FIRST RIDE REPORT
JAMIS HARDLINE C4
Words & Photos by Cole Gregg
Jamis has been making two-wheeled fun machines since 1979, which is long enough to have a pretty storied history of creating trail-worthy bikes. Their East Coast experience with bicycles has shaped the brand into what it is today. Their first full suspension bike debuted in 1995 with a whopping 55mm of travel out back, their product line and focus has shifted and changed through the years, ultimately leading up to the Enduro race ready Hardline, a bike that features 160mm of 3VO suspension design.
Jamis is sure to please crowds with the Hardline C4’s ability to handle 27.5”, 27.5+ and 26+ wheels. This 160mm enduro bike is an interesting option for those looking for something different from the PNW longer, lower, slacker trend. Our test model featured the standard 27.5” wheels wrapped in Vittoria Mazza rubber at 2.4 inches wide front and back. The massive Enduro Max Sealed Bearings keep the 3VO suspension system operating without a hitch.
We did an in-depth dive on the 3VO system a few months back when looking at the Jamis Portal. If you’d like to learn more about this unique and efficient platform, check out our video and story here.
In short, the 3VO system has a nearly vertical axle path minimizing braking forces while remaining highly active with the help of a high anti-rise. The first portion of travel (20mm – 60mm) has a very slight rising rate followed by another increase at 60mm – 80mm, at 100mm you hit the max rising right with increased anti-squat. Followed by a slight falling rate from 100mm – 120mm maintaining the linear feel. From 120mm to the full 160mm the there is a falling rate that eats up impacts but also provides plenty of bottom out resistance. It’s a unique feeling system that offers great pedaling performance, even with 160mm of travel.
The Jamis Hardline starts at $3,199 for the aluminum A2 and goes all the way up to $8,499 for the C1. We got our hands on the Hardline C4, which is the most affordable carbon offering in the line and retails for $4,199. Jamis spec’s the Hardline C4 with a reliable and solid kit that offers solid performance but still keeps budget in mind. I found the Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain to be very smooth and reliable and didn’t leave me wanting more. The same can be said about the Shimano MT420 4-piston brakes, while there is no adjustment on the levers there is plenty of power for someone my weight (170lbs). Jamis has done a nice job of picking performance-ready products that keep this bike at a competitive price.
A Fox DPX2 Performance series EVOL shock keeps the 3VO system in check out back. I am very picky when it comes to shocks, even more than when it comes to a fork. In my opinion, the Fox DPX2 is the perfect fit for this bike, even without compression adjustment the balance of small bump compliance and big hit support was perfect. Being a chronic climb switch user, I found myself shying away from this as the 3VO system has great pedaling support. It was a unique feeling of having plenty of small bump support and traction through corners while still having more than enough support on extended climbs. Up front the Fox 36 Rhythm was plenty enough for most riding situations. I’ve been very impressed with what Fox has been able to accomplish with this fork on several bikes we’ve tested lately.
Geometry is where Jamis’s bikes may start to polarize readers and riders alike. As an East Coast brand who build bikes that they themselves like to ride on technical, challenging terrain, the need to create the longest and slackest bikes with the lowest, rock-bashing bottom bracket height isn’t there, and for many riders that is great! If you are a high-speed, steep chute rider in Squamish looking for the most modern enduro racer, then the size large bike’s 461mm reach will have you scratching your head. If you live in an area with more technical terrain that’s not vertical, the shorter reach, 65-degree head tube angle and 429mm chainstays could be exactly what you’re looking for. All of the bikes come with a 73.5-degree seat tube angle and 13.5mm bottom bracket drop which give the bike a pretty awesome pedaling position and clearance.
Editors Note: We received a size Medium (439mm reach) for testing due to inventory issues and our primary tester for this first look is 6’0” tall, which we believe had an effect on weight bias/suspension performance overall. For our long term review coming down the line we’ve found a shorter rider that has already begun logging miles.