We are proud to announce that our new factory is ready and fully operational
It sure wasn’t easy, and it’s still not easy. Delays, shortages, and price increases have not helped either. Creating something new from scratch needs sisu. Sisu is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness. And during these times when everything is more expensive, can take longer, and even run out completely, sisu is what we need.
To put delays in perspective, our EVOLINK purchase order was made in Autumn 2020. All frame materials were ready but we encountered problems with quality, small details, and overall difficulties with high demand pushbacks. We had to work remotely with our agent and finally, in July 2022 we received stock of EVOLINK’s. To be honest, if we did not have our CNC factory in Finland, we would not be here anymore. The pandemic wasn’t our only challenge. In 2019 we had quality issues with almost all our products and our company had to change management. With new management, we decided to fix everything, reconnect with our customers, and change our course to increase production in Finland.
We set goals so we could make the CNC process more efficient and of better quality. We had to cut down on materials, manual labor, and production steps. The goal was simply to make bigger quantities with the same amount of resources. We introduced new surface treatment and passivation processes, and a new way of bonding. Stamina and Voima have little in common if we look under the hood. We made patents, and have several patents pending for our production methods.
Voima itself went through a long product development process. We made more iterations than with previous products. We put significant effort into details like protective tapes, battery mounts, motor mounting, motor cooling, motor maintenance, seat post fixing, and cable routing. We set a goal to not need a single washer on our bike that could go missing and we achieved that. We even integrated the swingarm axles into the swingarms from one piece.
The swingarm isn’t exactly conventional and has made people either love or hate the bike shape. In real life, the bike looks stunning and people who see it in the flesh have realised how special Voima is.
Starting a new production line is a surprisingly tough job
Our Voima presale in 2021 was a huge success for a small company like Pole. We sold more Voima’s in one month than Staminas in a whole year. We soon realised that our production capacity was fully sold out with Voima orders. We had to stop selling, and producing Stamina. We also made a decision that we need more production capacity to fulfill the demand. After the EFBE test was passed in December our ramp-up project started.
Setting up a new production line with a limited amount of machines means that we need to ramp up in increments. Deciding what the batch size for every part needs a lot of planning and following up so that everyone is informed of what is happening next. The most deceiving part of the process is that getting used to something is what blinds us in all aspects. We get used to fast achievements or real disappointments, and these start to drive things the wrong way if the overall vision is not clear.
We continued our ramp-up process with increasing numbers and in April we had consumed our inventory of components and had produced half of the presold bikes. Whilst we waited for the new stock to arrive, we continued our ramp-up project and sold more Voima’s.
We are making more bikes, and quicker than before
Now we have reached our cap, and we are proudly making 80 Voima framesets a month. To put that in perspective; we are now producing more CNC manufactured bikes in two months than we did in one year. The next project is to refine our processes, and our goal is to make 100 per month. Our target is to clear all current Voima orders by the end of August, which we will do. Now our lead time is 30 days instead of six months or more.
Not only do these process improvements mean we can manufacture more bikes every month, but it also translates to new product pricing options. To meet the production deadlines, we are now selling production capacity monthly.
To celebrate this milestone, we are releasing two brand new editions to our E-bike range. We are giving our customers an option to fully customise their Voima also.
All new customer service concept
We found out that our customers are happy to place a deposit to secure their production slot and sort out the details of their bike later with our customer service. When we went back to the usual payment options on our website, we found out that choosing everything online can cause headaches for some people. Customers seem to want someone else to check that everything is right. Our customer service helps with sizing, choosing the right components, and payment details.
Shopping online is simple when buying clothes or other goods that are not four figures. When the purchase is greater than 5000€ it becomes harder to pay with a credit card. Third-party payment providers bring safety to a purchase.
A deposit makes purchases safer and easier
We found out that a simple, low-cost deposit secures a production slot. After the deposit is received, our customer service checks the order and confirms the purchase with the customer. When everything is ok, our customer service provides a range of payment options available to our customers for the final balance. Regular card payment, finance options with Klarna, and even our own Split Payment Options are available to all customers on any order.
Two new editions to our Voima lineup
The Voima will come in two exciting new formats – a Light Trail Edition, and a monthly Special Edition. Customers will also have the option of a fully Customisable Edition too.
For example, in September we offer these two ‘off-the-shelf’ options.
Pricing here excludes local tax and import duties. In EU local VAT is added. Outside EU, customer pays import duties and taxes in customs. Pole website shows the price you pay when you make the purchase.
The Trail Light will come with a 180mm Zeb fork, Maxxis EXO tyres and will be available in the original Raw Clear finish. Prices start from 6447 € (tax-free) as a ride-ready, off-the-shelf deal.
A monthly Special Edition will also feature in the new range with three colour options. Spec’d with a range of in-stock parts, this exciting edition will only be available for one month at a time, and limited to the available monthly production slots. Prices for a complete bike will start from 6850 € (tax-free)
The final edition to the lineup will be a fully customizable option Voima to suit E-biker’s heart’s desire. Using our online Voima bike configurator, customers will be able to pick and choose the components that suit their specific needs and can secure the order with a small 200 € deposit. Providing the best advice and customer care, our knowledgeable team will then contact the customer to discuss every aspect of the bike build, making sure that the product fits the customer perfectly.
No frameset? (Updated)
We are lucky that we have components. However, our production capacity is limited and since we have components, it’s more logical to sell a full bike – the best value for money is always a complete build.
Is stamina coming back to production?
Voima is made with a new production method that has reduced manual labor by 70%. Our production line is optimised to produce frames like Voima. Therefore Stamina came to its end of life naturally. It’s not a secret that we have been riding in public with a motorless version of Voima and our ambassadors have been rocking the prototypes. We are currently working on the new product launch and preparing for production.
Voima Customer Feedback
The Voima has been received very well by all our customers, with bikes being ridden the world over with nothing but positive reviews.
We’re also hugely proud of our ambassadors currently flying the Pole Bicycles flag on their first Enduro World E-Series. Leigh Johnson podiumed on his first ever E-bike race, he is currently ranked 4th and the Pole Enduro Team is ranked 4th overall in the team standings.
We are going for more because you know… more is more. We are set to continue the direct-to-consumer path. We are setting up a company in the US so we can handle US orders, business rates, and logistics more efficiently. Our next big project is setting up a new factory and multiplying the production capacity of our CNC machined bikes here in Finland. To achieve that, we are looking for a partner to fund the new factory and automation processes.
We are grateful to those who believed in and supported us during these hard times. Onwards with the next mission!