Vikkelä – The new agile

Why did we make Vikkelä?
When Pole CEO Leo Kokkonen sat down in May 2019, he had a challenge that needed to be solved. Pole wanted to bring an e-bike to the market. However, a mid-drive motor meant we 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.

Vikkelä, and our e-bike Voima, 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. We guarantee this bike will make you smile bigger and ride faster than ever.

The proof is in the riding.
This bike is exceptional. This bike 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 leveled 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 technology that we developed. Sensei suspension swingarm does not have bridges between each side. Instead, we have a patent pending bridgeless swingarm. Our 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 we control the stiffness EXACTLY how we want.

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

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

So why didn’t we make the normal ones stiffer, then? We have 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. We have learned that 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, our geometry has been at the forefront, and Vikkelä is the next evolution. Of course, you will still find our trademark long and slack, but we 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 millimeters, 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. We engineer our suspension kinematics carefully to ensure your 190mm will be stiff but compliant. We 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 we make a bike that wouldn’t be fun to ride in Finland? Our mountains are not very high.

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

Why Sensei suspension?
We designed Vikkelä and our e-bike Voima side by side using the same Sensei suspension platform. It has been tried and tested on our Voima e-bike 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 we don’t control the travel 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. 

On paper looking at all the anti-squat and leverage ratio numbers, it all looks great, but how does that translate to real-world riding? 

From our extensive testing and riding, we know that the Sensei platform works, but what do our end users have to say? 

“the bike feels amazing.”

“The thing eats trails for breakfast and wants you to go bigger and faster than last.”

“I use it for anything from rough descents to mountain trip biking, and I love how it performs on anything you throw at it.” 

“It’s a DH bike I can pedal all day; the suspension feels limitless, smooth over the small stuff, capable of bigger hits.” 

There is a common trait; our customers love how the bike rides.

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!

Why Vikkelä?
As a proud Finnish brand, we wanted to continue our tradition of giving our bikes Finnish names, and Vikkelä was no different.

We wanted a name that best suited the feeling of riding the bike. So, after several months of hard riding with Leo Kokkonen, the designer and Pole CEO, our EWS team, and several riders from our test program, adjectives like agile, nimble, quick, nippy, and swift, were all thrown around. But, in the end, the best word to describe all these feelings in Finnish would be VIKKELÄ.   

But how do you pronounce Vikkelä?
In the Finnish language, we pronounce every letter in our words, so let us break it down.

First, say VIK and then KEL; that wasn’t too bad. But you probably noticed the letter Ä at the end with the two funny dots on top… well that makes the ‘Ä’ have a complex sound like ‘ah’. Is everybody following along? Let’s all try that, ‘Vik-kel-ah,’ Great stuff! So now you can confidently say agile in Finnish.

Why CNC-machined?
Vikkelä and Voima are made in-house in Finland. As pioneers of the CNC’d mountain bike, we have spent years developing and evolving our process. As a result, our frames are EFBE tri-tested to the highest level, category 5, which means our bikes are robust and so strong that we confidently offer a five-year frame warranty for all Vikkelä framesets. 

Why don’t you guys use carbon? 
These days of being more ‘environmentally responsible,’ our aluminum is infinitely recyclable, and as we make our bikes in-house, we can follow western work ethics. All leftover material from machining is recycled and turned into new aluminum blocks. We use 7075-T6 aluminum, almost twice the tensile strength of conventional aluminum. As a result, our material is more resilient to impacts and wear and tear than carbon. In addition, our team of CNC Robots makes our bikes with a remarkable degree of precision, and our automation processes are constantly evolving. As a result, we can quickly develop new ideas, implement changes and update our designs in a fast and waste-free environment. 

Where can I get one?
If you want to get your hands on a Vikkelä, we have frames and complete build options available from our web page right now!

There are three Vikkelä models to choose from;

Vikkelä Express A complete build with the best value for money.

Vikkelä Custom – Build your dream Vikkelä

Vikkelä Frameset – The frameset option for those who want to build their dream bike with selected component. Check out the bundle options!