Review by Megan Welch, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photo: Called To Creation.
Fifth in a five-part series - team manager and four elite racers from The Path Bike Shop Race Team chose their 2017 race bikes, and told us what features they loved and why they chose the bikes they did.
Just Juliana. My bikes for 2017.
I want to start with my thank yous to all who have set me up for a fun year of riding that is to come. Thank you to Lou Mollineda for being such great support at the races. You cheer for everyone and always say the right thing to keep our spirits up. I want to thank my 2017 sponsors, Juliana Bicycles, Speedtune wheels, HT components, Onza Tires, Tustin Brew Co, Ford of Orange, Acumed, and Raceface. Thank you to EVERYONE I work with at The Path Bike Shop for making me suffer on rides, working on my bike, and making me laugh on a daily basis. Thanks to Mike Mautner, our Santa Cruz rep, for letting me bug you till I got my sweet new rig and allowing me to represent Juliana. Lastly I want to thank Tani Walling for continuing to support and allowing me to be a Path ambassador at my own rate and terms.
Last year was a decent year of racing for me and was proved with finishing the 2016 California Enduro Series 2nd Place overall in expert women. I'll be honest... it was hard! Sometimes it was fun, sometimes it wasn't but it was always an adventure. Racing so much last year helped me realize where I feel most comfortable as a mountain biker. I belong on a mountain bike, I am made to go fast, and made to take risks but I am not cut out to be a full-time pro racer. Will I go all out on racing again this year? No, but when I do I'll do it to inspire more ladies to give racing a try and show it's not all about the competition but the opportunity to meet other lady shredders and to ride more places. I want to be a great ambassador for my sponsors that support me by riding for the RIDE not the podium.
This year Juliana Bicycles with the help of The Path Bike Shop have given me the chance to do just that. Lets talk about my set up! Due to the love I have for steep and rocky terrain I chose to go with the Juliana Roubion that comes equipped with 150mm of rear and front suspension. The bike has a short seat tube length but has a steep seat tube angle (same as the sister model with less travel, the Furtado) which allows this bike to pedal well and offer a low stand over making it easy to move the bike under me on descents and turns. With a 66 degree head tube angle and 27.5 wheels the bike is responsive and quick. It is also by far the easiest bike to catch air on that I have ridden. It truly is a do all bike. I am confidant that this bike will help me take lines that I wouldn't normally take and go the speed I wouldn't normally go. I trust her. My crocodile green Roubion is set up with X01 SRAM Eagle 12 spd, Raceface Next SL G4 cranks, Raceface Next Carbon bars cut to 770mm, a 142 smaine saddle, and soon will have Carbon Speedtuned wheels!
It was about 2 years I'd been planning to build up a 29er full suspension. But which one? How much travel? How XC do I want to go? Alu? Carbon? Do I actually need it? So many decisions! Then.... the Joplin rolled into my life, swept me off my feet, and made me pedal away with her into the sunset. She chose me and convinced me that "Climbing can be fun!". The Juliana Joplin is a 29er full suspension with 120mm travel up front and 110mm in the rear. It's 68 degree head tube angle allows the bike to be playful on the downhill but stable for the climb. I bounce from one bike to the other but at the moment, I cannot get enough of my Joplin right now. I've PR'd climbs that I've been riding for years, cleared nasty rocky uphills I wasn't able to before, and has reminded me how FAST 29ers can be on the downhill. Also, it's purple.