Jamis launched two new suspension bikes here in Monterey. The 27.5-inch-wheel Hardline and its 29-inch-wheel sister ship, the Portal, showcase an interesting new rear suspension system designed by Speedgoat's Chris Currie. It's called 3VO - a short-link, four bar suspension that is configured to create an instant center near the top of the chainring, which remains in alignment with the chain as the suspension compresses. That trick, says Jamis, creates a pedal-friendly rear suspension that is, "...able to combine the efficiency of a hardtail with the proper support of precisely controlled active suspension."
Jamis admits that those words are well worn, but they do a decent job of describing the primary reason that the longstanding brand from New Jersey dropped its more conventional single-pivot swingarm suspension like a hot potato to adopt a little known linkage design from an outside source. Reportedly, when Currie brought 3VO demonstration prototypes to Jamis, it only took one ride to sell them on the concept. The result was two aluminum-framed all-mountain trail bikes, a 130-millimeter-travel 29er, and a 160-millimeter-travel 27.5-inch wheel version.
Jamis isn't the only brand that has been impressed by Currie's patented design. A number of potential suitors have been whispering about the firm pedaling action and responsiveness of his patented design for well over a year, and Currie's prototypes have been the subject of a few first rides in the media as well.
Jamis was all in with their 3VO project - to the degree that they chose a small, high-end manufacturer that caters to a hand-picked group of the world's most prestigious brands. The construction is absolutely top notch and, while Jamis is not on the vanguard of current geometry, the numbers are solid: the 27.5-inch wheel Hardline sports a 74-degree seat angle, a 65.5-degree head angle, and short, 16.9-inch chainstays. The reach is 439mm (17.3") for a medium size bike, and there is room for tires up to 2.6 inches and one down tube water bottle. Portal 29ers have slightly steeper 67.5-degree head tube angles and 74.5 seat tube angles.
All the details add up to a very promising bike, so you can bet Pinkbike will be riding one soon. Keep an eye out later this summer when production bikes start rolling out. in the meantime, you can find more information here.