We're not one to judge a book by its cover, but we are here to tell you the Juliana Strega Carbon C XE Complete Mountain Bike does actually ride as good as it looks. All it wants to do is have you pilot it through the biggest lines at the park or take it out for that backcountry epic you've planned for months. Named after the Italian word for witch, the Strega will have your riding partners green with envy at first glance, and it'll have you spellbound with its aggression on the trails.
Officially, the 170mm Strega is officially branded for women; but, in our experience, the bike is really for any demanding rider desiring a long-travel machine to progress their skills across jumps, sketchy steeps, and technical alpine terrain. If getting butterflies in your stomach when you are about to drop in on a weekend shuttle run or playing rock-paper-scissors on the lift to see who goes first (and always cheating to ensure you win) is what you live for, then you've met your match.
One of the first things you'll notice with the Strega is its reconfigured VPP suspension, which is driven by a lower-link mounted shock that marks a radical departure from the likes of the Roubion, Furtado, and Joplin. This shock location takes cues from the Santa Cruz V10, which is renowned as a World Cup DH weapon of the Syndicate. Translated to the Strega, the lower shock placement makes it feel more linear and supple throughout its stroke, allowing it to never be phased over the roughest terrain and provide a bottomless feel like that of a good DH bike. Juliana does take the extra step of employing a custom shock tune designed for lighter riders, meaning it'll be more active and not as harsh.
Geometry wise, the numbers have the Strega at a black diamond inspiring 65-degree head tube angle in the high geometry setting making it the slackest women-specific bike on the market. Not too long ago this was in the realm of DH only; however, realizing that many female riders desire a long-travel bike that can actually pedal uphill, the designers at Juliana engineered it with a pedal-friendly 74.5-degree seat tube angle (again, in the higher geometry setting). This allows you to power up steep climbs and string together sections of trails across the map, especially with the superb gear range of the Shimano drivetrain and e13 9-46t cassette.
Juliana lets you choose your own adventure and engineered the Strega with a flip-chip on the linkage that changes the bike's geometry from its burly trail rated 65-degree head tube angle to a downhill-dedicated 64.6 degrees, as well as lowering the bottom bracket and slightly elongating the wheelbase for rock-solid high speed stability. We really like the special fender that blocks detritus from reaching the shock. Juliana engineers clearly ride, and they spec smart details that show it. For example, the custom shuttle guard, which reduces the risk of your Carbon C frame getting damaged from banging around on truck tailgates or being tossed about by overzealous lift operators.
Speaking of its Carbon C frame, the Strega Carbon C XE is slightly heavier than the Carbon CC frame, but doesn't sacrifice any of the strength or stiffness that's made Juliana frames legendary. Many of us will gladly save the cash and buy lift tickets for the season or upgrade parts down the road. Juliana achieves this fine-tuned balance of stout construction and weight by using a slightly heavier and less expensive carbon fiber in the lay-up of its Carbon C frames. And seeing it's custom built for hard-changing shorter riders, a low standover heights (as low as 27.7 inches for the XS frame) and size-specific droppers make the most of the bike's slack and aggressive geometry without compromising fit.
- An enduro sled with supernatural control on rowdy terrain
- Downhill-inspired geometry that pedals efficiently for trail use
- 6.7in of VPP travel with a smooth, linear shock feel
- Lower-link mounted shock elevates the Strega into gravity realms
- Shock tune increases performance for smaller riders
- Carbon C frame packs value with a big punch of stiff durability
- Bolt-on shuttle guard, downtube protector, and shock fender
- Female-friendly touch points include saddle and grips