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Trail

Juliana Bicycles Launches Mixed-Wheel Roubion

Now is it a trend?

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Juliana Bicycles is adding to mounting mixed-wheel momentum with the latest version of its 150/160-millimeter-travel Roubion trail bike, out today. The bike has existed in Juliana’s line for seven years, but previous versions have always worn 27.5-inch wheels. The travel doesn’t change with this latest release, although now the bike is built around a 29-inch front wheel and 27.5-inch rear—an update that makes a ton of sense for this platform. The out-of-the-box mixed-wheel trend is on a roll (sorry), with last week’s release of the Transition Patrol and the YT Capra (we also built up a little mixed-wheel Yeti sensation of our own in our recent Dream Build).

Juliana ambassador Brooklyn Bell verifies the Roubion’s root rollover-ability.

Wheels aside, other updates to the Roubion include size-specific chainstays, so the bike’s rear center grows with the front center, a revised VPP linkage and updated geometry. As in the past, the Roubion offers the same frame and build kits as the Santa Cruz Bronson (Santa Cruz owns Juliana), with differentiating factors being frame size—Roubion is offered in XS to medium, although XS sports dual 27.5—a different shock tune optimized for lighter riders and, like most Julianas, a radder paint color than the equivalent Santa Cruz.

Longtime Juliana rider Anka Martin tests the mixed-wheel theory on the steeps in Nelson, New Zealand. Photo: Sven Martin

The mixed-wheel combo is designed to give the best of both worlds—the rollover qualities of a 29er up front with snappier handling in the rear, and better butt clearance on the steeps. I’m waiting on my Roubion test bike so results TBD, but Beta’s gear editor Travis Engel has some thoughts on the Bronson here.

The Roubion runs on the latest version of VPP, Santa Cruz’s dual-pivot suspension, which has been refined to use a longer shock stroke length to achieve a lower overall leverage rate. That ultimately translates to less chain influence on the suspension, and thus, less pedal feedback, which has been a characteristic of VPP, although it has remarkably improved with every new version of VPP.

Juliana Roubion details
A tidy shock pocket.

The suspension characteristics should play well with Roubion’s new geometry. This version has slackened the headtube angle by nearly a degree, to 64.5 degrees in the geometry’s Low setting—the Roubion retains the geometry flip chip incorporated in the last version of the bike—a reach that’s 15mm longer—that translates to a fairly standard 452mm reach on a size medium, or 455 in the High setting—and a 20mm more stack height. The seat tube angle is 76.6 degrees in Low and 77.1 in high. The Roubion is a fairly long bike, with a 1,221mm wheelbase and 435mm chainstays, again size medium.

The Roubion’s DNA is in versatility—beef it up and race an enduro or load it up and take it on a multi-day bikepacking trip—and it stays true to that with the ability to fit any 230×60 coil or air shock in its frame. It also features a 200mm front brake rotor for extra stopping power, Boost 148 rear axle spacing, a threaded bottom bracket and a SRAM universal derailleur hangar, which is meant to end the days of bashing your derailleur and having to desperately search for a shop that sells your specific hangar so you can replace it. It also carries a lifetime warrant on the frame, pivot bearings and Santa Cruz Reserve wheels, which come on the highest-end X01 AXS build and is offered as an upgrade on others. Some of the models also come with the new Santa Cruz carbon 35mm rise handlebar.

The Roubion comes in five builds, all carbon framed, starting at $5,050 and ending at $9,850, with primarily SRAM-equipped options, although there is some Fox and Shimano sprinkled in a few builds, namely the XT drivetrain on the $6,950 version. Prices have gone up $200 compared with existing Roubion models, presumably due to this year’s unprecedented supply and demand problems, but there are two additional high-end builds, an X01 and an X01 AXS model that are new to the offering.