When Pole CEO Leo Kokkonen sat down in May 2019, he had a challenge that needed to be solved. The brand wanted to bring an e-bike to the market. However, a mid-drive motor meant they couldn’t use the established EVOLINK linkage system as the primary link sits concentrically to the bottom bracket.

The bike concept was obvious. Leo’s goal was to create a long-travel, super fast, agile trail bike more capable than before. Vikkelä picked up where the legendary Stamina left off, but now with added extra. Leo created a bridgeless swingarm that’s lateral flex can be adjusted. A bridgeless swingarm means that neither seat stays nor chain stays are connected. 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.

The Vikkelä, and the Voima e-bike, were developed alongside each other and share a common platform. Both were designed around 190mm travel of a single crown fork to deliver an abundance of speed, control, agility, and fun. The Pole team guarantees this bike will make you smile bigger and ride faster than ever.

The proof is in the riding.
This bike is exceptional, it is a different beast, and riding this beast needs to be mastered. You are riding tall behind the handlebars and cornering with your pedals in a flat position. There is no need to make room for the inside pedal. As a result, the rider has more room to move up and down and can set up corners easier and exit them with greater power. Balancing the corners with levelled pedals is more straightforward, which makes you, the rider, more agile on the bike. After all, the rider is the most significant mass of the system.

What are racing axles?
Racing axles are a new technology that Pole developed. Sensei suspension swingarm does not have bridges between each side. Instead, the Finnish brand has a patent pending bridgeless swingarm. The axles have bores that create a rigid construction for the swingarm. The upside of this design is that there’s massive tire clearance, ease of service and precise stiffness control.

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The idea behind bridgeless swingarm is that the swingarm lateral stiffness can be controlled more accurately. Almost all lateral forces are delivered through the boring axles that connect the two swingarm halves together at the main frame.

Pole delivers Vikkelä and Voima with standard axles as standard. Racing axles are being developed with their EWS-E racing team. Racing axles are 30% stiffer than standard axles. Race Axle’s weight penalty is only 70g.

So why didn’t Pole make the normal ones stiffer, then? The brand 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, a nimbler rear triangle is easier to corner at low speed. Overall the bike is more tolerant of errors and more comfortable.

Why the higher BB?
In 2023 Pole will be celebrating its ten years of making bikes with passion-driven design without compromise. From day one, its geometry has been at the forefront, and Vikkelä is the next evolution. Of course, you will still find its long and slack trademark, but the Pole crew made a significant change that increased the bike’s agility.

When getting wild or on the steep stuff and you need to hang your ass over the rear tire, 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?

Why 190mm of travel?
It’s not the length but how you use it. Pole engineers suspension kinematics carefully to ensure your 190mm will be stiff but compliant. The team wanted to design a bike that’s about getting around corners fast, but agile enough to ride on trails, local forests, and bike parks. So why would they make a bike that wouldn’t be fun to ride in Finland? Finnish mountains are not very high.

Like its e-bike sibling, the Voima, the Vikkelä is dual crown compatible too.

Why Sensei suspension?
Pole designed Vikkelä and the e-bike Voima side by side using the same Sensei suspension platform. It has been tried and tested on Voima e-bikes all across the world to great success, including EWS E-Series podiums. However, when it comes to suspensions, even the most extended amount of travel is useless if the travel is not controlled properly by carefully designing the leverage ratio to meet the desired riding feel in all stages of the available travel. With Sensei’s clever design, the bike remains playful and fast and is a fantastic climber.

Let’s break things down and highlight the benefits of the Sensei platform;

– Optimum pedaling efficiency
– Supportive suspension
– Less ground feedback
– SAG 25%-35% to match your riding experience.

So there you have it; Sensei is the new master!

Tue 1st Nov, 2022 @ 12:30 am

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