Pole Evolink 140 - Review

May 1, 2017
by Paul Aston  



Pole Bicycles are a relatively new brand from Finland, but one that has already caused quite a stir around those 'in the know.' Everybody wants to try one, but they are rare beasts. This is set to change as 2016 models were a sellout, and 2017 production has seen a multi-fold increase in volume due to heavy demand from this direct-to-consumer Scandinavian seller.

I have been riding an Evolink 140 since last June, and over the last few months, the updated 2017 frame. Even though their range of bikes look similar, there are various options of wheel size, travel, and slightly differing geometry numbers for disciplines from cross country racing to downhill. Here we focus on the 140mm travel, 29" wheeled frame only, as this has been my long-term custom build, used as a workhorse for testing various products.


Pole Evolink 140 Review - Frame details
Pole Evolink 140 2017 Details

• Intended use: trail, enduro
• Travel: 140mm
• 29" wheels
• 64° head angle
• 456mm chainstay
• 142mm or 148mm rear hub spacing
• 7005–T6 alloy frame
• Evolink suspension system
• Sizes: XS, S, M, L
• Frame Weight: 3.9kg inc. shock, axle, headset, seatclamp, size Large (actual)
• Price: €2450 frame inc. shock, axle, headset
www.polebicycles.com


Framesets start at €2450 including a RockShox Monarch Plus RT3. Bikes start at €4100 for a RockShox, RaceFace and DT Swiss build. I'm sure I'm missing something here... oh yeah, all Pole bikes are arguably the longest production bikes on the market. I'm still missing something interesting, as anyone can make a tube longer, can't they?... Oh yeah, the Evolink has two freaking bottle cage mounts!


Pole Evolink 140 Review - Frame details


Suspension Design

The alloy frame uses a dual-link design dubbed the Evolink. The solid rear triangle rotates on two short links, one link rotates around the bottom bracket, the other is close by, underneath the seat tube area.


Pole Evolink 140 Review - Frame details
The Evolink is a dual-link design, the lower pivot rotates around the bottom bracket.


The linkage is designed to make the instant center (the actual pivot point) rotate in front of, and approximately around, the bottom bracket. This starts with a medium amount of anti-squat, around 85% depending on sag, which falls away as the suspension moves through its travel. This should give good support when pedaling at the sag point, but doesn't create a lot of pedal kickback deeper into the travel.

The leverage ratio is progressive, but increases at the end of the shock's stroke. This is designed to work in conjunction with the rapid ramp up at the end of an air shock's travel.


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Geometry/Sizing

I have been riding a large-sized frame, which on paper has a 510mm reach, a 64º head angle (with a 150mm travel fork) and a 456mm chainstay. With my 160mm fork, the head angle is closer to 63º, the stated bottom bracket drop is 20mm below the axles, which is 352mm from the floor with my 2.5" Maxxis Minion tires.

It's fantastic to feel like a bike has a really good fit for me in a large size with a short 35mm stem and wide 800mm bar, as I am no giant at 185cm – I know plenty of riders who are a lot taller than me. Unfortunately, there is currently no XL size in the 29" Evolink 140, but other models do carry this extra size.


Pole Evolink 140 Geometry


Pole Evolink 140 Geometry


Details
The Evolink frame uses an interchangeable rear wheel dropout system, to switch between 142 or 148mm hub widths. Simply pull the inserts out from the inside face of the dropouts and insert the correct set. The old fashioned IS160mm (International Standard, remember that...) brake mount is used and 3mm washers are needed here for correct brake spacing on a 142mm hub. The supplied Maxle stays the same for both widths.


Pole Evolink 140 Review - Frame details
142mm or 148mm hubs can be used by simply switching out the inserts.
Pole Evolink 140 Review - Frame details
Cable routing for the dropper post runs close to the shock.


The shock is nestled between a split seat tube, which does create some access issues for an internally-routed dropper post. I ran a Fox Transfer post for the duration of the test and there's not a huge amount of space to fit the actuation cable around the shock. An externally-routed post would be a better solution than my choice. I also found my 150mm drop Transfer was close to being as low as possible inside the seat tube, partly due to the actuation mechanism at the bottom of the post; shorter riders may not be able to run as long dropper post/internal dropper and get the saddle as low as they need.


Pole Evolink 140 Review - Frame details
Frame information, so you can triple check you buy the correct hub size.


A tall, 135mm tapered head tube is supplied with a Cane Creek headset with a 15mm high stack top cap. This could be the second issue for shorter riders and low handlebar lovers, I generally run a fairly high bar (107 cm from the ground) and my stem was usually slammed with one 10mm spacer and a low, 18mm rise bar.


Pole Evolink 140 Review - Frame details
There is internal and external routing on the Pole, including plenty of hardware options and frame plugs for various size cables and setups. I'm not really sure why I wasted so much of my life getting the cables inside the frame, as I prefer keeping things external, but I did. Unfortunately, this leaves a lot of chunky bosses protruding from the frame. You can fit a pair of water bottles on the top and underside of the downtube.


Pole Evolink 140 Review - Frame details
There are masses of tire clearance on the Pole, even with wide rims and 2.5" Maxxis Minions installed.


The frame weighs in at 3.9kgs including shock, Maxle, seatclamp and headset. Certainly not a lightweight, but I have given up on that tosh. It's a mountain bike, so it needs to ride up and down a mountain, not reach a magical number on the scale in my bathroom. The current build (pictured) is 100% carbon-fiber free and everything has been hand-picked to take a beating. When I say hand-picked, I mean it has survived more than a few weeks before needing replacement. Coil shocks, downhill tires, ProCore rear, Huck Norris front, plenty of sealant, big brakes, big wheels and flat pedals means she weighs in around 37lbs. But that hasn't held me back from 80km pedals with 9000ft feet of upwards. With an average trail bike build, it should be easy to get close to the 30lb mark.


Pole Evolink 140 Review - Frame details
Put big heavy stuff on and go ride your f*%*ing bike, instead of replacing broken parts.



Three Questions with Leo Kokkonen, Pole Bicycles Designer, and CEO.

How did you decide upon the geometry numbers for this bike? It would appear to be very extreme to most riders checking the charts.



By experimenting. We started from an insight that the existing trail bikes are too dangerous to ride because of the small wheelbase. We made an enduro mule from my old K9 DH bike to experiment with the angles and after that, we knew right away that we should push the geometry even further. We ended up with Evolink's geometry and kinematics by testing with stopwatches.


Most people think that this modern/extreme geometry is only for expert-level riders. How do you think it works for the average rider?



My mom, mother-in-law and father-in-law (~65yrs) all ride Evolinks. They love the bike because of the upright riding posture. Other than that, it's easier for beginners to ride Evolink as it is safer to ride a longer wheelbase. You can gain speed easier and everyone knows that it's more fun if you ride more fluidly.


The suspension kinematic doesn’t pedal as well as other bikes, in terms of the anti-squat neutralizing suspension movement on a smooth surface. Does this translate to better performance off road?



I think that the anti-squat and the suspension dynamics are connected to each other. The anti-squat creates pedal kickback and that restricts the suspension's movement as it supposed to be because of the anti-squat. The Evolink's progressive leverage ratio gives the rider more support from the suspension, so at that point there is no need for overdesigned mechanical anti-squat. We found a balance between these two. Also, the anti-squat creates stress to the frame. The more you have anti-squat, the more it stresses the frame as the chain becomes another link that is actually moving on a different path than the rear wheel. Because of the mechanical anti-squat the chain pulls the chainstay to the drive side when the wheel travels through the travel (and the rider weight is on the pedals) and if the chainstays are super stiff, anti-squat wears out the drivetrain more easily.

The advantages on Evolink is that we have a very supportive and active suspension. The anti-squat and the suspension work together and I don't hardly ever touch the climb switch even when I ride my local flat woods. There is enough anti-squat on the sag point. The anti-squat on the Evolink is reducing towards the end of the stroke where you hardly ever pedal. This is why there is not much pedal kickback and this gives a smoother ride. All together: geometry, anti-squat and the suspension are linked together. If you look at only the one number, you will get a wrong idea of the bike. I think people have gotten used to look at one number because most of the bikes are very similar compared to each other. This is why it might be difficult to understand our new-school bikes.








Climbing

This bike (along with the Nicolai GeoMetron) can heavy-handedly hammer the final nails into the coffin about head angle and stem length being the dictators of climbing prowess. Even when I had an angle set installed and the degree was hovering around 62º with a 35mm stem, I can, and did, climb everything better and more easily than any other bikes. The super steep seat tube angle combined with a long chainstay made my life much easier with a more upright position and when things inclined, much less body English is needed and less energy exerted trying to keep the front wheel on the ground. The slack head angle also seems to allow the front wheel to roll over trail obstacles more easily even when climbing.

The steep seat angle does cause a problem of longing for more dropper post travel. The steeper seat angle means that your legs don't extend as far as the seat rises, meaning that the overall riding height is higher, and the full 150mm drop feels less than with a slacker seat angle.

For reference, the centre of my seat post clamp at full height (725mm from bottom bracket centre) was 150mm behind the bottom bracket in a horizontal plane. This gave me an actual seat angle of approx. 78º.

I still ran the saddle extremely far forward on the rails, as I feel it gives an even better climbing position – "once you go steep, you never go back" – I think that's the old adage. Contrary to popular belief, slamming the seat forwards on the rails has no relation to the extra long top tube. Some riders think that a slammed forward seat is to get the rider closer to the handlebars on a long reach bike, but this is not the case. The distance from the handlebar centre to seat post centre is 685mm and feels easily comfortable for me, and less than that of many shorter bikes with steeper head angles, slacker seat angles, and longer stems.

The Evolink pedals OK when the suspension is unlocked on smooth ground, but will bob more than most bikes, this is offset when pedalling through rough stuff as the rear wheel moves easily over obstacles under power. The steeper seat angle leads to less suspension bob when pedalling seated, due to the angle of the 'seat tube lever' having less effect on the suspension. When standing, the long front centre moves body weight more towards the front of the bike, this also results in less sagging and bobbing here too.


Pole Evolink 140 Review - seated climbing
A steep seat angle and long chainstay is the key to a superb climbing bike.
Pole Evolink 140 Review - standing climbing
A long front centre gives plenty of room and straight spine when standing and on the pedals.


Trail

Manualing this bike isn't easy. Who would have expected that? However, I can pop the front wheel with no problem long enough to get over any trail obstacles. For performing super long manuals, getting such a beast up, and on to the balance point takes some muscle and exaggeration, but when it's up there it keeps going no problem. Albeit it does look a little strange when your front wheel is four meters off the ground.


Pole Evolink 140 Review - riding


The whopping 1314mm wheelbase makes fore-aft weight changes much less sensitive than on a small bike. Some people might think that this makes for a boring or sluggish bike. I think the opposite. When you have masses of stability, this allows the rider to be super aggressive and less precise when weighting either wheel in different situations. It also allows more aggressive manoeuvres with ease and confidence, like cutting up onto a high line, getting an inside line or sending a jump. I also have a level of riding accuracy at speed on the Evolink that I struggle to match with any other bike.


Descending

The capability of this bike has led me to a downhill orientated build. The shape allows excessive speeds and rarely a reason to brake, but is limited by the short 140mm travel, this has led to plenty of over-excitement and a pile of lightweight rims and tires that couldn't handle the pace. This was finally 'solved' (I am going to regret saying this) by Maxxis Minion DHF downhill casing tires, combined with Schwalbe ProCore rear and Huck Norris in the front.

Cornering? Surely such a big bike can't go around corners? Think again. Yes, super tight switchbacks that need trials skills to turn aren't so easy, but on anything that can be ridden around with both wheels on the ground, the Evolink storms through. Aim the front wheel into the turn, lean in, experience oodles of grip, stability, and balance. Exit fast.


Pole Evolink 140 Review - descending
A straight line through your shoulders, hands, forks and front axle gives great stability for descending.


If anything to Evolink is too stable. Its constant desire to truck through the worst situation in a straight plane means it can be quite hard to keep it leaned into cambers and stay on track in long, flat corners. It also slows down direction changes between consecutive corners. This is a combination of the angles, huge gyroscopic motion of the heavy tire combinations, and the bottom bracket drop between the axles. Dare I say it, the bottom bracket might benefit from the same drop below the axles as a 27.5" bike, instead of the same measurement from the floor – blasphemy!


Pole Evolink 140 Review - riding


Thoughts

Geometry: I'm convinced by these forward geometry bikes like the Pole, GeoMetron, and Mondraker. If it was up to me, I would never choose anything else again. In fact, considering riding other bikes kind of upsets me before I have to mount them. Many are not convinced, and I think can be because if you are habituated to something very different, these machines are alien at first, but having had the opportunity over the last few years to really get some time on them, and back to back with other 'normal' bikes I can only find advantages and benefits.

But what about beginners? "It's easy for you, Paul, you have expert-level skills, and that is why you have the ability to ride such a bike," is touted from the naysayers. My argument is this – if I can ride a certain trail on this bike with ease, but be scared on the same trail with a 'normal' bike and struggle my way down, what is going to happen to a rider off lesser ability? Huge stability up and down the hill is going to be better for any riders. On the Evolink, it's easier to climb, easier to predict, and there is little chance of going over the handlebars. I haven't been close to an OTB on this bike, but how many riders do you see after their first bike ride on a beginner bike with a long stem, short frame, and steep head angle – with a broken wrist or collarbone.

Playing catch-up. Big brands are slower to move, for a number of reasons, but we have already seen nearly all brands moving incrementally towards Pole-style shapes. I predict in five years, the Poles and GeoMetrons will be nothing out of the ordinary. I'll bet you fifty quid.

Isn't a 510mm reach ridiculous? On paper, it might seem that way, but short stems and wide bars have a big impact on this. Now I know reach isn't everything, but let's consider this: My 2014 Specialized Enduro 29 in XL size came with a 90mm stem (which was swapped out before the first ride), which the designers must have decided gives the correct cockpit size for an XL rider. Combine the 465mm reach of that bike and the stem, 465 + 90 = 555mm. This Pole has a 510mm reach with a 35mm stem, 510 + 35 = 545mm. The other thing to consider here is that a wider handlebar moves the rider closer towards the front of the bike, making it feel shorter, and everybody likes a wider bar and a shorter stem than they did five years ago – if their frame is five years old, though, but they have gone wider/shorter, their bike is now likely to be too small.

Isn't a really slack head angle ridiculous? Not really. Motocross bikes have head angles around 63º. MX bikes are designed to be ridden on a level course. Riding with acceleration power the rear suspension will sag, the front of the bike will lift and give an even slacker dynamic head angle. For me, anything that starts to head downwards is the fun part of mountain biking, which will move body weight towards the front of the bike and steepen the HA. So we could say a mountain bike should have a slacker head angle than an MX bike? Mountain bikes are still working their way out of a hole that was dug by road biking predecessors.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe Pole is the first bike to take extremely modern geometry numbers to mass production. If you want to have a safe and easy ride on challenging terrain or go faster than all your buddies, this is your choice. Paul Aston








About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 31 • Height: 6'1” • Ape Index: +4" • Weight: 75kg • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None • Instagram: astonator
Paul Aston is a racer and dirt-jumper at heart. Previously adding to the list of non-qualifiers at World Cup DH events, now he attacked enduro before it was fashionable. Based in the UK, but often found residing between mainland Europe and New Zealand allows him to experience a huge variety of terrains and trails.



275 Comments

  • + 74
 That bike looks good. Good to see some people understood that the only way to make a good 29er is to make it long and slack. Maybe the bike industry will understand why nobody wanted their 29er few years ago, when the trend was to longer and slacker 26er and 27.5er, they were like "hey lets take the geometry from a 26" bike from 2008, make it even steeper, add 29 wheels, keep the same wheelbase/ reach and sell it like the next big thing"
  • + 12
 Exactly! I've owned a 29er like 5 years ago. The geometry was so off that as soon as it gets a little steep, I was scratching my ass on the rear wheel to avoid going OTB. Sold it after a year and got in 27,5 (wich I think the geometry is still off a bit). Anyway, being a tall dude, the next bike will probably be a 150mm 29er with long and slack geometry. They really are the ''do it all'' next gen stuff. That bike is also very easy on the eyes... kudos to the designers
  • + 79
 I believe the only way to make a good 29'er is to make the tires out of sausage. Does this particular bike allow for sausage tires? Chorizo works well in the wet and if you are looking for speed i would suggest something with a more firm durometet such as Landjaeger. Summer sausage works very well as an all-round compound.
  • + 21
 @IamTheDogEzra: do you have cooked/uncooked numbers?
  • + 94
 I think a lot of bros here are secretly curious about riding the Pole.
  • + 14
 Til now I'd never sausage a nice bike. I'd consider riding the pole.
  • + 3
 @michaelhowie: I have been finding success with 71*C this winter running the Chorizo tire. The summer sausage i tend to run cooler as it is hot out when i am riding that tire and i enjoy eating it fresh off the tread.
  • + 7
 I agree on this for hardcore enduro type riding but If you've ridden something like the Evil The Following or similar you will realize why a short WB on a 29ers makes sense for trail riding. Once you get above 46.5" WB steering gets painfully slow and you have to plan ahead of your turns. Not sure where the tester rode but I would like to see the EVO link up against an Ibis Ripley LS or an Evil The Following in a tight and fast technical environment. Looks like a fun bike for thrashing and bashing steep stuff.
  • + 5
 @IamTheDogEzra: Start a passionate disucssion about bike geometry, no doubt will result in a sausage-fest.
  • + 3
 @kpickrell: I have mentioned in other threads that i am not good at puns as i am a dog and we are very literal creatures. but i appreciate your zeal and enthusiasm for sausage.
  • + 13
 "Put big heavy stuff on and go ride your f*%*ing bike, instead of replacing broken parts." THIS!
  • - 2
 @kubaner: (☞゚ヮ゚)☞
  • + 3
 @dirtdiggler: Just bought a Pole Evolink 140 and everything that your saying is coming from what you "think" it would be from numbers on a page or other dis-similar bikes. The Pole bikes are the most comfortable climbing and stable & maneuverable descenders I've ever ridden. The additional wheelbase (usually 4-5 inches) is a non-factor in turning and switchbacks once you get comfortable on the bike. It's the "Prince Racquet" of tennis... too big, like a fly swatter, not maneuverable enough... all proved wrong once people were trying them. 2 years later every pro was playing an oversize racquet. That's what Pole is bringing to mtb. It's quite simply the future. Ride one.
  • + 47
 What? A super long and slack bike that rips? But the other companies have always told me that short chain stays are the best! WHAT IS HAPPENING?! Pole clearly doesn't herd sheep.

Get stoked Digby!!
  • + 14
 I like my really short chainstays on my Honzo. Longest bike I've ever had, very stable, but with the shorter stays I can get the front wheel up easily even with the long reach, which I like when coming off jumps or steep logovers etc.
  • + 8
 @JesseE: Yeah but the longer the front centre without increasing the rear centre equals rearward weight bias and low front grip.

Not so applicable on a hardtail as they're a mess anyway but.
  • + 5
 @jclnv: If you increase the front without increasing the rear wouldn't that put the bias even further forward? I wheelie less going up on my honzo than any other bike I've had. Geo isn't static on a hardtail, but I wouldn't call it a mess, unless maybe a hot mess cause it's so fun.
  • + 23
 The best geometry depends on what you want to do with the bike. Short chainstay lengths on a trailbike contribute to a fun, snappy ride. If you are out to crush KOMs on the same trails, then longer chainstays on a similar bike may be preferable for you.
  • + 8
 @PullMyBrakeLever: I can totally get behind this statement.
  • + 1
 @JesseE: No, rider weight goes through the BB.
  • + 3
 @jclnv: Usually, but not always. You can shift your weight forward to find more grip on that end. When you brake that happens automatically.
  • + 1
 @kanioni: How much weight/force do you think you're putting through the bars? I can tell you it's jack shit relative to your body weight.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: I think on climbs and descents your weight goes through different ratios between your hands & feet. On a steep descent your feet lose a lot of the weight, hence going over the bars on occasion, whereas going up it's all in the back, which is why I dig a short back with a long front so more of my weight is put in-front of the bb, keeping the front wheel down. That's my take on it, anyway. Can an expert chime in??
  • + 7
 @JesseE: I can say that the most efficient way of riding is by moving only up and down on the bike. If you look at the best riders, their body movements are up and down and the hands are mainly moving the bike around. The amount of weight that's going through handlebars is far less than from BB though. I find longer geometry bikes easier to ride because you can just push the bike with your feet and you don't need to think about loading the front end. Also you don't need to put your body to positions that aren't natural. It's easier to just give the fork few clicks more compression or 5psi of air pressure to get more grip.
  • + 3
 @polebicycles: What about tight switchback climbs? They are the main reason why I wouldn't want an even longer bike than my honzo, it just becomes too much wheelbase to manage in tight spots with virtually no speed. I'm not sure it's possible to manage these scenarios without "body english" but then, I've only ridden relatively tradition mtbs. I'd love to try your bike, it sounds very interesting, particularly going down. Are you on board with Jones' frame philosophy?
  • + 1
 @JesseE: Tight switchback climbs are not a problem on these bikes. You just have to chose your line in advance. Plus the insane amount of traction of these bikes will only help you.
  • + 39
 To be honest the bike doesn't look all that big under Paul, it seems to be the right size for a tall rider.

If we look at the industry, anybody over 6foot is not really catered for that well, even in XL sizes.

I ride a Large in my current frame at 5"8, I would ride a small Pole to get the same reach or a medium to be longer but at my height I think I should be between a small / medium, certainly not a medium / large.
  • - 29
flag RoverDover (May 1, 2017 at 4:01) (Below Threshold)
 I am 6'2" with freaky long arms. I rides 75-110 mm stems on all my bikes (XLs and XXLs). Keep in mind that stem length is proportional to frame size. Just because short people like short stems doesnt mean I have to. If i had to ride a bike with a 40mm stem like all the hipster kids do my front center woul be stupid long.
  • + 1
 @RoverDover: I'd say stem length is proportional to the fork. Not sure what that dimension is called, fork offset? The distance between steerer tube axis and wheel axis. I'd say if you want the same behaviour and run the same fork, you'll want the same stem length regardless of frame size. A handlebar or stem with less (or negative) rise might help make the bike feel longer if that's what you need. But yeah, whatever floats your boat of course. Downside of lowering the grips (through lower stack, fewer spacers, flipped stem or less rise) is that it might feel even harder to manual.
  • + 8
 @vinay: "I'd say stem length is proportional to the fork. Not sure what that dimension is called, fork offset?"

You should look at where your grips are which determines your offset from the steering tube. If you have fe.12° sweep on your handlebars and 35mm stem your hands will be on the negative side of the steering tube. This offset of the fork does not determine the stem length in any case IMO. All is about the weight balance of the bike and ergonomics of your body. For example I take 5mm stack spacer off if I'm running on a fairly flat trail. I'll rise the handlebars 5mm if I'm going steeper trails. I do this to balance the grip to the front end. I compensate the change by 5psi air pressure change depending the track.
  • + 3
 @polebicycles: Oh yeah, I absolutely agree that the position of the grips with respect to the steerer is what it is about, more than stem and handlebar geometry isolated. But wouldn't fork rake (I think that's the word, but I could be wrong) matter as well? That is, if the distance between steerer axis and wheel axis is longer you may want to have the grips more ahead of the steerer as well? I somehow think that it'd be awkward having the line between my hands nearer to the steerer axis than the distance between wheel axis and steerer axis. I think this distance is about the same on my mountainbikes, like 40mm or so. But I admit this whole geometry thing is a can of worms for me. I more or less know in what direction I want to change something when I ride a bike, but I'm nowhere near as systematic as you are.
  • + 6
 @vinay: The rake (offset) controls the trail of the bike. This has little to do with where your hands are compared to the front axle. The more offset you give your grips form the steering tube, the less "rotating" is the movement that you are doing when you turn the handlebars. You can test this with your car wheel. Hold the wheel with your hands at 10 and 2 o'clock first and next 9 and 3 o'clock positions for example and turn the wheel. After that imagine having 780mm diameter wheel and do the same. Try to imagine same to your bike and think that you need to lean on the curves as well. I hope that you'll get the picture Smile
  • + 3
 That 510 reach is pretty massive......I'm 6,2 with an ape index of +2". Thing is the ape index isn't a great indicator as it includes shoulder width (mine are very wide) and I know my arms aren't that long (real reach on a bike). This as ŵell as my body being on the short side relative to leg length, is probably why I find a 480mm reach and a 40mm stem pretty long.

What does stick out vs the other XL size 29ers is that the Pole have kept the seat tube length sensible (480mm) and the stack a decent height (low stacks are another fashionable obsession like short chainstays that aren't proportionate). To put it into context the seat tubes are 523mm on a Spec Enduro, 522mm on a Slash, 520mm Jeffsy. Whys it important?....because you can't get long and low if the seat is whacking your jewels!

The BB isn't that low (same as Slash/Enduro) but a slightly higher level would improve the pop and make manuals a bit easier.

I find the longer CS helps....the 450mm on my mega is a godsend when your climbing , want some F/R balance for moving around or are hitting reallly high speeds of 50 kmh+
  • + 2
 @polebicycles: Just like with the people from Unno and Robotbike.co, I appreciate you take the time to chat. But I'm much more out of my depth discussing geometry than talking about production technologies. And of course indeed, having just text to communicate instead of having somewhere to scribble can be limiting. I get what you're saying though. Apparently my ideal of kind of having the line between my hands right above the axle (when looking in line with the steerer) doesn't make much sense and should be looked at separately. Either way, I like my stem around 40mm and my bars around 800mm. I do also understand your analogy with the car wheel but I'm not sure if it relates to the way I ride my bike. Unless I'm riding tight turns really slow, it doesn't quite feel like I'm trying to rotate my bars. It is more like I'm using the bars to tilt the bike (and the bike turns as a consequence of that) so that's what I'm using the leverage of these long bars for. Of course the steerer needs to turn but I feel that's more to maintain/restore balance. That is, if you lock my headset I'd probably just fall over Wink . But then again I must admit my idea of geometry is mostly based on my perception. When riding at speed I can't really look down to see what my handlebar is doing!
  • + 1
 @Travel66: Maybe then have a look at their Evolink 150 which can be built up with 29ers too and then becomes a slightly higher BB!

Plus you get it in slighty larger XL but think L would be enough for you!
  • + 2
 @Racer951 Indeed it looks much smaller than say a Nicolai Ion-G13 in XL/XXL due to the declining top tube.

I'm 6"6 and cant ride much else than those long geometries and i'm glad there are more and more bicycle makers (Rocky's new Altitude has a Reach of 490 in XL, Cannondale new Jekyll even got 495) that recognize that the 'conventional old school' geometry is just too short for taller riders and too short for lets say high speed downhills like in EWS!
  • + 3
 @EnduroRider1986: If you're getting custom geometry like a Starling Swoop you can also get your reach up to 510mm.
  • + 6
 @Travel66: I'm in a similar situation. 6'1, 35.5" inseam, 0 ape index with average shoulders. Lots of leg, not much torso.

I ride a Scalpel now. Reach is 436, stack is 612, and chainstay is 444. I've added 3cm of additional stack with a 70 stem and the seat is pushed forward in the rails. This fits. I tried a Yeti SB4.5 with 465 reach and it felt like the front end was in another ZIP code.

What's interesting to me about this bike is the seat tube angle. In theory, with a flat seat, you should have one optimal pedaling position relative to the bottom bracket, and by implication, one optimal seat tube angle. If the bike is wrong, you compensate by shifting the saddle within the rails.

With this bike, not only is the seat tube angle much more vertical, the author has also pushed the seat even further forward. But if you look, it's not flat; he's tilted it forward 2 degrees, so he's effectively rotating his entire body clockwise around the bottom bracket. That shifts his weight forward, opens his hip angle, lowers the effective reach, and puts him in a more effective position to generate power on the uphills. On a seated downhill, that position would be terrifying, but of course we all stand.

It seems to me the argument for this bike isn't the reach itself, it's that the reach provides enough room for this rotated, efficient body position, without sacrificing the downhill performance that's a byproduct of the slack head angle.

The counterargument is that a downward seat angle won't feel right spinning on flat ground, and if the seat is set flat, you're either sacrificing your optimal pedaling position (by having the seat too far forward) or dealing with a very elongated front end (with the seat pushed backwards).

Or so it appears. I want to ride one. It's hard to watch long and slack from the sidelines with the assumption that those of us with odd proportions just don't fit.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Yes i've also considered the Murmur from Starling! Pole, Starling and Nicolai are all the same price class i would assume!
  • + 40
 Cue the strange looks when people ask what you ride and you say you ride a pole...
  • + 37
 "Mountain bikes are still working their way out of a hole that was dug by road biking predecessors."

Great quote that sheds a lot of light on our current mountain bike geometry paradigm.
  • + 3
 Indeed.
  • + 5
 If the mountain bike had evolved from the repack cruiser independent of road bike influence, we would have had this type of geometry 20 years ago.
  • + 37
 It would be funny if there was a bike company called Fin and they were from Poland
  • + 12
 Right spelling is "Finn" for a Finnish person. Pole is Finnish dialogue and it means "Pedal!" Example: www.instagram.com/p/BFbp9xAune8

Did you know that you need to be Finnish first to finish first? Wink
  • + 23
 Great review! I fricking love mine, I've the €4100 build with a few upgrades and use it for everything. for strava folk, it's a PR machine. I'm moving to whistler next month with it... can't wait to upset the #26aintdead people riding bike park on it haha. Follow the craic on Instagram/YouTube PeterTistaken
  • + 1
 you're a legend haha
  • + 22
 Love the bikes would love to try them but please Leo, tone it down with things like "trail bikes with short wheel bases are dangerous" - that's bullshit. I wish to reserve bullshit broadcast for big companies Wink
  • + 21
 Good bike for Waki, he likes to ride poles!
  • + 7
 it's not an e-pole. I'm sure he prefers the electric Pole
  • + 8
 rumour has it he took a big pole straight up his carbon jack..
  • + 5
 @Earthmotherfu: it's definitely true now it's on the internet
  • + 16
 You bet all of us 50 quid that in five years from now this type of geometry will be common? How many views is this page getting? That's serious confidence. Then again I hope you're right and you'll be a rich man. But I won't join, sorry. I won't pay if you win and you don't owe me anything if you lose Smile .
  • + 15
 I have to admit that while ultra long front center bikes with slack head angles may make some riders faster, I would argue that it is completely dependent on rider proportions and trail conditions. I look at these pictures of Paul on the Pole and see that it fits him quite well. However he has 2" longer arms than I do (Ape index = 0") so this bike would feel like a ridiculous reach to the bars for me instead of the "nice upright riding position" that he so enjoyed. I am already upsized on an XL frame and I think that the benefits are certainly there for particular conditions, but the whole industry going to numbers like this is a foolish notion. Variety is the spice of life and many riders don't want/need bikes with such extreme geometry numbers. Having bikes like the Pole, Nicolai and Mondraker available is a great thing for riders who have a specific sizing need that isn't provided with modern bikes, but I don't for a second think that it is better for everyone. The point and shoot riding style for one thing is an individual preference. Sure I could buy a long travel 29'er monster truck of a bike and plow over trail obstacles, but I could also be on a nimble trail bike bobbing and weaving searching for the "smooth line" and having a boat load of fun doing it. The bike industry and its associated media needs to refrain from blanket statements regarding bike geometry and wheel size as they just serve to push everyone toward the same corner and don't do a good job of seeking out and filling the needs of individual riders.
  • + 7
 This...It worries me with the trend towards these mega long bikes because not all of us are out to set KOM's or win the local enduro race. I love the quick feeling of a short wheelbased low center of gravity bike, you can bob and weave through corners and pop off everything in sight vs these long wheel based long travel bikes that just plow through everything. For tall guys I get it if they want a long bike they need the extra long wheel base and reach but if your under 6' just get an XL bike and put a short stem on it...magic. You have your long reach, long wheelbase. Then again I guess I could just get a small on these long reach bikes
  • + 4
 @ihatetomatoes: nothin to worry about really , I will end up gettin XS or S bikes in five years with 460 reach ...
  • + 5
 @ihatetomatoes: There isn't a shortage of good short flickable bikes, if that's what you want.
The problem with sizing up is that very quickly the seat tube becomes too long and running adequate dropper post length (and maintaining prospects of progeny) gets hard.
I'm 6'2" +3 ape index, on an XXL sized bike, and even with big femurs I'm having to run a 150mm dropper slammed - but I do have a bike that finally is in the range of fitting appropriately as a fun trail bike, and capable of setting KOMs when I'm on my game
  • + 14
 As an alternative option, especially for us Brits, Bird bikes (www.bird.bike) make excellent bikes - long reach, low standover, supremely balanced, absolutely rip, and fantastic value for money with a fully customisable build. Love my Aeris one20 (and my dad's one45)
  • + 7
 Had to go and revisit the Bird site and check the geo - you're right! The geometry does look cool. I could actually ride a small instead of the medium size bikes I've been forced to use. Well priced, external cables...brilliant. Much better than the older ones I'd looked at a while back. Thanks for pointing them out!
  • + 9
 Totally agree, I was going to comment the same! I got a custom build Aeris 145 last week (coming from a conservative geo Canyon 29er), and size L at 6ft1 with a 40mm stem felt like an absolutely perfect fit from day 1 - as it should! Such a sick bike, not quite as crazy as the Pole but it is so fast and stable, but can still whip around tight corners.

Can't recommend it enough, and that's not even getting started on having the custom build and really good customer service.... PB please get one in for review! www.bird.bike/aeris-145
  • + 3
 Agreed, I'm 6'6" and have been riding the slightly older Mk1.5 Aeris in XL for the last year and loving it. One of the few companies who actually get their bike sizing right for taller riders. Running a 160mm fork up front makes it an absolute beast on the descents.
  • + 3
 @ThomDawson: they have a demo centre at Cwncarn now....they look sweet
  • + 1
 @JoeRSB: No 29er tho
  • + 13
 " The current build (pictured) is 100% carbon-fiber free and everything has been hand-picked to take a beating. When I say hand-picked, I mean it has survived more than a few weeks before needing replacement. "

Survived more than a few weeks? Awesome.
  • + 17
 How about a Pinkbike poll on the Pole, Paul.
  • + 12
 This bike is f*cking fast. Especially on rough ground and slighly milder declines its ability to carry speed is incredible. I'm currently riding a Nomad3, but after riding with a friend in Malaga who had Evolink 140, I'm thinking I'm giving shitload advantage to Evolink 140 riders on local enduro competitions. I also like how the Pole makes 29" wheels look perfectly normal. Been kinda waiting for a long travel enduro 29er similar to this from Santa Cruz, but seems like boutique and big brands don't really innovate anymore, just make small iterations every product cycle. Even the V1029 came to life due to push from Minnaar, otherwise nothing would have happened.
  • + 1
 Have you switched to a Pole?
  • + 11
 Just some things Paul is not telling you here about this bike....
1. Stuff holding a couple of weeks - well AFAIK he went through a pair of lightweight alu rims within the 1 week Trans Rezia Race even though he used ProCore (front and back) and Minions 2.5 DH version. ProCore was the main reason the rims still woked tubeless.
2. Paul thought the Fox 36 29er is too flexy for the Pole. He thought about switching it for the Pedelec Fox 36 version that is stiffer. Of course that was running -2° Angleset too. Wheelbase was then around 135cm... Bikeracks are not really built for that long bikes....

Pauls Evo 140 - built up pre race (missing the top bottle and some food - Paul was the sole racer without backpack, fixing all his junk to the bike reaching about 18kg...): fotos.mtb-news.de/p/2054000

His huge pedals are not well pictured: fotos.mtb-news.de/p/2054002?page=2&in=set
on this pic Pauls bike seems shorter than it is. Because instead of hanging on the hook, it was standing on the floor and exceeding too at the hook

(been waiting a long time for this review - and now waiting for the review of the Öhlins 29er - IMHO the best 29er fork (even beating out Lyrik/Fox 36 upgraded with AWK dual air chamber)
  • + 3
 Greg Minaar mentioned that as headtube angles get slacker than 63 degrees you start getting too much flex- maybe Paul is finding the same thing and blaming the fork
  • + 2
 Appreciate you bringing up the issue of bike rack fitment. I bet some like Recon Racks will work if you have a tall utility vehicle (or go with the tried-and-true over-the-tailgate approach, but if you have trays that are parallel to the ground, I think some modification will be required! I don't know how Euros transport bikes - maybe Paul Aston has a different method.
Also, I didn't know there was a beefier 36 for e-bikes. TIL!
  • + 3
 @sngltrkmnd, @sngltrkmnd
yeah - the pedelec 36 is not well known. It's 200g heavier - more overlap and some other tweaks for stiffening it up. Wonder why Paul took out the -2° Angleset. Maybe it was mainly simply all forks being too flexy? Shouldn't be too hard for him to have Fox send him a pedelec 36 over - if he promises a review in case it helps...

I know my old 66 RC3 Evo Ti with 38mm stanchions still worked pretty well at 63° - a Pike was rubbish at 63° and kinda got sticky through it's travel (mind though 29er 160mm Pike - I'm sure run as 130mm it would be another story with much more overlap).
I guess for angles 64° you simply need a DH fork, or some really beefy fork like the old 38mm 66 Zocchis. The new "lightweight" 180mm forks like 36, Pike, Lyrik and Co simply are not stiff enough for long reach, high speed and say a 62 or 63° HA - even for lighter riders.
  • + 4
 @extremecarver: What bike did you have that had a 63 degree HTA that was a 29er?

Also, the old Totem was stiff enough to have any HTA you wanted!
  • + 3
 @extremecarver

Intresting facts!

I've checked the stiffness data of the leading enduro forks in the current issue of german BIKE Magazine (who got excellent testing rigs) and the RXF36 is only marginally stiffer than an 36! But a Lyrik is a whole lot stiffer (under braking and torsional!

I'm not convinced about the Öhlins. I think its damping is perfect for racing but not for everyday riding cause its very harsh at the beginning of the suspension rate! Rode it in an 29er Specialized SJ SWorks beeing set up by an Öhlins technician at an Specialized event.

I've been waiting for this review too after the videos from Bike Radar and Co which were not completely meaningful!

Would rather choose some rigid Hope wheels than any lightweight ones!
  • + 3
 @hamncheez:
had the trailfox 29er with 160mm Pike, and -2° angleset and Minion 2.5DHF up front vs 2.35 Michelin in the back - so ended up somewhere around 63.5° and that already was clearly too much for the Pike.. 63° was on my old 6 Point with -2° Angleset and Zocchi 66. And yeah - Totem was also plenty stiff (was even heavier than 66 anyhow).
I exchanged the -2° Angleset for a 5mm reach headset (also external lower cup) and the Pike clearly works smoother again.
  • + 2
 @EnduroRider1986:
Rode the RXF 36 in the new Enduro 29er in Lenzerheide at the test event - and loved it once setup properly. Since when is the stumpy outfitted with the RXF 36? The 34 has all different airchamber so not comparable. With about 2.2 times the air pressure in the secondary air chamber I simply loved the 36. (printed values on the fork were absolute bogus though - guess they were still from the 34). Kinda like a better Pike with AWK.

I'm pretty light - so maybe for me the only thing that matters is sufficient overlap agains stiction? Don't need super stiff forks - but hate if I feel they start not working well on low HA. I have a Fox 40 in my DHer - and would love it to be flexier (well wheels are some super stiff Spank Stiffy Evo Alo with 35mm internal too).


Only fork I really disliked the flex was the old Fox 34 - but maybe it was more blowing through the travel and the creaking that freaked me out on that one.
  • + 1
 @EnduroRider1986: do you have a link to that article?
  • + 1
 I'm just waiting for the Fox 38 to come out next year
  • + 11
 When some random dude you meet in the parking lot after a ride starts talking to you about he bought an XXXL bike and his next bike "will have not less than 523mm of reach" think back to this article because this is where all his BS will be repeated from.

"funny you asked me about tight turns... switchbacks are actually easier because the extra 98mm inlength lets me use the most of my skill"
  • + 3
 Try the bike and then make up your mind. I got one and it is 115mm longer than my previous bike but faster, safer and more stable EVERYWHERE!
  • + 12
 "We started from an insight that the existing trail bikes are too dangerous to ride because of the small wheelbase."

Maybe a *bit* of an exaggeration, right? I mean, EWS riders seem to be surviving...
  • + 9
 Paul Aston would ride a limousine if he could find one. I'm having trouble taking a Paul Aston review seriously when all he ever reviews is small production boutique bikes longer than your average Harley Davidson. I'd love to see what another reviewer thinks of this crazy geometry, of course paul is gonna like it.
  • + 1
 If it helps, I know the guide who operates in the mountains around here (southern Spain), and he has had one a while now. His words..."Game changer". Granted, he said the bearings wore out pretty darn quick. But he loved the performance.
  • + 1
 @carlitouk: yes, the bearings will be weak part of that set up.
  • + 5
 www.mbr.co.uk/news/size-matters-why-were-all-riding-bikes-that-are-too-small-321374
Three part write up explains everything in an easy to understand formate. After making my own long top tube/bike short stem/slack set up I can honestly say it's a game changer, its fast and comfortable in every area of riding
  • + 3
 check Seb Scotts review on Bike Radar. He also loves it.
  • + 2
 @ilikeallwheelsizes: my bad. He does great reviews.
  • + 8
 Looks cool, my main issue is it wouldn't fit in my car Smile I ride a jeffsy 29 in L, something halfway in terms of geometry between my bike and pole is hopefully what big brands will propose soon. I think we can expect a flood of agro 29ers once the syndicate some results...
  • + 22
 It will fit, the frame is fold-able. Check their website.
  • + 13
 Yes, i am also surprised of no mention of folding feature of the bike. Its genius
  • + 11
 Does PB ever say anything bad about any bike?
  • + 1
 They weren't big fans of Diamondback's new bike with VPP
  • + 9
 Despite the frame being so long, it looks a great fit for Paul on those climbing/descending pictures. It doesn't seem so long now...
  • + 6
 Being 178cm in height my first trail bike was a medium Stumpjumper in 2011 followed by a large 2013 Stumpjumper and way less OTB crashes (both had 70mm stems). After riding a mates large yeti sb6 and then buying one myself I am definitely a believer that super short chainstays are not the way to go and long wheelbase is way better (40mm stem). I climb way better than ever and descend far far better. This has massively improved my riding all round. I can relate to pretty much everything Paul was saying here about with longer bikes.Any new rider will be far safer on a newer longer geometry in my opinion.
  • + 0
 Should have tried a 2013 Stumpy 29. Thing was a weapon even with the 68 degree head angle.
  • + 2
 My almost 12yo graduated from a 24" hardtail to a hand-me-down 2004 Specialized XC bike. Small frame (15" seat tube) - reasonable fit, lots better for him (those 26" wheels are monster truck spec for someone his size...). That was supposed to last a while, but didn't (proprietary rear shock crapped the bed) - so I found him a 2009 Stumpy. Still 26" wheels, and definitely not a super modern geometry - but it's a medium. And while the longer seat tube is a bit awkward (he's all of 4'10" - so he as about 2" of room to drop his seat from the climbing position...), damn if that thing doesn't look pretty reasonable on him. He's a little stretched out, but it's really working for him in terms of fore-aft balance. I can imagine that for you at 178cm, a medium Stumpy would have been cramped by modern standards. Funny thing, though - look at all those pictures of riders from those days, and compare to today; maybe it's just bias looking at it from today's perspective, but man, they all look really cramped on their bikes, with the tiny reach and narrow bars.
  • + 7
 this bike is amazing, super fast and stable, no problem getting around tight corners. I am now being held up by riders I couldn't catch before. i'm 5ft 10in and the large fits me perfectly
  • + 1
 Agreed 100%. I'm 5' 9" and have a medium with a 60 mm stem. I could have and probably should have gone with a Large.
  • + 5
 I thought the same thing about BB drop. No need to be more than that of a 275 bike, why not gain a little clearance and put some pop back into a 29er with a slightly taller BB? Makes getting the front end up easier and quick direction changes probably easier too - especially good for a long bike like this one.
  • + 2
 Greater BB drop is one of the best thing about 29ers, because it effectively lowers the bikers center of gravity within the bike+rider system. If anything I was wondering the opposite i.e. why hasn't Pole made it even lower? (I assume due the long wheelbase) For instance Orange Stage 6 has a 35mm BB drop.
If you like less BB drop you could go with EVOLINK 150 (5mm drop). It can accommodate 29" wheels.
  • + 1
 Paul could slap a stiffer spring in there and get the bb drop and seat angle back..
  • + 1
 @fussylou: and steepen the HA, lose small bump, never get full travel?? Not the ideal solution but I see what you mean.
  • + 5
 @paulaston Thanks for another great review. Out of interest what is the "butt to bar" (seated reach) measurement on this bike (say for a 30" seat height). I think people are scared that these bikes will feel long when seated but they don't.

I sat on an XL Mondraker last sat which had a 510mm reach (30mm stem) and it felt shorter than my 440mm reach bike (50mm stem).
  • + 2
 685mm bar centre to seatpost measurement, in the review mate
  • + 2
 Steep seat tube angle will keep saddle to bar length in check - but you can alter saddle position by 40mm or so and it all depends on saddle height so not an easy measurement to give when reviewing.
  • + 1
 @mark3: is that top of seat (diagonal) or horizontal (ETT + stem). If diagonal it's not that long as i'm about 710mm on a 440R + 50stem.
  • + 1
 @Racer951: if you measure the seat post centreline at the top of the seat (for a given seat height) it will give you an idea. I use 30" as this is roughly my seat height (and a round number)
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: the way I read it was, the length from the centre of the bar to the centre of the seat post horizontaly when the seat is set at your normal riding height
  • + 4
 I got my degree in math and a job as an engineer, so I'm like the grammar nazi of numbers. The stem length is wrong in the article when you're calculating reach. It's cosine(angle of stem off the horizontal)*stem length + frame reach. Remember, the stem doesn't stick straight forward out of the headtube and it does need to be accounted for, and it didn't seem to be accounted for in the article. The tricky thing for reach is what the frame gives you for reach, what the seat tube angle is for where your butt sits, the stem length, and the head tube angle for how far the stem actually sticks out. Oh but then spacers bring the stem closer to you so you need a slightly longer stem. But then a longer bar will stretch you out further. However, if the bar angles a lot and/or has rise it screws everything up. TL;DR demo bikes; buy what you like best.
  • + 2
 @mark3: this is similar to ETT. Butt to bar (seated reach) is better as this is what you "feel" when your are seated. Standing reach is what you "feel" when you are standing.
  • + 2
 @Bushamster21: this is why butt to bar (or Seated Reach as I call it) is a way better dimension for a bikes fit. There are a couple of variable (stem length, stem height and seat height) but if you note the slammed stem length (most people will not be >50mm in length) and seat height (lets say 30" because its a round number and my seat height) we are all good to go. It gives a good basis for comparison between bikes. You do then have to get the weigh balance right but I see that as fine tuning.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: I normally do Pythagoras using reach and stack to get the length from bb to top of head tube.
  • + 8
 I really like this trend of steeper seat angles for climbing- hopefully the big brands will take notice.
  • + 5
 I just received the 110 version of this bike in a size medium. I am 5'9" or 175 cm.

I have most of the parts on the build and it looks like it will be in the 12.25 kg range. When I received the frame, weight was 4.18 kg including the shock, rear axle, headset cups, and seat clamp.

It is a great looking bike.
  • + 6
 Don't knock it till you try it. I bought it for its downhill capabilities but was blown away by how well it climbs. Absolutely love the bike
  • + 9
 That pole is long
  • + 2
 But it has less than 6"
  • + 2
 Pole envy?
  • + 5
 Great review man, but I had a few questions. For something designed around the progressivity of air shocks, how does the coil feel? How does the suspension feel in general on descents? Any durability issues with the frame?
  • + 2
 Would also like to know how it rides with the coil.
  • + 1
 @freddiehg: like with the air......but better
  • + 1
 It feels good with coil as well if it works with an air shock. Many progressive suspension layouts are too progressive to air shocks so we have taken this to note here so you can use all the travel.
  • + 1
 @polebicycles: Thanks for the reply, long travel 29ers deserve coil shocks.
  • + 4
 Your point regarding MX bikes head angles is a bit out of context considering they have 12 inches of suspension travel at about 30% sag on the front and the correct style for aggressive riding is up against the tank with bent elbows. I don't think that can be compared to the head angle of 29er with a long stretched out front center.

I am also curious as to your reasoning behind why longer chain stays also make for a better climbing bike? Understandably they help keep the front wheel down on such a slack long bike, but that is more of a solution to a problem that shouldn't be there in the first place in my opinion. And lets be honest, at 37lbs, you are going to fatigue faster and climb slower... there are many DH bikes that weigh less.
  • + 1
 Longer chainstays give you more traction and also reduce the wheelie effect when coupled with the steep seat angle and long front end.
  • + 6
 MX is a pretty unfair comparison for HA, speeds and typical turns encountered are so different.
  • + 4
 Yeah he's way off base with his thinking there.
  • + 6
 I don't think it'd fit in my shed!! Looks absolutely bang on though, love the influence the BTR team had on it
  • + 6
 BTR plus a little Nicolai / Mojo magic. Same hymn sheet, same great song.
  • + 3
 @fartymarty: yeah BTR helped them with the prototype production batch
  • + 3
 @paulashton Ok, so basically, people like me who are going down muddy 20%+ inclines and clocking 50km/h+ on hiking trails (deserted ones of course !) on "old" bikes like my Cannondale Rize, with an 80mm stem and 760mm handlebar (updated the bar, but there's no room to shorten the stem (Lefty)), where are basically committing suicide everytime we head on a ride ? Jokes aside, it's great, and when I have the money I'll buy one of those or a Orange. Smile
  • + 3
 IMO, There's a little mistake when you're comparing to head angles of MX bikes: MX bikes are ridden very much over the front wheel, it's easy to shift your weight towards the front. And don't forget you're doing a lot of the braking with the front brake, which steepens the head angle again due to the fact that the front dives into the suspension.
  • + 2
 you ride over the front of MX bikes because acceleration keeps the weight rear bias ... if anything they might be slacker than the static numbers for much of the time
  • + 3
 Love Paul's reviews. A bright, lucid guy and clearly a shredder. I can't understand the downsides of a steep seat tube.

Once you're shredding down, and the saddle is slammed, it doesn't matter what the angle is?

Look forward to seeing more progress in geometry!
  • + 3
 51' wheelbase
18' chain stays
64 degree HA

Those numbers are all close to Minnaar's V10 29er, actually the wheelbase is a little longer.

"Manualing this bike isn't easy"
"If anything to Evolink is too stable"
"Yes, super tight switchbacks that need trials skills to turn aren't so easy"
  • + 2
 Whoa, they made a bike with longer chainsaws than the stumpy evo 29er!!
  • + 6
 Holy cow, a 51 foot whhelbase and 18 foot chainstays, how tall does the rider have to be?
  • + 2
 @carym: I'm 179cm (5.9 feet) and I'm riding an EVOLINK 140 size L here

www.pinkbike.com/video/470470

The trail is here: www.strava.com/segments/4156222
  • + 7
 Nice dent in the downtube on that frame info
  • + 8
 --and its still working...metal bikes rule.
  • + 2
 Hi, one question here. Since the leverage ratio is optimised for air shock's travel characteristics, why is the bike tested with a coil shock. How does it work with the standard air shock (RS Monarch plus)? Errr thats 2 questions...
  • + 2
 quote:
"
If anything to Evolink is too stable. Its constant desire to truck through the worst situation in a straight plane means it can be quite hard to keep it leaned into cambers and stay on track in long, flat corners. It also slows down direction changes between consecutive corners. This is a combination of the angles, huge gyroscopic motion of the heavy tire combinations, and the bottom bracket drop between the axles.
"

The gyroscopic effect doesn't necessarily fight direction changes. You can use it to your advantage as well. Bank/roll (or how you want to call it) around the fore-aft axis and this will help yaw around the vertical axis. And the long and low bike should actually make it easier to bank/roll the bike. At least that'd be what I expect from looking at the bike. Of course I can't argue with the impression you got from riding the bike. But in part it depends on how you approach your corners. Something that might have worked with your Specialized bike might not work with this one.
  • + 2
 So I'm not an engineer, so I don't know if we are entering problem territory here, but is there a point where front ends get so slack that the fork works less effectively? Meaning if the fork goes nearer to horizontal, eventually you will be pushing the stantion down toward the ground instead of down into the lower. Especially with longer travel forks that are even more raked out.

This question isnt specific to this bike, but more in general.
  • + 3
 Fork performs better when you give it slacker angle. For example let's say that the tires hit the obstacles horizontally and if the fork is operating only vertically (90 degree angle to the ground) the fork is bending backwards due the hit.
  • + 1
 @ ClaytonMarkin Yep that is true, there was an article about Greg Minaars XXL V10 where they talk about a kind of limit for slack head-angles because the fork wouldn´t work as well. That limit was found to be around 62,5°.. which is also kind of the slackest angles only some dh bikes have if I´m not mistaken
  • + 3
 @daweil: Our EVOLINK 176 has 62°

Note that the bikes true head angle needs to be measured in dynamic head angle. Fe. hardtails have very much steeper head angles when you ride them than they are leveled without the rider's weight.
  • + 0
 my Trans. Patrol with old Vengeance fork (longer axle to crown) came in at a measured 64.5 HTA. it did not ride well down anything other than super steeps. i put in a 1 degree Works headset to STEEPEN the HTA, now sitting at 65.5. much more manageable, much better handling. (note, i am not an enduro racer)
  • + 3
 @jamesbrant: That might be true but it does not correlate to different bikes as the main thing is correct weight balance. For example if you put slack head angle to a bike with short reach and short chainstays, you will have massive problem getting grip on the fron tire.
  • + 5
 man thats such a nice bike, if i had one id let everyone get in on my happiness by letting them test ride my pole!!
  • + 6
 Just need to decide which of the children to sell ????
  • + 5
 If you OTB this bike... Does that make a Pole vault?
  • + 1
 Full respect for pushing the boundaries of geometry rather than following trends. I need convincing about that steep seat angle being better for climbing. Not sure why that seems to be touted by many as so. To me, having your hips more close to being over the bb is less powerful and less efficient. Certainly riders scootch forward climbing steep technical sections the get the weight positioned in front of the rear contact patch to keep traction and keep the front down. Why would someone want a bike that puts you in that position all the time?
  • + 1
 Thank you for the discussion of seat tube angle! My pet peeve is raising the seat to climb and then feeling like I'm going to fall off the back as soon as things get steep - need the weight to be forward for that $hit, hence an ideal seat tube angle that is forward-tilted lol
  • + 2
 It is for everybody to make their own decisions, but ride a forward geo first, it takes a bit of time, but for confidence, comfort and all out speed ? you don't go back... 2nd Mondraker in build progress :-)
  • + 1
 "So we could say a mountain bike should have a slacker head angle than an MX bike? "
Come on @paulaston , so MX bikes are a one size fits all, what about we do that on MTBs as well?
And the whole head angle comparison was valid back in the dark ages when everyone was riding the same wheel size (26"), with similar tire sizes and fork offsets.
You're comparing apples and oranges here.
People are starting to understand what anti-squat is, now is time to talk about mechanical (or ground) trail instead of head angles Wink
  • + 1
 "I can, and did, climb everything better and more easily than any other bikes."

This seems like a bit of a hyperbolic statement. If it was that you can climb the trails you normally ride better on the Pole than bikes you normally ride, that makes sense. If you're saying you can climb "better" on this bike on smooth single track than a superlight carbon hardtail, than that seems like some serious BS.
  • + 1
 Years spending talking about agility... 29er are slow.. not good for enduro..we need short bike.. but it seems that mortals with few skills want more stability than agility?

I want a forgiven bike... not a bike that kills me... i'm not Rude or other pro...
  • + 3
 This is the only bike I want... I was about to order a PUSH 11-6 for my '16 Slash 9.9 but I think the money might be better spent here.
  • + 5
 No offense, but I'm not too keen on telling my friends I'm riding a pole.
  • + 1
 Thirty - seven - pounds. I come from owning all generations of the Canfield The One. And the last version I had in 2013 was decked out more for downhill. And that only maxed out at 34.3 lbs. No carbon. How can this weigh 37 pounds?! And....is that any fun to climb with?
  • + 5
 body language not body English ,murderer of the English tongue.
  • + 0
 It's tongue in cheek homie
  • + 1
 Im 5'4" and bought an XS frame here in Australia, possibly the first in the country, and Id like to say a few things about the fit for a smaller rider.

The first thing is that you're right. It was very hard for me to try and get a dropper post that was the correct size. I found that I was limited to 100mm drops with a maximum length of about 340mm and that seriously narrowed my options. In fact, I could only find one dropper that fit this spec and it was a KS Lev Integra which is pretty expensive here in Australia, $500 or so.

The second thing is that the reach is fine for me. I normally ride small frames but the XS Evolink actually has exactly the same reach as my previous small size 15" frame, and that's counting the seat post being set back by a few centimetres on my old bike and this one having zero set back.

In terms of handlebar height it's again no different than my old bike at maximum saddle height.

So basically the fit is pretty much identical to my old bike which was why i was so confident in buying a $3000 frame from overseas.

Now I just need to order the wheels and pick up a DVO Diamond fork and I'll be able to finally get it rolling.
  • + 0
 Why does everyone want a longer a bike? I'm 6ft 2 and ride a slightly small bike for my size because there is nothing more fun than jumping everything and getting sideways in the air. Longer bikes = more boring and less nimble.
  • + 3
 Longer bikes are more stable and you have to be a tad more aggressive to throw them around BUT they are way more forgiving so you can get away with way more. Longer bikes=rule!!!
  • + 1
 Hey we are not talking about dirtjump bikes here.
  • + 2
 That it a very nice forty8 from Shovel components.
If somebody forto go mention.

shovel.bike/system/product/forty8
  • + 1
 @polebicycles I love what you have built here. It is like you designed this bike around everything I want in a bike. How does an American get a hold of one of these short of flying to Europe?
  • + 2
 You can buy it from us directly. All you need to do is send mail to this address: service@polebicycles.com

Looks like USA is becoming one of our main markets at the moment Smile we might need a partner on American soil.
  • + 2
 @Pointeddownhill I bought one from them last month. Took a bit longer to get for some reason, but none the less it showed up after about 4 weeks. Beautiful bike and incredible quality. I rode it for the first time yesterday and had a blast. The bike carves flowing switchbacks like nothing I have ever ridden. And, I have ridden a lot of different bikes.
  • + 1
 @zerort: did you pay for the bike to go through customs or did it ship straight to your front door?
  • + 1
 @jdbrill: We ship through DHL at the moment. You can ask details for shipping from our service@polebicycles.com
  • + 1
 @polebicycles: thanks! I'm in contact with service and about to pull the trigger on an evolink. SO STOKED!
  • + 3
 bring on the test bikes. I won't be able to get my wife and family to Finland for summerholiday...
  • + 3
 Fortunately, definitely my next purchase! Thanks for reviewing!
  • + 3
 How often does it happen that the Pole hits you in the ass?
  • + 3
 What about the Ohlins coil fork?
  • + 3
 Orange take note: this is what a clean aluminum frame looks like.
  • + 3
 XL evolink 150 w/ 29" wheels sounds like a slam dunk
  • + 1
 You can buy the Evolink150 frame and run bigger wheels on it. There is enough space in the rear triangle to do that. I'm thinking of doing that with my EVOlink 176 frame next year.
  • + 1
 @SintraFreeride: That's what I've heard. You should try it!
  • + 1
 @MmmBones: Will test some bigger wheels this year and make my decision.
  • + 2
 Girard is sitting on the pole, which is a statement of fact and is in no way a comment on his sexual orientation.
  • + 1
 im in the t-rex index range of arm length (just outside of the ape index by a smidge) no long front centered bikes for me. I hope all bikes dont end up like this.
  • + 2
 Those poor shocks must get shit pounded my rocks and mud with no guard at all off the rear tire .
  • - 1
 @paulaston ......riding with acceleration power the rear suspension will sag, the front of the bike will lift and give an even slacker dynamic head angle

NO!!!!!! Absolutly wrong!!! You should study the effects of throttle control in detail!
  • + 3
 The bike has really grown on me in this colour, looks stunning!
  • + 3
 Finland is not generally considered part of Scandinavia.
  • + 1
 Thank you Smile
  • + 2
 This just in! Stopwatches are the best tool to help decide frame geometry!
  • + 3
 Well they are, if you are trying to build a fast bike Wink
  • + 1
 They should put a sticker of Patrick starfish with a bowling pin head. That way everyone will know the bike was made in "FINLAND!!!!!"
  • + 3
 Is it easier to ride Pole in a seated or standing position??
  • + 1
 Both are as easy i would say.
  • + 1
 The bike looks awesome BUT.....the complete build is very expensive and I bet the Ohlins spec one is superstar money. Non-Dentist's need not apply Frown
  • + 1
 why cat they just push the rear hub to 150mm? why stop at 148mm? slamming my Chris King 150mm hub in this frame would be great but I can't so I'm out
  • + 0
 Lots of reasons, actually.
  • + 8
 It's not impossible to make 150mm or 157mm hub but we think that the 148mm is a good compromise. It's easier to add more spokes to your wheels than make the rear wider to gain better results. Most of the wheelsets comes with 28 spokes in front and rear. The spoke count increases the stiffness of the wheel but making the hub wider makes the chainstays closer to your heels. Wider hub spacing is more prone to derailleur collations to rocks etc. So why not 142mm? Because some people wants to use plus size tires and the 142mm causes chain rub to tire.
  • + 2
 Has there ever been a Pole about this company and their take on geometry?
  • + 3
 If there was someone must evolink somewhere
  • + 1
 " and if the chainstays are super stiff, anti-squat wears out the drivetrain more easily. " Care to Explain?
  • + 2
 This bike is all about having fun riding trails. Weightweeniessuck.
  • + 2
 That weight seems a tad bit heavy for a trail bike frame!!
  • + 7
 The frame is 7005-T6 alloy and most of the frames on the market are 6065-T6 which has -15% strength to weight ratio on the 7005-T6 alloy. Tubes are over ~2.3mm wall thickness on Pole. Many bikes that are "light" are below 2mm wall thickness and you can feel them flex under load. We have made a 12kg bike with XC parts (alloy wheels). Our Enduro racers are riding 14.5kg large bikes on race setup. You can make a good trail build under 14kg.
  • + 2
 @polebicycles: fair enough!! I definitely would love to try one just because of the long low profile the bike has. It's definitely unlike any bike I've ever had the pleasure of riding
  • + 2
 Manualing should be made easier to do
  • + 2
 How about that dent by the information sign
  • + 1
 I just thought to myself 4500 isn't bad for a starting point. God damn it, look what they've done to me.
  • + 1
 Oh look! Another suspension design with a wheelbase that shortens throughout the stroke, genius!
  • + 3
 That's the point. The wheelbase actually grows to the SAG point and shortens after that. Our tests show that there's no reason to make the wheelbase longer after SAG point because it will only slow you down and make more stress to the frame due the excess anti-squat. The front center shortens alway when the suspension is compressed so why would not the rear as well to keep the weight balance better.
  • + 1
 I'd like to try one but I don't think it would fit on some of my local trails
  • + 1
 I wish I could get one of these in the USA that would be sick
  • + 4
 There are already some EVOLINK's in USA. Just contact our sales: service@polebicycles.com
  • + 7
 I bought a complete (pre-owned) Evolink 150 directly from Pole and, given the ability of the bike to "fold", it was far less expensive to ship than you might otherwise guess. To the best of my knowledge I think I have the only one in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon). Everyone at Pole was fantastic putting in the extra effort it took to get the bike to me; I can't speak highly enough about the machine or the company. You would NOT be disappointed in a purchase. When I find an semi-plausible excuse to buy another, I won't hesitate!
  • + 1
 @SprungShoulders: did you have to pay to get the bike through customs or did it ship to your front door?
  • + 1
 @jdbrill: To my door!
  • + 2
 Good looking bike!
  • + 1
 This bike has so may conatations!
  • + 1
 another awesome 29er to add to my collection!!!
  • + 1
 Yes, a bike that my 188cm bod would love.
  • + 2
 What a beautiful bike!
  • + 1
 sure the geo is cool but they forgot to make the bike look good
  • + 1
 Check out my build and review on MTBR. Everyone wants to ride my Pole
  • + 1
 Totally excellent review. Cheers PB!
  • + 1
 Superb review Paul, about time more journo's told it like it is!
  • + 1
 Some pole-arizing looks right there.
  • + 1
 @polebicycles do you have 27,5 frame with similar numbers?
  • + 3
 Yeah, they have the EvoLink 150. Check out their website polebicycles.com
  • + 1
 Turner DW link
  • + 1
 Love this craft product
  • + 0
 Get a lady to work the pole.
  • + 0
 I lost interest at "Manualing this bike isn't easy."
  • + 3
 just flip the gooseneck backwards
  • + 2
 This would be a good frame to have incemental sizing for the chainstays. If I wanted a medium, front center on the large is 858mm. To match the weight distribution with a 798 front center, I would need a 424mm chainstay. That's the chainstay length of the average bike more or less. Basically the large is the only well proportioned frame. 450 mm chainstays suck for all but the tallest of riders.
  • + 0
 Kool aid bike. Probably go down a storm round here with all the kool kids.
  • + 1
 What brakes are those?
  • + 2
 trickstuff - direttissima
  • - 1
 Looks awesome for DH specific riding. XC-ish riding will never push to these numbers.
  • - 2
 Boost inserts..... Yeah, without any adjustment in the brake mount with it that's just asking for trouble!
  • + 3
 read pole's site, the frame comes with 3mm washers for the IS mount.
  • + 0
 @colourclashing: the picture doesn't have any 3mm washers, and thats on a 142mm hub.
The postmount adapter isn't even offset by 3mm, so just can't see it working with a full boost hub.
  • + 5
 @scar4me: It is a 148mm hub what you are looking at Paul's bike. If the black adapters are on the same level as the blue frame. The 142 inserts comes out the 3mm and then you'll use the 3mm washers.
  • + 1
 @polebicycles: I stand corrected then Smile
The black adapters looked like they were the 3mm adapters that were being talked about.
  • - 1
 The only bike nicer than a Kingdom Hex
  • - 2
 cant wait to see this in carbon!
  • + 19
 yeah, because €2450 for a frame ain't enough
  • + 5
 Why ???
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