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We recently had the chance to connect with Elayna Caldwell, General Manager of Juliana Bicycles. She’s a veteran of the bike industry, with time spent at RockShox, SRAM and Fox Racing Shox. Elayna shared more about her background, what it means for Juliana to be a women's mountain bike brand, and her goals for the Juliana brand going forward. We want to ride bikes with you Elayna!

What's Your Background?

I have been working in the bicycle industry and action sports since 1996. I have had the good fortune to work with premium brands – RockShox, Santa Cruz Skateboards, FOX Racing Shox, SRAM/RockShox and now Juliana.

How'd you end up at Juliana?

Juliana was searching for a General Manager for several months. I had seen the position and knew about it, but could not pursue it for several reasons. I had a great job at SRAM and my family had just relocated again, this time from Germany. Then, my husband and a colleague bought a bike shop in the mountains of Colorado. The Juliana position, which is a dream opportunity for me, enabled me to work remotely for Juliana, and spend more time with my family.

How does being a women's specific brand allow Juliana to operate differently than other brands?

I don’t think that the women’s-specific part of Juliana makes us operate really that much differently than other brands. We focus on women and women’s bikes, for sure, and we are the first brand to have made women’s-specific mountain bikes. But every brand aims certain parts of their product lines at specific types of riders. What we’re able to do is capitalize on the product development strength of the Santa Cruz family and translate it in a meaningful way to women who call themselves mountain bikers.

Where is the Juliana brand headed? What are your goals?

Juliana wants to continue to grow, in sales, in reach, in the number of retailers, the number of riders. We want to be the brand that women mountain bikers aspire to ride.

Because we need sales in order to sustain the business, we have a goal of increasing our sales every year, just like any brand. With increased sales we can do more of what helps grow women’s mountain biking – Increase our support of women’s racing – will we ever be at the Syndicate level? Not sure, but those are squad goals. We want to continue to grow our retailer and event support with our RideOut and Demo programs.

Congratulations on the launch of the Quincy! Why get into gravel bikes and does this foreshadow any other new bikes in the works?

Thank you. The Quincy is one of the most beautiful bikes I’ve ever seen. I know that sounds like a mom talking about her own kid. Juliana and SCB have always been about making bikes for the dirt. The Quincy is a continued evolution of the brand and lets our riders get out and explore new territory.

Does Juliana believe it's important to get more women into the mountain biking community, riding and working in the industry? Which is more important right now? What big shifts have you seen to date?

This is a great question and it is actually 3 questions.

Of course, Juliana wants to get more women into mountain biking, that is why we support our Ambassador program, our Juliana/SRAM Race team, our Factory Juliana team, Dig Days that support advocacy, our RideOut programs, demos at retailers and mountain bike events.

Women working in the industry – At the recent Roamfest in NC, I was on the panel and the topic was supposed to be the state of women in the bike industry. I asked Ash Bocast the Event owner if we could change the topic, as I felt the topic was old and tired since they had the same question at some of their other events. Women that are at a mountain bike festival might not care – I want them to be teachers and doctors and lawyers and medical sales people and whatever. Why should they care about the bike industry — except for the industry to provide great products and events.

I have never thought about my gender when at work. Was I the only woman in the room most of the time? Yes. We are all just people.

Everywhere I have worked I have supported women and getting more women into the industry. At SRAM we started the QBP/SRAM scholarship for women to attend UBI to learn/improve mechanic skills, we started the SRAM Women’s Program and hired a coordinator, we started the first all women’s enduro team with SRAM/Juliana. I am very lucky that I have some women mentors in the bike industry who have helped me and I pay that back at every opportunity.

Why is Juliana only building high-end bikes?

We offer bikes at a variety of price points, but yes, they are all considered high end. It is what Juliana has always done. We offer bikes with premium components that are not dumbed down from the Santa Cruz version.

Our entry level Aluminum bikes are around 3K and we offer builds that go up to a very premium level. Our brand – both Juliana and Santa Cruz have always been about supplying riders with the best bikes for the ride.

Why do you believe that using the same geometry as Santa Cruz or the men's bikes is important and a strength of the brand?

Our engineers design bikes for riders. We offer a variety of sizes since people are different sizes. We do use the same frames as Santa Cruz. They are differentiated by a lighter weight shock tune on the rear shock, a women’s specific saddle, grips and often times a narrower handlebar. And obviously our beautiful paint and graphics with the Juliana livery.

Have you seen any major bike industry product or brand failures and what did you learn from them?

Own up to your mistakes. Take care of the problem. Providing great customer service is the best thing you can do.

At Juliana we have the rider support team that responds to all consumer questions and concerns. Juliana has lifetime warranty for all frames and our Reserve wheels for the original owner.

evo is hosting a Juliana Ride Out in our Seattle area in July. What can participants expect from this experience?

Thanks for asking. Interested riders need to sign up prior to the event in advance – we typically promote on our social media. Attendees can then choose the bike model and size they would like to try. Typically, we have yoga in the morning and breakfast, then a ride – we include our ambassadors and have multiple levels for the riders and we end it with a fun après event – beer, wine, La Croix and great food.

What differences do you see on women's rides vs mixed or men's only rides?

First, all rides are great. I think a person needs to find people that they like to ride with and go with it. I love riding with my BF and she loves to make me suffer, my husband has always enjoyed riding with me and all my girlfriends and is always a gentleman, I have always had mixed groups of friends to ride with and it is always fun.

Women’s rides – in general, women are very supportive and motivating to one another. Not always, but usually.

Men’s only rides – I haven’t been on one. But if you want to generalize, any time you get more than two guys together it is a race.

Mixed – depends on your friends. Pick cool friends who will make rides fun, whatever that means for you.

And don’t forget to take kids mountain biking. We had a Tout Terrain trailer (the kind Danny McCaskill uses in his hysterical new video Danny Day Care) when our son was smaller and it changed our lives, we were able to go out as a family and ride singletrack. Just not like Danny.

What is your Juliana bike of choice and why?

That is like asking which kid is your favorite. The next one is my favorite. We are designing new bikes on a regular basis and each model gets better and better.

I’m also excited about the Quincy, our new gravel bike. It is new territory for us, it is a fun bike to ride and it is so beautiful. You have to see it.

What was your last bike ride?

Camp Elevation in Buena Vista, Colorado with a journalist and some of my former SRAM colleagues.

Where is your favorite place on earth to ride?

I am lucky and I have been able to ride bikes in a lot of places. I can’t choose just one. Santa Cruz – I lived there for a long time and I love the trails. Downieville. Whistler. The Black Hills of South Dakota. Moab – to me it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Colorado has so many great trails, and our new home in Buena Vista is pretty great. Finale Ligure and Massa Marittima in Italy are amazing. I think the classic rock song by CSN said it best. Love the one you’re with. There are great trails everywhere, especially in places where mountain bikers support local advocacy groups and help create and protect trails.

Who is your favorite riding buddy?

Again, I can’t just choose one. Dana Price – one of my oldest friends, Dr. Karen Roitz – a sports Chiropractic Dr. in Santa Cruz. Jenn Dice – COO at People for Bikes, Juliana Furtado can be fun when she pushes me up hill, and I always enjoy a good bike ride with my husband Joe.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

It is an exciting time to be at Juliana, I think we are near a tipping point with brand recognition and getting more attention from riders and retailers. We have some great bikes coming out that will be exciting for all kinds of riders, from experienced mountain bikers to riders just getting into the sport.

Last but not least - Please support mountain bike advocacy, we can’t take trails for granted. Support your local group and/or national group.