Finnish company Pole have championed extremely long, low and slack bikes since day one and we were eager to see how the Taival hardtail would ride – would the longest stats in the test deaden the ride?
This bike is part of a group test: The best hardcore hardtail you can buy – 7 bikes in review
The Taival is made from heat treated 4130 cromoly steel and welded into a super clean looking frame with slim tubing and no external gussets. Pole has done everything they can to make the Taival’s rear end as vertically compliant and forgiving as possible: long and skinny seat stays are welded at the end of the top tube, rather than the seat tube which makes the seat stay longer and also gives more welding area for a stronger join with the slim tubing. Both stays are bridged horizontally but only vertically braced on the non-drive stays to prevent the tubes twisting under braking, while keeping things as supple as possible. The frame’s dropouts will work with either 142 mm or 148 mm hubs, great news if you’re building up a frame from your old parts before eventually upgrading, the stays have tonnes of mud clearance and the BB has an ISCG05 guide ready to clamp on your chain device.
Geometry of the Pole TAIVAL
|Seat tube||420 mm||440 mm||460 mm||480 mm||510 mm|
|Top tube||587 mm||617 mm||650 mm||680 mm||790 mm|
|Head tube||135 mm||135 mm||135 mm||145 mm||145 mm|
|Chainstay||432 mm||436 mm||440 mm||444 mm||448 mm|
|BB Drop||60 mm||60 mm||60 mm||60 mm||60 mm|
|Wheelbase||1189 mm||1223 mm||1261 mm||1295 mm||1319 mm|
|Reach||420 mm||450 mm||480 mm||510 mm||530 mm|
|Stack||648 mm||648 mm||657 mm||657 mm||666 mm|
Riding the Pole TAIVAL
If you’re used to riding a modern enduro bike, climbing on board the Taival is instantly familiar. Centrally positioned with a stretched reach and long rear end, the Taival can be railed around corners or pointed straight down the fall line and the bike will remain planted and stable regardless of your speed. The roomy cockpit, direct response from a rigid rear end and long stays that stick the front end to the ground make for a bike that really likes to grind away up a fire road, if we could have one wish it would be for an even steeper seat angle to make steep technical ascents and tight switchbacks even more of a doddle. With all this traction and stability, it’s a surprise that it’s as nimble as it is; the front wheel comes off the ground easily and slow speed hops are no issue despite the time difference between wheels.
Both stays are bridged horizontally but only vertically braced on the non-drive stays to prevent the tubes twisting under braking, while keeping things as supple as possible. The frame’s dropouts will work with either 142 mm or 148 mm hubs, great news if you’re building up a frame from your old parts before eventually upgrading, the stays have tonnes of mud clearance and the BB has an ISCG05 guide ready to clamp on your chain device.
There’s no getting around that the Taival is a big bike but the Pole geometry is no longer the crazy outsider that it would have been just a few years ago. It retains the title of longest with a 1295 mm wheelbase but it’s neither the slackest or lowest in the test, the Pipedreams has as much reach, the Orange has longer chainstays and the same stack. Somehow, the Taival is greater than the sum of its parts; the compliant rear end combined with the balanced and stable riding position allows you to forget that you’re on a hardtail and ride lines as you would on your ‘big’ bike. The Pole Taival is the hardcore hardtail for riders who want to ride on the red line at all times.
Price: £600 frame only (£2500 for full-build as tested)
- Excellent all-rounder
- Compliant rear end
- Super stable at speeds
- Needs to be ridden fast to get the most out of the geometry
For more info head to: polebicycles.com
All bikes in test
Words: Thomas Corfield Photos: Trevor Worsey