Juliana Maverick First Impressions

Earlier last month, NZMTBR was invited to have a sneaky ride on the new Juliana Maverick. I made my way to the cute little town of Buena Vista in the Arkansas Valley, Colorado. There, I met some of the Juliana crew and athletes, and SRAM support. It was really cool to see how passionate everyone was about the brand, the bike and the people who ride it.

Under the lights in a darkened room, the Maverick was revealed: a 29" all-day, all-mountain bike with 150F/140R travel. It's being launched alongside the same-ish bike, the Santa Cruz Hightower, and is a much-anticipated re-design. The rear shock gets low - following the path of the Santa Cruz VPP V10, and recent Strega and Roubion bikes - tweaking the leverage rate to make it feel supple through the start of the travel, supportive in the middle, with bottom-out protection at the end. The top-of-the-line CC X01 RSV was ridden, complete with the tongue twisting RockShox Super Deluxe Select Ultimate; it's worth noting a coil or Fox X2 won't fit this frame. The front was equipped with a burly Lyrik Ultimate with the new, fully adjustable Charger 2.1 damper, which can be over-forked to 160mm if desired.

A flip chip gives you some control of the geometry and suspension progression, depending on your preferences. The head tube angle slackens out to 65.2/65.5° (low/high setting). The overall steeper seat tube of 76.7/77.1° assists with getting away from the 'riding the couch' feeling some 29” bikes give. 

The two days' riding we got in, were on flowy, loose-on-hardpack trails combined with steeper terrain over big ol' janky rocks and rolls, and while we'd prefer more time on it for an in-depth review, it was certainly enough to get an initial impression of the bike. Despite being more used to 27.5” bikes, I immediately felt close to home on the Maverick. One of the first feelings I got was a sense of how easy it was to manoeuvre about and pop off of things. I felt like I didn’t have to work for the corners as much with this bike as I had with other 29ers I’ve ridden.

 Steep rolls and drops were conquered, mostly thanks to slack angles and big wheels. On the climbs up steep, grippy granite rock - which I’d usually opt to hike-a-bike over - I found myself thinking, ‘yep, I reckon I could give this a go’, and surprising myself. On the rocky terrain with narrow chutes, I found a bit of pedal clash - with the BB height at 340mm in the low setting. The higher setting raises this 4mm, and given more time I would have flipped the chip. As with its big, rowdy sister, the Strega - which we reviewed last year - it was no slouch to get uphill, despite being so slack out front. The Reserve 30 wheels were paired with the super grippy Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.4” 3C EXO’s. This is the recommended width, but some 2.5” tires will fit. The weight for the medium sized bike comes in at a claimed 13.52kg. 

The Maverick comes in sizes small to large - the weight for the medium sized bike claims to come in at 13.52kg. An extra small was attempted by the engineers, but it wouldn't work with the longer travel 29”. One of the women in our group, however, was 155cm and felt comfortable riding the small frame. 

For a more detailed write up on my time on the Maverick, and in Buena Vista, check out the upcoming article in the next issue of NZMTBR.

TL;DR: enjoyed it, would own.

Words: Rachel Reynolds

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