Joplin 2.0 27.5+ R Complete Mountain Bike
It's obvious that the Juliana Joplin 2.0 27.5+ R Complete Mountain Bike's blueprints were modeled pretty darn closely after those of its bigger brother, the Santa Cruz Tallboy. This 27.5+ version takes advantage of boost-spacing's wider tire clearance and shock linkage flip chips, while the SRAM's NX group adds to its versatile nature to give you a trail bike that is ready to shred and stand on its own merits. Plus, it utilizes an aluminum frame for long-lasting durability and easy maneuvering.
Maybe the biggest difference between the Joplin and the Tallboy is in the shock tune. The setup is custom for lighter riders since Juliana calculates that typical women cyclists are around 30lb lighter, on average, than men. No more having to send your shock to a shop to get a custom tune or using all of that VPP travel. If you're wanting extra traction and a more forgiving ride over roots and babyhead rocks, the 27.5+ on this build is the way to go. If you're looking for quick acceleration and a nimble feel, good news, a wheel swap lets you run larger diameter 29er wheels and tires. A flip chip sits in the suspension link and can be positioned allowing the shock mount to move a few millimeters. Repositioning the shock attachment point and extending or reducing the fork length effectively accounts for the difference between 27.5+ and 29-inch wheel/tire systems, keeping the geometry as static as possible across wheel sizes.
The 68-degree headtube angle strikes a perfect balance between downhill, lean back steep confidence and cross-country agility. Since the flip chip allows that number to stay the same whether you're running a 29in wheels with a 120mm fork or 27.5+ with 130mm, the bike will handle very similarly and your wheel size decision can be distilled into your riding style and terrain. The frame's chainstays and reach are up-to-date with the stays just over 17-inches and reach bumps up dramatically across all sizes. Confidence and high speed stability improve without losing the nimbleness that had us gushing for the original Tallboy/Joplin.
VPP travel sits at 4.5-inches and we find that for a 27.5+ or 29er bike, this is a great do-it-all amount. And that's the beauty of the Joplin, it's essentially two frames in one: a 29er with long, stable geometry capable of racing or eating up big miles on epic days or as spec'd here, a plus-size steam roller grabbing traction on kitty litter and floating over babyheads. Small details matter too and we love the fact that you can run a bottle cage inside the triangle. We don't always like caring packs, especially on short hot laps after work or basically anytime we don't have to. The repositioned links, first used on the Hightower and Bronson, allow for this as well as a lower standover height, and an additional stiffness to the already stiff Boost back end.
This latest version of VPP continues to impress and it is our favorite one yet. The new VPP's curve resembles a flattened check mark which leads to less dramatic ramping on either end of the arc and, with the women's specific lighter tune, you'll be able to peg the fun meter more often. Off the top, the suspension is more sensitive for better bump compliance keeping the tires glued to the ground for more traction through trails that resemble creek beds and loose minefields.
The excellent anti-squat properties give a firm feel during accelerations so it's quick off the line and over the top of climbs without having to flip the switch on the shock. Since the shock's ramp-up is linear through the stroke, there is no weirdness going on with mid-stroke wallow and the bike continues to feel bottomless during hucks to flat and on fast, hard g-outs. The Joplin can be run with a front derailleur but with this excellent SRAM 1x set-up we doubt many ever will. We love the threaded bottom bracket and it's become a staple from the California-based brand who like us, don't like dealing with tricky tolerances and creaky interfaces of press-fits. The Joplin's 27.5+ mode accommodates every manufacturer's 2.8-inch tires, and some 3-inch might fit depending on the manufacture and internal rim width. If you go the 29er route, most 2.35-inch tires will clear.
- Fast and comfortable trail machine from Juliana
- 110mm of smooth, responsive VPP travel
- Long, slack geometry offers stability through big lines
- Stiffness and durability thanks to aluminum frame
- Plush plus-sized wheels boost traction and add float
- Juliana takes Santa Cruz tech and specs women's touch points and shock tunes