Joplin Carbon CC X01 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike
You don't like to define your riding with one style. Some days you'll charge through rolling ribbons of XC singletrack, others you're lacing your way through tight trees, and the next you'll be exploring well beyond the beaten path, diving into backcountry routes that take you on overnight adventures. It can be difficult to find a steed versatile enough to be a do-it-all, Jane-of-all-trades ride, but with the ever-reaching progress of Juliana bicycles, we think that the newest iteration of the Joplin Carbon CC X01 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike does a damn good job in just about any terrain you throw its way. For 2020, the all-mountain machine takes the speedy cross-country roots of the Joplin and pushes harder and further into extreme-country, chasing sunsets in the backcountry, tackling new highs, and elevating confidence on the steep and chunky descents. It got a full blown makeover in the geometry department, revealing the stable feel of slacker angles and a longer wheelbase, and pairing up with new lower-link driven VPP suspension that boasts stability when the going gets steep. The new Joplin takes the notion that cross-country bikes are made to be ridden delicately and carefully through technical terrain, and flips it on its head, because the last time we checked, we've never slowed down on a rowdy and ripping section of trail just because our ride is a little shorter in the travel department.
We suppose that with the release of Juliana's new Maverick, and the Roubion getting a makeover in the suspension department, we shouldn't be all that surprised to see tweaks to the Joplin went in the same direction. The new Joplin follows the trends of its deeper-travel siblings, moving the VPP suspension down to a lower-link that offers improved stabilization in the roughest terrain, while an extra 10mm of travel helps soak up additional rocks and roots that the previous Joplin would have shied away from. This makes the new ride more confident than ever, ready for bigger trails, rutted out lines, brakes bumps galore, and even turning the odd set of rollers into doubles — but not at the cost of climbing. The new suspension is designed with the same engineering principles as the brand's longest travel bikes, making it just as at home riding cross-country as it is extreme backcountry. Juliana's VPP suspension is designed to stabilize the suspension when you're putting power down on the pedals, meaning the rear end ceases to bob, providing a much more responsive and lively feel when you hammer up steeps, so you aren't wasting all of the power you put down. This is achieved with counter-rotating links that are carefully arranged to resist activation by pedaling forces, all but eliminating bobbing under power.
But suspension is hardly where Juliana stopped on upgrades with the new Joplin. The bike sees a full makeover this year, with entirely different geometry, but continues to use the flip-chip we saw in previous years for adaptable geometry that can be tuned to your own personal riding needs. In the front things start out with a much slacker head tube angle that shifted from the 68-degrees in years past to the ultra-long 65.5-degrees it is today (with the flip chip in Low). This slack head tube elevates the confidence of the Joplin when you point it downhill, providing improved handling in rough and jarring terrain, and boosting control at high speeds. With the head tube's shift into the slacker realm, balance needed to be achieved to maintain the bike's reputation for lively pedaling and handling, so the engineers at Juliana opted to move the seat tube angle up a few degrees to a steep perch of 76.3 degrees — a full three degrees steeper than the previous model, allowing you to stay on top of the bike when pedal power matters, and keeping the cockpit compact enough for comfort when handling the bike in rowdy terrain.
In previous years the flip-chip on the Joplin seemed to beckon for loftier 27.5+ hoops, but this year it serves a purpose tuned more acutely to riding style preferences. The flip chip not only tweaks head tube and seat tube geometry, but it also offers a full 10mm of adjustability to the stubby-short 430mm chainstays, which allows riders of all sizes and riding styles to make the necessary tweaks to feel right at home. This combines with a low bottom bracket for a combination that's built to thread the needle, rail berms, and launch out the other side with power and confidence.
With changes happening left and right on the Joplin, thankfully Juliana's Carbon CC frame construction remains unchanged and for this top-tier CC frame designation, the engineers use a higher modulus carbon versus the standard Carbon C model, so less material is required to hit the same strength and stiffness numbers. Less material equates to less weight, and well, we'll always take a lighter bike for any occasion. Climbing and just motoring along the flats is easier with less mass to haul around, and a stiffer chassis is more efficient at getting the power to the rear wheel and requires less body English while negotiating technical trails.
The frame's front and rear carbon triangles are built as whole pieces rather than glued together from separate bits. This method saves weight and increases structural integrity by allowing Juliana to wrap carbon continuously around key junctures. It further reinforces the frame with less material while eliminating stress risers that result from bonded construction methods. Finally, the carbon is also compacted from the inside and the outside for a more even finish that avoids any structural defects, excess material build-up, and resin pooling for — you guessed it — even more weight savings.
Final details include a threaded bottom bracket that's what we've come to expect from the California-based brand, and it's a strong selling point for those who don't like dealing with the tricky tolerances and creaky interfaces of press-fit models. Santa Cruz specs this model with some of our house favorite components, with a SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain for precise shifting and seemingly endless gears, plus a plush combination of FOX rear and RockShox front suspension that offers 120mm and 130mm of deep travel, respectively. This 29-inch version comes equipped with 2.3in Maxxis rubber, which occupies a sweet spot of cush and traction without feeling too sluggish, bouncy, or vague.
- The Joplin gets bigger, bolder, and more confident for all-mountain shredding
- 10mm deeper travel soaks up more rocks, roots, and trail chatter
- New lower-link suspension elevates stability and confidence
- Super slack head tube feels controlled descending at high speeds
- Stay perched for the pedal fest thanks to steep seat tube angle
- Flip chip allows you to tweak angles and chainstay length
- Longer reach increases high speed stability
- Carbon CC frame saves weight without sacrificing strength
- X01 Eagle drivetrain offers huge gear range for all-day epics