Finnish bike maker Pole went into Coronavirus lockdown unsure how to split their efforts between their newest in-house CNC-machined Stamina and their original welded Evolink enduro and trail bikes. But weeks of focus have given them clarity (and some light at the end of the tunnel). So they are hunkering and doubling down on the Stamina, which actually see a price increase. And the Evolinks are going the direction of closing out, with price drops that could have you trail riding very soon…
Pole Stamina 140 & 180 get new rear ends, 1000€ higher price
Trimming back the line-up to focus on their most innovative bike line seems like a rational move for the small company. But shouldn’t that make the bike cheaper, not more expensive?
Pole says that as they grew rapidly since the debut of their CNC-machined, bonded clamshell bikes (first the DH Machine, then enduro Stamina, then the trail Bushmaster turned Stamina 140), they ended up increasing buyer demand 4x. At the same time as trying to build these new bikes entirely in-house, they were building their own factory, and machining bikes as fast as they could. But they had to keep scaling up growth as they tried to deliver, and have been falling behind schedule for around two years now. Even before COVID-19 they felt like they were doing too much at one time. So, that’s why they’ve chosen to focus going forward only on their in-house CNC bikes.
And the additional cost is really just to take into consideration the increased raw material costs, the added development they’ve devoted to refine & perfect the updated Staminas, the percentage of frames that just couldn’t meet their exacting quality control standards & never made it all the way through production, and just an updated realistic analysis of how to keep operations profitable – so all the workers stay employed, whether during a pandemic or just long-term into the future.
So what’s new with the Pole Stamina?
Both the original 180mm Stamina and the newer Stamina 140mm get updated with all new straight chainstay rear ends – what Pole calls “The Dogbone” swingarm. It is an all-new design that uses the same 2-part clamshell construction as the main frame for each side – machined 7075-T6 alloy halves interlocked & bonded together. It is hollow, lightweight, and now also includes a STFU chain damper to keep it running quietly. It also now gets SRAM’s UDH universal derailleur hanger. Add to that, new linkages and yokes for a “complete remake”. The new rear end also improves tire & mud clearance, think 27.5×2.8″ or 29×2.6″ now plus room for mud to shed.
Pole says, “the bike that you will purchase [now] is not the same bike from half a year ago.” That is probably welcome news for anyone who might have seen some media testers bent/broke a non-production prototype XC swingarm in their huck-to-flat test last year – the so-called Pinkbike incident. Pole remains steadfast that was never a production bike (and a blatant error on their part sending out the prototype to review), before adding also that they’ve also improved their in-house production quality and tolerances, too.
Stamina pricing & availability
So what does the price increase actually mean? An extra 1000€ is added to all of the Stamina frameset options, but Pole was quick to point out that some complete bikes like the 7650€ Stamina 180 EN don’t actually change. Both the Stamina 180 & Stamina 140 framesets now start at 4750€, including a RockShox rear shock & Cane Creek headset. Then options for build kits climb quickly from there. Complete TR builds with SRAM GX Eagle are definitely your cheapest way to get a bike to ride from 5500€.
Now the problem is still availability. Pole says delivery lead time is still ten weeks for new frame orders. But since they are producing in-house and are able to keep working (albeit in shifts) these days, they still think they will be able to keep to that as long as COVID-19 doesn’t get much worse in Finland. But complete bikes are a different story. Much of the cycling industry supply chain is suffering, and smaller brands like Pole are the first to get de-prioritized. So Pole says they “can not guarantee that we will get all parts to the TR model”, so those affordable bikes as well as other options may be out of stock for a while.
All existing Evolink bikes get price drops, immediate delivery
What does that mean for all of their Evolink bikes? Evolink may have been around for several years now, but its geometry was ahead of its time, so they’re still really fun bikes to ride aggressive trails with. And now they are cheaper too.
Pole is clearing all their 2020 Evolink bikes from stock, and now won’t be building any more. Those framesets and complete bikes that they have will ship out immediately, and you can pick up a complete bike for more than 10% off or a frameset for more than 15% off.