2023 Juliana Furtado Review | Taking playfulness to a whole other level

The not-so-minor details


Juliana Furtado XO AXS Carbon CC


From $6,999 AUD ($12,499 AUD as tested)




- Light, fun and playful
- Great manoeuverability
- High-spec base components
- MX wheels and slack head tube angle make for a great descent


- Small cockpit space decreased stability and comfort of the bike
- Limited size options
- Felt jumpy in technical sections of trail

Lia reviews the Juliana Furtado

In 2022, Juliana released the all-new generation of the Furtado, introducing it as a master of creativity and style. Too good to ignore, I had to get my hands on this bike to see whether it truly lived up to the word on the trail.

Tracing Juliana bikes back in history, their good name takes us back to mountain biking legend, Juli Furtado. Juli helped develop the brand in 1999, releasing it as a women’s specific branch of Santa Cruz. Juliana utilises the same frames as Santa Cruz, but they come with a lighter shock tune, narrower handlebar, and different grips and saddle, all to the benefit of the ladies shredding it out there on the trails. But the biggest question for me was: does it ride as good as it looks?

The original Juliana Furtado came into the mountain biking scene in 2014. It advertised a full 27.5in wheel set up, with 130mm of travel up front and 125mm of travel in the rear. The model has been revamped many times over the years but has stepped into the spotlight, yet again, with this exciting new Furtado branch.

I was happy to find that this generation of the Furtado still maintains the reputation of its lineage; a bike which makes you feel like a kid again out on the trails.

The new Juliana Furtado generation lets your inner child shine through on the trail.

An overview of the Juliana Furtado

The Juliana Furtado is a short travel trail bike that is based on the same platform as the Santa Cruz 5010. The latest version is equipped with a 140mm travel fork and features 130mm of rear travel via the VPP dual-link suspension design.

The Furtado frame is only produced in carbon fibre, and it is aimed at the premium end of the market. There are two levels available: cheaper bikes feature the C carbon frame, and higher-end models upgrade to the slightly lighter CC carbon frame.

Come on… name something more majestic.

In the Juliana branch, the Furtado is a step up from the Juliana Joplin, which has full 29in wheels and 130mm/120mm of travel front/rear. The main distinction between the Joplin and the Furtado is the Furtado’s more aggressive style. The Furtado now has a slacker head angle for the descents, with a 29in wheel up front and 27.5in wheel in the rear. This MX wheel design is a definite highlight, making the descents all the more fun on this light and nimble rig.

A more progressive stream of trail bike, however, is not unique to the Juliana brand. There is a growing list of short travel mullet bikes on the market, which includes the Specialized Stumpjumper and the latest Canyon Spectral.

MX wheels with a slacker head angle makes for a more capable bike on the descents.

Along with the MX wheels and more aggressive stature of the bike, Juliana has made room in its design to fit a nifty Glovebox into the downtube of the bike. Coming with a fitted Tool Wallet and Tube Purse, the space to fill never seems to end. The Glovebox is easily accessible and can hold all the necessary equipment for when disaster strikes out on the trails. Most importantly, it has more than enough room to fit a plentiful supply of mid-ride snacks in there, too.

The bike also comes with Juliana’s own women-specific saddle and branded grips to boot.

The Furtado comes with Juliana’s women-specific saddle for optimal comfort on the trails.
Juliana-branded grips. They work well, too!

Juliana Furtado price & specs

There are five bike options available for the Juliana Furtado, starting at a base price of $6,999 AUD for the Juliana Furtado R.

Here, the model which we tested and reviewed was the Juliana Furtado XO AXS Carbon CC.

Juliana Furtado XO AXS Carbon CC

The components all come together to make a neat, uncomplicated finish to the Furtado.

Juliana Furtado Sizing and Geometry

If you are interested in this range of the Furtado, the model comes in three sizes: X-Small, Small and Medium.

The bike we tested was medium-sized. It has a reach of 459mm, a head angle of 65.2°, and a seat tube angle of 77.4°. All of these measurements are with the flip chip in the high setting. Switch that to low, and you’ll drop the BB slightly and slacken the angles out by 0.3°.

The Juliana’s high and low setting options cater for personal preference. I chose to keep the Furtado in the high setting. This worked to enhance the pedalling efficiency of the bike and how the rear shock responded to the terrain.

The Juliana offers high and low settings, with more mid-stroke stability in the high setting and a more progressive feel in the low setting.

One aspect that was a dampener on my overall experience of the Furtado was its sizing options. Being 175cm tall, the small cockpit of the bike was a squeeze to fit into. I was a little disappointed that the medium size I was riding was the largest in the Furtado range, as a bigger bike would have suited my height a lot better.

My sizing issue with the Juliana was not too limiting in the long run, but if you are taller than 175cm, a good option to look toward could be the Santa Cruz 5010, that is available in Large, X-Large and XX-Large sizes.


The Furtado proved to be a very efficient bike on the climbs. With the slack head angle and MX wheels, I would have expected it to pull me back over the rear wheel. Instead, with its light weight of 13.68kg, it almost flew up the mellower hills.

The steep seat tube angle sits you right above the chain stay for an efficient pedalling feel on the climbs.

The VPP at the rear end of the bike also helped to provide better mid-stroke stability and overall comfort in the uphill sections of trail. The rear of the bike was very planted because of this, but when the climbing became more technical, the bike did lose this stability and became quite jumpy.

Playing with suspension pressure and rebound, I did manage to alleviate some of this feedback. Even with these alterations, there was still a stiff aspect to the bike, which I couldn’t shake off.

The jumpiness boiled down to the Juliana’s rigid carbon frame. These features meant that it wasn’t able to absorb the features of trail as well as a bike, like the Ibis Mojo 4, which has more flex to its frame.

The V rear end cancelled out small bumps on the trail to make sitting in the saddle more comfortable, but it lost this asset when the trail became more technical.

On a positive note, the Furtado’s short wheelbase did make it very responsive on the climbs. This meant that switchbacks were a breeze to pedal through. I was also very impressed with how the SRAM XO Transmission changed gear quickly under pressure; I could always rely on it when a steep climb or tight corner caught me off guard.


Descending on the Furtado proved to be exactly what they said on the box: super duper playful… but that is a definite understatement. A trail that you thought was flat and boring on a heavier bike is a theme park on this thing.

Any root and small lump on the side of the trail became a new jump to huck over, and the bike’s ability to twist and turn was unmatched.

This bike made every turn zippy and swift.

The 140mm fork and 130mm rear shock made the flatter sections of the hill almost as much fun as the steeper sections, and I had a great time finding little pumps and jumps to pull off of everywhere. Because of this, the Furtado felt like the quintessential old-school trail bike; it is bigger and more capable than an XC bike but not as burly as the current enduro bikes making it to the World Cup circuit.

This bike was as lively as anything on the flowy descents.

I did have one small bone to pick with the stability of the bike when the terrain became rockier. As with the climbs, in the face of more technical descents, the bike lost some of its control in the front wheel and felt very stiff. I found myself on the brakes a lot more in these sections, having to be very active on the bike to keep it under control down the hill.

The Furtado’s short wheelbase did not help with this stability; this feature did make the bike very agile, but very small movements made a large difference, and I was forced to focus more when the trail became too demanding.

On more technical descents, it was essential to be active on the bike to avoid getting thrown off line.

Longer Rides

I soon realised that this bike likes a sharp and sweet kind of pedal; on a shorter morning ride, or a few speedy laps of the local bike park, are where this Juliana shines.

Riding the Furtado out on the Indigo Epic Trail in Victoria, the bike really came into its own. The loop is relatively flat, but the many rollers and well-built berms mean you can get up to some eye-watering speeds. The MX wheels and short travel lapped up the features of this loop. It was almost like I was riding a completely new trail; I found so many gaps and side hucks which I would never even consider pulling for on a different bike.

I’m sure I would have looked crazy, jumping left to right and back again, but I was having the time of my life.

The flowy sections of trail were soooo much fun on this bike!

When it came to longer periods of time on the saddle, I did end up feeling a little cramped on the bike. The Furtado is meant to be flipped around and had fun on, but for long slogs in the seat, it can get a little uncomfortable and upright.

The light weight of the bike and hefty 12-speed cassette did make for a pedal-efficient feel, but for longer, more undulating rides, something more planted might be a more desirable choice.

The Furtado’s super light weight and springiness turned out to be more of a negative on the longer rides.

Component Highs and Lows

As a $12,499 AUD bike, the Furtado does not disappoint in its component line-up. This bike has some top-spec additions straight out of the box.


The high-end componentry of this bike is reflected by the brakes it comes with. The SRAM Code Silver Stealth brakes paired with the light nature of the bike makes for one you can trust.

You know those bikes that you have to set an appointment with to stop? This is by no means the case with the Furtado. The super-light bike was exceptionally good at braking, and I felt like I had already halted before even playing with the idea of slowing down in my head.

If you run into trouble on the trail, you can trust the Furtado to pull you to an instant stop.


SRAM has got the Juliana Furtado completely covered. Along with SRAM Code brakes, the Juliana comes with the SRAM XO Transmission. I was really impressed with the quality and reliability of this drivetrain, and shifting on the Furtado proved to be quiet and very crisp.

It’s worth noting that the maximum chainring size on the Juliana is 34T. If you wanted a more active feel to the suspension, stepping up to a bigger chainring would reduce the anti-squat slightly and help the rear end generate more traction on technical climbs — provided you have the engine to spin the cranks.

Another aspect of the drivetrain that I was thrilled with was how robust it was. While testing, the back end of the bike ran into a decent beating when I came up short on a jump. I thought the fun had ended there (for my ankles, it definitely had), but the bike remained completely rideable and just as fun as before. Big thumbs up from me!

The Furtado comes with a blinged-out SRAM T-Type Transmission drivetrain, which allows for quick shifting and pedal efficiency.


The Furtado is decked out with a RockShox Pike Ultimate with 140 mm of travel, and RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate in the rear with 130mm of travel.

Some modern ‘trail’ bikes would stick their noses up at this short travel set up, but the suspension the Furtado comes with is well matched for what the bike is designed to handle, and I feel that any more would have taken away from its pumping and jumping skill.

The suspension set up was quick and easy on this bike. On some bikes, the shocks can be hidden away to make for an overall ‘cleaner’ look, but this usually just makes them a nuisance to access. On the Furtado, this was not the case. Even with the VPP’s shock tunnel, everything was very accessible, meaning that minor tweaks were simple to make out on the trail. A few clicks of the rebound, and I was all set to head off again.

The suspension on the Furtado is easily accessible for quick set up and adjustment.
The RockShox Pike Ultimate 140 soaks up the hits to the front of the bike.

Wheels and tyres

Our Furtado test bike came with a custom wheelset that features US-made Industry Nine 1/1 hubs and Race Face ARC alloy rims with an offset spoke bed. While not as flashy as carbon, I was impressed by their sturdy feel and forgiving nature, and I didn’t have any problems with either wheel throughout the entire test period.

As for tyre choice, the Furtado comes with Maxxis Minion DHR II tyres on the front and rear. This was an interesting decision, as I would generally lean toward a DHF on the front and DHR on the rear. On flowy sections of trail, I did not find any problem with front-wheel traction, however, entering into more technical trails, I found myself looking for the grip and stability of a bulkier front tyre.

The Race Face rims never lost tension throughout testing, but it might be a good idea to change to a grippier tyre on the front for better traction.

The Furtado’s equivalent in the Santa Cruz stream

If you like the sound of the Furtado but would prefer it in the Santa Cruz model, then the Santa Cruz 5010 is a great option.

The 5010 is almost identical to the Furtado. It has all the same components, except for the Juliana-specific saddle and grips, and has a heavier shock tune out of the box. The 5010 is also a tad heavier than the Furtado, and is available in sizes X-Small, to XX-Large.

The Juliana Furtado is the sister bike to the Santa Cruz 5010.

Flow’s Verdict

The Furtado is exactly what Juliana says it is: fun, nimble and playful. The type of riding modern, long travel bikes are too burly to provide.

The bike pumped and flowed exceptionally well, coming into its own on undulating trails with lumps and bumps to hop around on. The only areas where the bike did not excel was in more technical areas of trail where the Furtado could feel unsettled and unstable.

If your riding style is all about getting creative out on the trail, then the Furtado is sublime. On the other hand, if you are one to always make a B-line for the rockiest part of the hill, then a heavier, more planted style of bike would likely be a better option.

So, another lap?


It appears you're using an old version of Internet Explorer which is no longer supported, for safer and optimum browsing experience please upgrade your browser.