I’m not so sure there is a compromise with the 158 you know, not that I have found anyway.
Tell us a little about yourself; Who is Blaise wall, where you come from, how old are you and how long have you been riding bikes?
20 years old (or young?), originally from Ireland and now living in Morzine, France. I’ve been riding for roughly 4 years now.
Only 4 years, that’s cool!
Yeah, only really got into it properly 2 years ago haha.
It’s the dedication and hard work! What’s your best mtb memory?
My best MTB memory would have to be the Red Bull Foxhunt last year(2018). The rush you get at that event is like no other and I didn’t do too badly either! Good vibes all around 😀
Not bad at all, you ended up being 6th of 430 riders! How did you end up riding as a Pole Ambassador then?
Funny story that, I actually used to be supported by another brand, and towards the end of last year when Pole had announced the Stamina 180, I knew it was something special. It was literally the ideal bike for me, from the manufacturing process & ethics to the angles & numbers and of course, it’s looks!
Anyway, I had met Leo in Malaga when visiting Switchbacks for the first time back in 2017, he was there testing the early model Machine I believe. We were staying in the same apartment so I got to know a little bit more about Pole and the reasons for doing what they do and I found it fascinating!
So in November of last year I think it was I had the option to continue riding the other brand, but I figured I’d at least chat with Leo about the possibility of some kind of partnership, and we managed to make something work! Originally the plan was for me to get the Stamina in time for the summer this year, but because of some delays and improvements to the original design it meant that date was pushed back, hence why I’m riding the Evolink158. I couldn’t be happier about that because it’s going to be really cool hopping from the Evolink to the Stamina next year to really feel the differences between them!
Editorial note: Foxhunt results
How do you like the Evolink 158, what is the best thing about it and is there any compromises with it?
I’m not so sure there is a compromise with the 158 you know, not that I have found anyway. The best thing about the 158 is the best thing about all Poles; the geometry. And because the Geo on almost all of Evolinks/machined bikes are so similar it’s hard to use that as a ‘this is why you should go for this bike’ I feel like the line up of bikes is potentially too broad so it makes it difficult for the customer to differentiate and choose between 2 models if that makes sense? I think the 140 could be taken from the lineup, because there is still an XC (110) Trail (131) & Enduro (158). The thing is the 140 is so iconic and established at this point that it would make no sense to cut it purely to make decision making easier.
Word Up! In fact, one of the more common questions we get about EVOLINKs is 140 vs. 158. Now, we know you have not really ridden 140 but how did you end up choosing your 158?
I’m good with knowing how a bike will compare to a similar one purely based on the specs sheet so you still could refer me if you wish! I ride a lotttt so I’ve picked up what angles are causing what and how the travel affects the ride. I know when I’d choose a 140 over a 158 so I’m sure I could lend some knowledge to potential customers. The key thing id say to somebody in limbo between an EVOLINK 140 and 158 is asking them what the majority of their riding looks like. If it strays 50% or more to downhill riding I’d recommend the 158, if it’s 50% or more pedaling/trail riding I’d say 140. I ride the 158 and not the 140 just because this year I knew that I’d be in Morzine again for the season so the more travel the better out here! If I had stayed in Ireland the 140 with a 160 fork would be my ideal EVOLINK.
… I never feel the need for lock-out, even with a coil.
The stand out feature for the 158 is its the ability to climb remarkably well for its capability when riding downhill. The 158 has to be the best pedaling bike with a 180 fork that I know of, also the pedal platform is great for 158mm travel, so much so that I never feel the need for lock-out, even with a coil.
I’ve been thinking the exact same for these last two weeks I’ve been riding with 158 “Papa Smurf”. Stamina is something else of course, but 158 is still a siiiick bike.
The 158 is so sick! So I can’t imagine how good the stamina is haha!
What will you do this winter, heard you are moving to Malaga and start working with Switchbacks MTB?
Yeah correct, I’m going to be starting guiding with Switchbacks MTB in Malaga in December/January for the winter until April when I come back out to Morzine for the summer! I will be guiding and hopefully coaching some people too because I get great enjoyment out of helping and seeing others improve! I think I will also be doing basic duties around the villa they have.
I’ll might have to visit you there for a lesson or two. Thanks buddy!
Text & interview: Sampo Virmasalo
About Pole ambassadors
We got some ambassadors throughout the world. This selected group of riders represents our vision and the type of riding we like to see done with our bikes. Besides the lust for riding bikes, there’s one crucial thing about all of them – We’ve met them personally. If you are thinking about how to be our ambassador, that’s one thing we require, a real-life contact. We want to meet all of our riders in person.