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Now THAT Was a Bike: 2016 Pole Evolink

May 7, 2024 at 7:33
by Seb Stott  
Pole Evolink 140 Review - Frame details

Sometimes you can only fully appreciate innovation in hindsight.

If a bike was released today with a 64-degree head angle, 77.5-degree seat angle, 456 mm chainstay and 510 mm reach in the largest size, it wouldn't look that out of place. But Pole had landed on those figures in 2016. Back then, this bike may as well have come from outer space.

When Pole sent me a preproduction version to review at the end of 2015 I struggled with it at first, but soon adapted to what we'd now call modern geometry. Looking back, the Evolink 140's suspension design was quirky at best and it would have benefited from more travel and better parts, but the advantages of the geometry concept shone through regardless. It was not only more stable and confidence-inspiring on rough or steep trails - as expected - it was also more comfortable uphill.

Pole Evolink 140 - Review
Former Pinkbike editor and lifelong Brummie, Paul Aston, was also impressed by the Evolink when he reviewed it in 2017.

Of course, not everyone was on board with the idea (and many still aren't) but it's interesting to note just how well Pole's geometry fits in with the latest creations from mainstream brands. Some have gone even more extreme (take a look at a Canyon Strive or Transition Spire, for example). But having ridden even longer bikes, I'd say Pole had things about right with the Evolink.

The Evolution of the Specialized Enduro
For reference, this is what a Specialized Enduro looked like in 2016.

Pole Evolink 140 Geometry
Pole Evolink geometry
S-Works Enduro 29 geometry
2016 Specialized Enduro 29 geometry

It's hard to overstate how ahead of its time the Evolink was. For context, the Specialized Enduro was probably the benchmark 29er back in 2016. Its head angle was three degrees steeper, the seat angle was two degrees slacker and the wheelbase in the largest size was over 100 mm shorter. Over the years since, head angles and reach numbers have caught up with the geometry Pole pioneered, although I still get frustrated by new bikes with effective seat angles slacker than 77 degrees and only a few brands have pushed rear-centre lengths as long as the Evolink's, which help to balance out the weight distribution.

Pole Evolink 140 Review - Frame details
Pole told me this elongated bottom bracket section was there because they couldn't source a downtube long enough. How times change.

Pole wasn't alone in championing this geometry concept. Across the North Sea, Chris Porter and Geometron bikes were also eulogizing the holy trinity of slack head angles, steep seat tubes and long reach (although not so much 29" wheels). I've heard people accuse each of copying the other, but my take is that both brands saw the opportunity independently once components and frame fabricators became capable of pulling it off. And both no doubt stood on the shoulders of Cesar Rojo and Mondraker, whose Forward Geometry concept debuted in 2012.

Pole Machine review
The Pole Machine had its problems, but the bonded high-grade alloy construction was certainly innovative.

Evolink was just the start

But Pole wasn't finished innovating. In 2017, they publicly canned their carbon frame project on environmental grounds, claiming aluminum had a much lower impact. This claim was met with understandable skepticism, but four years later Trek's sustainability report revealed that producing carbon frames had three times the CO2 impact of their aluminum equivalents, although keep in mind that study was focused on more traditional methods of aluminum frame construction, not machining large blocks of aluminum.

The machined and glued 7075 aluminum frame Pole developed instead was met with even more skepticism, and while it wasn't without its problems, Pole refined the process over the years and other brands including Actofive and Ministry Cycles employed a similar process.

photo
Dan Slack and Onni Rainio raced the Pole Onni at the 2024 Fort William DH World Cup. PC: Nick Bentley.

The end of the road?

Of course, Pole made mistakes too. A few years ago, many customers complained of reliability problems and poor customer service. And there was that time the Pole Stamina's prototype swingarm broke during testing - something that probably would have been forgotten if it wasn't for Pole's rather clumsy preemptive response.

A few weeks ago Pole filed for bankruptcy . They blamed several factors, including Finnish political strikes and the post-Covid bubble that's affecting the entire industry. Another contributing factor mentioned in Leo Kokknoen's interview with Rob Rides EMTB was (CNC) machines that broke down for a month.

Specialized famously use the mantra "innovate or die." But maybe Pole innovated a bit too hard. Whether Pole can find a buyer and rise from the ashes remains to be seen. But I for one would be sad to see a company that led the innovation race stumble and never get up.




Author Info:
seb-stott avatar

Member since Dec 29, 2014
313 articles

140 Comments
  • 144 1
 Honestly, they should have stick with Evolinks. They were niche and wanted to get more niche and exclusive which I get, but look at the Raaw for example. Bikes are just bikes, maybe a refined welded alu bike is better than a fancy CNCed sh*t?
  • 29 0
 Definitely. They could have refined that design easily for more travel iterations, increased stiffness, and slightly less heft, and I bet it would have ended up a great performance/value proposition.
  • 15 0
 +1. I almost bought one, but the geo seemed too radical for my trails/riding. Now... looks fantastic. Rear end is still quite long, but I've REALLY come around to long chainstays.
  • 3 0
 @mammal: 110, 131, 140 and 158 it looks like. I wanted a 158 right around the time of all the drama and ended up not buying one. I think they would’ve sold a lot more if the 158 had come out first.
  • 3 0
 @somebody-else: 158 made the most sense, but to me, based on comparing the geo charts, it seemed like a 140 afterthought and not an optimized platform.
Evolinks were a quantum leap to take back in those days. If only the brave pills were cheaper.
  • 6 0
 Evolink 1.4 frame bundle was an incredible deal on a frame improved over four iterations. I got one, and it like a friend told me: these things eat trail, whether it is XC, enduro, or DH. I run my Evolink 1.4 with a 170mm fork to make it *the* quiver-killer.
  • 3 24
flag Mtbdialed (May 9, 2024 at 16:49) (Below Threshold)
 @Glenngineer: gotcha....big fan of a long one in the rear end......nice! I am sure POLE can help you out!
  • 1 0
 @somebody-else: They also made a 176 which was dual crown capable, I don't know if they actually produced it though. You can find images online.
  • 1 0
 @Glenngineer: Not easy to know what you want. Not even the people who tell you what you want are quite certain anymore. Strange times.
  • 2 0
 I also believe that if they had stuck I had the Evolink they would probably still be in business. Great geo at a decent price. I had the Evolink 176 in red, what a great trail bike that was!
  • 1 0
 @ChristianToole: They did. Not sure how many. Saw one in flesh last year.
  • 2 0
 There are now a good choice of affordable, welded alu frames with progressive geometry - but I think Seb is right that the one area many are lacking is the rear centre.
My current big bike adjusts from 440-445mm, it's fine but 450-455mm would be finer IMO (I have tried those CS lengths before).
  • 4 0
 You mean like Nicolai whose G16 was the blueprint for this bike.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: The G1 can have insane long CS. It can be rebuilt into anything.
  • 2 0
 but a genius wants to keep doing genius innovative stuff... and hates to get stuck... this is a pro and a con. He found the way to express at it's best it's creative mind but losing the business side...
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: Yes'ish but the G16 chain stay was only 440 and the wheelbase less than the Evolink so while Leo was certainly inspired by the Nicholai he was already past it. In the next few years Leo's geometry will come to be standard fare on most trail/enduro bikes.
  • 1 0
 @manco: My Mondraker Summum 2013 came with 445 or 455 mm CS inserts.
  • 1 0
 @joni0001984: I appreciate that but remember your Summon was a DH rig and the Evolink was a trail bike. No one was putting 455 Chainstays on a trail bike in 2013. The Summon was a harbinger of things to come, eh!
  • 1 0
 @manco: It also came stock with 60-63 degree headtube angle. Monster of a bike. But reach was 440mm on a Large. Que?
  • 54 7
 Pole has gotten ugler every year.
  • 38 0
 The Evolink might have been their only attractive bike IMO
  • 7 0
 @gnarnaimo: Don't forget the Taival, that one looked pretty rad!
  • 5 3
 Nah the Onni was kind of cool looking IMO. The Machine, on the other hand...kill it with fire.
  • 36 0
 Haven't we all.
  • 2 1
 @gnarnaimo: Stamina was a good looking bike
  • 32 0
 www.pinkbike.com/photo/26621388

This isn’t mine, it was on Craigslist for a while nearby but I think it needs to be in these comments.
  • 41 0
 Dak Norton is actually racing that next round
  • 3 0
 That thing is crazy looking! I wonder what the story was (ie. original owner and setup like that from the jump, or original owner who suffered an injury after owning it for a while and needed it modded, or stolen and modded by a non-MTB enthusist, etc...)?
  • 5 0
 @thekaiser: if I remember the ad, the owner was something like 6’8”
  • 1 0
 @thekaiser: and those are 29x2.6? 2.8 tires. I don’t remember exactly, just that the bike was so big it made them look like 26 inch tires
  • 1 0
 Nice stack
  • 21 0
 I feel like the machined Aluminum bikes were their downfall. So many failures including the only 2 Poles that I personally know of. Somehow, I doubt that shipping new parts to old customers, back and forth often, and now a bunch of failure prone existing bikes about to be binned, was somehow 'green'.
  • 11 0
 Unfortunately this very much reminds me of my former job, working for another innovative and fast-growing company (with also fast-changing products, much to my after sales team's dislike). They were hyping big time how the local manufacturing and materials used were so great for sustainability and very green, while at the same thanks to the rapid development pace and lagging practices the binning of faulty, non-recyclable parts at global sites and constantly shipping new, large deliveries by air in the name of great customer service was anything but ecological. (I don't know what they teach in Finnish innovation schools Big Grin )
  • 4 0
 I agree about the machined alu. Just feels like a solution in search of a problem. I'm riding an regularly welded Alu Ibis and aside from maybe a bit stiffer rear end I don't know what I would change about it 4 years later in terms of frame construction. It just works and it's not even fancy. All that extra material and glue etc etc. seems like so much complexity for so little benefit.
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: I think here you overlook one of the main goals of the CNC'd frames, Leo said it was one good way to bring back manufacturing to Finland at acceptable cost.

Personally I can't say, I'm riding excellent Al frames but they are not made in Europe for sure
  • 2 0
 @Uuno: Making a complex process so that a small country can say they made it doesn't sound like a prudent business decision. I mean, cool if you're Finnish, but for the Millions of people that aren't it doesn't make much sense. Devinici is starting to make MTBs in Canada now, but just normal old welded frames, if anyone is keen.
  • 20 0
 This was really the winning formula - Pole should really have continued on down this route IMO.
  • 3 0
 Hindsight's 20/20 ey
  • 16 0
 Pole's downfall I presumed was due to them not having the skill to design a bike that was strong and reliable. I liked my Evolink and have never ridden a bike with more grip. Admittedly the 4 cracks in the frame were a bit of a downer. If they got bought out by a company with some skilled designers it could be great. Or you could just buy a Nicolai. Similar geometry, but designed and assembled with skill.
  • 13 2
 its funny, i remember a video where Leo Kokkonen said that he preferred industrial designers to mechanical engineers because they were better at CAD and can make more complex shapes... maybe if they had spent less time industrially designing bikes (what even is industrial design?) and more time mechanically engineering them they wouldnt be in this mess.
  • 4 0
 @GumptionZA: if I remember correctly Leo was also a self trained engineer, which is to say not an engineer. They had a lot of great ideas but clearly failure analysis was not a strong suit of theirs
  • 9 0
 They seemed to iterate quite a lot on their designs too, which made it feel like you weren’t getting a polished product, more like an alpha prototype. Which I guess the premature failures demonstrated.

I really wanted them to succeed - fix their problems and stop iterating for 5 mins.
I had a stamina 140 or order for months.

But the attitude from Leo and the lack of customer service drove me to request a refund and bail out. If anyone was on the Facebook page, they may remember the nonsense of people getting banned if they weren’t full of praise.

The design iterations reeked of a “try and see” approach instead of a considered Root Cause Analysis and proper engineering. Not appropriate for a consumer product, but people would justify it because it’s boutique. But boutique shouldn’t mean crap.
Not shocked that a self trained “engineer” couldn’t problem solve. Doing pretty pictures in CAD is not engineering.
  • 2 0
 @ironhorse-rider: this, exactly this.

I remember having my Transition Scout serviced sometime in 2019, and the lbs loaned me a Pole Evolink demo bike in the meanwhile. While I loved my Scout, the Evolink was just so much more capable. I was (and am) a pretty slow rider, but I felt like I’d unlocked a few cheat codes while riding on it.

However, even then I remember being weirded out by how Pole was run. They’d just brought out the Machine a while ago, then the Stamina like a year after. Which ofcourse looked great on paper and even rode wonderfully when I demoed one, but didn’t feel like participating in public beta testing. Which of course turned out to be a great decision in hindsight.

Shame really, had the potential to be great bikes.
  • 16 0
 The slow evolution of geometry by the big frame makers was painful to watch. An embarrassment to be so off the mark for years. Took a FINN (and a few others) to innovate and challenge the status quo
  • 5 0
 Market competition, big names want to milk the caw slowly every year, small players seize the gap to cut their share of pie.
  • 3 0
 It's much more expensive and slower for a major manufacturer to adjust, they are usually planning much further down the road. That's why a lot of these innovations are seen from small frame builders first and then get copied by the bigger guys. Like turning on a jetski vs a billionaire's yacht.
  • 7 1
 I bought a Bird AM9 in 2018. I believe that frame was announced in 2017. If one checks the original AM9 geometry chart, it's almost 100% in line with what's being released today.
Bird doesn't get enough credit
  • 2 0
 Revolutionary geometry in 2016, only a year after this, which had a 520 reach, 63.5/64.2 HA and 77.7 seat angle, and 455 chainstays

www.pinkbike.com/news/nicolai-mojo-geometron-first-ride-2015.html
  • 2 0
 @Arierep: I recommend Bird to everyone... Unless they are 6'6 then Nicolai.
  • 3 0
 @cavegiant: yea me too, they look uninspired but they're so good. And their customer service is amazing.
  • 13 1
 Mine was terrible. Like someone handed a factory a drawing on a napkin and told the factory to "figure out the details". The geometry was good. That's about it. That giant front shock mount isn't very thick plate and isn't braced at all so it bent. The rear end is put together like a Norco from 2002 and it flexed so much that the internals of my shock needed to be replaced from so much side loading *twice*. Of course when I reported these things to Pole they said it was impossible and that it was my fault. So when I heard the Machines head tubes were zippering open I wasn't surprised. What a bunch of junk. Though maybe just the right quality for a showy guy with more money than skill to pedal around his local park.
  • 4 0
 I guess you'd be surprised by how many bikes around are designed exactly the way you're describing. The big frame manufacturers in Taiwan put way more work into the bike designs and engineering than many people realise
  • 13 0
 Also hoping they change the name - being a Pole rider requires Doja Cat levels of self confidence.
  • 4 0
 I loved that bit. It tickled my childish sense of humour, especially when they offered one in pink. The thought of going off the the woods and riding my extra large pink Pole until my arse hurt
  • 7 0
 As a former Cove owner, I used to to go to the woods to ride my 19" stifee. Strangely, I couldn't get anyone to come with me.
  • 8 0
 I had one. Great bike. I kinda miss it. Problem was that rear end eats shocks. I was needing to service them from all the side-loading at less than 50 hours. Probably should have been doing them at less than 30 hours. The tech at DVO suggested just keeping 2 shocks in rotation. Not what I wanted to do, so I sold the frame and got a Banshee Titan.
  • 20 11
 Every person I’ve encountered riding a pole in the US has been a huge attention seeking tool that lacks the skills to ride it.
  • 60 10
 Describes The Loam Ranger to a T. Do you remember when he was sponsored by Pole? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
  • 3 1
 @ratedgg13: OUCH! lol...but yea.
  • 7 1
 I felt like I rode my evolink pretty well, have we met?
  • 41 2
 @ratedgg13: careful, he might make a YouTube video about his hurt feelings.
  • 41 2
 @idontknowwhatiexpected: Working on it right now. (crying face)
  • 4 1
 www.pinkbike.com/photo/26521185

I probably fit that description. I love the bike because it is way overbuilt (I'm a 6'4" clydesdale) and it's easy to ride.
  • 4 0
 Not to add to the negative statement, but the gentleman I met at angel fire with a pole did have extensive knowledge of all things bike related and a decked out pinkbike hot topics. And he rode at first time tourist speed.
  • 6 0
 Are you talking about mountain bikers or most of my exes?
  • 19 4
 What does „lacking the skill to ride it“ even mean? It’s not even a racebike, there is nothing difficult about it.
Sounds just like mindless dudebro trash talk.
  • 12 1
 @ratedgg13: I dunno man, I like the dude. Riding mountain bikes doesn't come easily to some, and often the ones that struggle the most with learning a skill are the best to teach it. When you ask people that take to mtb like a fish to water how they do something usually it's an "I dunno" followed by a shrug or a "I just do it." He's a fun and insightful watch for many of us that don't have the knack for it either.
  • 3 1
 @Ttimer: You hit the nail on the head there.
  • 5 0
 @mattmatthew: absolutely. Met Ryan last night and thanked him and Beth for bringing the stoke. Not everyone is going to Ride like Remy and it’s nice to see more “normal” riders on YT too. Variety and all.
  • 1 0
 @mungz: Funny that you bring up Remy bc from what I can see that dude is also totally stoked on riding with people even if their skill level is way below his.
  • 2 0
 @mattmatthew: point taken, but as far as I can tell Remy is stoked to wake up on a day that ends in Y.
  • 7 0
 I had one and loved it. Apart from the geometry, my favourite thing was that they used large standard bearings, so you could actually fit quality bearings rather than obscure-sized Enduro trash. Super easy to work on. Shame to see them fall. Nicolai has become a worthy successor.
  • 4 0
 Naaah it really started getting downhill for them when they stopped producing the Taiga. I'm kidding, but they stopped production when I was eventually able to afford one, and it was the only fat with a rather progressive geo. My Farley isn't bad but the climbing position takes me back to 2013.
  • 4 0
 Still have great memories of taking my evolink 29er to the bikepark before the 29er craze really took off. The combo of geo and wheel size ironed out the little 26 and 275 braking bumps like nothing else - was an absolute dream to ride!
  • 4 0
 Honestly when i bought Stamina 180 and got familiar with it, that bike got me skipping every bike review for years. There was no bike, that got me interested. Because when i checked geo tables, i knew they would slower or otherway worse riding. I pr:d every. single. of my training segments on same summert that i got the bike. I honestly think that is still one of most fastest enduro bikes existing. I think Vikkelä was a step backwards on geometry and pushing too much travel. I was about to sell that bike last summer for downcountry bike, luckily i came to my senses
  • 6 0
 It was cool watching Seb's review: paraphasing here: '31# LLS size L 140mm aggressive bike is a bit heavy'... LMFAO
  • 3 0
 I rode sebs 140, as at the time we lived quite close and I knew him. This thing blew my mind, I got a PB down a fast, techy local trail on my first run and it's led to a love of long and slack bikes ever since. It was so much better than my Orbea rallon from the same period. Such a good bike!
  • 7 0
 Bro 2016 was like just last week, relaaaaaax.
  • 3 0
 Had the Evolink 140 back in 2016 and I still think fondly about that school bus. Hands down one of the fastest bikes I’ve ever owned but for better or worse it was stuck to the ground like Velcro. Ultimately let it go for a more playful ride but god-dayum that was a great bike! Truely a game changer and Leo was waaaay ahead of the game. Hopefully we don’t see the last of him and that phoenix will rise again from the ashes.
  • 3 0
 I had a 2020 XL Evolink 140; thing was sick but the rear end was a bit long. Found cracks in the front and rear triangle when I did a deep clean on the bike, but they were good about sending in a replacement
  • 2 0
 I got a 2020 Evolink 140 with EXT Storia and a Smashpotted Lyrik. Great bike! Didn't break it and it did like going downhill. I sized down one size since I live in New England and it's not super steep here. Also at 480 reach, the medium is pretty spot on for a large, which I normally ride. It's a cool bike with a lot of nicely thought out features.
  • 3 1
 lol ya Specialized says "innovate or die" so their competitors lose their shirts innovating, while they rake in the dough making consistent middle of the road bikes with conservative geo, all built on the same suspension patent from 1994. To be clear I'm a Specialized fan I love their bikes, just not that delusional marketing BS.
  • 3 1
 I get what youre referring to but to be fair the wc dh bikes have pretty cutting edge last few years. Even got the active suspension on there now. No slouch in the XC or road space either. I don't know that you can cherry pick just the trail bike segment and use it to say specialized doesn't innovate.
  • 4 1
 In 2019 I bought the Stumpy Evo to get a taste of the geo innovation of the Evolink. It was sexy in raw aluminum (paint), awesome value for the money, and was an amazing tool to progress my skills.
  • 2 0
 @Coastalbee: had one of those Stumpjumper Evos back in 2019. Interesting concept, but:
- very low anti squat made it pedal like cr@p
- crazy low BB made it hit any pebble on climbs, the low anti-squat made it even worse
- all bearings were of very bad quality
- the shock bolts were made of cheese. Went through 3 while I had the bike

Crazy good looking frame tho, and probably the best cornering bike I ever had
  • 4 0
 @Arierep: still have prevuoys gen stumpy evo. I run it with 20% sag and it pedals suprisingly well. On the downs it is like a retarded enduro bike, but damn if it is not fun and fast if you go full commit Big Grin
  • 2 0
 As a huge attention seeking tool that lacks the skills to ride, I love my Pole Voima! It is flashy gold and looks great! I agree that their looks were polarizing, but the bike rides great! They were pushing the edge both in terms of geometry, looks, and materials, but I guess it just proved to be too much. Even now, as I shop for my next bike, I just don’t see anything with the high bottom bracket like the Voima, or a 190mm travel ebike. I’m not sure if the high bottom bracket will ever catch on (I hope it does, personally I like it a lot), but 190mm (or more) travel e-bikes have to be coming from others. I wish Pole the best, and hope they can emerge from the fire somehow, and keep the mountain bike products moving forward.
  • 2 0
 from what I read here... why don´t we rescue pole in a crowd campaign, the deal would be: start with the evolink and please no CNC ? + every shareholder would have a voting right on 3-4 design drafts before they go into production. who is in?
  • 2 0
 This is what happens when you're too far ahead of the curve. They made a future proof bike. Then to "innovate" they had to completely go off the rails...just to not have it work out.
  • 2 0
 Wild they they literally went from the most interesting (maybe best in category?) bike to out of business in less than 10 years. Seemed like a lot of innovation for innovation sake stuff...
  • 3 0
 >> post-Covid bubble

Uhm, it's actually the bursting of the Covid bubble. This is the thinking that got bike companies in trouble in the first place.
  • 1 0
 *post covid-bubble
  • 1 0
 Tried Evolink in Morzine (switched bikes with buddy for a run) that was amazingly stable bike, however any bunny hoping or manual requires planning in advance your movement.

for me pole bike became not interesting after they switched to new design, violin series was amazing tho
  • 1 0
 the first time I rode one, setup with a brand spanking new Lyrik ultimate and that EXT coil, I rode a park lap on it and it felt like a magic carpet ride. So stable and composed at speed. Compared to a yeti 5.5 and a transition sentinel in 2019, and I was astounded. It was also a brand new bike, my tranny was pretty clapped out
  • 2 0
 I own a Taival and a Voima. Both are awesome bits of kit!
Hoping someone steps in and saves Pole, so they can keep innovating + I will probably need spares for my Voima down the road.
  • 1 0
 If you have the pre v4 swingarms it's highly likely you will need spares unfortunately.
  • 1 0
 @ThatEbikeGuy: I know….
  • 1 0
 The Evolink definitley was ahead of its time in some (- not all) aspects of its geometry, that's for sure.

That being said, the comparison to that specific Specialized Enduro isn't entirely fair. That specific model generation had come out in 2012, so not surprising it looks dated by 2016. In late 2016 Specialized even unveiled a new generation that's much more modern in comparison. Why not compare it to that one?
  • 1 0
 Because it wasn't out yet sounds like a good reason. Looks to me the point wasn't to shame Specialized but to showcase what was the benchmark at the release of the Evolink and how a giant step it was in term of geo.
  • 1 0
 Would be interesting to see the sales ratio of voima/sonni vs vicula/onni.
I only move in ebike circles, so that what I see people buying.
I still think the sonni was a big miss. Looked bad with the ball sack motor and directly competed with voima sales.
Plus the constant breaking voima swing arms, upto revision 4 just before bankruptcy, really wasn't doing them any favours.
  • 1 0
 Evolink wasn’t the future, but it pointed the way. Glad 71 degree head angles are relegated to gravel bikes and XC bikes have 65-66 head tube angles today-and companies like Pole validated that “modern” geometry.
  • 4 1
 Struggling to think of another manufacturer who went straight in at the deep end and gradually made a great product worse.
  • 1 0
 I love reading all the conjecture on here by people who clearly have never ridden the particular bike they seem to know so much about! Most people have likely never even seen [the subject of their expertise] in real life.
  • 1 2
 I hope someone steps in and continues Pole’s ethos but with better looking bikes where CNC is limited to lugs that are bonded to standard tubes like Atherton. They are all set up to go, and I feel like that model would be a winner.
  • 2 0
 Everyone I knew that had one of those broke it and had to sit for months waiting for replacement parts.
  • 1 0
 Still laughing at 1250 wheelbase on a small. This is still the defining figure of modern geometry and it still has its drawbacks and advantages
  • 1 1
 To be fair on the Big S. Those Enduro numbers were the same as the 2014 version (which came out late 2013). I guess by 2016 it was due a refresh. I can't remember the product cycle timeframe, three years?
  • 10 11
 Specialized Enduro looks like the most fun playful bike. I am really not a fan of modern geo bikes,
- They turn like a 747 taxing down LAX
- Manualing is like doing a 400lb dead lift
- Smack pedals on 1" rocks
- Steep seat tube angles are inefficient and kills your quads
  • 2 4
 Do you tell kids to get off your lawn? All the stuff you complain about modern bikes tells me you live in the past.
  • 12 1
 @hardtail29errba:

He’s not wrong though… Modern bikes fix some problems and create others…
  • 3 5
 @Saidrick: like what? Be specific about it. The bikes now are far more versatile for all types of riders.
  • 7 1
 @hardtail29errba:

Well let’s start with pedal strikes: they didn’t happen Regularly, until around 2015. 29” wheels are great in a straight line, or on modern wide open trails. But on old hiking trails they don’t turn very well, compared to 26” and 27.5” bikes. Next, the longer the reach, the further the handlebars are in front of you, which requires more effort to manual and wheelie. Crazy long wheelbases make the super steep much easier but make regular trails feel like your “road biking on dirt”. The steeper seat tubes give me quad leg cramps, which don’t used to happen, and also don’t happen when I ride my gravel bike.

I would agree that a modern bike is more versatile, but that doesn’t make it better necessarily. What I mean by this is that a modern enduro bike is versatile enough to ride at a ski resort, but a dh bike will always be a better choice for that type of riding. Modern bikes are also heavier as a result of all the “long/low/slacking” of the frames. Weight is the enemy for long days on regular trails.

I ride a conservative modern bike ( Although still long low and slack: 485 reach , 65 degree head angle 76 degree seat tube, 27.5”) and had to go down in the travel range to get back the feel of mountain biking, versus a train going down hill on rails that I felt on some modern bikes ( Specialized enduro 29”)
I tried out wide handlebars, which caused shoulder problems, and went back to a nice 750mm. Much easier to lean the bike over and go thru tight trees.

Hope this is specific enough for you.
  • 4 5
 @Saidrick: everything you mentioned is rider specific on the bars, crank arm length and the ability to do useless tricks. Of course not every bike will be trail friendly. 29ers don't do well on pump tracks or on trails with tight features. However, they rule everywhere else. They go over and through all obstacles. Slack headtube angles offer more stability and comfort going downhill or even uphill. The weight thing you mentioned is another overrated concern for the majority of riders. If your bike is too heavy, hit the weight room.
  • 1 0
 Feels like a grandpa bike.
  • 2 1
 @hardtail29errba:

I mean… you did ask me to be specific.

Seriously though, wheelies and manuals aren’t “useless tricks” they’re essential skills to navigate slow speed ( technical) drops and jumps. Pedal strikes happen more often to myself and others in my riding group, who all have different length crank arms. As for the weight thing, if you have to hit the weight room to ride your bike, that should tell you that the weight is becoming a problem: there are trail bikes that weigh as much as my dh bike ( which is full coil, Alu frame and wheels).
  • 1 0
 Got back into MTB 2007 an I was sizing up a size to get a bike that fit. Now I'm ging down 1 even TWO sizes for a bike that fits....... How times change
  • 1 0
 Reading this just makes me sad, whats happening to the industry isn't undeserved but man I fucken love this sport and want everyone to do well
  • 3 1
 ASTONMTB IS THE BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 Carver ICB 2013-2015 was pushing numbers against the mainstream norm 2 to 3 years prior, reckon a number of folk were playing with the change around the time.
  • 2 0
 I refuse to believe pole is old or outdated now
  • 10 0
 They're not old or outdated as much as out of business. Which is a shame in the sense that small brands doing quirky things stirs things up and benefits us all. But which is also not all that surprising, given the turbulent times the bike business is going through. The number of sharks they jumped, and the rather hyperbolic rhetoric and defensiveness they reacted with when called out on stuff, probably didn't help insulate them from those factors...
  • 1 2
 The geometry comparison should be boiled down to a few key numbers and compared side to side in a table, Seb! Showing the Enduro and then Evolink geo chart under and then Enduro chart at the end was misleading Wink
  • 2 0
 Pole have made some wild stuff, hopefully they continue.
  • 2 0
 That machine looks like the hills have Ibis
  • 1 0
 Sry, but I prefer the Vikkelä and Onni over this. None were perfect but modern geo rules.
  • 1 0
 looks reverse engineering over time
  • 2 0
 I want a taival
  • 1 0
 the things I'd give to buy one second hand now
  • 4 4
 evil following v1 changed the game. one of my all time favorite bikes. now that was a bike
  • 2 0
 Agreed, I miss my Following MB something fierce.
  • 1 1
 I appreciate that the Evil Following V1 was a favorite bike of yours but how did it "change the game"? The Medium size had a Wheelbase 1143mm, Reach 419mm, HA 67.4, Chainstay 432, Stack 608, Rear Axle Spacing 142...
I mean that was a picture of incredibly average MTB tech in its day. Actually, their current line-up still uses geo that is very old-school. While I rode the bike back then and it was "nice" it I struggle to see any aspects of change it brought to the market?!
  • 2 0
 @manco: at the time it was "aggressive geo" for a short travel 29 inch wheeled bike
  • 1 0
 I appreciate your feedback im sorry you had a bad experience on your evil following. oh and thanks for the stats!
  • 1 0
 I think you meant espousing, not eulogising.
  • 1 0
 55mm reach difference?? Damn you may feel like superman on the Pole
  • 2 2
 Man these things are butt-ass ugly
  • 1 4
 I owned one and it was pish. Your journalism is iffy seb.







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