Pole post the “Slackest 29in Trail Bike Yet”

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Long, low, and… foldable?

Capturing those twelve minutes of Nordic daylight.
Capturing those twelve minutes of Nordic daylight.

With their new Evolink full-suspension platform, Pole Bicycles have staked a claim on the slackest 29er trailbike crown.  How slack? How about a 64.5° head angle at 140mm travel? It’s unclear whether this is a weighted or static angle, but even so… Longer-travel models drop to 27.5in wheels, with 63.5° at 150mm and a nearly unheard-of 62.0° at 176mm. Even the XC race frame sports a 66.0° head tube. We haven’t fact-checked the slackest claim, but no matter how it’s sliced, that’s a lot of bike out in front of the rider.

Rowdy red ride
Rowdy red ride

Hailing from Finland (got you there, didn’t they?), the company’s Evolink platform is said to have been designed specifically with air shocks (and their progressive spring rates) in mind, with leverage increasing as the bike gets into its travel and reducing the liklihood of (ahem) harsh bottoming. The system may be unique among dual short link designs (VPP, DW-Link, Maestro) in that the lower link rotates around the bottom bracket shell. There appears to be a decent amount of anti-squat in the design – 31mm of chain growth should make the bikes reasonably snappy on the climbs.  In action, it looks something like this:

With wheelbases ranging from 1,224mm (XS) to 1,314mm (L), the 140mm 29er version certainly is long – 109mm longer than the same-travel Forward Geometry Mondraker Factor (large). The reach on the large model is approaching Nicolai and Mojo’s Longest GeoMetron bike, in fact, with the same wheelbase. Why have Pole gone down this route?

Long geometry means the chainstays are longer, head angles are slacker, reaches are longer and the seat tube angles are steeper. These features make bikes faster, safer and easier. Pole’s bikes are tested only with stopwatches. Test riding has taught three obvious things: longer, slacker and lower bikes are faster.

Nothing said about tight singletrack or switchbacks, then – but it’s hard not to believe that it would take some riding style adjustment to get the most out of such a big, slack bike.

Two bottle mounts?! Yes please and yes please.
Two bottle mounts?!
Yes please and yes please.

Beyond the geometry, the Evolink range is full of the sorts of details we love to see. Internal cable routing with the option for external cables, threaded bottom brackets, ISCG chain guides, dual water bottle mounts, and the option for either 12x142mm or 12x148mm (Boost) rear hubs. Fed up with paying airline surcharges, cramming bikes into little apartments, and having bikes stolen from roof racks, Pole has designed their Evolink bikes to fold with the removal of the front wheel and a single bolt.

Hot dang.
Hot dang.

So there you have it.  Pole bikes are sold directly via polebicycles.com and pricing doesn’t seem outrageous: the 140mm 29er with a 31lb SRAM X1 / RockShox Yari / RaceFace Turbine dropper build is priced at €4,100 – about £2,990 in old money.  Colour us extremely intrigued. At least one ST staffer is desperate for a go.

More details here: polebicycles.com

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Comments (10)

    One usable bottle mount and one to get covered in various animal feces.

    That’s still half a degree steeper than a Last Fast Forward, which is 29er and 140mm.

    “One usable bottle mount and one to get covered in various animal feces.”

    Useful for tool storage or similar though.

    “Nothing said about tight singletrack or switchbacks, then – but it’s hard not to believe that it would take some riding style adjustment to get the most out of such a big, slack bike.”

    You’ll just be going faster.

    Shock is in an awful position too. Hate bikes that do that.

    Honourablegeorge – So the Last Fast Forward is a hardtail 64 deg at rest. Assume the Pole’s HA is also at rest. When weighted, the full-suss Pole’s HA will change much less than the Last’s (which will steepen a couple of degrees), so the actual riding geometry will be slacker on the Pole than the Last. Discuss. 😉

    You know the wheelbase is long when it’s a 29er yet perspective makes it look like a 650b bike! It makes my Evil Folowing look very last century geometry wise (not even last decade!) for comparison…

    Would be intrigued to have a go on one just to see what the fuss is about (same with the Mojo Geometron), but I fear when geometry gets this long/low/slack designers are getting into the realms of trying to turn a mid travel trail bike into a DH bike, causing them to be incredibly compromised elsewhere.

    “honourablegeorge” The shock position is mandatory to get the desired features on the bike. With the fender the shock doesn’t get any dirtier than in any other place.

    “mboy – but I fear when geometry gets this long/low/slack designers are getting into the realms of trying to turn a mid travel trail bike into a DH bike, causing them to be incredibly compromised elsewhere.”

    Fear not my friend. We started to design the geometry independently about the same time as Chris Porter started to design the Geometron. The results we have found are very much the same. We have done our independent research and yet still we have ended up with very similar geometry. Although we found out that the 29″ is much more capable than 27.5″ in some parts. Here is a Gopro run where I ride both wheelsizes. The 29″ is one second faster on the rough part after the small bridge. That’s about a 20meter part. https://www.facebook.com/polebicycles/videos/747194525403234/?theater

    The terrain in Finland is not very steep. This is one of my favourite trails here. The slack angles and long wheelbase works fine when your bike’s seatpost is very steep. This is how you can pedal a lot more from seated position. https://www.strava.com/activities/450549530

    Is it just me or do the bikes in the pictures after the first look like a completely different bike? the first look hot! but the others a little less so?

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