Women’s bikes should not be simply smaller and pinker versions of men’s bikes. When Santa Cruz decided to add women’s specific options to their line of bicycles, they knew there needed to be real thought and effort behind the new offerings.

With legendary mountain biker July Furtado serving as inspiration and as a point of reference, Santa Cruz launched Juliana in 1999 and women have been blessed with innovations designed to create bikes with optimal fit and comfort for today’s female mountain bikers.

After decades of mountain bikes being built almost exclusively with men in mind, the Juliana broke ground. Sure, “girls bikes” with step thru frames have been around for a century or so, and that’s not a bad thing - after all, it helped open the door to cycling to women on a larger scale. But when it came to performance bicycles, women were stuck with men’s bikes in small sizes for way too long.

Women are not simply shorter versions of men. Legs, torsos, shoulders and hips are, on average, different in proportion not just in size. With that in mind, Santa Cruz and Juliana got to work with a solid foundation of bike-building expertise to build on, but flipped the script and used women’s specific geometry and measurements to engineer bikes that would not only fit the typical woman, but also allow her to perform at her athletic best.

Yes, the Juliana frames are smaller on average than the men’s frames. But that’s only a beginning. Proportionally accurate geometry extends to areas of the bikes such as cranks, chain stays, handlebars and others to ensure a great fit and a fast, comfortable ride. Even at the same height, men and women are built differently. They have different weights and different physiological proportions. Simply reducing the size of traditionally men’s bikes by uniform percentages will not cut it.

While the Juliana Furtado 27.5 inch mountain bike is the namesake model for the brand, others followed to create an exquisite line of bikes for virtually every type of riding. The Joplin is a speedy 120mm travel 29er cross country rig ready to race. With the Maverick, you get a 140mm trail bike that tames rock gardens and is ready to catch some air on technical descent. The Roubion is an enduro ride with 27.5 wheels and 150mm travel designed and intended to put your bike handling skills at ease as you attack some of the most demanding trails and mountains around.

Mountain biking

Of course, the gravel world could not be forgotten and Juliana released the Quincy a few years ago to bring all-road adventures another level of comfort, performance and accessibility.

In building Juliana into the world’s leading women’s specific mountain bike line, Santa Cruz leaned heavily to female riders for demos, testing and feedback. The result is component builds with properly tuned suspension systems - a 5-foot-5 inch woman typically weighs much less than a 5-foot-5 inch man and the suspension system should reflect that difference for a better ride. Working with Fox and RockShox, Juliana engineers develop unique tunes and kits to create bikes that just perform better.

The Joplin, for example, features all the same great engineering and geometry traits as the Santa Cruz Tallboy, however it offers the typically lighter Juliana rider a plush and smooth feel throughout the travel, thanks to its custom ‘light’ tune.

From shock tune to chainring size and saddles to grips, the Juliana crew of dedicated female product testers has obsessed over the little details today’s female mountain bikers want. July Furtado wouldn’t have it any other way.

Big drops on a mountain bike