SANTA CRUZ — After 18 months of design meetings, product testing and marketing details, former competitive mountain biker Juli Furtado launched her new line of high-end bicycles for women Tuesday. Consumers can begin to find them in stores next week.
The new Juliana line, a division of Santa Cruz Bicycles, sold 275 units in its first two days of sales, according to Mariano Gon, director of sales. The company has also lined up 75 U.S. dealers, 10 in Canada and nine international distributors.
“I’m totally ecstatic,” Furtado said. “The response is absolutely what I was hoping for in terms of feedback. And, for me, the sales have exceeded what I thought would happen in the first week.”
Although once known by the moniker “Queen of the Dirt,” Furtado has had little time these days to wend through the woods on her favorite bike trail due to a whirlwind month of interviews with bicycle journalists and pit stops at races throughout the country to talk about the new venture.
The immediate positive reception has been validating, she said. “It feels really good.”
Furtado created the bicycle’s look and feel with designers at Santa Cruz Bicycles. They are assembled in Santa Cruz at the company’s new, expanded facility on the West Side. The line includes nine complete bicycles priced from $1,650 to $5,999. These bicycles, with a more aesthetic look and feel than bikes traditionally made by the manufacturer, are generally smaller framed with female-specific saddles, a shorter handlebar span and smaller grips. They sport a softer pallet, including a signature persimmon shade, and are marketed to the casual to serious female rider.
Early sales have been entirely to dealerships. Santa Cruz bicyclists will be able to find the Juliana bikes, starting with the Joplin model, at the Family Cycling Center on 41st Avenue in Santa Cruz next week. All four models in the line are expected to be available in U.S. dealerships by the end of June.
“I think there’s going to be a great market for it,” said Bob Barwick, general manager of the Family Cycling Center. “We have a huge female client base for our store. We’ve already had two or three calls on the product line.”
The Santa Cruz store has sold Santa Cruz Bicycles for 20 years including the original Juliana, which was created in 1999 and named after Furtado.
The new line is functional rather than “frou frou,” Barwick said. “It’s a real trail bike.” Because of that, buyers could include “vertically challenged men” as well, he said.
Furtado is in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and the Bicycling Hall of Fame. She won the U.S. National Road Championship in 1989 and went on to win several world championship competitions and participate in the Atlanta Olympics. She retired from the sport in 1997 and has been working in the marketing and sponsoring department at Santa Cruz Bicycles.
For information on the Juliana bicycles, go to http://www.julianabicycles.com.
This article, Juli Furtado launches new bike: Line expected to reach retailers next week, first appeared here.