JAMIS HARDLINE C4 Bike REVIEW

A SUPER FUN BIKE FOR ALL RIDERS

Review by Cole Gregg & Ty Morton
Photos by Cole Gregg

Since we received our Jamis Hardline C4 trail bike 11 months ago, it has been shredded through all conditions in the PNW on a wide range of mountain bike trails from freeride and park lines through to natural enduro terrain. Not satisfied on a single opinion, we recruited long-time friend Ty Morton to add his input to the review as a shredder who would be more appropriately sized for our medium test rig.

With this review we took a different approach than we usually do here at The Loam Wolf to give you some real-world feedback from a solid rider that is not in the industry. Check out the Q&A to get the low down on Ty’s time on this capable and well-rounded all-trail machine.

QUICK HITS

  • 160mm 3VO Suspension
  • HTA 65
  • STA 73.5
  • REACH 439 (Medium)

Price: $3,699.95 – $8999.95
Website: Jamisbikes.com

THE LAB
The 160mm travel Jamis Hardline C4 is a mountain bike that provides an option for those looking for something different to the longer, lower, slacker trend. Our test model featured the standard 27.5” wheels, but the Hardline can also handle 27.5+ and 26+ wheels if that’s your thing. The Hardline is built around Jamis’ unique 3VO suspension system, which we covered in detail in our Dissected episode on their Portal 29er.

The basics behind the short link, four-bar 3VO system are an axle path that is constantly aligned with the chainline to produce consistently high anti-squat and anti-rise figures, as well as a leverage ratio that is tuned for distinct jobs at certain points on the travel. The outcome is a unique feeling system that offers great pedaling performance, even with the 160mm of travel on tap, yet remains active on the descents.

Jamis Hardline C4 Review

The Jamis Hardline starts at $3,199 for the aluminum framed A2 and goes all the way up to $8,499 for the C1 with the DYAD Pro high modulus carbon fiber frame. Our testing took place on the Hardline C4, which is the most affordable carbon build in the line retailing at $4,199. Jamis spec’d the Hardline C4 with a reliable and solid kit that offers solid performance but keeps budget in mind.

A Fox DPX2 Performance series EVOL shock keeps the 3VO system in check out back and is paired to a Fox 36 Rhythm fork featuring the basic GRIP damper with Sweep compression adjust. The wide range Shimano Deore 12spd drivetrain has proved to be solid and dependable with great shifting. The same can be said about the Shimano MT420 4-piston brakes, which although lacking lever adjustment, felt good and provided plenty of power for our 150-170lb testers. The wheelset is a Stan’s Flow D rim with Shimano MT410 hubs, which are wrapped in 2.4” Vittoria Mazza rubber front and back. Rounding out the specs are a KS Rage dropper post, RaceFace Ride cockpit and WTB Volt saddle. Jamis have done a nice job of picking performance-ready products that keep this bike at a competitive price.

Jamis Hardline 3VO Suspension Design

Both the Carbon and aluminum frames feature massive Enduro Max Sealed Bearings to keep the 3VO suspension system operating without a hitch. Cable routing is an all-internal affair apart from the chainstay portion of the rear brake. There’s a generous downtube guard, option to fit a custom direct mount upper chain guide, and ISCG05 lower tabs for a bash guard.

The Hardline “C” models are available in sizes S-XL, while the Hardline A2 has an XS added for smaller or younger riders. Geometry is where Jamis’s bikes may start to polarize some riders. As an East Coast brand that builds 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 wasn’t there, and for many riders that is no bad thing.

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 may not be suitable, however if you live in an area with more technical terrain, it may be just the ticket. A 65-degree head tube angle pairs with the 429mm chainstays to produce a decidedly compact wheelbase of 1,208mm for the Large. Rounding out the numbers are a relaxed 73.5-degree seat tube angle and 13.5mm bottom bracket drop. Despite what some chart-crunchers may be thinking, we took this bike on a ton of trails in the Pacific Northwest and had an absolute blast and a refreshing experience.

Jamis Hardline C4 Wall Ride

Q&A WITH GUEST TESTER TY MORTON

THE FRAME:

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.

Jamis Hardline C4 Climb Shot

CLIMBING/PEDALING

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.

Jamis Hardline C4 Drop

DESCENDING

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.

BUILD KIT

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.

Jamis Hardline C4 Review

TY’S FINAL IMPRESSIONS

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THIS BIKE IS FOR?
Ty – This bike is a brilliant all-rounder, with a bit of catering towards tighter trails and jump lines. Don’t get me wrong, it still loves to go fast, but is livelier and more flickable than planted or monster truck-like enduro sleds of today. Perfect for somebody that’s a pure enthusiast, loves riding for fun, and isn’t necessarily trying to shave milliseconds off their Strava times on new school terrain. If you find yourself wanting to rail corners and toss the bike around a bit, like me, then this one’s for you, too.

CAN YOU SUMMARIZE YOUR TIME ON THE JAMIS HARDLINE C4?
Ty – There’s only one rating that I go off when it comes to bike jargon and that’s the fun rating. I’d give this thing a solid 9 out of 10, as it kept a smile on my face nearly the entire time, I was on it. I’d give it a 9.5 if it wasn’t for the silly tire incident that led to a lengthy strut back to the car one day and I leave that extra 0.5 point to something of a unicorn zone that doesn’t really exist yet as bikes continue to get more and more amazing over time.

The Wolf’s Last Word

Jamis did a great job at building a bike that is fun to ride, durable and downright good looking. For a bike to last a full season with next to no mechanical issues through some very tough conditions is remarkable. This is a bike to keep on your short list if you value big smiles year after year! It won’t suit those looking for a super long and slack bike to tackle the absolute steepest of trails with the most stability and confidence and wouldn’t be our recommendation for an EWS Enduro race machine. Then again, that’s not what it was designed to be, and we’d wager that most riders out there aren’t riding EWS-level trails either, so why not enjoy a fun and playful bike to liven up those trails.

Price: $4599.95
Weight: 31.9 lbs
Website:
Jamisbikes.com

VISIT JAMIS BIKES TO GET YOURS!

SPECIFICATIONS

CHASSIS
Frame: Hardline C4 Carbon w/ 3VO Linkage
Fork: Fox 36 Rhythm
Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Performance EVOL

COCKPIT
Brakes: Shimano MT420 4-piston
Shifter: Shimano Deore, 12-speed
Handlebar: Race Face Ride, 760mm x 20mm rise
Stem: Race Face Ride, 50mm
Saddle: WTB Volt
Seatpost: KS Rage Dropper

WHEELS
Wheels: Stan’s No Tubes Flow D 27.5″ rims | Shimano MT410 hubs
Tires: Vittoria Mazza 27.5 x 2.4″, TNT tubeless

DRIVETRAIN
Bottom Bracket: Race Face BSA
Cassette: Shimano M6100, 12-speed, 10-51T
Cranks: Race Face Ride, 32T
Derailleur: Shimano Deore, 12-speed

Santa Cruz Bronson V4 CC Rear Forward Link

We Dig

Bang for your buck
Frame color and looks
Playful nature
Durability

We Don’t

Tire spec
Disc rotor size

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