About those grips…
At first, we were skeptical about the small-diameter handlebars and grips, with our anxiety growing every time someone else scrunched their nose at our survey question. But in practice these worked for us, delivering increased control as promised. On continuous downhills, however, we found ourselves wishing for some additional cush.
After only three runs, our hands started to feel the effects of a smaller surface area, which negated the effect of improved handling. Normally, we’d swap out to a more forgiving grip, but with the Juliana’s non-standard bar diameter, you can’t just swap out the grips for your favorite Ourys or ODIs. The Juliana Compact Bar is for exclusive use with the Juliana Compact Grips.
Juliana Team ambassador Anka Martin along with brand manager Katie Zaffke “live the brand”in this edit from New Zealand the company put out earlier this year.
Look Out Below
Descending on the Furtado Primeiro is an exercise in confidence building. With a more slacked-out, enduro-style geometry than your average XC rig, keeping weight over the center of gravity of the bike is no problem even if the bike is pointing down steep, chunky singletracks—particularly with the dropper post down.
The suspension provided by FOX comes with CTD switches that allow you to independently change the fork and rear shock between Climb, Trail and Descend modes. It felt a little overwhelming at first, but we quickly mastered the process and found it to be a huge benefit—it’s like having a whole quiver of bikes in one. A cockpit remote would be an improvement, but as we got more comfortable with where each dial and lever was, we could make changes by feel.
Settings selected, we were ready to hit it again and see what new challenge we might attempt. With the help of the “in-betweener” 27.5-inch wheels, we gobbled up drops and roots easily, without sacrificing line choice accuracy. This is the kind of bike that can make you a better, hungrier rider.
Off the jumps, again, this bike shines. As primarily an XC rider, this reviewer tends to prefer her wheels on the ground, but this bike inspires hucking—hucking everything. The Furtado provided a secure, stable platform to launch, and on landing, it was easy to achieve slipper soft, bottomless touch-downs.
The Juliana likes to take to the air. Photo by Byron Swezy
Just what is ‘women’s-specific’ anyway?
The thinking behind women’s-specific bikes has evolved so that now, it seems the agreed-upon differences are relatively few—saddle, grips, size and color. That might not seem like much, but for Juliana it comes with a philosophy that makes a difference as well.
“The Juliana brand gives us our own platform to rally behind women in the sport and to bring groups of rad women together over the thing we all have in common—bikes,” says Juliana Brand Manager, Katie Zaffke. “It gives us something bigger to be a part of—a bike, an adventure, an experience, a community, a spirit, and an allure that is just for us, uniquely our own.”
While some might dismiss it as merely marketing, the women’s-specific focus—when executed genuinely—serves as both an inspiration and an invitation. The Juliana website and branding are visually beautiful experiences. The images, colors, and even logos, help more women see themselves in the sport and feel like they belong.
And if you don’t know the backstory, the entire Juliana brand is named for one of mountain biking’s original superstars, Juli Furtado. One of the most dominant racers of all-time, the Mountain Bike Hall-of-Famer won world titles in both cross country and downhill in the 1990s. She lives in Santa Cruz and continues to work on the brand that bears her name.
The Bottom Line
The Juliana Furtado Primeiro is a bike for women who shred. With a realistically high price point that reflects its value, beginners aren’t likely to pick this one out. Those riders who do, however, will be rewarded with a responsive, comfortable, confidence-building ride that’s forgiving for both someone just learning to mountain bike, or a rider ready to push her limits to the next level.
- Outstanding carbon chassis
- Thoughtful female-specific spec and philosophy
- Confident handling and ride quality
- FOX CTD suspension gives it a wide range
- RockShox Reverb dropper post helps improve handling, safety
- Smaller-diameter handlebar and grips offer excellent control
- Triple chainring drivetrain setup is passé and heavy
- Bike comes as-is—no options for upgraded wheels, drivetrain, etc.
- Smaller-diameter handlebar limits replacement grip options
- Bike could be a bit lighter
2014 Juliana Furtado Primeiro
- MSRP: $5,999 (as tested)
- Weight: 28.1 pounds, with pedals (size medium)
- Wheel size: 27.5 inches
- Sizes: S, M, L
- Color: Roarange
- Frame Material: Carbon fiber
- Fork: FOX 32 FLOAT FIT CTD Trail Adjust Kashima
- Rear Travel: 125mm
- Rear Shock: FOX FLOAT CTD Adjust Kashima
- Headset: Cane Creek 40 Mixed Tapered
- Handlebar: Juliana Compact
- Stem: Easton EA70
- Grips: Juliana Mountain Lock-on
- Saddle: Juliana Primeiro
- Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
- Brake set: Shimano XT M785
- Shifters: Shimano XT M780
- Front Derailleur: Shimano XT M781
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT M786 Shadow+
- Cassette: 11-36 t Shimano XT M771 10-speed
- Crankset: 24/32/42 t Shimano XT M780
- Rims: WTB Frequency Team i23 TCS
- Hubs: DT Swiss 350
- Spokes: DT Swiss Double Butted
- Tires: Maxxis High Roller 2
- Bottom bracket type: Shimano threaded
- Head tube angle: 68-degrees
- Seat tube angle: 73-degrees
- Chainstay length: 17.1-inches
- Bottom bracket height: 13.1-inches
For more information visit julianabicycles.com.