Seb Stott is one of our main testers when it comes to mountain bike kit. He’s a rapid Scot with a preference for 29in wheels and bikes with an extra long wheelbase.You can imagine his excitement then, when what is easily the longest 29er bike to ever enter our workshop arrives with his name on the box.
This size large bike, the largest size Finnish firm Pole provides, gets a whole 51.7in (1312mm) of space between its axles, that just exceeds the 51.6in (1310mm) figure that we measured as the wheelbase of the largest size Nicolai/Mojo Geometron – a bike that is famed for its radical geometry sheet.
So, we’ve got the longness that ‘s so often talked about, but do we have the lowness and the slackness? The answer is yes. With a 64.5-degree head angle, the 150/140mm Pole is amongst the slackest of bikes out there and at the same time its compact front triangle allows for heaps of standover clearance.
Suspension is an obvious talking point, and the Pole is pretty interesting here too. Its rear end consists of two linkage arms, the lower of which is placed concentrically around the bottom bracket of the frame. Pole claims that its design offers no nasty pedal kickback at your feet with a rear end that stays active yet firm while pedalling.
Similarly, the frame’s leverage ratio has been optimised around the latest generation of air shocks, our test bike arriving with a DebonAir-sleeved Monarch Plus RC3. Some will be pleased to learn that this bike arrives with a 142x12mm rear end (although a Boost 148mm is an option) but plenty will be delighted with the lack of a press-fit bottom bracket. Also, if you’re into bottle cages then the Pole will certainly not disappoint, with multiple mounting points provided at either end of the down tube.
This test bike has been built to a similar spec offered by Pole off the shelf for €5,600 (international pricing was TBCat time of writing). Up front there’s the rather spindly looking Stage fork from MRP, which we’ve got along with well in the past. The transmission is purely SRAM’s X1 group, while braking also comes from the SRAM stable in the form of Guide RSCs.
The DT Swiss EX1501 Spline wheelset is known for its impressive stiffness, and Seb has already made sure his rubber of choice (Maxxis Minion/High Roller II) is already in place. There’s also a Reverb dropper post and quality finishing kit from Easton. The Pole tipped our scales at an impressive 31.46lbs/14.27kg, complete.
Remove the bolt below the shock mount and the whole rear end will tuck underneath the front triangle
A bike that is this massive probably isn’t practical to transport though, right? Well, surprisingly, it can be. Remove one bolt from the rear suspension linkage and swap out the front wheel and, in a Brompton-like fashion, the rear end folds away directly beneath the front triangle. Pole says that, with the rear wheel removed and the front handlebar also taken out, the Evolink will fit as oversized standard luggage – saving you coin for your travel. It’s weird, but it’s kind of cool too.
Seb can’t wait to spend some quality time on this baby blue beast, and who can blame him? We’ll keep you updated on how their relationship develops.