The all-new



Real talk - If your trails don't need big travel, you're just hauling around more weight and riding higher on the bike. It's okay! Not everybody lives in the backwoods of Squamish BC where the standard XC loop has features that would make an Enduro World Series rider blush. Let's start with the basics; the Joplin is a 120mm travel bike with slack geometry typically associated with the big trail rigs. Since most folks equate more capability to more travel, 120mm of rear travel sounds pretty paltry. But, there is more to it than that.

What the Joplin lacks in travel, it gains in geometry. Unlike other bikes in this travel range, the Joplin comes out of the gate swinging just like its longer-traveled siblings with a 65.5° head-angle, long front center, and short fork offset. This means you've got a low-to-the-ground feel of a short travel bike but the geometry to tear the knobs of your tires.

That short travel has other benefits, too, it may not be a full-on mountain goat XC bike, but the Joplin goes uphill like it's being chased by a bear (Which could be helpful if you're actually being chased by a bear). The 2023 Joplin features a host of small but effective suspension and geometry tweaks that help keep the back end planted while climbing and keeps you from bobbing.

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You're the type of rider who wants to go uphill fast and downhill faster. You love how a proper XC bike climbs but hate the compromises it has to make on the downhill; After all, why sprint to the top of the hill if you can't go back down in less than 18 parsecs?

You're probably not the type of rider who is zip-tieing a number plate on at your local races, but speed is still the name of the game.

You want a bike that will make light of most terrain and easily roll over rocks and roots. When scanning the trail, you're looking for the jumps and jibs that can help you straighten out the trail or give you a better line into the next corner. You want a bike capable of taking a square edge hit hard so long as it gives you more speed out of the next corner.


Other Options:

  1. Even slacker? Bold Linkin 135
  2. More playful? Juliana Furtado
  3. Faster on the uphills - Juliana Wilder


  • Style: Trail (Short travel)
  • Travel: 120mm Rear, 130mm Front.
  • Wheels: 29"
  • Price Range:$5,299 - $10,399
  • Frame Material: C & CC Carbon
  • Complete Weight: N/A
  • Size Range: XS - M
  • Tire Clearance: 29" x 2.5
  • Colors: Gloss Bluebird (Light Blue)


The Joplin is an icon, a bike that can tackle tons of different types of riding and terrain. While most companies throw longer travel at a platform to make it more capable, the Joplin keeps the package tight. Here is what we love about it.

Trail Geometry

The real magic of the Joplin comes from its geometry. The short travel helps you feel low in the bike, but the long front center and slack HT angle give the bike huge confidence beyond your expectations of a 120mm travel bike.

VPP Suspension

The Low mounted VPP suspension design is iconic within the Santa Cruz line now, but on a bike designed to make light of any trail, the short 120mm rear end of the Joplin feels smooth and nearly bottomless... even when you get in over your head.

29" Wheels

The Joplin is an icon, a bike that can tackle tons of different types of riding and terrain. While most companies throw longer travel at a platform to make it more capable, the Joplin keeps the package tight. Here is what we love about it.


The downhiller's XC bike gets more mature but doesn't lose its party attitude. The best part about Santa Cruz is their ability to hold on to the aspects of their bikes that make them fun and exciting while lifting up the details of the bike that make it more usable. Here are some of the best features of the Joplin.

Trail Geometry

The Joplin's lifeblood returns to good ol' fashion geometry. The idea is simple, mix a slack modern trail geometry with short travel. The Joplin's slack 65.5° head-angle and long front center help keep the front wheel out in front while on steep terrain but thanks to the short travel, it maintains the bike's ability to scamper uphill like its sibling, the XC-focused Blur. We aren't suggesting that the Joplin is a replacement for a sharp handling XC bike for racing, but it does provide a HUGE amount of confidence on the downhills while balancing its ability to push the speed uphill. Another welcome change to the Joplin platform is the size-specific chainstay length. Now from size XS-XXL, every bike receives a unique rear end length to help match the increasing front center. This helps keep the bike balanced regardless of your size.

29" Wheels

Big wheels carry speed. They decrease the approach angle when hitting square edge bumps so that the bike can roll over obstacles more easily and help provide more stability at speed. With the relatively short travel of the Joplin, the big wheels help add a lot to the bike's capability by allowing it to float over trail features rather than deflect when it comes in contact.

Suspsension Tune

The Joplin has evolved to feature more small bump sensitivity in the early part of its stroke, meaning it will feel better rolling on everyday trails. Santa Cruz has also tuned it to require less input from the trail to start reacting. The end of the suspension curve has also changed, providing a more progressive feel at the end of the stroke to help reduce bottom out and give a bottomless feel to the rear end. As with many of the other updated 2023 Santa Cruz models, the Joplin also has lower anti-squat than the previous model, meaning the bike's rear suspension is freer to react to the trail without input from the rider's pedals. AKA - better feel on the trail.

Reserve 30|SL Wheels

The GX AXS and XO1 AXS models of the Joplin will also receive upgrades to the wheels with the addition of the new Reserve 30|SL. At sub 1750grams, the 30|SL is a lightweight trail wheel perfectly paired with the Joplin. In addition, they feature reinforced spoke holes to improve durability in rough terrain while keeping the weight low and an asymmetric rim bed that increases the wheel's overall stiffness by reducing the wheel's bracing angles for spoke tension. The rim bed has also been tuned to make mounting tubeless tires quick and painless, even with a floor pump.


We absolutely love the short travel trail category. Bikes that fit in here try to be confident in the steeps but fast on the climbs and in the flats. They are by no means a full-on XC race bike, but they often provide the best of both worlds, and the Santa Cruz Joplin has been kind of the castle for years.










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Front Center




Rear Center




BB Height




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HT Length




Top Tube Length




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If you're on the cusp between the recommended height range of two sizes, the absolute best thing is to try to ride them both. At a minimum, check the stack/reach measurements on your current bike and compare it to the new model you are looking at to get an idea of a fit you are already comfortable with. If riding the bike is not an option, consider the following.

The Joplin is available in sizes extra small - medium (XS-M).

Personal Preference

A larger size frame will be more stable, and will give you more room to move without upsetting the weight-balance of the bike. The larger size will put the front wheel further in front of you, which gives the feeling of security and conversely, it will require more significant body movements when you WANT to shift the weight-bias of the bike. Think hard about your riding style and how active/intuitive you want it to be vs stable and speedy. You'll need to work a bit harder to muscle the larger bike around.

Body Dimension

Not all bodies at a given height are the same. If you have longer legs and a shorter torso than the average person your height, that may push you towards the smaller of the recommended sizes. If you're all torso and arms, most likely you'll want to size up.