Bike Check: The First Pole Stamina 140

Apr 14, 2019
by Richard Cunningham  

Pole Stamina 140
BIKE CHECK
Pole Stamina 140
Pole's mid-travel Stamina chassis' aluminum halves no longer use bolts to back up the bonded seams.


Pole's 29-inch-wheel Stamina 140 is a shorter travel, more nimble rendition of the brand's vanguard geometry, packaged in a chassis that has evolved considerably since the Machine debuted a little more than a year ago.

We met with founder and designer Leo Kokkonen to find out what he had learned from the original Machine and how he applied those lessons to the new Stamina. Kokkonen said the Stamina's aluminum frame is still CNC machined from 7075 aluminum plates and bonded together in halves.
Pole Stamina 140
Leo Kokkonen
Unlike the Machine, however, which employs small screws to assist the bonding process and further secure the matching sections of the frame, the new chassis is glued together using a new patented interface and bonding process. The Stamina's profile is "much more normal," says Kokkonen, and some of that was a product of the designers' vigilant efforts to reduce the amount of waste and to further simplify the manufacturing process.

Pole Stamina 140
The new suspension configuration will accept a variety of shocks and longer-stroke droppers.

Much material has been removed from the frame's front section. The head tube area has been lightened and the Machine's seat tube tunnel has been replaced by a yoke, which drives the top tube mounted shock. Kokkonen says that the big improvements were out back, however. The swingarm is no longer bonded into one piece. Instead, the right and left sides are machined and bonded separately, then assembled onto keyed axles. The upper and lower suspension rockers are also keyed into the axles.

Pole Stamina 140
A yoke arrangement eliminates the need for a seat tube tunnel
Pole Stamina 140
The large-diameter main pivot bearing is serviceable by a bottom bracket spline wrench.

When asked if there may be reliability issues, Kokkonen explained: "The way the swingarm halves and linkage plates fit together is very much like the bottom bracket and crank arms, Crankarms see much greater forces with zero problems. I am just moving that interface to the suspension."

The new design uses smaller, flatter aluminum billets, which saves a lot of machining and also streamlines both the bonding and final assembly process. Should a customer destroy part of the rear suspension in a crash, individual components can be easily replaced.

Pole Stamina 140
Careful attention to tool paths creates the texture that has become the Pole signature. Pairs of holes are located throughout the frame to zip tie cables and hoses in place.

Eliminating the seat tube tunnel also makes room for longer dropper posts, which is essential due to the Stamina's low-stand-over height and steep, 77.5-degree seat tube angle. (78.6 effective). With the post nearly centered between the wheels, you need stow the saddle as low as possible for the downs. Kokkonen says he rides a 170-millimeter dropper but may switch to a 200.

Geometry is all Pole, with a 64-degree head tube angle, 450-millimeter chainstays and a still massive, 520-millimeter reach in the XL size, it's guaranteed to be a hoot on any downhill. The wheelbase, says Kokkonen, is only 15 millimeters less than the long travel models, but the differences are significant under saddle.

Pole Stamina 140
A look down the center of the Stamina 140's moving bits reveals the two keyed axles that index the linkage and swingarm halves together.
Pole Stamina 140
The unusual upper yoke arrangement is (presumably) a method to prevent bottom out events from stressing the bonded seam near the shock mount.

Different suspension kinematics produce anti-squat numbers well above 100 percent and reportedly, a better feel under power, especially while climbing. The 140 millimeter-travel Stamina gave up a little speed to the 180-millimeter travel version on timed descents, but Kokkonen concedes that the new bike feels more lively and fun to ride, even if that comes with a measure of upper body fatigue that you'd never experience aboard the Machine.

This is the first Stamina 140 that Pole has produced and will undergo intensive testing when it travels back to Finland. If all goes as planned, customers could be riding them this summer. Look forward to a PB review when that moment arrives.







84 Comments

  • + 33
 This type of production (machining) is great for prototyping and as such I think it is great he's taking full advantage of that, to experiment and make modifications to his bikes whenever he sees fit. I just hope he stores his intermediate CAD files somewhere so that when a customer needs a spare part after eight years of riding, he can still serve them just like Hope is still able to do. That said, once he has settled on a few popular geometries I hope he also releases those in the welded tube variation. Lots of riders have welded-tube-bike budgets but may still be interested in his creations.
  • + 10
 I'm not even sure a welded version would be possible. Would you be able to form the tubing into the same shapes and variable thickness used here? And would the design work with a weldable aluminum vs. the bonded approach?

Pole's process seems more amenable to prototyping carbon frames vs. welded aluminum, buit then we know their stance on carbon so that's unlikely to happen...
  • + 3
 @plyawn: I could have sworn I saw Doddy looking at one on a Sea Otter video from this year. It was painted red. Beautiful bike.
  • + 15
 They make welded bikes already.Evolink 110,131,140 and 158.Loads of welded bikes to choose from Pole.
  • + 3
 @plyawn: we form much more complex shapes in automotive than this , my biggest concern would be environmental frames that cause SCC in a material in the 7000 series class
  • + 0
 The Staminas and Machine use Aluminium 7075, which is a lot stronger than 6061 but cannot be welded. Maybe a glued lugs design à la Atherton/Robot could bring the cost down?
  • + 4
 Maybe it's just an expensive boutique option for those that want it, for those that don't want to spend the money but want the geo then get an Evolink.
  • + 0
 @Wilito: that was the Evolink 158. The Evolinks were to be offered in carbon but that’s where Leo decided that 7075 was better. The Evolinks are still produced and are the more entry level bikes that Pole offer. They’re welded 7005 and are offered with 110, 131, 140 and 158mm travel.
  • + 1
 @Loche: Robot frames were more expensive than Pole's? (haven't seen costs for Atherton frames yet?)
  • + 4
 @stiingya: Yes, but custom geo + 3D printed titanium and carbon tubes. I wonder if Pole could CNC just the lugs out of 7075 and then use tubes to lower production costs.
  • + 0
 @Loche: I think the double shear lap joints Robotbike uses would be really hard to machine properly. It takes a tall and thin router bit to make those. Easier would probably be to assemble the lugs out of multiple machined/turned parts.

@rideonjon : Yeah my point was that these machined bikes are already a step ahead in geometry and suspension, so once he has settled on some geometry and suspension layout it would be cool if he'd offer just that but just out of welded tubes. It doesn't need to be swoopy.
  • + 3
 @vinay: Again, Evolink series..
  • - 1
 @hirvi: Yeah sorry, you're right. I thought the CNCd bikes were way ahead in geometry but I just checked their website and indeed the Evolink bikes are right up there. In that case I see no reason to go for the machined bikes.
  • + 5
 @stiingya: If they joined companies I would be happy to ride a Polbot...or a Robopole....Rolpolbo?
  • + 2
 @vinay: The benefit of the machined bikes is that they are able to make the tube walls thicker/thinner and in unique shapes to make the bike ride in a certain way. It's like having butted tubes in a sense but way more precision. As a machinist I see the benefits of the cnc'd bike but I can also see how it's a hard sell for those that just see an overpriced bike.
  • + 1
 @Bflutz625: lol "entry level"
  • + 3
 @vinay: we did pi joints a long time ago in F1 for bonding the carbon foil to the titanium flexure we wire eroded and ebm'd the two....in the end the switch to complete carbon , binned all that effort off
  • + 2
 @P-Munari: Sick!
  • + 3
 @Compositepro: help me out, SCC?
  • + 1
 @Loche: Gotcha! The Atherton's should look into that too if they want to sell more than a handful of bikes each year! Smile
  • + 0
 Bet this frames a pig to clean with all those machine marks.
  • + 2
 @Tmackstab: Does that extra level or tweaking improve the product that much? I can imagine in areas with complex loading (near pivots/bearings/attachments etc) you may want some kind ribbing that is only possible with machining or forging. And for many aluminium bikes, these are already made using CNC. But for the longer tubes subject to bending, torsion, tension/coompression etc I would have thought butted and hydroformed tubing would already allow for enough tuning. The downsides I see of machining versus drawn or extruded tubing would be the interrupted grain structure. Forged parts and drawn or extruded tubes have that sorted fairly well whereas when the front triangle is being machined out of a single billet at least one of them must be compromised. Would you say this isn't much of an issue or just that it doesn't outweigh the advantages?
  • + 1
 @Tmackstab: their top build is $7200. how in the world is that overpriced????
  • + 1
 @conoat: I don't personally think it's overpriced but some people do.
  • + 1
 @mikebuff: SCC = Stress Corrosion Cracking
  • + 1
 @Loche: 7075 can be welded now there was some research on it published by UCLA earlier in the year.

It uses a specific filler infused with titanium carbide nanoparticles that eliminates the flow issues
  • + 3
 @ARX7: Probably still gonna take time for that kind of research to trickle down to production/manufacturing though...
  • + 20
 Impressive. Would be interesting to see video of the cnc machine carving the frame out.
  • + 11
 in full length please
  • + 19
 Still waiting for their first women's model called the "Pole Dancer"
  • + 18
 I’m waiting for the “Pole Rider” t-shirt
  • - 9
flag lognar (Apr 14, 2019 at 8:42) (Below Threshold)
 that's degrading
  • + 1
 How about one for sexist commentators: the “Pole Basher”
  • + 0
 @lognar: The companies name is "Pole" WTF do you think is gonna happen with EVERY group ride?
  • - 1
 @maxc: such a white knight
  • + 2
 and the DH bike, the Smoker.
  • + 3
 I just came here for the jokes Wink
  • + 3
 I don’t quite understand why they would sell both the 140 Evolink and the 140 stamina? Are they different performers? Different intentions? I feel like it is unusual to see a company offer multiple models of bike with the same amount of travel. It would be great to see some comparison in terms of riding characteristics. (Maybe this already exists and I don’t know?)
  • + 1
 It boils down to pricepoint. Just like how you can get the same Santa Cruz or Yeti frame with different levels of carbon. Maybe they keep the Evolinks as an "entry-level" purchase, and over time, hope the buyer will step up to the next level.
  • + 2
 The Evolink 140 is designed with a 160 fork. I'd be tempted by the stamina 140 if it took a 160 fork. The presale price isn't cheap, but isn't silly when compared to other carbon bikes.
  • + 3
 the stamina version is looking like it'll be a good bit lighter than the evolink series and has revised kinematics, though not crazily so. i was about to get an evolink, but then they announced the bushmaster (now stamina 140). with the preorder sale the price difference wasn't that substantial in the context of a big purchase so i preordered the stamina 140 instead! also, we are all human, and there is some appeal in owning something unique/rare/beautiful. tastes differ of course but i absolutely love how the machined frames look and am stoked to have one of my own.
  • + 1
 @srstudent: i think its sexy too, hope its a dream to ride.
  • + 5
 Not sure if I wanna ride it or lick it
  • + 5
 i guess" bushmaster" wondered of into the bush......
  • + 1
 I guess they got in trouble for using that some sort of conflict with someone else’s name or something
  • + 3
 @bbc611: they did
  • + 1
 Now I cannot decide what to get next tailor made G1 or this one. There is only one problem lack of raw forks, because I hate when fork does not match frame colour theme. I hope to see LE version equipped with raw machined bits like intend or hope, without made in Asia components. ok, now I need some tissue.
  • + 2
 New pike ultimate comes in silver, not quite raw but probably the closest thing out at the moment.
  • + 7
 Between this and the G1 you have to ask yourself, do you want 3 water bottles or 0 Smile
  • + 1
 It will be quite hard to match the frame, especially with telescopic forks as the magnesium casting looks quite different. But if you are willing to pay a bit more, than an Intend Hero could be an option.
  • + 1
 @vitality
Check CRconception with the Fore: www.crconception.com/FORE-SC
It's a small company so that custom finish should be possible.
  • + 10
 @velocitajano: i don’t care about water bottles, I use hydrator pack. Where I also carry all needed bits and tools so my bike doesn’t look like hobo cart with all stapons.
  • + 2
 @Kickmehard: that's what is on this bike in the first photo
  • + 2
 @tincancharlie: aahhhh, damit!
  • + 3
 @vitality: Hobo cart Big Grin
  • + 4
 That thing looks beautiful!
  • + 3
 That is one beautifully made Mountain Bike. Glad to see aluminium is not dead. Not by a long way!
  • + 1
 Funny that the end of this article, (first one produced and will go through "extensive" testing) BUT they are already for sale on their website for June delivery! Smile
  • + 2
 Anyone imported a pole frame into the US? How much of a nightmare on duties was it?
  • + 3
 I have not, but hope to some day. A thread on another site discussing this topic has about half a dozen folks saying, "no duty, no hassle". Also, if you order from the USA you avoid some kind of EU value add tax ...which is quite substantial. The shipping indicated on their site is a bit more than it would cost to ship a bike within the US (other than BikeFlights) which is remarkably cheaper than the established carries. Recently, Pole offered free-shipping too.
  • + 3
 I got one into Canada. Got bagged for 200 which is not that bad. I have brought in a bunch of Mondrakers before and never gotten hit. Once it shipped it was 3 days. Over on the Pole riders facebook page there are some good answers to shipping questions. I only got a frame, but a complete bike comes in two or three boxes I think.
  • + 6
 No extra taxes or fees getting my machine to Washington state
  • + 3
 Yes, no extra charges for me either when I got my Machine frame in October, just some curiosity from the postman when he dropped off this big box from Finland.
  • + 1
 I rode a machine the other day. No duties
  • + 1
 I had no duties to US. 2 years ago and again last month.
  • + 1
 Got mine last June with no duties.
  • + 2
 Put a couple of threads and caps on the main pivot and you have yourself a nice stash box.
  • + 2
 Even just a couple end plugs.. You can probably find them at metal supermarket
  • + 1
 @frenchfriedfun: computer desk cable hole plugs. Most large hardware or office stores have them in various sizes. I use one in the bottom of my fork steer tube to hold stuff.
  • + 1
 Be interesting to see the joints, anyone have the time to patent search? Not a lot of adhesives out there that are friendly with shearing forces
  • + 2
 Not pretty yet so so pretty.
  • + 1
 Sweet ride! Definitely not the norm.
To me though, it almost seems over-engineered. Like it should be simpler maybe?
  • + 1
 Man, that sure is a pretty bike they got there, would love to swing a leg over one.
  • + 1
 Upper yolk looks like its there to allow rotational movement vs being a sacrificial part.
  • + 1
 No my first choice, but impressive nonetheless.
  • + 1
 I really want one. But with a 160 fork. Frown
  • + 0
 78.6 seatube... lol
  • + 3
 That really makes me sit up straight and listen Smile
  • - 3
 78.6 Seat tube angle, or how to transform a compromise to fit a bigger rear wheel into a selling feature. Marketing bs.
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