holds its own when the trail gets steep and rough. The Furtado is an efficient companion for XC style trail riding on everything from backyard loops to huge epic days. If you're seeking a versatile all-around trail bike that performs on all but the rowdiest of terrain we think the Furtado is a great option to consider.
— Tasha Thomas
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