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Not being pigeon-holed into one specific category, the Joplin 2.0 27.5+ D Complete Mountain Bike is just as happy doing endurance races as it is on rowdy trail rides where roots, rock gardens, and ledge drops are all part of the fun. In fast-rolling XC, 29er guise, the Joplin 2.0 covers plenty of miles of trails quickly and efficiently. The 27.5+ wheel option, that we have here, utilizes its flip-chip linkage and a change in fork travel to take the playful, progressive geometry and add high-volume tires which increase traction and comfort. This frame is constructed from aluminum for durability and without the higher price of its carbon fiber sisters. Adding a Rock Shox Recon fork and SRAM's NX group builds up a capable bike that is ready for challenging trails at a friendly price tag.
The Joplin 2.0 takes design cues from its big brother the Tallboy and blends highly responsive XC handling with that of a go-anywhere, ride anything trail bike with its 110-millimeters of VPP suspension paired with a 130-millimeter fork for the 27.5+ wheels and tires. The shorter travel out back and extra squish up front lets the bike pedal with exceptional efficiency, and offer a little more security when hitting blind drops and twisting the throttle when the trail opens up. One area where the Joplin and Tallboy differs is in its female-specific shock tune. Juliana worked with FOX to develop a lighter shock tune on the Float Performance DPS shock for lighter riders. So instead of skipping over rocks and roots with damping suited for heavier riders, the suspension will be better able to absorb the hits and keep you in control.
The VPP suspension gets 10-millimeters of extra travel over the previous Joplin, positioning the bike in the do-it-all category of rigs in the 4 to 5-inch range. Juliana didn't just increase the travel, it revised the VPP platform making it perform better in all conditions and making sure that you are able to utilize all of the 110mm of travel. Juliana engineered the leverage ratio so the travel is more supple off-the-top so you'll have more traction when you're riding over bumpy rock and root sections. The shock remains linear until the end of the stroke for a smooth, bottom-less feel, then ramps up, becoming more progressive resisting bottom-outs on drops to flat and high speed jumps. The suspension kinematics help you use all 110 millimeters of travel leaving you with a plush bike that can handle trails typically reserved for bigger travel bikes.
The 27.5+ version here is aimed at riders seeking maximum traction in loose conditions and great flotation over rocks and roots. If you decide that you want to go with the nimbler and faster rolling 29er setup, a flip-chip rotates along the upper link, allowing the shock mount to migrate between the high (29er) and low (27.5+) settings, without drastically changing the bike's geometry. The 68-degree head tube angle remains the same between both wheel sizes for confident descending when the trail turns steep and rocky, as well as keeping the short 17-inch chainstays and low-slung bottom bracket at 13 inches for nimble carving and stable handling.
- A trail bike for conquering technical trails
- 27.5+ can go to 29er with the flip chip.
- 110mm of VPP suspension with shock tune for lighter riders
- Aluminum frame adds durability and value
- Rock Shox Recon 130mm Fork handles big hits and rock gardens
- SRAM NX 1x11 drivetrain offers a wide range of gears
- Juliana tailors cutting-edge bikes to female riders
- Item #JLI003Y
- Q & A
This is probably the bike for you.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
If you're strapped for time, here's the 5-second summary. The Joplin rocks. It's fast, efficient, incredibly capable, and very pretty. Buy it.
If you're not quite convinced, let me present my case. I've observed a trend in the world of mountain bikes; hear me out. It seems like the knee-jerk reaction of 90% of prospective bike buyers is to crank it up to 11 in the travel department. Much like the jets in a hot tub, the wood in a bonfire, or the air conditioning in your car, the 'go all the way' mindset pervades. Let me explain.
Let's stick with Santa Cruz/Juliana for this example. The Nomad (Strega) is a really, REALLY good bike. It's incredibly capable and confidence inspiring, but there's a good chance that it's not quite the right bike for you. Unless you're constantly hitting up chairlifts at the bike part, you're going to be doing a good amount of climbing whenever you ride. Even with the incredible efficiency of VPP suspension, most Nomad builds weigh well in excess of 30 lbs. Getting a bike that heavy up a hill is a serious chore.
I hear you. If you're new, it's totally reasonable to want something that will eat up all the nasty bumps and help you down the descents that are still a little intimidating. The problem is that long travel bikes are designed to go really fast. If you're a beginner or intermediate rider, you receive a diminishing benefit as you move farther down the travel spectrum. If you're not quite ready to throw your body down a hill at Mach speed, you probably don't want a bike that caters to that exclusively. Essentially, your dollars are going towards capability that you can't take advantage of. Most people don't ride competitively. They like to ride with friends and cover ground. Most of the trails they ride are 'blue-square'. They negotiate some switchbacks, roots, rocks, and the occasional jump. They spend a little over half of the ride climbing, and would probably be better off saving a few pounds than adding a few millimeters of travel.
So, back to the Joplin.
Santa Cruz nailed it. Honestly. They borrowed equally from the worlds of enduro and XC to create the perfect bike for almost everyone. Courtesy of the VPP linkage, the Joplin climbs like a mountain goat. A suspension system that feels as good as the VPP does on the descents has no business climbing this well. It's light too. Santa Cruz claims that the CC level frames weigh in at 2.53 kg (that's really light for a trail bike) and the C level are only 230 grams more. They didn't stop at making the Joplin light though; Santa Cruz decided (wisely) to rake out the headtube angle to make the bike feel more planted at speed.
Now, this is not a bike for the real dare-devils. You don't wanna chuck yourself down an EDW stage on a Joplin. It's also probably not the ideal rig for the skinsuit wearing, KOM-chasing crowd. It's a bike that sits comfortably in the realm of trail bikes, with some influence (when appropriate) from the leg-shaving side of the sport. It's a collection of the best of the middle. The result? This is probably the bike for you.
What is the weight of this bike compared to the carbon version? What are the benefits of carbon over aluminum in the case of the 27.5+, is weight the biggest component? Any advice would be appreciated!
In most sizes, I would estimate the weight difference to be about 3-ish lbs. This is taking into account the heavier components spec'd on the aluminum vs the carbon. A carbon frame will be lighter and stiffer than the aluminum version. Another large difference between this a carbon version is the level of components. Carbon frames usually come with higher end brakes, wheels, drivetrain, bar, and stem. Feel free to reach out to me directly at email@example.com with any other questions you may have! I own the carbon version of this bike so would love to help you out in any way I can!