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Text & photos: Giacomo Dodino

I started riding the Pole Evolink 158 in October when I met Leo and the team during the Trophy of Nations of Finale Ligure.

Pole gave me the same bike that Leigh Johnson rode during the Trophy of Nations race, a Taiga Yellow Pole Evolink 158 in size large.

After few months full of guiding and riding in Finale Ligure I chose to move into size XLarge to make the last step in the preparation before the race season.

I did lots of testing to find “the perfect ride setup” on this bike for me. I tried different components (handlebars, brakes, seat post, forks length, wheels, tires…) and different shocks ( air and Coil ) too. Now, I am thrilled with the result. Unfortunately, the race season got interrupted by the COVID-19.

I’m sure that some of these tips can help you guys to boost the process of finding the best setup for you on your Evolink and in general.

Tip 1) Choose the same size as you would on other bikes.

This is very important for who is moving to buy a new Pole bike: You need to ride the same size your former bike to completely understand all the benefits of the new style Geometry of the Pole Bicycles.

The Pole bicycle size chart works very well. Follow that and select the size matching to your height.

If you are a “geometry geek”, don’t be swayed by the wheelbase and how much longer it is compared to your old bike. Look at the reach and stack numbers also, since these are essential measures for the choice too.

I’m 193cm (6,3′) tall, and I have always ridden size XL. Moving to Pole, I saw that the Large size Evolink was longer than my old bike. For this reason, I tried first the Large size of the Evolink 158, but I felt the reach and the seat tube were too short for me.

My XL size now is not much longer in wheelbase than size L, but reach, stack and seat tube measures are making the bike more comfortable for me than in size Large. I can now use a shorter stem, and the bike is also easier to handle in the tight corners too. Bottom line: Follow the size chart list, and you’ll get the right size easy.

Tip 2) Handlebars and Stem

I found a perfect cockpit position with a 40mm stem and a 760mm handlebars. I cut the bars down 2cm shorter than what I’ve ridden before (780mm). With the hands closer to each other, I got extra room to move back and forth on the big, size XLarge bike.

All Pole bikes are very stable thanks for their geometry, so you don’t need to have a super-wide handlebar to control the bike. 760mm is enough, and it makes me feel more agile in the tight sections. 

Tip 3) Dropper seat post is crucial, use it!

The Evolinks, like all the Pole bikes, have a steep seat tube angle which means excellent climbing position when the saddle is high. Although, when the trail changes from uphill to flat or flowy, you should lower your seat post a bit, or the saddle starts to kick you in the butt. Around 2cm lower than climb mode feels good for me.

I know that It doesn’t look like a pro tip, but you should try it. You’ll have much more room under you to play with when the trail becomes more technical.

I have an OneUp dropper post with 170mm length on my XL Evolink 158, but I always need that extra 2cm lower position to be more comfortable on the stages.

Tip 4) The fork – have you tried tokens?

We can spend hours talking about fork set up… Here I want to give you my point of view to start setting your fork for the Evolink. If you are interested in more details, you can drop me a message on Instagram.

Evolink 158 runs the 180mm RockShox Lyrik fork as a stock option, which is excellent.

With a long fork like this, I like to run at least two tokens to use a softer pressure that helps the first part of the travel to be very smooth with a good progression at the end of the stroke. A proper measure to find the right pressure for the fork is the sag; for me, it should be around 15%-20% of travel. 

See also: Leigh Johnsons’ & Joe Nations’ Stamina 180 setup.

Tip 5) Coil shock or air shock for the Evolink 158

The Evolink makes it easy to choose one because the suspension linkage works very well with both of them.

The classic RockShox Monarch Plus H/L-tuned is perfect for long pedal trail and enduro rides because it is light and makes the bike more agile on pedal parts. I fine-tuned the Monarch with two tokens inside the air chamber to let me run a 35% of SAG and make the first part of the travel soft like a coil shock.

I think the best choice if you like to run a coil shock, is the EXT Storia Lok V3. For me, a 30% sag on Storia, makes the bike feel super composed on the rocky section and ready on the pedal section of the trail. The rear suspension feels endless. Amazing.

See also: Leo Kokkonen testing shocks for Stamina 180

Tip 6) Brakes!

The bike goes fast on a downhill section, and you really need some power to stop it! I’m more than happy with 200mm disk front and rear.

Tip 7) Cables in or out

The Evolink has the neat opportunity to run both specs, internal and external. The internal cabling works smoothly and is very silent.

I chose to run the dropper post and shifter cables inside the frame and leave the rear brakes out to have the opportunity to change the brakes easily and fast.


Giacomo “Jack” Dodino

Giacomo, or “Jack”, is one of our international ambassadors coming from Pietra Ligure, Italy. Besides being a super-fast enduro athlete with full EWS race calendar for 2020, Jacks daily life is working among the sport we so much love; He has a business called Residence4Bikers that offers quality services to all fans of mountain biking, scooping the ideas from some of the best-known resorts around the world. Giacomo is a great dude – give the man a follow on Instagram if you haven’t already. And if you are visiting Ligure area in Italy for biking, don’t miss the Residence4Bikers.


 

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Henkilön GIACOMO DODINO (@jack_dodino) jakama julkaisu



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