If you've ever cruised our Bike Check section, the largest collection of badass bike builds on the internet, you know that Vital members spare no expense when it comes to radifying their rides. Always on the hunt for a backstory, we reached out to the owners of these six stretched out Evolinks to find out what went into each project. From loud and proud to sneakily stealthy, these rowdy rigs have one thing in common: they're longer than pretty much any other bike out there. What do their owners have to say about them?
Where do you live? Dublin - Ireland.
Favourite local trail to ride? Too many to name one, but natural steep single track. We are spoiled in Dublin, we have so many options close by. Carrick (EWS Stage) is less than one-hour drive, with word class trails. Ticknock is very close, with a variety of trails.
Why did you pick the Pole Evolink? Mad Elk is the local bike shop that sells the Pole Evolink, they suggested the frame, and after reading more about the Pole Evolink and how well it handled I decided to go for it. The compatibility with the parts I already had was an additional bonus.
Is this Pole Evolink your only bike? Yes, the only MTB (well the only one that is built).
What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? Canfield Balance.
How does riding such a long bike compare to your previous experiences / Did you have to adjust your riding style? Think is the opposite, I finally got a bike that suits my riding style. Once on the bike it doesn’t really feel that long, the seated position feel is very similar to other bikes I have owned / tried. When you are going down the trails, in attack position the bike is very stable and gives you confidence to just hold your line. I still think you can not go over the bars in one. The bike geometry inspires confidence, and when it gets steep, the bike is just brilliant, the Pole Evolink is a very good climber as well, with the long chainstays it provides lots of grip to the rear wheel.
Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? Custom! Transferred the parts from the previous build to the frame. The Pole Evolink allows to have non-boost or boost wheels / run 27.5 or 29r wheels also. It’s a great option to future proof a bit your bike with all the “standards” around.
What’s your favourite part about the bike? The geometry and how confidence inspiring it is.
What would you change on it? Crush Core tire inserts are in the post, and I have been thinking on getting a coil shock. Fork was upgraded to a Lyrik with Charger 2 since the bike check as well. Nothing that really needs changing but, there is always something you could add.
How long do you plan on riding this bike? Let just say I have no plans on changing it any time soon.
If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? Pole Machine, and a Gravel Bike.
Age: 40 but my heart is always 20.
Where do you live? I live in Finland at Nokia near Tampere.
Favorite local trail to ride? I got awesome trails just near me. They are right in my back yard. No need to go anywhere with a car I just take my bike and start to pedal. There are also 2 bikeparks less than 1 hour drive from my home. Sappee Bikepark is bigger and better but Calpis bikepark has super long season for Finnish weather so I love it too.
Why did you pick the Pole Evolink? Various reasons but mainly because this bike is like a downhill bike but it's like trailbike too...another one of main reasons was that I want to have a bike that fits 650B and 650Bplus wheels. With the 150 Evolink there is room for 29ers too. Last season I rode in park with normal 650B and trails with 650B plus tires. I also use them in 2 enduro series competitions. The bike has a slack headangle so it works for downhill and steep trails and it still pedals uphill so easily. I think that I am more into going down than climbing and the Pole just asks to be ridden fast and aggressive. I was sold when I got to test the EVO 176 when it came out leaving me with no other choice. Customer service is another thing too. Even before I had ordered bike I got so much help by testing different sizes and models. I rode 130,140 and 176 and ended up with 150.
Is this Pole Evolink your only bike? Not my only bike but at this moment it is my only mountain bike. I have several BMX-racing bikes and a DJ bike. Just sold my Dartmoor Hornet HT and I am planning to build new hardtail, maybe Pole also.
What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? I had a Pole Polku for trails and enduro and a YT Tues for downhill. This bike replaced both. I also had a Kona Process 111 last summer for trails but I sold it because it didn’t get any ride time - because I would rather take the Pole to the trails than the Kona.
How does riding such a long bike compare to your previous experiences / Did you have to adjust your riding style? YT Tues was quite long and I had a Pole before so it felt just right even if it was little bit longer. The cockpit itself is not that long but wheelbase is massive. It is more stable to ride than any of my bikes before. I think that the only thing that changed was that I had to use my upper body more to pilot it. All said, it was a massive game changer when I got it, it gave me more confidence in all my riding. I was able to just point n' shoot in steep sections of trails without wondering whether the bike will handle them, and in the bikepark it was much lighter than my previous DH bike but still capable of handling rock gardens, drops etc.
Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? I built it from a frame set to match my needs. I had an old wheelset and XO cranks and built everything around those. I chose the Fox36 with 180mm travel in front to get extra stiffness. Actually it was more like I asked Leo from Pole what he recommended according to what I would like bike to do.
What’s your favorite part about the bike? Rear suspension, there is nothing like that. I love how it handles roots and rocks when pedaling.
What would you change on it? I am now trying it with 29er wheels and with an Öhlins fork. I am not big fan of 29er wheels so when summer comes I have to decide whether they stay or whether I put the Fox36 back on the bike. I am also thinking about changing the rear shock to coil. First I will test it with a Vivid Air shock to see how it works with that.
How long do you plan on riding this bike? That’s the hardest question. Until something better comes up would be the correct answer.
If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? I need a new hardtail because I sold my old one. I am a big fan of HT riding. There is new Pole Taival with updated geometry maybe that. I used to have old version of Taival but the new one is slacker.
Where do you live? Sofia, Bulgaria
Favorite local trail to ride? The bike park in Borovets, the trails around Blagoevgrad and Veliko Turnovo.
Why did you pick the Pole Evolink? I am 194cm, thus I decided to get a huge bike that can withstand punishment without a problem. Lifetime warranty does sound nice and 1/2 price on a new frame if I decided that I want to saw this one in half. Lol!
Is this Pole Evolink your only bike? Nope, I have a Drag 29er XC bike strapped to a turbo trainer and I continuously lie to myself that I will start riding on it every day.
What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? I had a Large size Dartmoor Primal 29er, which was a fun bike, but I decided I wanted to build something radical that warms my heart.
How does riding such a long bike compare to your previous experiences / Did you have to adjust your riding style? The radical difference between 1150mm wheelbase and 1365mm is staggering. I love the fact that with such a slack head angle the bike is still extremely good for climbing and when you go down, it is a piece of cake, taking the rowdiest lines.
Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? All customized with the main goal of making it bombproof. Didn't compare weight, but rather making sure that every component is strong. A whole season of riding, not a dented wheel, broken spoke or anything. The bike held up very well.
What’s your favorite part about the bike? Probably the wheelset as I really hammer them down and they have been a blessing.
What would you change on it? I have grown to hate putting the shifter on the brakes! I like to have the brakes quite high, thus the shifter is in less than ideal position and I am having a bit of trouble with it.
How long do you plan on riding this bike? I really like the bike. There is an opportunity to convert it to 170mm travel in the back by using a 222x70 shock, some offset bushings and bump that fork to 180mm in the front and you are ready to go down almost anything.The geometry is futureproof as I am sure that almost all bike manufacturers will continue to push their bikes in the slack and long direction (I am not a fan of the low part), thus changing it would be kind of pointless in most scenarios. That being said, I would like to try a carbon frame or the new Machine, that Leo and Pole are cooking up.
If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? - Either the Machine or a Capra because of the value. The carbon version with a coil shock sounds quite nice, but a CNC frame makes my knees weak.
Where do you live? Melbourne, Australia
Favorite local trail to ride? My closest trail is one of my favourites - Plenty Gorge. Plenty of sharp and short descents, with lots of natural sections. When I can I go to Mt Buller or Kinglake to ride downhill - really rough and fast which I enjoy. If I think of all of Australia as my local I'd say Awaba, Thredbo, Nannup, Wellington Mills, Stromlo, Mt Wellington and Fox Creek.
Why did you pick the Pole Evolink? Firstly, I love to go fast and every review of the Evolink says this is one fast bike! I am a geometry chart fanatic and felt that the Pole offered the best balance of new school geometry out there and pushed the boundaries of geometry that I like - I have always preferred a longer chainstay, steeper seat angle, longer top tube.I replace my bikes every 2-3 years and always prefer cutting edge so they don't get too outdated. Also I'm 6'3" and have always ridden the biggest bikes I could find and felt I could ride a lot bigger. Oh and it fits a water bottle!
Is this Pole Evolink your only bike? No, I've got a few - I've even got two Poles (zing!). A Bombtrack Hook cyclocross bike for hacking around town and mellow trails. A Pole Evolink 110 for XC duties - it's also up on Vital as a bike check. And a Morewood Makulu DH bike - that's on here as a bike check too but its had quite a few updates since then. I love all the bikes I have at the moment and believe in the right tool for the job. So I use each bike for its purpose and ride each of them a fair bit, but the 110 and 140 see the most action.
What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? This replaced a Morewood Jabula enduro bike, 170mm travel enduro beast with a fully custom build - essentially a DH build kit. It was a great descender - climbing was pretty hard work though! And most of it was out of date so I wanted to sell it before depreciation got out of control - 26", 142mm axle, 20X110 front fork. Thanks bike industry! It was also getting pretty worn out so was due for replacement.
How does riding such a long bike compare to your previous experiences / Did you have to adjust your riding style? The guys at Pole have been great at providing info about riding the bike and my experience has been exactly what they describe. I haven't changed my style at all. The main difference I've noticed is the move to 29" - this was my first 29" bike. The differences in cornering, acceleration and grip are all pretty noticeable. The Pole itself was much more normal than I expected - when seated it doesn't feel that big - in fact it feels about as big as a 2011 Giant Anthem XL I once had. When standing the cockpit doesn't feel much bigger than normal either, but you can really feel the wheelbase. The stability is huge, and the cornering feels much more balanced than any other bike I've ridden. Due to the geometry and big tyres there is a huge safety factor - I'm riding faster than on any of my other bikes and it feels easier, almost lazy. But I'm being careful not to push too far as I can get above my skill level pretty quick. Considering how slack it is it climbs up anything (seat tube angle, chainstays, fat tyres I guess) - and it's certainly no lightweight with a durable build prioritized. I haven't found switchbacks any harder. The only situation I feel the wheelbase makes it harder is fast sections into really tight corners - you have to focus and be aggressive to go through them quick. The speed of the bike on trail is pretty amazing - everyone that rides it says the same.
Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? You can buy the Pole in Australia with an Australian spec that is shipped from a warehouse in Sydney - it's only just been put on their website. I'm riding the Aussie spec with only a couple of changes - I got chrome wheels, not black. And I got a Formula Selva fork. I love Burgtec gear so am pumped that stuff is on there, and have always had great experiences with Spank items. I have got the Spoon pedals in XL which are a great match for my feet. Also the Onza tyres have been good - I used to always ride Maxxis and the Ibex is quite similar to a High Roller but much more muted? Good grip/ wear balance. I really wanted to try the Aquila but they're not available in 29" yet.
What’s your favorite part about the bike? Hard question - maybe the KS LEV Integra? I love that dropper. I also think the Burgtec Enduro stem looks amazing in real life (and always a bit ordinary in pictures for some reason?). That's other than the frame of course :)
What would you change on it? If I had endless cash I'd run the top spec shifter/ derailleur set up and Saint cranks (no carbon there thanks). Hmm I'd like to try a coil shock at some point too...I don't think I'll actually do either though, I'll just ride it as it is.
How long do you plan on riding this bike? Not sure, normally it'd fit into my 2-3 year plan but the Machine is pretty tempting.....or the 150 to send some big hucks.
If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? I would like to replace my DH bike this year as it's getting pretty worn out, and will start costing me a lot to keep running well. I've been waiting to replace it for a few more 29er DH frames or bikes to come onto the market though. I'll then try to at least have all my bikes on one wheel size, just like 2009!
Where do you live? Melbourne, Australia - but soon to make the move to Tasmania to be closer to the recently opened Maydena Bike Park!
Favorite local trail to ride? Probably Turbulence out at You Yangs, west of Melbourne.
Why did you pick the Pole Evolink? I chose the Pole Evolink as I've found myself becoming dissatisfied with many bikes' geometry numbers. More specifically, I wanted a decent reach (I'm 6'3) without the high standover and long seat tubes of most XL sized frames. With the Pole I went for a large, which comes with a longer reach than most XL bikes, with a nice low standover and reasonably short seat tube. Perfect!
Is this Pole Evolink your only bike? It is now! It's longer, slacker, faster and more stable than my DH bike was... so I went ahead and dismantled/sold it off! I now exclusively ride Pole (the Pole jokes never get old)!
What bike(s) did this replace / What bike(s) were you on before this? 2009 Morewood Makulu, 2014 Banshee Spitfire, 2017 Ragley MmmBop.
How does riding such a long bike compare to your previous experiences / Did you have to adjust your riding style? Cornering... cornering was something I had to adjust to. For the most part it was just body positioning, as on the Pole you kind of sit more 'in' the bike, rather than 'on' it. I don't really know a better way to explain what I mean here, but hopefully someone understands, haha! It's just so long compared to practically every other bike I've ridden. Initially I felt like I had to muscle the bike through corners a bit more, but after a few runs down ABOM at Mount Buller here in Vic, I was adjusted, and loving it. Completely sold.
Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? This was a frame only purchase, which came with the standard stuff. Shock, headset, dropouts and axle. Everything else was brought over from previous frames/builds, which were also custom builds.
What’s your favorite part about the bike? Ride stability, for sure. It feels so fast, yet completely composed and stable. I've had a few 'OH SHI-' moments where I'd have gone OTB on other bikes, but the Pole's top tube length, super slack head angle and overall wheelbase kept it together!
What would you change on it? The only change I've made since the initial build was swapping the XT brakes for Saints and moving to a 203mm rotor on the back as I found myself burning up the 180mm rotor with XT brakes. Otherwise I'd just be happy swapping out the fork crown assembly for some black stanchions, adding an IRT kit to the Mattoc and giving the BikeYoke Revive a shot over the existing KS LEV.
How long do you plan on riding this bike? I have a feeling I'll be on this one for a while! It's surprisingly capable over a good variety of terrains and riding styles. It's the only bike that's really inspired true confidence to hold high speeds without worry or fear.
If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? I've been eyeing off a Banshee AMP for a while now. A nice, tight, playful and fun bike for mucking about on the street.
Where do you live? At the moment in Vantaa, Finland, but I'm moving to Turku at the end of March.
Favorite local trail to ride? The Mätäkivenmäki (Rotten Rock Hill) area is great for all kind of riding.
Why did you pick the Pole Evolink? I got a test ride on a prototype Evolink a few years ago, and I was impressed by how easy the bike was to ride. Timed runs in Strava were also faster with the Pole than my old bike, so I was kinda sold at once.
Is this Pole Evolink your only bike? I also have a Traitor Ruben for cyclocross and commuting, an OnOne 456evo2 hardtail and a Transition Klunker for serious shredding. 26" ain't dead!
What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? I had Transition Covert Carbon, which was a great bike. I rode the Trans Savoie in 2014 with it.
How does riding such a long bike compare to your previous experiences / Did you have to adjust your riding style? Not really, as the bike felt just right from the start. It's so easy to ride, just point and shoot and it eats everything. Every other bike since then has felt funny, like riding my little brother's bike or something…
Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? Custom build with ANVL cockpit, saddle and wheels, Absolute Black oval ring + chainguide, custom decals in fork+shock, frame protection from All Mountain Style, AVS hand guards...
What’s your favorite part about the bike? The frame.
What would you change on it? Rear wheel. The hub isn't the most reliable, I just broke a second one…
How long do you plan on riding this bike? Until I can afford The Machine...
If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? I'd like to have some utility bike, like a Surly Big Dummy or a Kona Ute, for replacing the car in everyday use. But the next bike I'll buy is a kick bike for my two-year-old daughter.
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