Sharing a frame with sibling brand Santa Cruz’s XC race rig, the Blur, the women’s-specific Wilder has been designed to match the climbing prowess of a featherweight race bike with impressive trail performance. This top-spec Wilder is built from Santa Cruz’s lightest ‘CC’-grade carbon fibre. A single-pivot suspension design provides 115mm of rear wheel travel, with flex-stays and a shock linkage giving Juliana control over the kinematics. The same platform is used on the latest Santa Cruz Blur, and saves 289g on the previous frame. Three bottle cage mounts give options for big days out.
Juliana Wilder CC X01 AXS TR Reserve geometry
There are three frame sizes, claimed to suit riders from 5ft 1in to 6ft 1in. At 67.1 degrees, the head angle is about what you’d expect for this type of bike. The 75.1-degree effective seat tube angle is a little slacker than on Juliana’s slightly longer-travel Joplin. Chainstay length is 431mm on the small and grows as you go up the size range.
|Seat angle (degrees)||75.1||75||74.9|
|Head angle (degrees)||67.1||67.1||67.1|
|Front center (mm)||695||723.7||747.4|
|Seat tube (mm)||405||430||470|
|Top tube (mm)||568.4||597.3||621.4|
|Head tube (mm)||90||100||110|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||32.6||32.8||32.9|
|Bottom bracket height (mm)||339.9||339.7||339.6|
Juliana Wilder CC X01 AXS TR Reserve specifications
While the Blur also comes in XC builds, with less travel and a lighter spec, the Wilder is only available in TR (trail) form, with a 120mm fork – here, a Fox 34 StepCast Factory. Like the Float DPS rear shock, this has three modes: ‘open’ (with a choice of three settings), ‘medium’ and ‘firm’.
The rear shock has three suspension modes to choose from. On this top model, you also get a wireless SRAM X01 Eagle AXS drivetrain. Well, almost – the shifter is actually GX AXS and the RockShox Reverb dropper post is the hydraulic rather than electric version. While these performed well, on a range-topping £8k+ build I’d expect X01 throughout plus a RockShox AXS dropper post. The 10-50t cassette and 32t chainring give an impressively wide gear range to get you uphill, while the AXS system gives rapid, precise shifting. SRAM’s mid-range Level TLM brakes with 180mm rotors do a decent job. The Wilder rolls on 29in Santa Cruz Reserve 28|XC carbon wheels shod with Maxxis Rekon Race tyres.
Juliana Wilder CC X01 AXS TR Reserve ride impressions
Lightweight and very manoeuvrable, the Wilder has a wonderfully playful ride. On smooth climbs, the ‘firm’ suspension option is very effective, delivering a speedy ride with minimal compromise to pedalling efficiency. In the ‘open’ shock mode, there’s a good deal of traction on rougher climbs, but ascending feels a little less efficient. The medium setting makes for a great compromise.
As for the SRAM AXS gearing, it’s nothing less than fabulous – and perfect for winching up steep inclines. Even for me, at 5ft 4in, the 29in wheels didn’t feel unwieldy, thanks to the generous 32.6mm of bottom bracket drop on the small frame. The Reserve wheels roll with ease over trail obstacles, from roots to rock gardens.
A great descender, the Juliana Wilder CC X01 AXS TR Reserve inspires confidence on the trails. With a low-profile tread, the Rekon Race tyres are certainly fast-rolling, but I’d do a tyre switch for British ‘summer’ conditions, or at least swap out the front for more control. When it comes to descending, less travel doesn’t mean less fun. With a 125mm dropper (and room for a longer-travel post, even on the small size), it’s easy to place the bike where you want it, whether leaning into corners or tackling steep tracks. The rear suspension gives confidence over bigger features, with a proportional response to the obstacle size. In open mode, the shock deals well with high-frequency chatter, allowing you to maintain momentum.
Most of all, the Wilder feels fast, daring you to push harder. The low front end puts you into an aggressive position, making it easy to keep the front wheel weighted and push on really hard. It’s not all about all-out efforts, though. Loaded up with frame bags it made for a comfortable bikepacking rig, and has been fun on the local dirt jumps, too, demonstrating just how versatile the Wilder is.
Juliana Wilder CC X01 AXS TR Reserve bottom line
If you’re seeking top value, then Juliana probably won’t be the brand for you, but for a premium build that’s confidence-inspiring on the trails and takes the labour out of climbing, the Wilder is well worth considering.