Five years ago, Pole were not nearly as well known as they are today. They started as a brand that wanted to challenge convention and push geometry forward. The Evolink was released and, it could well be said, the Finnish brand gave "considered thinking" something of a kick up the posterior. You might have heard of "long, low and slack," well this was of course being said before Pole. However, the Evolink was one of the first to also throw "steep seat tubes" into that maxim.
Due to the fact that the Evolink was so ahead of the curve in terms of its geometry, this update should be seen as more of a facelift than a page one re-write. A bit of nip and tuck to keep up with the Jones'. Better yet, Pole manage to do this and make the changes they want without isolating current Evolink owners.
The new Evolink 1.4 retains the same 64.5° head angle but sees the seat tube steepened to an effective angle of 79.9°. The chassis essentially remains unchanged so you'll be seeing very familiar numbers; the 497mm reach, 1301mm wheel base, in what was known as the medium size, and the 29 inch wheels front and back. A small difference you might notice is that the 1.4 moves away from internal routing completely.
There is a small shakeup in terms of how Pole size these bikes, with the conventional sizes replaced by K1, K2, K3 and K4. This is something you might have seen with other brands. It essentially tries to emphasize the subjective nature of bike fit and how it's a combination of stature and style.
The bottom bracket height also increases from -20mm to -3mm but the overall stack height decreases across all sizes. As you can imagine, the two often work inversely to one another. Similarly, increasing BB height, much like changing stack height, will also have a small effect on reach, although often only slight. The consequence of the increase in BB height is a bike that is more responsive to rider input and will help ease the bike into bunny hops or manuals with less effort.
Pole feel that the biggest change with the revised Evolink is the increased progression in the leverage ratio.The mid-stroke, the point at which a rider spends most of their time riding, is now set at an average leverage ratio of 2.67 compared with the
2.52 of the previous Evolink 140 model. That equates to a 9% more progressive leverage ratio and in turn 18% more anti-squat.
Along with a host of specification updates, the frames and complete bikes will feature metric shocks across the whole Evolink 1.4 range which will deliver 144mm travel to the rear end of the bike.
Pole admit to coming across the benefits of running a metric shock by happy coincidence. Leo Kokkenen of Pole said “We had a bit of luck with this one. With the simple addition of a 55mm metric shock, we’ve managed to update an already classic bike. Previously we didn't want to raise the BB too much without a proof of concept. During testing with another prototype, we discovered that the long and slack geo benefits from an even higher BB. The fundamental issue with the discussion around BB height is the same reason why bikes were so steep in the first place: engineers stuck to the old measurement from the ground to BB using 26" wheels.”
The Evolink 1.4 will be available as either a frameset only option or a complete build. The frameset will have the choice of three shock options, and will be outfitted with a Cane Creek headset and a seat clamp starting from €1690.
A Super Limited Stock Custom build will also be available. It will feature a Rock Shox Lyrik Select RC fork and a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain and will retail for €4450.
If you're a current Evolink 140 V1.3 owner and wish to upgrade your current setup to the 1.4 then Pole will be offering update kits. These kits will consist of headset cups, that will be manufactured in house in Finland, and your choice of a Cane Creek or RockShox metric shock, which will include any relevant hardware.
Due to ongoing industry shortages and backlogs with components, numbers of frames and complete bikes are strictly limited on the pre-sale shipment and may well indeed not be available for very long. Although, the estimated availability and shipping times for framesets and builds will be as early as June 2021.
Pre-orders for the new Evolink 1.4 framesets and Stock Custom builds are now open at polebicycles.com