To take with: A premium choice for the XC racer who has outgrown 100m travel bikes, the Juliana Wilder can tackle tougher courses, bigger features and wilder terrain.
- 120mm travel Fox fork paired with Juliana’s all new superlight 115mm travel full carbon CC frame
- Capable trail bike in a lightweight, XC race-ready package
- Five models in the Wilder family (from $4,599)
- Model tested with SRAM X01 Eagle AXS wireless electronic shifting
- Holds two water bottles in the front triangle; ideal for runners and smaller runners
Weight: 23.7 pounds (S)
The sister brand to pioneering mountain bike company Santa Cruz Bicycles, Juliana was named after legendary Mountain Bike Hall of Fame racer Juli Furtado (who still works with the brand). Juliana focuses on mountain and gravel bikes for female riders. The frames used by Juliana are shared with the Santa Cruz models, but feature unique colors and graphics, and have specific adjustments, such as shock tunes and saddles, optimized for women. The Juliana brand also has its own team of professional racers and ambassadors who provide product feedback and take the brand around the world.
Juliana Wilder X01/AXS/TR Carbon CC Build Details
Style: Full suspension XC race & trail
Equipment: CC carbon frame
Wheel size: 29 inches
Fork: Fox 34 Step Cast Factory, 120mm travel
Shock: Fox Float Factory DPS
Moving the frame: 120mm
Transmission: SRAM X01 Eagle AXS, 12-speed
Cranks: SRAM Eagle X1 Carbon, 148 DUB
Plateau : 32t
Cassette: SRAM XG1295 Eagle, 12-speed, 10-50t
Brakes: SRAM Level TLM, Centerlock CLX 180mm rotors
Wheels: Industry Nine 1/1, 15x100mm thru axle (front); Industry Nine 1/1, 12x148mm thru-axle, XD (rear); Santa Cruz Reserve 28 rims
Tires: Maxxis Rekon Race, 29×2.4″ WT 3C EXO
Saddle: Juliana Primero
Saddle stem : RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post
Handlebar: Santa Cruz flat carbon handlebar, 760 mm
Stem: Syntace Lite Force
The Wilders family
Juliana’s latest model, the Wilder shares a frame platform with the Santa Cruz Blur. Available in three sizes (S, M, L) and five build kit levels, pricing for the base R TR spec starts at $4,599 and ends with the X01 AXS TR model we tested at $9,449 . There is also an S TR spec at $5,499, XT TR at $6,449, and X01 TR at $7,649.
All complete bike models are available in the Juliana dubs “Purple Sweetness and Lavender” color and feature the same frame geometry, SRAM 1×12 drivetrains, dropper posts and Fox rear shocks. The two more expensive offerings feature a lighter “CC” carbon frame.
Compared to Juliana’s other options, the Wilder is built for climbing, with a slightly steeper head tube angle (67.1 degrees) and slightly shorter reach (412mm for a small) than the Joplin, the brand’s 120mm rear travel trail bike. Juliana sweats the details in the frame geometry. By incorporating chainstay lengths specific to each frame size, the brand assures the Wilder’s intentions of a fast and fun ride. You’ll find this bike easy to navigate between roots and rocks of all sizes.
On the track
At just under 24 pounds—in a small size—and with 120mm of travel up front and 115mm in the rear, it’s the XC bike that many trail bikes wish they were.
The cross-country bike I spend the most time on is a 27.5-inch wheel, 100mm of travel front and rear Cannondale Scalpel. I was prepared for the Wilder to feel relatively awkward before settling down. I knew the moment I hopped on the Wilder for a local trail cruise that I was wrong, but it wasn’t until I researched some of the steepest, fattest trails the bike really has. showed his hand.
The long wheelbase (1,126mm in a small) inspires confidence when the trail is pointing down. Plus, the 29-inch wheels, paired with Juliana’s new Superlight single-pivot suspension system, provide a smooth ride over any terrain. With the undeniable appeal of two bottle cages and a lifetime warranty, the Juliana Wilder is a contender among the ever-growing offerings of trail-oriented XC bikes.
This bike begs you to let your hair down and rip the party lines. The Wilder always responds with urgency when you want to be the first woman on the singletrack after the mass-spicy gravel climb. It’s on gravel climbs and fast transitions, however, that you can start to miss a remote lockout option. (There’s one included on the Wilder is included on the Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Blur XC platform.)
Once settled into singletrack, the Wilder’s confidence, well-deserved by the 29er wheel size and Juliana’s new Superlight suspension system, floats through rock gardens and piles of bunnyhops with shocking ease. Accustomed to the frequent rebound contortions of my suspension on my Scalpel, the Wilder’s 115mm travel devoured bumps in freshly cut singletrack without sacrificing speed and got me over taller obstacles with a forward rather than vertical momentum. In the riding where I rode the Wilder, there was not a time when I wished I was on a bike with more travel.
Although the bike is designed to go fast, I find what a bike can do at slower speeds is equally important. The Wilder has the patience to let you choose your line smoothly with intention all the way to technical singletrack. I experienced a noticeable sacrifice in agility at slower speeds in twisty singletrack, which I attribute largely to wheel size.
The construction kit
The X01 Eagle AXS Shifting and 12-speed, 10-50t cassette give you the smoothness and grace you may be missing once your heart rate is stuck in pitch or battle. Once you’ve reached the top of a climb, it’s time to drop the ultra-smooth, thumb-paddle operated RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post. The descent is easy and joyful, and lets the Wilder escape!
This was my first experience with the XO1 Eagle AXS, or any off-road electronic shifting—I was impressed. Even when things got a little sloppy, I shifted under load, or went to shift but couldn’t pedal immediately due to an obstacle, our robot friend agreed without complaint. . I would sometimes move with my thumb just resting there, and other times with a quick thumb extension to get the job done. Embarrassingly, my favorite part of this new tech is the sound it makes when you’ve successfully engaged the derailleur – a sweet little robotic mouse that just watches its confirmation to comply with your request for another gear .
Beyond the Wilder’s ride quality, the bike is packed with nice details. A small chain guide gives you a bit more security. Cable routing is all internal, giving the bike an elegant, almost spaceship-like majesty. The combination of Industry Nine hubs and Reserve 28H carbon rims is an excellent choice for climbing efficiency, durability and reliable engagement. The parts of the frame most vulnerable to chain slap and trail spit are protected by a molded rubber cover.
The one rubber I wasn’t crazy about on this build was the tire choice. A trail-focused build like this deserves a few more teeth than the Maxxis Rekon Race that comes stock. If this was my bike, I would quickly take it to the next level with a pair of 2.4-inch Maxxis Ardents. I would also get out a hacksaw to cut the 760mm flat bar that comes with the Wilder, as that width is a little wide for someone my size.
Lastly, and I know this isn’t a selling point for most bikes priced over $5000, but if you’re a smol (or very smol) XC or endurance MTB racer, I know you will feel me on this. TWO BOTTLE CAGES, BABY!!! It’s true. You can fit not one, but two 22oz water bottles (preferably with side load cages) on the Wilder without removing a goofy seat mounted (goodbye dropper post), bar mounted (nobody does), downtube mounted (might as well just walk) stuff.
Where are my shorts? You and I both know, this feature alone could win you the race. The number of hours we agonized over this issue: Hydration pack? Vest? Lumbar jaw? Bottle in the pocket? Suck it and stop at the pit stop? Ask your competitor’s mother to give you a bottle?
Juliana has responded to this need with a suspension system that allows for a clean, conflict-free two-bottle main triangle. Bless. At the top.
Is the Wilder for you?
Designed specifically for the XC rider who has outgrown 100m travel bikes, the Juliana Wilder can tackle more of everything: tougher trails, bigger features, wilder terrain. The Wilder would also be a perfect package for a trail enthusiast who wants the balance of a light and nimble climber while having a composed and competent descender.
I’m a cross-country racer who feels quite comfortable on a 100m travel bike on my home trails and at many XC events. This is when I step out of my comfort zone a bit, when riding places like Pisgah, Central Pennsylvania or one of the amazing trail systems out west – Moab, Sedona, Flagstaff, etc. . – that I see a home for the Wilder in my bike fleet. If I were to find myself able to enjoy these more adventurous trails more often, the decision to upgrade and leave 100mm of travel in the past would be easy.
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