Review: The 2019 Pole Machine Has a Serious Need For Speed

Jan 21, 2019 at 12:09
by Mike Kazimer  
Pole caused plenty of hubbub when they announced the Machine, in part because of the Finnish company's decision to manufacture the long travel 29er from 7075 aluminum rather than carbon, citing ethical reasons. That debate is still ongoing, but whatever your thoughts are on the issue there's no denying the fact that the Machine is a head turner. The curvy, raw aluminum frame is hard to miss, especially if the sun is shining, when it acts like a signal mirror, beckoning all sorts of curious onlookers.

It's a burly looking bike, with the numbers to back up its imposing stance. There's a 180mm fork up front, 160mm of rear travel, and angles that are on the forefront of the long and slack movement.
Pole Machine Details

Travel: 160mm rear / 180mm front
Wheel size: 29"
Frame construction: 7075 aluminum
Head angle: 63.9º
Chainstay length: 455mm
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Weight: 32.5 lb / 14.7 kg (medium, w/o pedals)
Price: €5,983.87 as tested
More info: polebicycles.com

The frame alone goes for €2,822.58 with a RockShox Super Deluxe shock, or €3,064.52 with an EXT Arma coil shock. Complete bikes start at €4,677.42, and go up to €5,982.87 for the EN model tested here. Highlights of our test bike's build kit included a RockShox Lyrik RC2 fork, Super Deluxe RCT shock, SRAM Code RSC brake, and Mavic DeeMax Pro wheels shod with a Maxxis Minion 2.5” DHF and a 2.3” DHRII.

bigquotesThis is the kind of bike where you can let off the brakes and trust that everything will be all right – it delivers a level of composed stability that's more typically associated with a downhill bike. Mike Kazimer







Pole Machine review


Construction and Features

Unfortunately for all the armchair weld examiners out there, there's nothing to critique on the Machine. In fact, there aren't any welds at all. 7075 aluminum has a very high strength to weight ratio, especially compared to the 6061 alloy that's often used for mountain bike frames, but it can't be welded. To get around that fact, Pole CNC machines each side of the frame from a large billet, and then bonds them together with an aerospace-grade glue. The glue is said to be strong enough on its own, but the frame is also bolted together for extra security.

This manufacturing process set the Machine apart from other aluminum-framed bikes, and although it's not as efficient or cost effective as going the tried-and-true welded tube route, it does give Pole the ability to quickly change the bike's design at a moment's notice.

Pole Machine review
Seat tube angles don't get much steeper than this.
Pole Machine review
There aren't any welds to be seen - the frame is bonded and bolted together.

The Machine's shock positioning bears a resemblance to the Orbea Rallon and Specialized Stumpjumper, but there's a difference – the frame is asymmetrical, with the shock mounted on the non-drive side of the swingarm. That allowed Pole to increase the amount of room available for seat tube insertion so that riders can run longer travel dropper posts. The swingarm also has clearance for up to a 2.8” tire, which also means that there's plenty of mud clearance with a more typical 2.3 or 2.4" tire.

Pole went with external cable routing, with the brake, derailleur, and dropper housing seated neatly on a shelf that's machined into the top of the downtube. That housing is secured with zip ties that pass through the frame, which seems clever, but in reality creates more of a hassle than the typical external routing setup. It takes a little extra fiddling to get the zip tie to pass back through the frame – in the heat of the moment, especially during a race pit stop, I could see it causing some cursing.

There's no shortage of water bottle mounting options on the Machine – if you have a ride planned deep into the desert you can carry up to three bottles (two inside the front triangle, and one on the underside of the downtube).


Pole Machine review
The shock mount is asymmetrical in order to create more room for the seat tube.
Pole Machine review
A shelf is machined into the downtube to hold the brake, derailleur, and dropper housing, which are secured by zip ties that run through the frame.




Pole Machine geometry

Geometry & Sizing

Pole was one of the early adopters of truly long and slack geometry, and that trend continues with the Machine. Other larger manufacturers have started to hop on the bandwagon, but Pole still remain on the cutting edge. The 63.9-degree head angle, 480mm reach (size medium), and 455mm chainstays add up to give the Machine a whopping 1305mm wheelbase; for reference, that's longer than a size XL Yeti SB150 (1277mm), and just 10mm less than the length of an XL Santa Cruz V10 29. The seat tube angle is also very steep at 79-degrees. That's the effective angle, but the actual angle is plenty steep as well at 78-degrees.

Taller riders shouldn't have any trouble finding a Machine that fits - the XL has a reach of 535mm, and a top tube length of 662mm, although it might be tricky finding a rack that'll hold a bike that long.


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Suspension Design

The Machine uses Pole's Evolink suspension layout, a dual-short-link design where one of the links rotates around the bottom bracket. The bike's leverage ratio begins at 3:1 and ends at 2.2:1, providing enough progression to allow it to work with either a coil or air shock.

The Machine's anti-squat value at 30% sag in the 32/50 gear ratio is 105%, which falls off quickly as the bike goes through its travel in order to keep the suspension active and responsive during larger impacts.


Pole Machine review


Specifications

Specifications
Price $6800
Travel 160mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Air RCT
Fork RockShox Lyrik RC2 180mm, 51mm offset
Cassette SRAM XG1299 Eagle 10-50t
Crankarms SRAM X01 Carbon DUB 170mm 32t
Chainguide OneUp
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle
Chain SRAM XX1 Eagle
Shifter Pods SRAM XX1 Eagle
Handlebar Truvativ Descendant carbon, 800mm
Stem Truvativ Descendant 40mm
Grips Ergon
Brakes SRAM Code RSC
Wheelset Mavic Deemax Pro
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 (f) / DHR II 2.3 (R)
Seat Ergon
Seatpost BikeYoke Revive



Pole Machine review













Test Bike Setup

At 5'11” (180cm) I fall right in between a medium and a large on Pole's size chart. Typically I'd size up, but in this case I went with a medium, which has a reach of 480mm, rather than the large, which has a reach of 510mm. I've found that bikes with a reach longer than 500mm start to feel too unwieldy for me, and after a couple rides on the size medium it was clear I made the correct choice.

As far as suspension setup goes, I ran one token and 73 psi in the Lyrik, and 140 psi in the Super Deluxe shock, which equated to 28% sag (which is what Pole reccommend). The rebound and compression were both set all the way open, which worked well, although I think that a Medium rebound tune rather than the High tune that's spec'd would have been more appropriate, especially for lighter riders.

Testing took place in Bellingham, Washington, and North Vancouver, BC, over a three month time period, with trail conditions ranging from hero dirt to extra-muddy and wet.


Me.
Mike Kazimer
Location: Bellingham, WA, USA
Age: 36
Height: 5'11"
Inseam: 33"
Weight: 160 lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mikekazimer


Pole Machine review


Climbing

It seems like all of a sudden everyone is clamoring about the merits of steep seat angle, a topic that was barely mentioned a few seasons ago. It's not all hype, though; steeper seat tube angles do have merit, especially on bikes with longer reach numbers.

What's the point? Well, if you give a bike with a long front center a slack seat angle there's a good chance the handlebar will feel too far away, almost like you're trying to steer a car from the back seat. A steeper seat angle helps counteract this sensation because it moves the rider forward into a more centered and upright position. Pole was one of the early adopters of this geometry trend, and the Machine has one of the steepest seat tube angles out there, at 79-degrees.

There is a limit to the madness, though and I'd say that the Machine is toeing the edge of just how steep things can get. Any steeper and the cockpit would have felt too short for me, despite the bike's sprawling wheelbase, and my knees would have been too far in front of the pedal spindle. Luckily, Pole stopped just before going past the limit, and the result is a bike with a very upright, comfortable pedaling position.

That position meant my body weight was already where it needed to be on steep climbs, which meant there was no need to stand up or keep scooting farther forward on the saddle in order to weight the front wheel. The slack head tube angle and long chainstays play a role here as well, providing extra stability on the climbs as well as descents. The shock also stays remarkably unaffected by pedaling forces - I never felt the need to reach down for the blue compression lever.

The Machine is calm and composed when faced with technical climbs, and as long as I was able to keep putting the power down there wasn't much that could stop its progress. Not surprisingly, it was on slower speed, really tight sections of trail where the Machine felt out of its element. In those instances, it took more effort to muscle it around, a reminder that it's more focused on bombing downhill than darting up a tricky climb. There's also the fact that it weighs 32.5 pounds, which is reasonable considering the bike's intentions, but it's also a couple pounds more than bikes like the Yeti SB150 or Scott Ransom. Weight's not everything, but it is something to keep in mind.


Pole Machine review


Descending

The Machine is the mountain bike version of the gigantic snow plows they use to clear high mountain passes, the ones with two blades that can take care of both sides of the road at once. Sure, you can still bunnyhop over obstacles and manual through rollers if you want, but those maneuvers take a little more work to achieve. Instead, it's better to relax and let the Machine do its thing. This is the kind of bike where you can let off the brakes and trust that everything will be all right – it delivers a level of composed stability, especially in steep terrain, that's more typically associated with a full-on downhill bike.

There's no hiding the fact that this is a big bike, one that's best suited to burly terrain and higher speeds (the 1305mm wheelbase makes the Machine the longest bike I've ridden to date), but I never felt out of my comfort zone aboard it. The combination of the 455mm chainstay length and generous reach creates a bike that's incredibly well balanced, one that doesn't require any dramatic position shifts in order to weight the front or back wheel.

That being said, the long chainstays do make wheelies and manuals more difficult; the Machine would rather stay on the ground and punch through everything in its path rather than bounding daintily down the trail. Small jumps and bunnyhops are also a little more challenging, but bigger, bike-park style jumps aren't any trouble at all – in those instances, it's easy to imagine that you're on a downhill bike.


Pole Machine review


The 180mm Lyrik deserves some of the credit for the type of antics that the Machine encourages, but the 160mm of rear travel is also very well managed by the Rock Shox Super Deluxe. There's enough support for pumping the ground to gain speed on smoother sections of trail, with a nice gradual ramp for dealing with bigger impacts. A coil shock would also be a good option for riders seeking the maximum of small bump compliance and traction, although there wasn't any lack of grip, even on slippery winter rides when the rocks and roots were extra greasy.

Eagle-eyed spec checkers will have noticed that the Machine comes with a 51mm offset fork, rather than the 44 or 42mm of offset that's starting to become more common. You could certainly run a reduced offset fork, but I didn't encounter any handling issues that would have made be consider going that route. In my experience, the difference between offsets is less noticeable with slacker head angles. I also think there's more hype around offset than there needs to be, but that's a topic for another time. For now, just know that the Machine handles very well in its stock configuration.


Pole Machine review

Pole Machine review

How does it compare?

The Machine doesn't really have that many direct competitors, but it's worth taking a moment to compare it to a bike that's designed with the same intentions in mind – the Scott Ransom. Yes, the Ransom's made of carbon fiber, but it was designed with the same goals that fueled the creation of the Machine – to be able to handle the nastiest of trails while also remaining pedalable. Both bikes fall into the long travel 29er category, but they behave quite differently out on the trail.

Climbing: The Ransom's seat tube angle is 4-degrees slacker than the Machine's, which gives it a more 'traditional' feel when climbing; the riding position is a little less upright, which puts my weight is a little farther back towards the rear axle. In a perfect world, I'd split the difference between the two – the Ransom's seat angle is just a bit slacker, and the Machine's is a little steeper than I'd like. Of course, there's a reason seats can be slid forward or backward, and I can find a comfortable pedaling position on both bikes.

The Ransom is 2.5 pounds lighter than the Machine, which is a significant difference. I'm more likely to grab the Ransom for longer, more pedaly rides, while the Machine gets the call on days that are more strictly focused on the descents.

As far as actual pedaling performance goes, if both bikes are ridden with their suspension in the fully open setting, the Machine's higher level of anti-squat means that it has less bob and a more efficient ride feel than the Ransom. That being said, the Ransom's handlebar mounted TwinLoc remote is there for a reason, and all it takes is a push of a lever to bring its performance in line with the Machine.

Pole Machine review
Pole Machine review

Descending: The Machine takes the win when it comes to straight-line speed and stability – the long chainstays and sprawling wheelbase make it feel incredibly planted and unflappable no matter how quickly the world is rushing by. The Ransom may have 10mm more rear travel, but the Machine's handling is closer to that of a DH bike, and it has the edge as far as pure monster trucking goes.

At more reasonable speeds, the Ransom is easier to handle; it takes less effort to air over obstacles, and it's less work to navigate twistier sections of trail. Both bikes offer excellent traction in loose or wet conditions, but the Ransom's rear suspension feels slightly more supple off the top.

Racing: How about as an enduro race bike? Which bike is best? That's a tough one to call, and it'll really depend on the rider and the track. Personally, I'd be inclined to go with the Ransom, due to the fact that it's easier to handle on tighter and flatter tracks. But for somewhere like Whistler, or any of the more gravity-oriented stops on the EWS circuit, the Machine would be an excellent pick.


Pole Machine review
Mavic Deemax Pro wheels.
Pole Machine review
180mm RockShox Lyrik RC2


Technical Report

Mavic Deemax Pro wheels: The Deemax wheels remained true for the duration of testing, and have a very nice ride feel, although the freehub did emit a few more popping noises under load than I would have liked. Everything was in good shape when I pulled the freehub apart, but it's worth mentioning. The wheels worked well with the 2.5" / 2.3" tire combo on the Machine, but riders who plan on running 2.6" or wider tires may find themselves wishing for a rim width greater than 28mm.

Huck Norris inserts: Huck Norris foam inserts are included in both tires, something that pinch flat prone riders will be happy to see.

RockShox Lyrik RC2: The 180mm Lyrik complemented to the Machine's ride-over-anything manners very nicely. Once I had it set up I didn't need to give it a second thought - it performed perfectly on every ride, with good small bump sensitivity and plenty of support for bigger hits.


Pole Machine review


Pros

+ Delivers a level of stability and confidence typically associated with downhill bikes
+ Good climbing performance, especially considering how well it descends
+ Room for three water bottles
Cons

- Pricey for an aluminum frame
- Riders without technical terrain nearby should look elsewhere
- Frame construction technique isn't entirely proven in mountain bike world



Is this the bike for you?

The Machine is about as close as you can get to a pedal-able downhill bike - it's a true monster truck in the best way possible. Pro-level skills aren't required to have a good time, but keep in mind that it feels the most alive at higher speeds and on steeper terrain.




Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesPole have always done things a little differently than the big players in the mountain bike world, and that trend continues with the Machine. It's a bike unlike anything else on the market, and that sentiment applies to the construction technique and the ride characteristics.

Pole's long and slack geometry numbers may no longer look quite as radical as they once did, but that doesn't make the Machine any less formidable out on the trail. For riders in search of something out of the ordinary, a bike that takes away any equipment-related excuses for not being able to get down a gnarly descent, the Machine fits the bill.
Mike Kazimer









296 Comments

  • + 183
 Bugger, all that time in CAD, designing and machining and it turns out you can weld 7075 after all...!
phys.org/news/2019-01-nanotechnology-enables-weld-previously-un-weldable.html

Still love this bike though!
  • + 14
 Great find there, especially after discussing with co-workers the significance this could have when designing aluminum tooling. Hopefully this finds itself in the bike industry sooner than later!
  • + 23
 Wow, this is actually really relevant for the industry. If the process turns out cost effective such frames could be better than carbon.
  • + 6
 Nice read and good to know they are already talking to a bicycle company.
  • + 62
 @Obidog, that article couldn't be more timely. Thanks for sharing - it'll be interesting to keep tabs on that and see which (if any) bike companies go down that route.
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer: Outland bikes were welded 7000 series with machined rear stays .
  • + 9
 Hmmm, I wonder how far away from commercialization this filler wire is. It could be a game changer for alloy frames. 7075 is really expensive, but an alloy 7075 frame would still be much cheaper than a carbon frame. The labour savings alone would be huge. These university research projects usually take a long time to come to fruition, so I wouldn't expect to see anything soon. Fingers crossed that maybe we'll get lucky and this will become available sooner rather than later.
  • + 10
 @griffinsurfboard: I believe they were made with 7005 Easton tubing which was pretty popular back in the 90's.

Not positive about the Easton tubing but for a while there were quite a few brands welding 7005 and it didn't need to be heat treated, it cures, or ages over a short period, like while sitting in the shipping container from Asia. GT used to claim their mid-grade Avalanche was overseas 7005 and the Zascar was the USA made 6061. It was before the Internet so who knows the actual truth.
  • + 4
 @griffinsurfboard, @Krispy-at-Go-Ride: Can confirm. I have 3 of them sitting in my garage...and know the guy that founded Outland Wink
  • + 7
 @Krispy-at-Go-Ride, @griffinsurfboard:
My 2018 Banshee Legend utilizes 7005 series Al. Still with that much welding, especially on thin walled tubing, you'd want some in-process stress relieving. Pretty crazy seeing how far out of tolerance things can go when welding (twisting). That's why most (if not all) framebuilders jump around the frame during their welding process.
I toured Strong Frames back in the day when I was looking at getting into the industry and it was insane how meticulous his welding process was. He had an indicator on everything while he was welding, and because his process was so dialed and his welds were so consistent, he knew how much his frame would be out when it was completely welded, and it was only a few thou. There was very minimal cold work necessary, if any.
  • + 4
 Also digging a bit deeper, their project was documented and published here:

www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07989-y

It goes way more in-depth in the metallurgy side of it. Really great stuff here
  • + 7
 @griffinsurfboard: Our EVOLINK series full suspension frames are made from 7005 T6 Aluminium Alloy.
  • - 2
 Welds are weaker obviously duh
  • + 9
 You had me at titanium carbide nanoparticles!
  • + 1
 oops
  • - 4
flag kingofbike (Jan 28, 2019 at 22:39) (Below Threshold)
 A lot of bike frames are made from 7075AL.
  • + 3
 @kingofbike: Seeing that the current state of 7075 Al will crack on the welds (read the posted article and research a bit), what companies may I ask that are using 7075, other than Pole, who are fully CNC'ing their frame?
  • + 3
 @kingofbike: you mean 7005 (?)
  • + 11
 @krashDH85: From our experience 7005 is a stronger material even from the welds. We have seen quite long lifespans of our EVOLINK frames with high-stress bikers. Evolink has been sold since 2016 nearly unchanged. We have made some changes that are more due to boost, Eagle or whatever incremental changes there has been during this timeframe. We introduced the BoostBrothers chips that do not require any bolts to change the rear end from 142mm to 147mm for example. The latest change to EVOLINK V1.3, when we changed our factory in Taiwan, was mere to improve the cable routing and add more space for a bottle. 7005 is slightly more expensive to manufacture, so that's the reason why most companies use 6061. 7005 is overall 20% stronger than 6061. 7075 is 80% stronger than 6061. 7075 is 47% stronger than 7005. (all calculations are with T6 heat treatment) 7075 is remarkable material in how much you can bend it, and it returns to original shape.
  • + 1
 @Krispy-at-Go-Ride: Outland was not aware 7000 series needed to be anodized or painted - due to higher copper content I think .

They corroded badly from sweat and needed to be sent back to be painted :-)
  • + 2
 Thanks for posting this article, but I'm doubting that this will bring about a renaissance in high end aluminum frames. Scandium alloyed aluminum is comparable to 7075 in strength and is weldable, but has fallen out of favor due to high cost. Getting butted/manipulated 7075 tubing made and then welding it with specialized rod is likely to be rather expensive. I can see it being used in certain component applications.
  • + 1
 I’m not an Engineer - but that was a very interesting article - thanks for posting.
  • + 2
 From what I've red in the second article the 7075 alloy could be further improved in strength by adding the TiC to the base material meaning we could have a new 7076 alloy or 7075TiC. But first I think they need to test the fatigue resistance.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: I reckon there is s great mini web series following this. Atherton's have robot, let's see the McCaul+berrecloth brothers pick this up!
  • + 1
 Neato!
  • + 58
 Forum posters sniff cautiously and bang stick on ground. Is strange! Don’t know! Ugh!

Owners and reviewers seem to like it pretty well though...
  • + 7
 I've seen 2 in the wild so far here in NV, and those guys definitely had huge smiles on their faces.
  • + 8
 I love it simply because the whole frame is CNC machined. As a machinist myself I'm looking forward to trying something like this(although probably starting much smaller lol)
  • + 8
 The process has served us well for millions of years, do not dare to bad mouth it.
  • + 2
 Not cheap is it’s flaw
  • + 0
 They are a bunch of goofballs pretending to be experts and pro rider????
  • + 5
 I rode one down bobsled in Salt Lake. I wasn't blown away. Great for bombing straights. Kind of a one trick pony.
  • + 2
 @nohyphens: go big or go home should be taken into consideration hahaha
  • + 11
 It was a smart move to have @mikekazimer review this, as a progressive-neutral geometry fan (as the numbers in the Editor Dream Geometry article suggest).

That said, the review still feels incomplete without @paulaston dropping in for some insight as a through-and-through long&slack connoisseur. It’s like I watched Jussasic Park, and only got to see the brontosaurs, T-Rex never showed up.
  • + 1
 @g123: this,

But I think the bike is too short and steep for him.
  • + 2
 @mammal: So have I, and the bike in the flesh is stunning to see. Manufacture and attention to detail is second to none (we have probably seen the same two guys). One has started to see white oxidation on the top tube from sweat...and if you polish the bike it will take out the CNC finish.....the things you find out.
  • + 52
 3 water bottles? It's like a water gun revolver. Pew-pew.
  • + 17
 All u water bottle peopless. How do you like them bottles now.
  • + 25
 All your water bottles are belong to us?
  • + 12
 It is simply an adequate amount of water bottles.
  • + 17
 Pole should just make one massive bottle to fit in there
  • + 3
 Is for using special water/tool bottles as cages for stuff so you don´t have to carry them on you back.
  • + 1
 @l8igz: Like one of those yard long margaritas you can get in Vegas and other places...
  • + 7
 @l8igz: An especially long one with a slack nipple angle!!!!
  • + 4
 One of those bottle mounts is under the downtube. Considering this is Pinkbike, I would have expected this would be marked down as a con. Or, there would have been room for a fourth bottle if they'd have drilled another pair of holes under the downtube. Just in case you want to take this one for bikepacking. Sure, people do use their Pole for bikepacking: enduro-mtb.com/en/tour-du-mont-blanc-bikepacking.
  • + 1
 @l8igz: Homer is that you?
  • + 39
 All I can think about when looking at the bike is all the mud that will end up in those holes.
  • + 17
 Exactly! I picture standing there with my hose spraying one hole at a time trying to dig out all the junk. Then a week later rust forming on the bolt heads.
  • + 5
 At this price, I sure hope they'd be stainless!
  • + 19
 @sngltrkmnd: stainless and aluminum don't play well together, they'd corrode where they meet and be impossible to remove after a while without drilling them out.
  • + 6
 @shinook: Can't remove them anyway as they're bonded in. I believe from previous articles on this they are Ti, but I don't recall.
  • + 8
 So far I’ve never had an issue with that on my Machine. You’d think it would be a problem — and maybe it would be if I were riding through mud holes — but so far so good in normal muddy conditions.
  • + 8
 @shinook: Do you think they'd actually ever be removed? I'd be surprised if they're even removable in the first place. There's no reason for them to be removable because the frame is already bonded together.
  • + 7
 @Audican: I guess it depends on where you're riding. I need to remove mud from my a*shole on a normal muddy day at Windrock
  • + 12
 @Mntneer: is your a*shole typically pointed sideways?
  • + 7
 @hypo-newt I could see your concerns, but I own a Machine, ride muddy conditions and it's an easy bike to clean. Because it's bare metal - you don't have to worry about scratching the paint. Just get in there with the hose and a bristle brush and it's good to go.
  • + 2
 @Mondbiker: getting sideways is preferred
  • + 2
 @sngltrkmnd: Titanium bolts are much better.
  • + 3
 I think some owners might be filling the hole with a dab of silicon for that reason.
  • + 34
 I applaud Pole for being different, pushing the boundaries, and not being afraid to walk into unchartered territory. It's not the right bike for my riding style, but I know a few people who would love this machine.
  • + 14
 This is no place for well thought out sensible comments. Keep them to yourself!
  • + 33
 Don't fit it with live valve or else it will become self-aware and we'll have an uprising of machines...
  • + 16
 I, for one, would like welcome our new sentient mountain bike overlords. Edit - as long as they aren't e-MTB overlords. Then screw them.
  • + 20
 How long before the frame creaks?
  • + 17
 Hold my beer.
  • + 2
 @sngltrkmnd: it will outlast you
  • + 11
 We had that test and I'm sorry to let you down. The frame does not creak even though it does not have glue and the sides slide against each other. In the other hand the frame withiut glue is becomes very flexible but we have not been able to break it byt riding even though it does not have glue. 7075 is quite phenomenal how much you can bend it.
  • + 5
 @mkotowski1: Oh that's a guarantee. But *when will it begin creaking*? I did around age 32.
  • + 0
 Probably never... it's not Elmer's white glue.
  • + 18
 aesthetically, it's a little pole-a-rising...
  • + 11
 I think one of the reason so many people are interested in this is that they have been so burned by minor changes like boost and super boost plus and dub. This thing is so outside the norm that it feels like you are buying the future now and thus won’t be obsolete so fast.

And also, you are smarter than everyone else for having something so different.

It’s a self fulfilling prophecy as things like the Stumpjumper Evo come out and people buy those instead of bikes with with old geo. Suddenly the Pole doesn’t look so extreme. Look how fast everyone jumped on the reduced offset.

Meanwhile, Santa Cruz is still selling a Hightower LT with 267mm reach on an XL and a 65 degree seat angle.
  • + 4
 267mm reach on XL? cannot be man Big Grin
  • + 3
 You are only ‘burned’ by changes if you feel like minor alterations to hub width, chain line or reach mean anything in actual reality.

All in the head, and what if the future is wrong?
  • + 1
 The reach on a Hightower LT in an XL is 468mm. I do agree though, that this is short for a modern bike in that size.
  • + 10
 Very happy Stumpy evo owner here, 1/3 the price of the pole and probably just as much fun.

Coil shock on the rear @ 57mm stroke has given me 161mm rear travel, 170mm airshaft in fork in high mode = 63.2deg head angle, My S-works demo has collected dust ever since.
  • + 2
 @Brasher: Dude, thank you for this comment. I've been eyeing an evo for a while now and that's exactly how I'd want to set it up. If you don't mind me asking, do you ride the s2 or s3, and how tall are you? I'm 6'4" and just worried about fit.
  • + 3
 @Brasher: that sounds like a really fun bike. And you can take advantage of Specialized’s generally excellent warranty support at a local shop instead of going back and forth with Finland. Not a fan of Specialized but seriously considering the carbon one for my next bike.
  • + 4
 @deonvg: thanks mate, I’m on a S3 29er and I’m 6’1 which fits me great. With your height you might be hoping for a s4 size next year maybe? Rumours of a carbon model too.

It’s a very versatile bike, happy to trail ride, bike park or downhill trails. Not the lightest bike ever made but I still love it.
  • + 1
 Funny I have both a HTLT and SJ Evo and am 5'10". HTLT is an XL with a 160 fork and offset bushing for a 65.5 HA and some very slack SA. Evo is an S3 with no geometry mods. Love the Evo and have switched to it full time now. Takes a little while to get used to, but once you do the ability to smash corners is unlike anything I have ever ridden.
  • + 1
 @Brasher: I think that I’m about to drop a dime on at 650b S3 because of the longer reach, but i’m only 6’. I’d love to take the two for a hot lap to compare!
  • + 1
 @wibblywobbly Interesting then that the Hightower still outsells all these long bikes probably 10:1 or more despite having geometry that's so appalling to the "geometry adopters"..... From what I see on the trails and in videos, Hightowers are everywhere and very popular.

I think you and @justanotherusername are both correct. All bike designs/geos have plusses and minuses. Those who say certain changes make a bike "better at everything" seem completely illogical to me. The quicker you are to jump on the latest bandwagon, the greater risk you have of getting "burned". I would only recommend it if the trends are moving in the direction you are already adopting for your bike setup. For many this may be the case, but not for all. This may be "the future" but I bet it won't. There will be other changes (even by Pole) that make this bike obsolete/dated by next year, and the adopters will need something new yet again.
  • + 10
 There appears to be a developing method to weld 7075, with titanium nanoparticles. Could make for some competition. It is surprising the bike is heavy considering that 7075 is about 60% the weight of 6061.
  • + 0
 If there wasn’t Huck Norris front and rear, I’m guessing that would help with the weight numbers. That’s a burly setup! I’m willing to bet it would be within 1.5lb of the carbon Scott without tire inserts plus the extra sealant that goes along with it.
  • + 8
 Not that surprising. The frame is very large, gluing requires surface area and i don't think they can machine the frame down to the same thickness as aluminium tubing. Plus, most high quality frames are not made from 6061, but from 7005. They only compare to 6061 because it makes them look better.
  • + 1
 @Ttimer: I compared to 6061, not them. Either way, 7005 is not substantially stronger than 6061 is it? Also, where are you getting that most high quality frames are made from 7005 rather than 6061?
  • + 6
 @Audican: Well spotted, but Huck Norris, unlike Cushcore, won't make that big of a difference.
My Huck Norris for the same size rim is ~115g per wheel. Add the recommended ~40ml = ~40g of extra sealant and you are looking at a total of a little over 300g accounted for by the flat protection.
I'm pretty sure there is a lot of weight difference in the frame itself. Scott tends to make very light carbon frames.
  • + 1
 @VTwintips: The comparison was made in the article, so it appears not to be Pole's claim. The difference between 7005 and 6061 in strength is not huge, but there is some. Many manufactures advertise, or used to advertise their frames made from 7005 and Banshee, for instance, cites benefits in strength to weight. The also argue that the use of 7005 is the main reason that anodized frames only ever come in black.
6061 has other benefits, which is why stems or handlebars are often made from it.
  • + 6
 6061 and 7075 weigh almost the same per volume. A 1" cube of each would be nearly the same weight (like a 3% difference). 7075 is much stronger though, so parts can be designed to use less material for the same strength. This advantage will vary by application and the level of optimization applied by the designer.
  • + 1
 @WheelNut: Yah. I meant specific strength when I said the first comment.
  • + 8
 6800$ - considering the small numbers and the expensive, elaborate manufacturing process and compared to the carbon/plastic competition that is quite a good deal.
  • + 0
 too bad the prices aren´t correct(it´s plus VAT)but even actual prices are pretty good all thing considered.
  • + 7
 Three. Three water bottle holders. What will we be able to complain about? Meanwhile, anybody that needs three water bottle holders on a bike like this is doing something wrong.
  • + 2
 3 bottles allows for more h20 on bike to keep it floating through the rough stuff
  • + 2
 I think the 3 holders is to provide location options and not necessarily 3 bottles at once.
  • + 6
 Thinking so small.... those are beverage holders, no one said they all have to be for water.
  • + 5
 @tsheep: 1 beer, 1 coffee, 1 water?
  • + 2
 They are for carrying stuf inside special water/cage bottle.
  • + 2
 Im looking at the pole for my next bike, because of the extra bottle mounts. Currently riding the Transition Sentinal, and love the geo. But damn, our Summers here in Oz are brutal. And im sick of carrying extra water on my back, 2 big bottles + tool for the win!
  • + 8
 @mkotowski1: 1 Bourbon, 1 Scotch, and 1 Beer... Lonesome George!
  • + 1
 @Skooks: haha to each his own
  • + 1
 the water bottle under the bottom tube is useless. It's easy to get lost, damaged and dirty
  • + 1
 @arczii: strap it in and put a dirt cap on it
boom, secure and not dirty (where it matters)
  • + 5
 @mikekazimer

I know this section of trail very well.
m.pinkbike.com/photo/16653019

Did you find this bike in sections of trail like this a little cumbersome to get set up and through them being such a long bike that really likes to plow?
  • + 6
 That section of trail wasn't any issue - it's steep and pretty fast. It's on flatter, tighter trails where the Machine feels like a lot of bike.
  • - 1
 @mikekazimer: Mike the prices you have published on here are before taxes are added.
  • + 3
 @puddinghead, that's correct - the amount of tax a buyer needs to pay will depend on their location.
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: when it feels a lot of bike is it the size or the weight holding it back
  • + 2
 @puddinghead: To those of us NOT in the EU, take 24% off the price of any Pole bicycle. The taxes in Finland are amazing!
  • + 5
 Instead of just comparing the size difference between a medium pole to the size of xl yeti or Santa Cruzs and then the weight of a medium Scott why can’t Pinkbike compare an xl Scott (if that would have more similar reach and length figures) so weight is comparable. Long bikes will always weigh more than a shorter bike
  • + 5
 1. I think they actually were comparing the Pole to a large Scott Ransom, as that's what they had/weighed during the Field test (and looking at it, Mike undersells the difference as the Ransom was 29.1lbs for the L and the Pole is 32.5 for the M, so closer to 3.5 than the 2.5 he says in the article).

2. Most people aren't cross shopping bikes based on overall length, they're shopping based on fit. So they aren't choosing between a medium Pole and an XL Scott even if the reach is technically the same.
  • + 11
 @MarcusBrody, exactly. I compared a medium Pole to a large Scott, because that's what I rode.
  • + 1
 very good point, not to mention it has huck norris inserts while ransom doesn´t.
  • + 9
 @Mondbiker, the weight is with only one Huck Norris insert installed, which would have only added 100 grams or so. No matter how you slice it the Ransom is a lighter bike.
  • + 4
 @mikekazimer 1305 wheelbase and keeping Exo tyres in one piece, you disappointed me Mike... Wink
  • - 1
 @mikekazimer: No one is doubting that it will be heavier, the question was how much heavier it would be if it was fair comparison, mostly because of very different size of both bikes, but every bit counts.
  • + 5
 @Mondbiker: He literally compared two different size bikes so as to make a fair comparison based on the two sizes of bikes that a single rider would be choosing between.
  • + 11
 @WAKIdesigns, I'm smooth like silk. And it's winter, so the rocks sink into the ground when you run over them.
  • + 0
 @MarcusBrody: he mentioned that normally he would upsize Wink
  • + 2
 @Mondbiker: He did say that. So he compared the other bike's weight in the larger size and the Pole's in the smaller size to account for the fact that he'd normally upsize.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: cheers for the comeback with info. I’m personally a big fan of the new skool geometry bikes like thi (have a mojo Geometron myself), how does the machine compare to other bikes like the mojo/mondraker/sick ect?
  • + 5
 I think the real reason for the asymmetric seat tube and shock is that the clam shell frame designs prevents you from doing a split seat tube without adding at least one more part, some glue, and a fair bit more stock to machine away haha
  • + 5
 PB has the best reviews, well at least in the English language which is the only thing I can read.

The Machine is a cool bike. It doesn't offer what I look for in a bike for several reasons (weight and build method primarily), but it takes all kinds. I look forward to spotting one in the flesh on the trails at some point!
  • + 6
 @mikekazimer Did you do any timed runs? If so, how did the Machine compare to other bikes? Let's say to the Ransom for example. Thanks.
  • + 7
 It looks okay from the right hand side but is a lot less pretty when seen from the left.
  • + 4
 The industrial design - “styling” - seems at odds with the construction method. For example the line of bolts along the top tube are somewhat haphazardly placed along the outermost fillet, so that any bolt will have an uneven amount of material under it. Looks unconsidered too. The seat post junction is also odd, where it abruptly transitions from an Orbea Orca-like sculpted section to a round. For the talk of “easy modifications” in CNC I would expect tighter alignment between the construction and appearance details.
  • + 23
 nice arm chair
  • + 6
 @cedrico: arm chair, hell, I’m still laying down
  • + 2
 The bolts on the top tube were placed there due to the gluing part of things - via some older interviews from Pole designer/engineer, the bolts are placed there to help hold the frame together during the bonding process and stays there afterwards for additional reassurance. These bolts are in there for good, and cannot be removed, but required for glue bonding.
  • + 5
 @iJak: Right - like wood screws serving as a "vice clamp" even when using wood glue - I get that. What I don't get is why the bolts are placed along the underlying surfaces in a way that I recognized as "the styling is done and now we need to add bolt holes". The second photo in the write-up conveys this. When you get those elongated 'torpedo tube' holes, with a deep part and a shallow part or when half of the bolt head is sticking out as seen on the front-most head tube bolt, the resulting look comes across as not well-resolved or thought through. Ideally you would want to first identify where the bolts would be needed, and form the surfaces to complement the mechanical requirements.

That downtube shelf is pretty nice though.
  • + 4
 Just out of curiosity. How many people in here are paying for material instead of performance?

If carbon fiber is what you're after, then it is 100 % justified to buy a frame made of it. Personally I do not care if the frame is made of birch as well as it performs well, has a matching price and the manufacturing process is sound.
  • + 4
 You would be happy if it was made of birch. Then when you break the frame you can use it to smack yourself in the sauna...
  • + 3
 too bad there is no machined 140mm version of it. I went for the Evolink 140 instead, but I would have paid the extra costs for a machined one. I like the fact it to be locally produced and a small brand trying to move the boundaries.
  • + 4
 Why expensive for an aluminium frame? So if it was made of glorified plastic that would justify a higher price tag? This is a totally different approach to frame building and good on them. If it's worth it it's worth it!
  • + 6
 We've hit the extreme in geometry, time to move back to something comfortable and versatile.
  • + 6
 Actually, the steeper the STA the more I find it comfortable. To each their own.
  • + 11
 @Konyp: I find long wheelbases and super slack geo too much for tight tech trails I tend to ride. I can understand this bike for all-out high speed smashing, but it's not the bike for me
  • + 3
 The 29" Pole Machine is only six inches longer in wheelbase than my 26" Evil Uprising, it's not exactly like driving a semi truck. Consider giving a bike like this a ride sometime!
  • + 2
 @boxxerace: riding an xl nomad, the smallest Machine frame has a significantly longer wheelbase. I'm sure that an xl pole would be a smashing good time on high speed trails, but I'd be very afraid to take it up or down switchbacks.
  • + 1
 @spaceofades: I have, it’s not a big deal at all. The fact that you have more control while climbing I think offsets much of any perceived feeling of length.

I think we’ve all just grown up riding on geometry that spawns from road bikes. It sure looks and rides different, but not worse. Smile
  • + 2
 @boxxerace: But everyone knows it's the bike that makes a rider and not the other way round.
  • + 1
 @dubod22: that only works on carbon framed bikes Wink
  • + 2
 @spaceofades: I just spent a week in Aosta Valley riding mostly tight switchbacks. The Alps are so steep that it's the only type of trails there are, basically. Like really steep and really tight. Got through just fine. A large Evolink with 1320mm wheelbase.
  • + 3
 Having now ridden a size Large Machine, I actually ponder if I'd not buy the XL frame. I'm around 6'-1" tall but I do have a longer torso than leg (30" inseam).

The Pole Machine climbs like no other bike I've ridden. No wheelies, no stomach crunching leaning over squishing your balls climbing. Just normal bent elbows, only pedaling up things I've never been able to climb before. So I guess it's a bike that descends with the confidence of a DH bike, that climbs better than any other bike that I've ever ridden. And comfortably to boot.

This is the future of Mountain Bike geometry, more or less.
  • + 5
 How does it pedal on not 20 degree up or down trails?
  • + 0
 @rpl3000: I might be missing the punchline, but if you are serious, it’s a tremendous climber. No more feeling like you are “Big Wheeling” up a steep hill.
  • + 2
 @boxxerace: what’s the key factor for climbing ability with the machine? Is it the riders position between each axle? Better overall balance between front & rear vs other bikes short back end and over long front centre ?
  • + 1
 @enduroFactory: I think both factors that you highlight. The bike is about six-eight inches longer than the bike you might be on now, so inherently it's less likely to want to get up on one wheel for better or for worse.

On the other hand, that length gives you a lever arm to play with. I found on jumps, I push way more power into leaning back and popping a jump than I can on my small wheeled, but slack Evil. It went up and produced confidence. Would it be the bike Brandon Semenuk would ride for slopestyle? No. Does it feel like a tandem bike going through corners, no. It's just a bit longer and a whole bunch more stable.

As for the seatpost angle. The climbing factor really has to do with your hip / body position over the bottom bracket. Instead of having these cranks that are somewhat ahead of you like some Penny Farthing bike, they are under you, just in a better spot than the bike you or I currently own. Instead of walking up the walk up, like I did on my bike, my buddy and owner of the Pole Machine said, "hey, go ride up this, its amazing!". Sure enough, riding up the "walk up" to the "Happy Ending" jump at Duthie Hill, Issaquah, WA (reference so you can google search for context), I simply rode up something that's just not possible on my current bike.

If the Machine were an 80mm full suspension, it might even climb all that better, being even lighter and responsive to your input. The geometry its based on is a total win. Highly recommend you ride a Machine, a Sick Bicycles frame, a Geometron and see for yourself what this general geometry is bringing to the table.

Feel free to PM me as I ride my buddies bike in the weeks and months to come. I'll probably order one of my own, or a frame from the frame builders I mentioned. There is NOTHING that could convince me otherwise. Go ride it, you'll see friend!
  • + 3
 I don't understand the steep seat angle rage. I get knee pain in the front of my knee riding a bike with a 74.5 degree effective angle (2018 remedy) with my seat close to as far back on the rails as it can go. I am only 5'9 and do not have abnormally long legs, so I can only conclude with all these super steep seat angles lots of other people are going to complain about knee pain in the near future.
  • + 3
 I don’t get knee pain and I’m about the same height as you and my bike has a 75 degree effective seat tube angle with the saddle slammed forward on the rails. I’ll occasionally get back pain, but I’ve not had a bike where I don’t get back pain. To each his own I guess.
  • + 9
 Maybe you just have knee issues?
  • + 1
 @TheSlayer99: tilt your saddle forward just a bit. I used to get lower back pain on long rides, but this solved it
  • + 9
 Just because there is something wrong with your knees doesn't mean there's something wrong with everyone's knees.
  • + 5
 Part of the steep seat tube angle rage is so that long legged riders will have their seated weight in front of the contact patch so they don’t loop out on steep climbs on a bike with short chainstay length. Many full suspension bikes squat a fair bit when climbing which exacerbates the issue. One answer is to lengthen the rear center on larger frames and another is to steepen the seat tube angle. Longer chain stays changes the suspension dynamics I think and it is more expensive to make different rear ends for different sizes. As mentioned in the article increased reach means you need a steeper seat tube angle to keep the cockpit length similar. To me the Pole would perhaps be better if the bb was a few centimetres further forward with a slacker seat angle for better pedalling efficiency. Sitting bolt upright is less efficient than a bit more leaned over because leaned over you use your gluteus muscles more. Plus steep seat tube angles can put the saddle between your ass checks when you stand to power up something.
  • + 4
 9point8 offers a set back seat post which allows you about 25mm more length. Check it out.
  • + 5
 Well I'm not surprised you're getting knee pains having the seat that far back. Have you tried slamming it forward?
  • + 3
 @lubb1: I have not. Everything I know and have read seems to point to patella (front) knee pain stemming from having a saddle too far forward and thus your knee being in front of your pedals spindle when your foot is in the most forward position. Then again science has been wrong before, ill give at a try for experimentation sake this spring.
  • + 1
 @islandforlife: not yet haha
  • + 5
 @jibbandpedal: knee pain if front of patella typically stems from osteochondrosis in patello-femoral joint, which can be partly caused by genetics (bad Q angle or TTTG distance) and/or caused by overuse of quads vs hamstrings/glutes which pushes patella more firmly against the patellar groove on femur. Shifting seat forward could actually help, I´m not saying all the way forward, but deffo not all the way back like you have it.
  • + 1
 @TheSlayer99: lower back pain can be due to pushing heavier gears rather than spinning a slightly easier gear at a higher cadence.

Not saying it’s definitely from that, just thought I’d put it out there in case it helps.
  • + 1
 @jibbandpedal: What about saddle height? And type of pedaling? (I.e. mashing?) I've gone through various knee problems over the years on road and MTB; I had to learn spin more (old knees couldn't mash like young knees) and a saddle that was too low was a killer to the knees when pedaling a lot. Just a thought.
  • + 1
 One of the understated but huge difference in steep seat angle is that the difference between seated and standing pedaling is greatly reduced. Example,my 17’ Enduro 29 or 18 sc Hightower or my trek Farley, feel like a normal transition from seated to standing pedaling where my body weight substantially shifts forward automatically as I stand due to the seat being far back. It’s always felt normal. This is not a big issue on the e29 as the suspension is very active but I lose a ton of my pedal power due to the active suspension and I have to stay seated when it get really steep and tech or I just can’t clean the section. The Hightower or Farley will just spin out if I stand up too quickly under power in a steep tech climb. This has forced me to become a better climber and work on technique (not a bad thing). But, I get on new my Guerrilla Gravity megatrail with a steep seat angle and the my body weight feels like it moves very little as I stand to climb. Super odd and extremely suttle. I move so little to stand that my weight shift does not unload the rear tire causing a spin out (Hightower/Farley) and with the longer reach/steep seat combo, my weight is already forward/neutral so it climbs as if it had a much longer chainstay (it’s 427mm!) ,no wheeling or wandering or sitting on the nose of the saddle (enduro 29). It’s the first bike I have actually felt like it climbed best staying somewhat neutral and made very little difference to traction or wheelies in or out of the saddle. There’s more to all this than just long reach and a steep seat but I was blown away with how suttle my body movements needed to be for tech climbs that I would spin out on a very supportive bike/hard tail or lose all power on a super active bike. Just my personal observations and an opinion that this modern geo thing is not just a fad. Lots of personal preference involved but definitely not a fad or all hype.
  • + 1
 Mmmm bad Engrish....hard to type on a phone!
  • + 1
 @jibbandpedal: For roadies, pain in the front of the knee often indicates a saddle that's too low and pain in the hamstrings and rear of the knee often indicates a saddle that's too high. Another common cause of knee pain is incorrectly positioned cleats.
  • + 0
 I have some knee problems and the slacker the seat tube angle, the more knee pain i get. I have an Evolink and it's the only bike so far that i don't slam my seat forward...
  • + 1
 andpedal

I’m around the same height and have had knee issues too... are you me?
  • + 1
 Consider having your alignment checked from the feet up. If you pronate or supinate, your alignment is off and your knees and hips will suffer. It may take some time and expensive footbeds to alter your current alignment, but you can be cured. You may have encountered this statement if you've ever seen a good ski boot fitter. Anyone trained will see a problem right away. And don't think I'm dissing, it's perfectly normal. I pronate a little and use footbeds in ski boots, but don't in most mountain bike shoes. I'm lucky.
  • + 6
 Would customs be able to contain their curiosity, when they see those bolts?
  • + 4
 I get the cool manfacture and the on point "science" geometry but in reality .....if I was paying that amount of money, I wouldn't want something that fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on its way down.
  • + 2
 If I'm paying that much money for a bike (not likely) I don't care at all what it looks like, I'd only care about performance. If I wanted looks in a bike I'd go join the turquoise tribe.
  • + 2
 "I'm more likely to grab the Ransom for longer, more pedaly rides, while the Machine gets the call on days that are more strictly focused on the descents."

But wouldn't you rather take a bike with a room for three water bottles for longer, more pedaly rides?
  • + 9
 @mikekazimer: Does the filter work on piss for self sufficiency in arid climates? If yes, for how many cycles?
  • + 11
 Luckily that wasn't part of my testing process...
  • + 10
 @mikekazimer: You should test it for the sake of journalism. Make sure to find the maximum number of cycles too. You now have one job Mike.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: me too. The Trailshot is brilliant.
  • + 4
 Asymmetrical bike frames mess with my OCD. Sat on an Orbea Rallon looked down at the shock offset to one side and thought , nope.
  • + 2
 Since this: "anti-squat value ... falls off quickly as the bike goes through its travel in order to keep the suspension active and responsive during larger impacts" is in every bike review, can we just come up with a code for it so we don't waste the pixels? 'AS=PG' or something?
  • + 2
 Didn`t know that Pole is finnish. To me it sounds strange as Finland is not known as a proper mountainous country, meaning: that`s a true big mountain bike for commited ridings in rapid and steep terrains. Do they test their bikes in Finland or do they go to more mountainous countries such as Norway or Sweden?
  • + 1
 Over the course of 4 or 5 sets of CrossMax wheels from the mid-2000s to 2015, I had the same random popping issue. Each time they were serviced, we'd find the pawls were oh-so-lightly chipped, They never failed - just a little 'pop' under light power. Same thing with a recent P321 hub. I'm not a sprinter nor do I mash on the pedals - just a classic JRA I guess.
  • + 2
 I had same issue splitting cracking pawls with both Mavic & Hope both hubs failed multiple times, Mavic mp3 is awesome but hope not so good experience for myself.
  • + 3
 I can't fathom riding a bike with a chainstay that long. I like to pop small gaps, transfer from side to side of the trail, and manual without planning 30' in advance.
  • + 1
 Great looking bike, but there Stamina is even better looking but a pure race/technical terrain 'machine' too!

The M surely would fit a Thule Proride 591 roof rack, but i won't imagine fitting the 1,36m wheelbase of the XL on one, cause my XL Geometron is a tight fit on it.
  • + 1
 I get so sick of all the armchair critics who read the numbers but have never even seen a Pole in person. P-l-e-a-s-e go ride one before you offer your useless critique! They're unlike any other bike and as such take some time to adjust but once you do... they are revolutionary! Like Mike says, they have no competitors.
  • + 4
 What is the actually frame weight? I wonder if having all those steel bolts in the frame adds a bunch of weight.
  • + 1
 "Frame construction technique isn't entirely proven in mountain bike world."

Then please, please, please, sign me up to pay $6k to be Pole's R&D.

I don't know if it's their pontificating about carbon frames, or if it's that I just don't like how these frames look, or that I don't trust the construction, or that I can pay half the price for a decent aluminum bike from just about any other manufacturer, but I am just not a fan.
  • + 4
 Pole hates carbon but puts carbon cranks on bike? (I'm fine with that, I have same cranks and love them)
  • + 0
 How would it feel in corners with that steep seat angle, I've been told that the reason why Santa Cruz bikes corner and feel like a DH bike on descents is because of the slack seat angle, I will never understand the obsession with steep seat angles on Enduro bikes where they are wanting to ride descents as fast a possible.
  • + 3
 Unless you sit down while flying down descents, I'm not sure how this would make any difference. Smile
  • + 3
 The three water bottle pro is a joke right? It's difficult to tell these days on here
  • + 1
 Regarding weight @mikekazimer: how does the Pole Compare to yhe Ransom when the Ranson has proper Enduro tires with Huck Norris inserts? Or vice versa with trail tires in the Pole?
  • + 2
 The Ransom is still lighter - the weight listed is with only one Huck Norris insert installed, which adds around 100 grams.
  • + 2
 Is Pole actually building this bike with carbon bars and cranks or are these parts that Mike just had lying around and chucked on for the giggles?
  • + 2
 I got a medium machine, 5'7" and fits perfect, rides steep technical tight stuff just fine, climbs like a goat and you can pedal it all day, what's not to like.
  • + 3
 What's up with all these spindly EXO tires on all these enduro race bikes? Cost, weight?
  • + 5
 Weight marketing.
  • + 1
 Would EXO still cut it for some/many non-pros since they have Huck-norris inserts? I saw that they include those.
  • + 3
 @Svinyard: if you do not tend to slice exo tires you do not need 180/160 bike!
  • + 1
 @Svinyard: Exo lacks stability for such a bike. Huck Norris only makes it easier to burp. At least in my experience. It's a good product for the front, wouldn't run it for the rear for anything else than XC/ Down Country.
  • + 0
 I thought these super long reached bikes were a godsend for tall people like me...but with these ridiculously steepened seat tubes, the benefits of the long reach are negated. Every seat tube degree of steepness takes away roughly 10-20mm of the "feel" of the increased reach reach (roughly speaking, and def not science based just my theory from demoing a bunch of new bikes last season). So these massive bikes these days feel just as crunched as the old 73 degree seat tubes I used to ride with a 460mm reach in size XL. A steep seat tube helps my giant ass climb because I'm not way out over the rear axle anymore, but I find the benefits stop at 75ish degrees and things just start to feel small again after that.
  • + 12
 ?? If you think increased reach is about making your seated cockpit feel better you are mistaken. This is all about us tall guys (I'm 6-4) and yeah the top-tubes are about the same but we aren't way over the rear axle anymore. No more auto-wheelie like the Hightower LT/Following flaws. Its fantastic. If its too cramped up top, size up or move your seat back. GG or Pole etc make bikes for REALLY tall guys too.

Now, the reach is all about downhill man. Steep STA solves climbing, reach solves decending. Its a good thing and keeps us in the bike more. The downside tho is that man, a medium Ransom is a longer feeling bike for smaller guys....but the XL sizes are getting really long and the turns aren't getting any wider. That, in my opinion is where the most sacrifice has been made for us tall guys....the 29in wheels are already a bit less nimble and then you throw in a massive WB (compared to what XL used to be) and that bike is a bit to handle on the tighter trails.
  • + 0
 @Svinyard: Yes you're right, the downhill aspect of increased reaches for us tall guys certainly helps. I'm 6'5, and there's no "sizing up" for me. It's whatever the biggest bike a company makes, that's the only one I could try and ride.

As for the cockpit feeling too small with steep seat tubes, Kaz even says this in his review. "Any steeper and the cockpit would have felt too short for me, despite the bike's sprawling wheelbase, and my knees would have been too far in front of the pedal spindle." Which is exactly how I feel while climbing on a lot of these hyper steep seat tube angle bikes.
  • + 3
 @gbeaks33: look at guerrilla gravity. They've made XXL bikes for pro basketball players. They get tall people.
  • + 2
 Please tell me I’m not the only one who sees the profile of a little dude holding a huge dong in the seat tube / shock mont design...
  • + 2
 Oh God, it’s worse watching the suspension compression video.
  • + 3
 Nitpicking here just a bit 7075 can be welded its just very prone to failure in the heat affected zone.
  • + 0
 I can sum up all pinkbike bike reviews: "Bike is good and likes to go fast. Some minor annoyances."
It's so hard to differentiate the actual riding quality of most modern bikes anyhow. Buy any new bike and I'm sure you'll be amazed.
  • + 22
 That's why we include comparison sections, to try to help people decide between all the good options. And hopefully you got more out of this review than those two sentences.
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer: This trend has been nice.
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer: is it faster than a 26'' DH Bike from 2014?
  • + 4
 What a fabulous piece of engineering!
  • + 1
 @polebicycles

So medium Pole Machinę is only 6mm longer on reach than large Giant Reign but seat is much steeper. That would mean that Pole should feel smaller when climbing right cos you're closer to the front? ????
  • + 2
 Or you could buy the evolink 158, save some cash, and have basically the same bike!
  • + 2
 A single minded bike, not reflected entirely in the pros and cons. Good for downs, not good for technical trails.
  • + 2
 SA not steep enough. I won’t be satisfied until I’m sitting in front of the handlebars.
  • + 2
 Too pricey for a cnc aluminium frame? Pricey for the material but not pricey for the labor behind the bike
  • + 1
 For the novelty of having one and the building of the frame. Dont see why anyone would expected to be any less. Cheap bikes are cheap for a reason. love to have one for a season or two. @Tr011
  • + 1
 Agreed, huge machine time must go into each frame, imagine scrapping one near the end of the cycle...
  • + 3
 Bert Kreischer called, and he wants his bike back.
  • + 1
 I would love to see Bert hauling ass shirtless on this bike. I would guess the bike would break under his enormous weight though. #bertisfat
  • + 1
 @spoo: Shirtless, but with a full face and elbow pads. I can basically hear him screaming, "I am the maccchhhiiiiinnneee!!!!" as he rips by.
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: Can you make a parallel on basics riding caractheristics of the Machine in comparison with the Nomad 4?
  • + 3
 Gonna need a bigger bike rack!
  • + 1
 It barely fit on my Yakima Holdup.
  • + 1
 Might want to check the price you've put on this bike. Needs the VAT added on @mikekazimer
  • + 2
 How in the hell did Aston not review this bike!?
  • + 0
 seriously....it should have been required
  • + 2
 You never know until you try it.
  • + 1
 From what I can see, the rear shock will get a constant splattering of mud on it.
  • + 0
 Do you think that modern shock in this orientation will have any issues with that?
  • + 1
 @Mondbiker: Yes. I can say with certainty that not shielding the shock and seals from mud will cause premature wear. Most bikes have the seat tube act as a rear shock fender.
  • + 1
 Love that the prices mentioned are in Euros without VAT.
I very excitedly checked their page for the 500€ discount...
  • + 0
 Looks like a stumpjumper gone wrong in my opionion, it I bet it’s a shredder. But I can’t justify the price when Commencal is also aluminum and for a way better price
  • + 0
 Coke can is also aluminum, just saying.
  • + 2
 now that's a pole I wouldn't mind riding...
  • + 1
 Pfft. 79 degree STA is slack. I want a 90 degree STA so I can climb 45% grades.
  • + 1
 who ever built this bike needs to invest in some flushcut side cutters for all those cable ties
  • + 2
 Doesn’t look like a session.
  • + 1
 These photos cleared up my confusion of how these bikes are made. Thank you, I can be at ease now.
  • + 1
 If I had the terrain for it I would want this bike. It looks damn fast in the pictures.
  • - 2
 kinda crazy if you think about the amount of machining and tech involved with the gluing involved and it costing less than $3500 for frame/shock. Most high end carbon frames are a little less than that and they do almost the same amount of machining but only do it once for each mold AND they are manufactured overseas. Shows how much profit is in those carbon frames.
  • + 2
 Carbon moulds are made to significantly higher tolerances (look at the surface finish on the frame) and not usually from aluminium, plus you need multiple moulds for high production or you are only working with one at a time.

I agree though, the resources / cost put into this frame continue to be the same regardless of qty produced, you won’t ever see this method make a ‘cheap’ frame that’s for sure.
  • + 1
 This is one ugly looking bike.
  • + 1
 Frame construction technique is same as shimano cranks I believe.
  • + 1
 its super ugly but, I think I like it for what it is.
  • + 1
 Any comparison to the Stumpy Evo 29 @mikekazimer ?
  • + 2
 Your bike is bent
  • + 1
 Please tell me POLE has a guard for the rear shock?
  • + 1
 looks like a dirt bike in that first pic.
  • + 5
 Same price.
  • + 1
 27.5 fo life
  • + 1
 Interesting
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns I hear crickets............
  • + 4
 All peaceful here
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I was looking forward to reading your comments with you losing your s&*t over this outrageous geometry. Clearly @mikekazimer has no idea what a proper bike rides like. Disappointed in you champ.
  • + 2
 @Randomscruff: sadly, it’s not Friday evening everyday Wink
  • + 5
 @Randomscruff: I am burned out. Also Mike Kazimer has raised all the points I was raising in my posts. It is only AF commenters who believe that this has advantages in every single situation and that this bike is playful. Meanwhile 29" DH bikes remain not playful and are killing options for those who are into fun. Like 27,5" DH bikes are playful and all Down Country bikes are playful as long as they have 1300 wheelbases. Most Enduro bikes are not playful, especially short ones. Super long hardtails with 160 forks are playful. Zero contradicitons there. It is me who is nuts. I got that vibe rather well Smile
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: that’s what I’m looking for.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: It's all relative to speed though. At slower speeds a 'normal' bike will probably feel more "playful" but at higher and higher speeds, that playful bike will start to feel skittish and scarier to ride. At high speeds, the Machine feels super playful yet still in control (I own one). So I guess it depends on how fast you like to go Wink
  • + 0
 Banshee claims to produce 7075 bikes and those seem welded.
  • + 4
 They make them in 7005, just like most other high-end aluminium frames. 7005 is a bit stronger than 6061,welds fine, but doesn't have the strenght of 7075.
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