Three Variable Optimized suspension, or 3VO for short because we all love a good acronym, arrives with some heady claims from Jamis; ''Allow us to introduce the single most capable suspension design ever brought to market,'' and ''We’re able to combine the efficiency of a hardtail with the proper support of precisely-controlled active suspension.''
Not exactly aiming low with the promises, are you, Jamis? And all that at a decent price, too, with the A1 version going for $3,999 USD and the A2 selling for $2,999 USD. If you want less bike, the 130mm-travel Portal uses a similar 3VO suspension system and can be had at the same two price points.
Intended use: all-mountain / enduro
Fork travel: 160mm
Wheel size: 27.5'' / 27.5+ / 26+
Frame construction: aluminum
Head angle: 65.5°
Seat angle: 74°
Reach: 461mm (large)
Sizes: xs, sm, med, lrg, xlrg
Price: $3,999 USD, $2,999 USD
More info: www.jamisbikes.com
All the physics, a bunch of bearings, and some aluminum apparently add up to one of the best pedaling 160mm-travel bikes out there. Jamis worded it a bit differently.
The 3VO layout is a four-bar system that uses short links to create a virtual pivot point, just like a lot of other bikes out there, but Currie has located the pivots so that the instant center is behind
the bottom bracket shell. Instant center is the virtual pivot point that the rear axle rotates around on a dual-link bike, and they're generally placed in front of the bottom bracket, and they move forward as the bike goes into its travel.
On the Hardline, it starts behind the bottom bracket before moving rearward and, according to Jamis, it does this so that the instant center is always aligned with the chain at all points through the bike's travel. Usually, with an instant center ahead of the bottom bracket, you only get that when you're around the sag point, which makes setup vital.
The 3VO system is also employed on the 130mm-travel Portal.
What does all that mean on the trail? Well, I haven't ridden the bike yet, so I'll leave it to Jamis: ''The 3VO system’s instant center path also creates a consistent anti-rise response and an anti-squat response near 100% throughout the travel range, counteracting rider weight transfer under both braking and acceleration to keep all pedal input driving you forward while allowing the suspension to remain active and responsive to impacts, even while pedaling and braking.''
Instant center is one of the three in 3VO, with the other two being the bike's axle path and leverage ratio. The real talking point with the design is that rearward migrating instant center, though, and Jamis says that the design is so efficient that riders can run a coil-sprung shock on the 160mm-travel Hardline without needing a cheater pedal-assist switch.
The design of the rear-end necessitated a proprietary chain guide that bolts onto the swingarm just above the chainring.
Suspension aside, the Hardline looks well thought out and with all the things that a bike like this should have; two-bolt ISCG tabs, an integrated chain guide, 12 x 148mm spacing, internal routing, and because someone at Jamis knows that being dehydrated sucks, there's even room for a giant water bottle.
Given my love for shit-talking bikes that require a pedal-assist cheater switch, along with Jamis' brazen claims, I'd say that this is one bike that I'll have to get in for testing.