Q&A WITH GUEST TESTER TY MORTON
FOR A MEDIUM HOW DID YOU FEEL THE BIKE FITTED YOU?
Ty – At 5’7”, I felt like the frame sizing was perfect for me overall. The relative stack, stand over, and reach all felt very natural together for both descents and climbing.
WAS THE 439MM REACH SOMETHING YOU WERE SATISFIED WITH?
Ty – I would shorten the stem to 35 or 40mm for my personal riding style, but in terms of the frame itself, it was right on the money.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE SIZE-WISE?
Ty – Perhaps the steerer tube was precut once I stepped on the bike, but I would personally like about a 10-15mm increase in stack height for steep descents. I’d look to add a taller bar out the box for my riding style.
THIS BEING THE FIRST 3VO SUSPENSION YOU HAVE RIDDEN; HOW DID YOU GET ALONG WITH IT?
Ty – Short answer: Very impressive! Being an avid DW-Link rider, I generally have a hard time finding linkage designs that offer as much small bump sensitivity AND pedal platform, but I felt that the 3VO offered both. It was quite playful and responsive to input, making it extremely fun to ride.
WAS THERE MUCH OF AN ADAPTATION PHASE GETTING USED TO THE BIKE?
Ty – Feeling similar to my Pivot Mach 6, I was right at home when I jumped on it and only took a ride or two before I felt like I could start really pushing the limits on it.
DID THE 429MM CHAINSTAYS EVER FEEL TOO SHORT OR DID YOU FIND IT TO BE A BENEFIT ON MOST OF THE TRAILS YOU RODE?
Ty – Riding mostly high-speed single track during my time on the bike, I never felt like it was too short. The shorter rear end made it super easy to flick around and really was a joy to ride.
WHEN YOU WERE ON CLIMBS DID YOU LEAVE THE SHOCK FULLY OPEN OR LOCKED OUT?
Ty – I tried it with the climb switch both on and off, and found the pedaling platform to be great, so I settled on leaving the shock open on all except the most grueling climbs.
WHEN OUT OF THE SADDLE, PUTTING THE POWER DOWN DID YOU FIND THERE TO BE ANY SLUGGISHNESS DUE TO PEDAL BOB?
Ty – While climbing, the 3VO offered very little pedal bob even while standing. However, on flatter descents where I was really mashing to generate speed, I found there to be a good amount of bob, but also at the gain of superb small-bump sensitivity.
WHAT OTHER THINGS DID YOU LIKE ABOUT THE CLIMBING AND PEDALING PERFORMANCE?
Ty – The climbing position felt natural even on steep climbs. At 5’ 7” tall this is rarely an issue for me as 150mm droppers are plenty tall enough to put me in the right climbing position. I could see how someone taller than 6’ might find their weight off the back a bit but for me this was not an issue.
TALK TO US ABOUT ROUGH AND CHUNKY TRAILS?
Ty – Planted is not the word I would use to describe the Hardline. It was quite lively and playful, but didn’t seem to toss me around too much through the rough stuff. It was nimble through tight corners and offered plenty of traction on off-camber roots. Overall, it had a nice balance of on-trail feel that was fast and responsive without being skittish or nervous.
HOW DID THE BIKE CORNER?
Ty – Corners, fast and slow, are where this bike shines! It was very easy to lay over and predictable even with large braking bumps mid-apex. I was stoked to keep pushing corners harder and harder as I sessioned sections of trail and it continued to impress with each go.
WITH THE SHORT 429MM CHAINSTAYS I’M GUESSING IT HANDLES THE TIGHT STUFF WELL?
Ty – Like a dream. If you’re riding trails with lots of switchbacks and cutty ruts, this thing’s for you.
WHEN IT CAME TIME TO GET AIRBORNE DID THE BIKE GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE? HOW DID IT REACT ON THOSE GAS-TO-FLAT SITUATIONS?
Ty – Perhaps it’s second most striking attribute to its cornering ability is its comfort in the air. It’s extremely flickable and just feels at home mid-flight. I felt more than confident on long, fast hits and equally as safe hitting lippy dirt jumps, which isn’t always the case for something that tackles full-bore enduro trails like this thing does.
WITH THIS BEING AN ENTRY LEVEL BUILD COMING IN AT $4,599 DID YOU FIND ANY OF THE COMPONENTS TAKING AWAY FROM THE ABILITY OF THE BIKE?
Ty – The Fox 36 Rhythm Series fork and Float DPX2 shock really surprised me with their performance and made me second guess whether factory series suspension was even necessary at all. Absolutely zero qualms here, especially for the price point.
IF THIS WAS YOUR BIKE, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE FROM THE STOCK BUILD?
Ty – TIRES! I can’t say I got along with them very well. The braking traction was sub-par and I even had an incident where I ripped an entire knob off in a not-so understandable situation (on a flow trail) which led to its reluctant short-life burial. Other than that, the only change I would make is a shorter stem for my fit preference.
THIS HAS BEEN A VERY LONG-TERM REVIEW, WITH 11 MONTHS OF HARD RIDING IN ROUGH CONDITIONS. HOW HAS THE BIKE HELD UP?
Ty – Just the tire incident I mentioned above. Everything else worked flawlessly. I hardly even had to adjust the shifting or brakes and pretty much set it and forget it with the suspension. I never had to tighten any pivot bolts or any other part on the bike, it held up extremely well over the test period! I could foresee heavier riders finding the limits of the brakes quite quickly with their 180mm rotors and would look to up these to 200mm to add extra stopping power.