I just listened to a podcast interview here on Singletracks where the interviewee claimed that there was very little to no innovation still to be done in the sport of mountain biking. While on the one hand, I could see his point as it relates to the origins of the sport. In 2020, we’re making very incremental improvements to mountain bikes in comparison to the leaps and bounds made in the 80s and 90s.
But on the other hand, brands like Jamis continue to prove the jaded old-timers wrong. Jamis has recently launched two entirely new lines of mountain bikes, with the long travel enduro line dubbed the “Hardline.” The Hardline is all-new for Jamis in a whole host of ways.
This 160mm enduro bike sports a full-carbon frame with a bomber construction. The tubes are beefy and overbuilt, the pivots massive, and the bike just screams, “I’m ready to fucking blast through some gnar.” Geez Hardline, take a chill pill. The last time I did a deep dive on the Jamis lineup, the only carbon mountain bikes they sold were XC race bikes. These Dyad Pro High Modulus Carbon Fiber frames are a big step up for their long-travel lineup.
While the brand’s pivot from alloy enduro bikes to carbon is big news, the biggest story is the all-new 3VO suspension. I won’t spoil my full review here, but this isn’t just a rehash of a VPP or Horst Link design. It’s an all-new suspension linkage from Speedgoat Design’s Chris Currie. Currie received the patent on his linkage in 2010 and is licensing the system to Jamis. Jamis and Currie have been working closely together for over three years to bring this suspension design to the brand’s long-travel bikes. Even though some old-timers may think suspension has been perfected, people like Chris Currie can’t help but continue to tinker.
The Hardline comes in four carbon models and one aluminum model, and the version I’m testing is the C3. Priced at $4,699 MSRP, this bike lands squarely in the “good value for your money, but no fancy bits” realm. The suspension is all Fox, with a Performance series shock and a Rhythm fork. The drivetrain is a mix of 12-speed Shimano SLX with cheaper parts mixed in, and the brakes are also SLX. Race Face covers most of the rest of the components, including the cockpit, dropper post, and 27.5” Race Face ARC 30 wheels.
Jamis hasn’t pushed the envelope too far with the geometry—and that’s intentional. The Hardline sports a 65.5° head tube angle, 74° seat tube angle, 429mm chainstays, and a 439mm reach in the size medium.
To hear how Jamis’s innovative foray performs, stay tuned for my final review coming later this fall.