Juliana Furtado R Carbon C review

Agile, playful and super-fun trail bike

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £3,999.00
A side-on photograph of the dark red Juliana Furtado mountain bike standing in a forest

Our review

A lively, nimble and fun ride that’s perfectly suited to most UK trails
Pros: Great fit now Juliana has increased the reach; lifetime frame and bearing warranty; ripe for upgrading
Cons: Budget brakes; struggles on trails with larger repeated hits
Juliana suggests its Furtado can handle most UK trail rides. I’m not about to argue — it’s playful, capable and a whole lot of fun to throw around pretty much any track you’re likely to encounter.
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Juliana Furtado R Carbon C frame and kit

The 650b-wheeled Furtado uses the same frame as the Santa Cruz 5010. This third iteration brings the geometry up to date, with a longer reach, slacker head angle and steeper seat angle. It’s also got a redesigned VPP rear end and new wider pivots.

A flip-chip lets you switch the geometry from a slacker, lower setting (66.2-degree head angle, 74.9-degree seat angle) to a steeper, higher mode (66.5-degree head angle, 75.2-degree seat angle). This is designed to improve climbing and cross-country riding, but the bike was so good in the low setting on ascents and undulating terrain that I left it there.

A 437mm reach and 780mm bar give the Juliana a roomy feel. In fact, it’s one of the few in our Bike of the Year test that doesn’t feel a bit on the short side.

The Furtado R C build has the same parts, spec and price as the equivalent 5010 model, but it gets a lighter shock tune, a women’s saddle, and different colours and branding. While the spec has some highlights, cost-saving is evident: the base-model SRAM Guide T brakes are reliable but don’t have the subtle control of pricier models.

We’ve come to expect 12-speed gearing at this price, and while NX Eagle is SRAM’s cheapest 1×12 groupset, it does the job well. A 32t chainring is paired with longer-than-average 175mm crank arms on the M and L sizes, with 170mm cranks on the XS and S.

Rolling stock comes in the form of comparatively narrow WTB ST i25 rims laced to SRAM MTH hubs. Combined with relatively skinny 2.3in tyres — a Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR II combo — these rims give a noticeably narrower contact patch than the other wheels on test, although the lighter tyres do help the Furtado feel that bit more lively on the trail.

If you want more grip, there’s room in the frame and fork to run 2.8in tyres, although you’ll need to upgrade to wider rims to fit them. This does mean there’s plenty of mud clearance though.

Controlling the 130mm of rear travel is a Fox Float DPS Performance shock, paired with a 130mm Fox 34 Rhythm fork. The Race Face finishing kit includes an alloy bar and stem, plus its Aeffect seatpost, with 150mm of drop.

Juliana Furtado R Carbon C ride impressions

The newest Furtado ekes out every bit of fun from a trail. It’s poppy, agile and immensely playful, and you’ll find yourself pumping through every hollow, hopping over roots and making the most of every lump and bump along the way.

It doesn’t feel cramped, with plenty of space to move around on the bike when you need to start throwing it about a bit more. The modern geometry, including a decently-long 1,167mm wheelbase, gives confidence on tracks that are tougher than you might expect a 130mm bike to handle.

That said, the narrow-ish tyres and on/off brake feel mean that, while the Furtado can handle some chunky terrain, it gets a bit out of its depth on trails with larger repeated hits.

So while it’s brilliantly fun for most UK riding, if you’re looking for a bike that you can take on alpine holidays or uplift days too, it may be wise to consider the longer-travel Juliana Roubion or Strega instead.

In terms of performance and for sheer fun, though, the Furtado comes an extremely close second to the Liv Intrigue, and it’s a bike you can’t fail to be excited about riding. It’s nippy, agile and playful, making it one of the most capable all-rounders we’ve tried.

Juliana Furtado R Carbon C specifications

  • Sizes (*tested): XS, S, M*, L
  • Weight: 13.37kg
  • Frame: Carbon C carbon fibre, 130mm (5.1in) travel
  • Fork: Fox 34 Float Rhythm, 130mm (5.1in) travel
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Performance
  • Chainset: SRAM NX Eagle, 32t
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM DUB press-fit
  • Cassette: SRAM PG-1230, 11-50t
  • Chain: SRAM NX Eagle
  • Mech: SRAM NX Eagle (1×12)
  • Shifters:  SRAM NX Eagle
  • Hubs: SRAM MTH 716 (f)/746 (r)
  • Axles: 110x15mm Boost (f) / 148x12mm Boost (r)
  • Rims: WTB ST i25 TCS 2.0
  • Spokes: DT Swiss Competition
  • Tyres: Maxxis Minion DHF EXO TR, 27.5×2.3in (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO TR 27.5×2.3in (r)
  • Wheel weight: 2.0kg (f), 2.83kg (r), inc. tyres
  • Stem: Race Face Ride, 50mm
  • Bar: Race Face Ride, 760mm
  • Grips: Juliana
  • Headset: Cane Creek 10
  • Saddle: Juliana Segundo
  • Seatpost: Race Face Aeffect, rigid
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide T, 180mm rotors

Juliana Furtado R Carbon C geometry (low setting)

  • Seat angle: 74.9 degrees
  • Head angle: 66.2 degrees
  • Chainstay: 42.6cm / 16.77in
  • Seat tube: 40.5cm / 15.94in
  • Top tube: 59.8cm / 23.54in
  • Head tube: 13cm / 5.12in
  • Bottom bracket drop: 2.4cm / 0.94in
  • Bottom bracket  height: 33.7cm / 13.27in
  • Wheelbase: 1,166mm / 45.91in
  • Stack: 60cm / 23.62in
  • Reach: 43.7cm / 17.2in
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BikeRadar would like to thank 661 Protection, Northwave, Effetto Mariposa and Finale Ligure for their help and support during our Bike of the Year test.