Finnish outfit Pole is known for its extremely long MTBs, and although the numbers on the geometry chart appear extreme, they must be onto something because the Evolink 140 scored extremely well in our testing last year.
Pole's latest frame — the Machine — is as long and slack as you'd expect and the brand says it's lighter, stronger and faster too, but that’s not the big news here. Instead, it’s that the Machine begins its life as a solid block of 7075 T6 aluminium — most aluminium bikes are made of 6061 T6 Alloy.
Its tubes and linkages are CNC machined by robots from billets, and come out as three pieces which are joined together to make the frame.
7075 Alloy has a higher shear and tensile strength than 6061, and Pole says this allows it to make a lighter frameset. The trouble is, 7075 cannot be welded, so instead Pole is utilising a bonding process similar to methods used in the automotive and aeroplane industries to glue the frame's parts together.
According to Leo Kokkonen, head desiger at Pole (and also the mind behind the Huck Norris rim inserts), the frames are machined in a factory that makes parts for the aerospace industry, and the bonding takes place at Pole HQ in Jyväskylä to ensure the highest possible quality control.
Pole also says the machining processes allow for finite control over the wall thickness throughout the bike rather than having to ballpark the tube butting, like with hydroforming. The machining also meant Pole had full confidence in the stiffness of tubes throughout their entire lengths, rather than basing it on rough calculations and assumptions as with carbon.
With this unique production process Pole says it can make changes to the design of the frame and have finished frames within only a two-week lead time. It will no longer feature model years, but may update things when it sees the need.
The new Pole Machine also comes paint free, to reveal the CNC markings from the manufacturing process. Pole claims that because the 7075 surface is so hard it’s not prone to scratches and wear, and the oxidation process of the frame over time will add a unique patina.
While the Machine’s frame building process is groundbreaking, it’s not the only exciting part of the new bike.
Because of the Evolink’s long reach, Pole found that a large majority of riders were choosing to run quite a few spacers to bring the bars up in proportion to the reach. In light of this, the Machine has a taller head tube to reduce the need for spacers.
To create the lowest standover height possible, Pole has rotated the rear shock 90 degrees, making it even lower than the Evolink, which was low to begin with. The Machine also sees an asymmetric shock to allow the maximum insertion length for the latest crop of long dropper posts. There is also room for two bottles inside the frame and mounts for a third on the bottom of the down tube.
The Machine carries over Pole's notoriously long and slack geometry with a head angle of 63.9-degrees (591mm AC, 51 Offset) and a wheelbase of 1305cm with 445mm chainstays in a size medium. Even still, the Machine retains a steep seat angle of 78-degrees to for some climbing prowess.
According to Pole, the Machine has higher anti-squat than the previous Evolinks, and on paper should allow for improved pedal efficiency despite the additional travel, only time will tell.
This appears to be just the first of a few new MTBs from the Finnish brand, with Pole teasing a 200mm DH rig, set to be ridden by Norwegian rider Isak Leivsson during the UCI DH World Cup, as well as a 140mm light trail/XC bike, an e-MTB, and an updated version of the Tavial hardtail and Tomu dirt jump bike.
Pole is taking pre-orders for the new Machine now and to get one you’re in for €5,604.84 for a SRAM XX1 Eagle build with a RockShox LYRIK RCT3 fork and RockShox Super Delux RCT rear shock. A frameset wil set you back €2,782.26.