It’s always a treat to look at a new suspension design and try to figure out what makes it tick. We looked for quite a while at Jamis’ new suspension, 3VO (three variable optimized) and we still ended up asking for some explanation in the what-makes-it-tick department.

The new 3VO suspension is licensed by Jamis, meaning the company doesn’t own it, but Jamis is the first brand to put it on a bike. What makes 3VO different? A few things. First and foremost, there are three links. The lower two attach the rear triangle to the front triangle, and the uppermost attaches the front triangle to the shock. Jamis claims this three-joint system allows the axle path to be tuned independently of the leverage ratio. Furthermore, Susan, the linkage design puts the virtual pivot point at the chainring, above the bottom bracket and almost directly inline with the chain. As the bike cycles through travel, the axle path initially moves rearward for small-bump absorption, then reverts to moving forward, minimizing chain growth.

Some sort of criss-crossing is happening here.

Jamis claims all of this results in hardtail-like efficiency, instant reaction time in any gear, small bump sensitivity, big-hit absorption and bottom-out resistance. And coil springs are a go. That is a lot of claims. We will have to wait to ride one to see if they are true.

The 3VO leverage curve on the Hardline. It looks like the bike will have a supportive mid-stroke, but might go through travel easily afterward—something and air-sprung shock could mitigate.

Jamis has outfitted two bikes with the new 3VO suspension, a mid-travel 29er/27.5+ and a long-travel 27.5/27.5+. The longer of the two is the Hardline, with 160-millimeters of travel front and rear. The head angle is 65.5 degrees, the seat-tube angle is 74 degrees, the reach is 461 millimeters and the rear hub is Boosted, of course.

The Hardline.

The 29er Portal has 130 millimeters of travel front and back, combined with a 67.5 degree headtube angle. Flip a chip at the shock mount and that head angle steepens to 68 degrees, and the seat-tube angle moves from 74.5 to 75 degrees. The flip-chip also changes the bottom bracket height, which is useful when switching between 29-inch wheels and 27.5+ wheels. And the Portal can go full plus with 27.5×3.0-inch tires.

The Portal

Both the Portal and the Hardline will hit retailers in August, with two different aluminum builds each. The complete spec is yet to be determined, along with pricing. Find out more here.

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