Joplin D Mountain Bike
Math may not be our strong suit, but when we crunch the numbers on Juliana's new Joplin D Mountain Bike, we find ourselves scratching our heads, wondering how the bike rides with such all-mountain confidence that blows well beyond the sum of its numbers. The Joplin may have been synonymous with cross-country machine in its earlier iterations, but this year it got a full-blown makeover from hub to hub, packing in geometry that stretches much further into a new realm of down-country. A slacked out head tube offers massive amounts of confidence on steep, intimidating descents, and a steeper than ever seat tube keeps you perched for punchy climbs — but that's not where the biggest head-turner happened. Juliana updated the Joplin's suspension with a new lower-link centered pivot point and shock, which not only adds 10mm of suspension to the ride, but also lowers the center of gravity making the steed feel more planted and stable when you're threading the needle through root-latticed tree lines.
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 sole purpose tuned 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.
The Joplin's reworked linkage means it's one-by only, but with the huge gear range of SRAM Eagle, this build 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.
- Be the ruler of the mountain with Juliana's redesigned trail machine
- 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
- SRAM Eagle drivetrain offers huge gear range for all-day epics