Pole Bicycles is the latest MTB brand to go under as the bike industry's problems continue

Poles bike range is now split into gravity and trail, each with three build options
(Image credit: Pole)

In a very frank video statement posted on Rob Hancill's Rob Rides EMTB YouTube Channel, Pole Bicycles founder and CEO, Leo Kokkonen, revealed the sad news that the MTB brand has filed for insolvency. Pole is the latest bike brand to go under due to financial struggles as hard times in the bike industry continue.

In the video, Kokkonen revealed that Pole's problems started many years ago, but recent events such as Finland's political strikes (which closed ports in March) and machine breakdowns that halted production for a month proved too much for the company to be able to continue. 

Kokkonen said. "Even though we grew our sales, supply chain problems led to a cash shortage every now and again and our investors kept Pole alive through this period. With perfect timing I believe that we would have been very successful and for the first months of this year we did very well with our efficiency. Unfortunately, the market is not the best – interest rates have gone up, while purchase volume has been shrinking."

The release of Pole's most recent e-MTB, the Sonni – launched in the fall/autumn of last year, seems to have stretched Pole too. Despite increased interest in the brand following the Sonni's release, Kokkonen said cash reserves were depleted and they couldn't buy the components they needed.

Pole Onni being ridden around a berm

Over the years, Pole built a reputation for innovative bikes that pushed the boundaries (Image credit: Pole)

Like Orange, who also experienced recent financial troubles, Pole's bikes were available in a wide range of configurations. This seems likely to have compounded cash flow and component issues due to the amount of different frames and components needed to cover all the options. Elsewhere in the industry, other brands, notably Whyte and Trek, have taken (or are taking) steps to address similar issues and dramatically reducing the number of bikes and builds they offer.

Also in the video, Kokkonen reveals that a deal to buy Pole had been close, but was unable to proceed in the end. "Our current owners and the possible purchaser couldn't find common ground and our current owners are no longer able to fund the company." Said Kokkonen.

At present, the future looks very unclear for Pole. Kokkonen said, "Everything is on sale – the IP, the machine processes, everything, and if someone could pick it up quickly, they could also get the people working for Pole." Obviously, we hope that the right buyer can come in and acquire Pole to keep this innovative MTB brand going and save the jobs of all involved.

Richard Owen
Editor, Bike Perfect

Rich is the editor of the Bikeperfect.com team. He has worked as a print and internet journalist for over 24 years and has been riding mountain bikes for over 30. Rich mostly likes hitting flowy yet technical trails that point downhill. A jack of many trades, he has competed in cross-country, enduro and long distance MTB races. A resident of North Devon, Rich can mostly be found pedaling furiously around his local trails, or slightly further afield in the Quantocks, the Mendips or Exmoor. 

Current rides: Merida One-Forty 6000, Banshee Paradox

Height: 175cm

Weight: 68kg