The 2020 Maverick is a 140mm/150mm travel 29er that’s firmly aimed at the all-trail/all-mountain riders out there, and it’s latest addition to the Juliana Bicycles family.
Juliana is the sister company to Santa Cruz and makes no secret that its bikes are based around the same frames, but tailored for women by including kit such as a women’s specific saddle and, crucially, a suspension tune designed to suit lighter riders.
The stunning mountains around Buena Vista, Colorado in the USA providing a backdrop to the testing grounds Juliana Bicycls
So, while the Maverick might be new to the Juliana range, the eagle-eyed among you will notice that it is based around the Santa Cruz Hightower. Look closer still and you’ll spot that the Maverick/Hightower has had a major update (though for simplicity we’ll just refer to the Maverick here).
To see just what these updates meant on the trail, I hit the high MTB routes of Buena Vista in Colorado, USA.
Juliana Maverick CC X01 29 RSV frame
The shock on the Maverick sits in a low position in the frame, which is an update for the Hightower Juliana Bicycles
Probably the most striking feature is the shock position, which has now shifted lower in the frame, connecting to the down tube just above the bottom bracket area — akin to its sisters the Roubion and Strega which have a similar suspension set-up, and was originally inspired by the V10 downhill bike.
And, just like those bikes, the re-positioned shock is now driven by the lower of the two links, which connect the front and rear triangles together.
The reach on the medium carbon CC frame is now a much more up-to-date 450mm in the low setting (453mm in the high setting) compared to the 430mm reach on the soon-to-be previous Hightower.
Juliana fits colour-matched Juliana Grips to its bikes, including the Maverick Juliana Bicycles
Low and high settings give away the fact that the Maverick has a flip chip. This means that the geometry can be slightly tweaked to a higher, more upright setting for climb-heavy outings. I spent most of my time in the lower setting though with no noticeable loss of efficiency when climbing or on undulating terrain.
The slack 65.2-degree head angle can be altered to 65.5 degrees if you stick the bike into the high setting, while the steep 76.6-degree seat angle (or 77 degrees in the high setting) should keep you well-positioned over the bottom bracket for efficient climbing.
There’s also plenty of room inside the front triangle for a water bottle, which should make a lot of people happy.
Juliana Maverick CC X01 29 RSV kit
The wide-range SRAM cassette provides plenty of high and low gears for spinning up hills or smashing back down them Juliana Bicycles
The Juliana Maverick CC X01 29 RSV is the range topper in the line-up and, as such, has a spec to reflect just that.
Juliana has worked closely with RockShox to develop a custom tune for the Super Deluxe Ultimate shock, which controls the rear 140mm / 5.5in of travel on the all-new frame.
It’s got a lighter tune than the Hightower that’s designed to suit the typical lower weight and height range of female riders. This gives a light, supple action with less damping off the top of the stroke through to a more progressive feel (provided by the addition of one token in the shock) the deeper you get into the travel.
Up front, a RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fork provides 150mm / 5.9in of travel.
This version is specced with Santa Cruz’s own Reserve wheels, with 30mm rims on DT Swiss 350 hubs, plus Maxxis Minion DHR tyres in 29 x 2.4in with 3C EXO TR casing.
The Santa Cruz Reserve wheels have 30mm rims Juliana Bicycles
A SRAM X01 Eagle transmission with X1 Eagle cranks and SRAM Code RSC brakes are to be expected at this price point, as is the bling carbon finishing kit with Santa Cruz AM carbon handlebars, color-matched Juliana saddle and grips.
An exciting addition is the brand-new RockShox Reverb dropper post, which has been re-engineered to provide a shorter overall length. That aside, the new Reverb also gets an internal overhaul, which RockShox claims delivers a 50 percent reduction in the amount of force required to make it drop – great news for lighter riders.
Juliana Maverick CC X01 29 RSV first ride impressions
The suspension feels supple off the top, rolling through chundery rocks with ease Juliana Bicycles
That lower shock position provides a noticeably lower centre of gravity, so despite the big wheels you really do feel ‘in’ the bike rather than perched up on it.
In terms of maneuverability, for such a surefooted big-wheeler it’s nimbler than you might expect and handled slow-speed twisty trails remarkably well.
On the climbs, the Maverick’s steep seat angle combined with big wheels and taut suspension meant that it felt supportive rather than wallowy, which made getting up and over rock-strewn inclines a sprightly and efficient affair.
The momentum it carries on flatter terrain with minimal input is impressive too, rolling through rock gardens without getting hooked up or losing significant amounts of speed. On descents, it feels steadfast, maintaining excellent traction and handling bigger hits with relative ease.
I know the new Maverick is extremely capable and can’t wait to tackle more familiar technical descents on my local test loops to really push its limits.
Supple, efficient suspension and big rolling 29er wheels give plenty of momentum to carry you up, over and through trail features Juliana Bicycles
Juliana Maverick CC X01 29 RSV full spec
Frame: Carbon CC 29er 140mm VPP
Fork: RockShox Lyrik Ultimate 150mm 29er
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select Ultimate
Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle with SRAM X1 Eagle 148 DUB crankset and XG1295 Eagle cassette
Wheelset: Santa Cruz Reserve 30 29in wheels with DT Swiss 350 hubs and DT Swiss Competition spokes
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC with Avid Centreline 180mm rotors
Bar/stem: Santa Cruz AM Carbon bars with Race Face Aeffect R stem
Seatpost/saddle: RockShox Reverb Stealth, 1x lever with Juliana Primiero saddle
Price: £7,799 / $8,299 / AU$10,899
More information: Juliana Bicycles