Joplin 2.0 Carbon 27.5+ XE Complete Mountain Bike
Not strictly a XC bike, and not only a trail bike, the Juliana Joplin 2.0 Carbon 27.5+ XE Complete Mountain Bike follows in the footsteps (or tire marks) of its big brother, the Santa Cruz tallboy, and provides a ride that pedals like an XC racer and handles terrain like an all-mountain bike. Almost ideal for cyclists who spend most of their rides pedaling and primarily use the lift to access sidecountry networks, the Joplin 2.0 goes everywhere, and benefits from a carbon frame, more spacious geometry, and an XE build kit, which features Shimano XT in all-mountain matrimony with Race Face finishing bits and a RockShox dropper.
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. Headtube and seatube angles as well as travel remains the same after wheels are swapped, chips are flipped, and forks adjusted.
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' 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.
Juliana's industry-leading carbon fiber construction makes its way into Joplin 2.0 Carbon 27.5+ R. Although this version uses a more value focused grade of carbon fiber than the super high end Carbon CC frame, this only requires more material to be used to achieve the same strength. It does carry a bit more weight, but in every other aspect it's held to the same astoundingly high standards as Juliana's Carbon CC level frames. The upshot is that you get a frame that's every bit as stiff and strong with a price-point that doesn't break the bank.
The frame's two carbon triangles are built as whole pieces rather than glued together from various bits. This method saves weight and increases structural integrity by allowing Juliana to wrap carbon continuously through and around key junctures. This process reinforces the frame with less material eliminating the artificial stress points that result from bonded construction methods. Finally, the carbon is also compacted from inside and out for a more even finish that avoids any wrinkles, excess material build-up, and resin pooling for even more weight savings.
Looking at the particulars of the "XE" kit, you'll find its 1x11 drivetrain has a mixture of Shimano XT rear derailleur, Race Face cranks, and E13 11-speed cassette. This combination delivers an excellent balance of power transfer, wide gear range with the 9 to 46-tooth cassette, and the crisp, reliable shifts of Shimano XT. Another impressive feature is the Fox 34 Float Elite fork, which maintains precise handling across rough terrain with its 34-millimeter stanchions and 130 millimeters of smooth, supportive travel.
- 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 carbon frame
- 1x11 drivetrain with wide range 9 to 46-tooth cassette
- Fox 34 Float fork with 130mm of smooth travel
- Plush plus-sized wheels boost traction and add float
- Juliana takes Santa Cruz tech and specs women's touch points and shock tunes