Bike Check: Juliana Wilder ready for Isla Short race

Isla Short is the current reigning UK National XC and XC Marathon champion and deprived of the World Cup. Isla has set up its own program for 2022 with long-term sponsors including Hunt wheels on board, as well as Endura and Juliana. This bike was built from the ground up to be a World Cup race bike. Isla’s setup is unique: due to her size and the products available from sponsors, she ended up with some pretty weird things.

That being said, Isla’s Juliana Wilder is one hell of a nice bike and I guess that’s no surprise, because it’s something Juliana put a lot of time into. But make no mistake, this is a serious race bike that has the technology to back up its good looks and allow Isla to compete at the highest level of XC racing. It’s not a heavyweight either, with a build weighing in at 10.2kg with pedals, although the bike being small might help a bit.

I think XC bike technology has evolved tremendously over the past decade, and I love being able to ride the Wilder at XC World Cups and have great days on technical trails with nothing more than a swap of tires. It’s a really versatile bike and can do everything my training needs.short island

The Juliana Wilder is a unique blend of XC race bike and trail bike. The head tube angle is 67.1 degrees and reaches 412.3mm on the small Isla frame. Interestingly, the head angle is a bit steeper and the reach a bit shorter than its big Joplin sibling, keeping the build aggressive enough to handle the demands of cross-country racing. However, the Wilder’s seat tube angle is a bit slacker and the chainstays are a bit longer than on the Joplin to ensure the bike is stable on the descents. The Wilder also has custom chainstay lengths for each size, which helps maintain geometry throughout the size range.
Isla has a few differences between its racing and training bikes. His workout bike is wrapped in Invisiframe to try to maintain resale value. After all, Isla is a privateer and those things are really important when running your own program on a tight budget. However, she wanted to keep the race bike as light as possible, so on this bike she keeps the frame bare.

Up front on Isla’s Wilder sits a set of 120mm-travel Fox 32 Factory Step Cast forks with Fox’s signature Kashima coating on the stanchions. Isla isn’t the biggest of people, so it’s no surprise to hear that there are no chips in the fork and it only operates at 60 psi. Isla switched to the step-cast Fox 32 from the standard 34 the Wilder is equipped with Juliana because after testing both Isla felt she couldn’t lower the front end enough using the 34 to meet her preferences.

On the right side of Isla’s handlebars is the remote lockout for her Fox 32 and her Fox Float Factory DPS. This isn’t the normal position, but it works for Isla and with the KS Lev 100mm dropper post occupying the left side, it’s really the only sensible place she could go. This also allows Isla to unlock the suspension and drop the pole at the same time. Isla’s dropper has had its travel increased from 66mm to 100mm. She said “I don’t really like long droppers for XC (although I do like riding a dropper) but I increased the length of the one fitted for this bike due to the steep seat angle on the Wilder – rolls much better with 100mm.”
Hunt Wheels has been a sponsor of Isla for some time and the wheels are one of the areas where Isla’s race and training bikes are different, with their training bike running Hunt’s XC Race Wides. On her racing bike, she has a brand new set of prototype wheels. She couldn’t give me many details about them, but they look like they were almost in production and they are super lightweight.
As for the tires, Isla went with a set of Schwalbes, with a Racing Ralph up front and a Thunder Burt behind. They are both tan walls, because why not! They come in a tubeless setup with 16 psi front and 17 psi rear.

This is a complete set of Shimano XTR brakes for Isla, with organic pads and 160mm rotors front and rear.

Thanks to Isla for her time and help putting this together.

Wiley C. Thompson