Juliana is held in the same high regard as its prestigious partner brand, Santa Cruz, and the Maverick promises great things.
Smart geometry makes for efficient climbing, decent descending stability and a sense of playfulness. Combined with 29er wheels, this adds up to something more akin to ‘trail bike does enduro’ than ‘aggressive trail-centre cruiser’.
Juliana Maverick C R frame
The Maverick is available in small, medium and large, with the same geometry as the lauded Santa Cruz Hightower.
On test with three other female-focused bikes – the Canyon Spectral WMN CF 8.0, Liv Intrigue Advanced 1 and Scott Contessa Genius 910 – the Maverick’s sizing is generous, unlike the other bikes, and is the longest in all sizes.
I also like the simple colour scheme, clean lines and neat details of the carbon frame. This model is made from its ‘Carbon C’ material, which is the same strength as the more expensive ‘Carbon CC’ but slightly heavier.
Juliana offers a free lifetime replacement service on its pivot bearings and frames. Steve Behr
With the longest reach and wheelbase on test, and a relatively low bottom bracket, the Maverick has the most aggressive frame shape, for confident descending. The chainstays are kept short (433mm) to increase agility.
Santa Cruz’s twin-link VPP suspension system stands out, with the shock half-hidden within the seat tube and behind the swingarm. A little guard protects the Fox DPS damper from any grit spraying up from the rear wheel, which is a nice touch, although it makes it hard to set your sag and complicates maintenance.
The shock is mounted to the lower link via an integrated flip-chip, which can be switched between ‘High’ and ‘Low’ geometry settings.
While the bike comes with 29in wheels, you can also run 650b hoops with up to 2.8in tyres (in which case, Juliana recommends using the High setting).
Juliana Maverick C R kit
While the frame is high quality, the kit isn’t quite up to scratch for the price. SRAM’s NX Eagle drivetrain is second-from-bottom in its 12-speed range. Experience suggests it’s wise to keep an eye on the bolt torque and mech alignment.
The Race Face dropper works alright, but isn’t the swiftest-returning post. I found the saddle a bit chunky too.
Juliana recommends running the Maverick in the High setting if you struggle with pedal strikes. I’d prefer shorter crank arms – 170mm instead of 175mm – to avoid this, and to keep it in Low for a better feel on descents. The shorter crank option is only available on the small size.
RockShox’ Yari fork shares the same strong chassis and DebonAir spring as the more sophisticated Lyrik, but uses the older Mission Control damper so lacks suppleness.
The Fox shock has a climb lever, but I never reached for it because the bike’s kinematics allow for efficient pedalling. Unfortunately, the SRAM Guide R rear brake needed a bleed after only one ride.
Juliana Maverick C R ride impressions
Sitting on the Maverick before you drop in for a descent fills you with confidence. The long-ish reach (compared to the other bikes also on test), more enduro-flavoured head angle, lower bottom bracket, big wheels and sturdy fork make you feel like you can tackle anything.
Unfortunately, the bike doesn’t make the downhills as effortless as first appearances would suggest. While the long wheelbase provides a stable platform on fast descents, the harsh-feeling suspension makes rough tracks even tougher than normal on the arms.
If you feel like going bigger, the Maverick frame can take a 160mm-travel fork. Steve Behr
Not only does the Yari fork lack initial plushness, but it can struggle to deal with repeated hits. I had to run around 30 per cent sag to achieve a more comfortable feel.
While the Juliana 29er is still quite agile and a ton of fun on every sort of trail, it doesn’t have quite the same direct handling feel as the smaller-wheeled Canyon or Liv. It pedals well uphill and is eager to roll over any root or rock, but doesn’t smooth out every little bump.
I preferred the aggressively- treaded 2.4in Minions on the Juliana to the 2.6in rubber on the Scott 29er because they dug into winter mud well.
The Maverick’s geometry is also really solid. But, the price is just too high for the components you get.
Juliana Maverick C R geometry
Sizes (* tested): S, M*, L
Seat angle: 76.6 degrees
Head angle: 65.5 degrees
Chainstay: 43.3cm / 17.05in
Seat tube: 40.5cm / 15.94in
Top tube: 58cm / 22.83in
Head tube: 10cm / 3.94in
Bottom bracket drop: 2.9cm / 1.14in
Bottom bracket height: 33.3cm / 13.11in
Wheelbase: 1,207mm / 47.52in
Stack: 61cm / 24.02in
Reach: 45.3cm / 17.83in
How we tested
Four popular female-focused trail bikes were put through their paces to see which performs best on the ups, downs and everything in between.
Brands take a varied approach to designing bikes for female riders, but in this test Scott designs its frames identically for both unisex and women’s bikes, Juliana’s measurements are the same as that of its brother company Santa Cruz, while Liv and Canyon modify their frame dimensions for female riders
Bikes also on test: