The ads for the Juliana Joplin Primeiro probably won’t have giant, half-naked, large-breasted women in them. Probably no stripper poles, either. And maybe, if we’re lucky, no butterfly orgies. Could this bike—and the marketing strategy behind it—open the door to more female riders? Watch this video to see what our testers thought.
JULIANA JOPLIN PRIMEIRO
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Final Take: A Santa Cruz Tallboy designed and dressed up for the ladies.
Santa Cruz Bicycles spun off its pioneering Juliana model into its own women's-specific brand this year. Women looking for geometry specifically designed for their bodies—whatever that means—might be disappointed to see the Joplin is essentially a Tallboy 29er dressed up with some women's-specific parts. But women who look in the mirror and don't see the featherweight, short-torsoed rider the industry has decided defines the female physique will be happy to see a bike that doesn't 'feature' a shortened toptube and parts tuned for 120-pound riders.
Julianas come as complete bikes, which may be a disappointment to gear junkies who love to while away their time on the crapper by researching the perfect rear cassette. We liked the carbon-fiber frame, and though it isn't cheap, the much-loved design of this bike will likely keep its owner's bike lust in check for years. Riders looking for options that are easier on their purse strings will find two slightly heavier packages starting at $2,600.
The 100-millimeter VPP rear suspension and 120-millimeter Fox Float fork made for a smooth ride on Sedona's notoriously rocky trails. We liked the dropper post and easily convertible tubeless setup, as these features inspire more confidence than just about any other upgrades. However, at this price point we'd like to see a 2×10 drivetrain instead of the three-ring build. Testers were mixed on the narrow-gauge handlebar, but it's an innovative way to address women's smaller hands even if it requires a few rides to adapt.
The Joplin is functionally and aesthetically appealing without vomiting femininity. At the end of the day, it is a Tallboy equipped and marketed for women. But in a sport where ads and shops are often dominated by men, is marketing a damned good bike to women really such a bad thing? –K.B.