Joplin Carbon S Mountain Bike
With accessibility of mountain biking exploding over the past decade, trails have gotten rowdier, and bikes more eager than ever to take on the challenge that comes with it. This often calls for deeper travel, more capable geometry, and a bit of teeth-gritting through hairy sections of trails that challenged the sum of the suspension on your old bike. But Juliana has never been a brand to take its time coming up to speed with the changing times, in fact that's easy to see just with the brand's divergence from its sibling, Santa Cruz, but it continues to drive the point home with the new Joplin Carbon S Mountain Bike. This 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. This is largely due to the full geometry makeover it received, plus the deeper travel, and redesigned suspension. 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.
Juliana's industry-leading carbon fiber construction has made its way to the Joplin, although this version uses a slightly lower grade of carbon fiber than the top-tier Carbon CC frame. This requires more material to achieve the same strength, so it does carry a bit more weight, but in every other aspect it's held to the same uncompromising standards as Juliana's Carbon CC frames. The upshot is that you get a frame that's every bit as stiff and strong at much more palatable price point. The frame's two carbon triangles are built as whole pieces rather than glued together from disparate bits, a method that 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 while eliminating the artificial stress points 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.
The Joplin's reworked linkage means it's one-by only, but with the huge gear range of SRAM Eagle, this built still offers you some easy-pedaling bailout cogs that might be missed in other one-by drivetrains. The threaded bottom bracket is another feature that we've come to just 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 interface of press-fit models.
- Juliana's Joplin soars forward with more capability than ever before
- 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 C keeps pricing low while frame stays stiff and light
- SRAM Eagle drivetrain offers huge gear range for all-day epics