- Evo’s Deliah Cupp reviews the Juliana Furtado V5 Mountain Bike
- The Furtado V5 is the go-to bike for flow trails, jump lines, and burly endurance.
- With mixed wheels, it’s a great one-bike quiver for riders who want a fun descent and efficient climbing.
The Furtado has long been heralded as the go-to bike for riding flow trails, jump lines, and burly endurance excursions alike, and the V5 Furtado is no exception. The new Furtado has been refined to feature mixed wheels, and I might go so far as to say the addition of the 29’’ front wheel is just what this bike needed to push it into one-bike quiver territory for riders looking for a fun descent and efficient climbing capability alike. With 130mm of VPP travel in the rear and 140mm up front, the new mixed wheel Furtado retains it’s snappy and nimble descending pizzaz favoring jump and slalom-esque flow trails, while increasing speed and capability on burlier terrain with increased traction via the 29’’ front trail.
The mixed wheel trend of the last few years has been met with both excitement and skepticism, and although I must admit I was a skeptic at first, I am fully convinced after hopping on this new generation of Furtado. After riding this bike on a rich variety of trails across the Pacific Northwest—from many laps on flow and tech trails in Squamish to cross-country and flow trails at Sun Mountain in the Methow Valley and even an alpine mission on Cutthroat Pass—I am fully on board the mixed wheel Furtado train. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by losing the smaller front wheel, and dare I say my downhill confidence was most definitely increased with the addition of the 29’’ wheel.
The big wheel also gives this bike the climbing edge it was missing in previous generations, making it the perfect tool for long excursions featuring more climbing than anyone would prefer combined with the chunky descents characteristic to alpine riding.
|29″ Front Wheel / 27.5″ Rear Wheel
|Glovebox™ Internal Storage
|130mm Lower Link Driven VPP Rear Travel / 140mm Fork
|Size-specific Frame Stiffness
|Chainstay Length and Seat Tube Angle Matched to Frame Size
|Sizes: XS, S, M
|Lifetime Warranty on Frame & Bearings
The most prominent shift from the Furtado as we’ve known it for years is the mixed wheel mashup, but the overall geometry has been subtly redesigned to accommodate a mixed wheel setup and maximize descending capability as well. At first, I was reluctant to accept the step away from the classic 27.5’’ slalom superstar and jump bike, but after a handful of rides on the V5 Furtado I can safely say that I do not miss the smaller front wheel. The 29’’ front wheel provides the traction and rollability to complement the 27.5’’ rear wheel’s agility, and together they deliver the best of both wheel sizes.
Although the chainstay length remains relatively short, it has been lengthened slightly from the previous generation of Furtado to balance rider weight distribution and maintain that cornering sweet spot that we’ve come to know and love throughout many generations of the Furtado.
The bottom bracket height remains where it’s always been on the Furtado—which is close to the ground (335mm in the low setting) for maximum cornering capability and confidence.
130mm of VPP travel in the rear shock, combined with the relatively short chainstay and low bottom bracket, lends this bike uniquely responsive handling capacity for a nimble, playful ride.
New to this generation of Furtado is a size-specific chainstay length and seat tube angle—both of which are matched to the frame size so that every size bike delivers the best of the balanced geometry the way it was intended. While the rear triangle remains the same across sizes, chain stay length is adjusted by moving the pivot bearings in the frame to push the rear triangle farther from the bottom bracket.
Similarly, the all-new size-specific layup stiffness (stiffness in the layup across the entire frame) creates a consistent feel across frame sizes, so all size riders get the same snappy responsiveness from the chassis. This means a small frame will be slightly less stiff than a medium—great news for those of us who are on the smaller end of qualifying for a small frame.
Significantly less anti-squat than the previous generation Furtado enhances the bike’s descending feel at just a slight expense to uphill pedaling efficiency (which, in my opinion, is compensated for with the addition of the 29’’ front wheel). In as few words as possible, anti-squat is the measurement of how a bike’s suspension responds under acceleration forces. Anti-squat balances pedaling efficiency with suspension sensitivity, wherein reducing the anti-squat in this case increases the bike’s suspension sensitivity and reduces the effects of pedal kick, which is most noticeable when descending rough, chunky trail. Personally, I am happy to see descending feel prioritized over pedaling efficiency, especially on a lower-travel trail bike like the Furtado that already zips up the climbs.
The Furtado comes in five carbon build kits, in sizes XS-M. Starting at the R build with the C Carbon frame and working up to the X01 AXS RSV build with the CC Carbon frame, riders can choose between a variety of frame, wheel, and suspension options. There are no aluminum options for now.
All builds include a SRAM Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, and the Reverb Stealth dropper post is stocked on four of the five build kits.
The addition of a GX AXS build kit provides a more budget-friendly option for riders wanting an AXS drivetrain at the GX price point rather than X01, with other price reductions in the shock, fork, and wheel selections.
A personal favorite of mine, Industry Nine hubs are included on three of the five build kits.
I am the luckiest duck in the world getting to the ride the X01 AXS RSV build, with a few mods in the cockpit and chainring (I added Burgtec bars, grips, and a shiny silver headset to match my shiny silver 32T chainring and Penthouse Flat MK5 pedals. Bling Bling).
I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been wishing we had internal frame storage ever since one of our riding buddies snagged a bike that adopted earlier renditions of it. Juliana is finally rolling out a Glovebox for the first time on new Furtado, secured by a tensioned aluminum latch that has exhibited zero rattle to date. Unique to Juliana/Santa Cruz, the Glovebox includes a Tube Purse and Tool Wallet to organize whatever essentials (or nonessentials) you want to carry inside. The Wallet even includes a zippered credit card (and ID) compartment so you can be prepared for whatever après you “accidentally” stumble upon after or during your ride. Although both fit in the Glovebox compartment together, I have taken to stuffing just the zippered Tube Purse with all the small things and shoving any larger items directly into the frame compartment.
Inside the downtube, the bike’s internal routing is kept separate from the compartment accessed through the Glovebox—which, beware, is cavernous enough to be concerned about losing stuff down there, further encouraging the use of the Tool Wallet and Tube Purse to keep small items secure.
For those of us who ride in jorts or shorts without zippered pockets, the Glovebox is a dream come true for safely stowing keys, cards, snack bars, windbreakers, an outfit change, and/or a bag of spaghetti.
Also new to the Furtado is a sag setup window. This small, thoughtful addition makes a surprisingly big impact in reducing the number of excuses I can spew to avoid staying on top of my suspension performance. Let’s be real, suspension setup is one of those things that we all know we should pay more attention to than we do. The sag setup window makes it just that much easier to take the time to dial in the pressure in your rear shock.
The flip chip has long been a staple of Juliana and Santa Cruz bikes. Found at the link where the shock mounts, the flip chip is used to adjust reach and slackness. The bike comes stock in low. Low setting makes it half a degree slacker with a slightly lower bottom bracket—the setting of choice for those who value aggressive descending, while the high setting is preferred by riders who are looking for the most pedaling efficiency.
Climbing / Uphill
I got the pleasure of pedaling this bike up a variety of climbing conditions—from chunky logging roads in Squamish to winding singletrack in the Methow to the loosest, chunkiest, sandiest, most technical climb I could wish for on Cutthroat Pass. Either I have somehow magically gotten better at technical climbing and pedaling speed, or this bike is a broomstick and I am a wizard. Either way, I was consistently surprised at my success in maintaining climbing speed and successfully making it up technical sections with ease.
Any sacrifice in uphill performance rendered by the reduction in anti-squat seemed to be countered by the larger front wheel.
My experience transitioning from the 27.5’’ Roubion to the new mixed wheel Roubion was the same—the mullet’s climbing superiority is stark, both in terms of speed and technical capability. However, the Furtado’s light weight advantage as compared to the Roubion is clear in any climbing scenario.
I have never been a shock flip-switcher to utilize climbing mode (especially on technical climbs, I find the suspension helps me retain traction), and my experience on this bike was no exception.
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