Pole Vikkelä 190mm travel not-an-e-bike

by 8

Looks like an ebike but isn’t. The new Pole Vikkelä is the Finnish brand’s 190mm travel big rig and continues its rather pole-arising approach to making mountain bikes.

Pole Vikkelä nutshelled

  • 190mm travel
  • New Sensei dual-link suspension design
  • 63.5° head angle
  • 80° seat angle
  • 450mm to 535mm reach range
  • CNC aluminium construction
  • Designed in parallel with Pole Voima e-bike
  • ‘Vikkelä’ means ‘agile’ in Finnish
  • Frames from €3,218
  • Complete bikes from €5,234

While seemingly every other bike brand in the world is trying to make e-bikes that look like normal bikes, Pole is going in the opposite direction. The new Pole Vikkelä is a normal mountain bike that looks like an e-bike.

Specifically it looks like a Pole Voima e-bike, funnily enough. And when we say ‘normal mountain bike’ the Pole Vikkelä is very much a long travel playbike as opposed to a trail bike.

Gone is Pole’s use of the established Evolink suspension design, as seen on the Stamina. The Evolink design basically rotated around the bottom bracket. Not possible when there’s a mid-drive motor there. So Pole – which is basically Leo Kokkonen – came up with the ‘Sensei’ dual linkage design.

Pole could have stayed with the Evolink design for their normal mountain bikes but – long story short – they really liked the performance of Sensei so decided to stick with it for the Vikkelä.

Leo Kokkonen is a pretty handy rider

According to Pole, the new Sensei layout offers: “Optimum pedaling efficiency. Supportive suspension. Less ground feedback. Sag range of 25%-35% to match your riding experience.”

Two things that Pole highlight about the new Sensei bikes are the bridgeless swingarm and the higher BB (compared to previous Pole bikes).

Bridgeless swingarm

The bridgeless swingarm then. What’s that about? “The idea behind bridgeless swingarm is that we can control the swingarm lateral stiffness more accurately. Almost all lateral forces are delivered through the boring axles that connect the two swingarm halves together at the main frame.”

Racing and Standard axles

A key thing here is how Pole have done the linkage pivot axles. Pole: “Our axles have bores that create a rigid construction for the swingarm. The upside of this design is that there’s massive tyre clearance, ease of service, and we control the stiffness exactly how we want.”

The regular Vikkelä will ship with these standard axles, but there will be an option of ‘Racing axles’. What are ‘Racing axles’ you ask? Essentially, they’re 30% stiffer than the standard axles (and 70g heavier).

Pole: “So why didn’t we make the normal ones stiffer, then? We have learned that stiffer is only better for some. Most riders are better off with a more compliant frame. A stiff frame is something that does not give in and is not easy to bend. A very stiff frame would mean a bike that is very accurate in turning at high speeds and is not so forgiving of the mistakes we make. We have learned that a nimbler rear triangle is easier to corner at low speed. Overall the bike is more tolerant of errors and more comfortable.”

Higher BB

In a(nother) nutshell, a higher BB resulted in increased agility. It’s certainly something we’ve noticed on long wheelbase bikes; running a higher BB does improve the handling, generally speaking.

Pole: “Leo had experimented with a higher BB for a while. He discovered that the higher BB lets the rider move on the bike differently, and the ability to move translates to better balance and coordination.

“When getting wild or on the steep stuff and you need to hang your ass over the rear tyre, you will be grateful for that extra few millimetres, saving you from ass-buzz off the tire. With a higher BB, fewer pedal strikes allow you to focus on your riding.

“We all like more fun when we ride, and the Vikkelä puts fun on a new level. Lifting the front wheel just became more manageable. Skipping over trail obstacles with confidence and ease – who doesn’t love to pop a wheelie or manual for miles?”


Coming in your inbox once a week

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Just by signing up you are supporting Singletrack World

Join our mailing list to receive Singletrack editorial wisdom directly in your inbox.

Each newsletter is headed up by an exclusive editorial from our team and includes stories and news you don’t want to miss.

While you’re here…

About the author

benji headshot staff
Support Independent Mountain Bike Journalism

Like what you are reading?

Bookmark us now and come back again.

Try out Singletrack membership today from only 49p per week

(49p is the weekly equivalent price of the £25 annual digital membership)

Support Independent Mountain Bike Journalism

Singletrack World is a largely reader funded community with over 6,000 members trusting us for their mountain bike news, reviews, adventures, advice and big views.  

Try out Singletrack membership today from only 49p per week

(49p is the weekly equivalent price of the £25 annual digital membership)

Cotic RocketMAXer. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

More posts from Ben

Search the forum using the power of Google

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Pole Vikkelä 190mm travel not-an-e-bike
  • matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    The last photo so needs a caption….

    “What do you mean this is the finished aesthetic?”

    Full Member

    Your pun, I see what you did there. Well done

    Full Member

    Yeah I’m glad it’s available in other colours than bling gold.

    Free Member

    It’s actually uglier than most ebikes. Which is quite an achievement.

    Full Member

    That is quite possibly the ugliest bike I have ever seen.

    Free Member

    It’ll be interesting to see how it sells, as ebike buyers expect their bikes to be minging anyway.

    Also, I read the Bikeradar review of the eeb version and he thought the high BB was a significant issue.

    Perhaps a proper test ride would be advisable.

    Free Member

    As much as it does look a bit “special”, fitting 190mm travel, piggyback shock and two full size bottles into the frame, plus making the bearings very easy to service I think makes up for it.

    Full Member

    The idea of tuning stiffness using swapable axles is an interesting one too.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Search the forum using the power of Google