I managed to get though a pretty tough year last year with lots of unforeseen bummers in my personal life. I credit my bike for a large degree of my successfully surviving 2015. Read my post about how Bikes are Medicine if you want more backstory. It is worth mentioning that I had no complaints about last year's Juliana Roubion.
I was excited and nervous about the changes that Juliana and Santa Cruz made to the 2016 Roubion and Bronson (respectively). First and foremost, I was not excited about the color. Last year's Evergreen (greenish-teal) is my very favorite color and I was sad to see it go in exchange for Stonewashed (smokey lavender), which I was comparing to an Easter egg color until I actually saw mine in person. I've grown to love the new color as it looks dirty, strong, and feminine all at the same time. I know, I know, I shouldn't focus on the color, but it's actually something that is fairly important to me. If I can't stand to look at my bike or be seen on it for something as up front and in your face as the color, it doesn't really matter how the bike performs.
Now on to the juicy stuff.
The Juliana Roubion is the exact same frame as the Santa Cruz Bronson. The differences are in the contact points (Juliana uses grips and saddles designed for lady-parts) and in the aforementioned paint color. Its a 150mm travel trail bike with 27.5 inch wheels that utilizes Santa Cruz's tried and true VPP linkage design. I use this bike as my training bike on xc trails and I downhill on it at Keystone. There is not a trail I wouldn't ride with my Roubion. New for 2016, the head-tube angle got slacker (66° instead of 67°), the seat-tube angle got steeper (now 74° vs 73° last year) and the chain stays are slightly shorter (about 1/10th of an inch shorter). What does all of this mean? Well, if you believe the hype, it means the bike should descend with more confidence (due to a slacker head tube angle) climb a bit more efficiently (due to a steeper seat tube angle) and be more agile in tight corners (due to shorter chain stays and a hair lower bottom-bracket height).
A few months later, I managed to tick one of my long-time goals off my list and cleaned the entrance to Horsethief Bench in Fruita. This happened, despite my still feeling like the changes in geometry made the new Roubion just a wee bit less playful and more sluggish.
I have been trying to be a bit less of a dufus about suspension.
The damper is separated into two basic functions:
This is how quickly (or not) your bike will recover from hits. If its sluggish, (counterintuitively for me), you want to decrease (open up) the HSR. High speed vs low speed rebound have nothing to do with the velocity your bike is traveling, but rather refer to the speed at which air travels through chambers inside your suspension.
This is the yang to the rebound ying. How quickly (or not) your bike responds to hits. It also is key for stability, traction and pedal bob avoidance.
I still have a lot to learn and I really appreciate when anyone takes the time to share any tidbits that they have.
The Stonewashed color.
Climbs handsomely, especially on techy bits that demand effortless front-wheel lifts.
Descends like she owns the trail. Incredibly forgiving geometry that makes up for all my short-comings.
The leaps and bounds my cornering skills have progressed on this bike are mind boggling.
2016 Roubion Cons:
Lower bottom bracket has seen a few more pedal strikes than I would like.
The Stonewashed color ;)
This review would be complete without mention of the female-specificity of this bike. For starters, its not all that female specific (see above for the very slight differences between this bike and the gender-neutral, Bronson. That said, I LOVE riding a women's specific bike. I love that when I chic a guy on the trail, there is not a doubt in his mind, that he was chicked (definition of chicked) by a girly-girl. I love that when I'm racing in South America, and the crowds want to cheer me on, but don't have a clue who I am, they can yell out the brand of my bike, and I feel like they are my pals, screaming my name. I love that I think I'm more approachable to other women, because I'm on a women's bike, which probably means that I like seeing other women out riding, so we might as well be friends. I'm not going to try to spin a tale about how my body needs suspension tuned to a women's lower center of gravity or that my torso is shorter, so I need female-specific geometry because I know that humans come in various shapes and dimensions, regardless of their gender. What's important to me is that I'm on a bike that I love to ride. And I love to ride the Juliana Roubion.
2016 Juliana Roubion frame Medium (I'm about 5'6")
Shock: Cane Creek Inline
Fork: Rock Shox Pike RCT3 150 Solo Air
Derailleur: SRAM X01 1x11
Cranks: SRAM XX1 170mm
Chainring: MRP Bling Ring
Pedals: XPEDO Baldwin
Wheelset: Industry Nine Torch Enduro
Brakes: SRAM Guide Ultimate
Grips: Ergon GE1 slim
Saddle: Selle Italia Diva
Frame pack: Oveja Negra Snack Pack