The Furtado & The Joplin
One revolutionized women's mountain bike racing and the other revolutionized women's rock-n-roll. The namesakes of the Furtado and Joplin are both legends in very different ways. The bikes on the other hand are much more similar. These two models, the Joplin and Furtado, have been popular bikes in Juliana's line up for some time now but what is different between them? When you look at these two bikes it can be hard to tell them apart. With VPP suspension linkage, near-identical frame lines, and similar component kits, the only fast difference is the painted name! But no, these aren't the same bike. So let's go over what makes the bikes different and which one will suit you.
The Juliana Furtado is the definition of trail fun, built to be maneuverable, whippy, responsive, but not scared. It's based around a MX wheel set up, with a confidence inspiring 29 up front, and the party player 27.5 in the back. The smaller rear wheel setup on this bike helps keep the bike nimble and cornering to the best of your abilities. This theme of fun is really carried in the bike geometry, with a 456mm reach, 634mm stack, and 64.9 degree head angle in a MD. That short reach in combo with the MX wheels let you pump rollers, change lines on a whim, and throw whips with ease.
But because this bike bike isn't as bike as let's say a Roubion, it’s still light enough for normal trail days and longer adventures. It turns all smooth/flow trails into almost-pump tracks, and puts a smile on that face. For all this talk about fun and responsiveness etc… Don't let that fool you into thinking that due to that it has a drawback in the chunk. When it comes to flat out descending, drops, chunk, etc. it is the more descent capable of the two bikes on this list. The VPP suspension is tuned for this bike to keep it poppy, but also hold traction. In rougher terrain, the Furtado will feel and be more confident than the Joplin
Do you enjoy longer high mountain adventures? Then listen up. The Joplin is less in travel numbers than the Furtado, but greater in wheel size. With a slight “XC” mentality, the Joplin lets you climb high, climb far, with the goal of going anywhere and doing anything. It wants to get up and go, even when you can't anymore. Based around 120mm rear and 130mm front travel, the numbers on the Joplin do point it to being a more capable climber, and it’s generally lighter for overall long days. This bike also boasts a 450mm reach, 610mm stack, and 65.7 degree head angle in a MD. The Joplin's VPP is tuned a little stiffer than the Furtado, leading the bike to be overall more efficient. The Joplin is a little bit of a weird bike in the ways it's designed, but not necessarily in a bad way. Most 120mm R/130mm F bikes in the industry right now use split pivot, flex stay, or something else in those lines for the suspension set up. Which for short travel Down Country-ish/light trail bikes makes sense. But with the Joplin, Juliana stayed true to their roots and used VPP. whether this was the right decision or not is up to you, but it makes for a unique bike. When compared to other bikes in this category, like the Scott Spark 900 (Same travel numbers, similar geo numbers, but uses a flex stay suspension design) the kit equivalent Joplin is three and a half pounds heavier. Same thing goes for a lot of other 120/130mm bikes from other companies.
Don't let this fool you however, for as much as we talk about it, weight is not everything, and this bike still rides spry and responsive. But the upside to using VPP on this bike lets it step far outside from what a normal 120/130mm bike can do. It lets it punch far above its weight class in terms of descent capability, and eggs you on into going rougher and push harder. No, the tune is still different so the Furtado is still a better descender, but I would much rather have a Joplin over a Spark when things get rough. (Of course the Spark has its uses and reasons somewhere else) This can be disappointing to some people as they are looking for something a little bit lighter and quicker, if that's you try looking at the Wilder. But for what it's meant for, long days and up and at ‘em rides, this bike does what it's meant to do very, very well.
If your goal is to turn every trail into your personal playground and don't mind a little bit of less pedal efficiency, and like to keep things responsive, the Furtado might be your next steed. Still light and poppy enough to keep smother trails fun and not a pedal fest, but just big enough to make rougher terrain doable when needed. On the other hand, if you love finding new heights and views, longer days in the saddle and more traverses tend to be your speed, the Joplin will be a great addition to your quiver.