Polo bike desing - considering many experimental features (or at least less traditional)

Hello everyone!
I’m looking forward to building a custom bike for myself. I’m still relatively new to the sport, but I play every week for the last nearly two years. I love the bike customization aspect of this sport. The sort of arms race let’s say. I feel like it is time to order a frame and fork. I’m considering an aluminum frame from a custom frame factory in Mielec (rumored to have been a MPC subcontractor, but anyway a much respected and cheap maker here) and a steel fork from an aspiring frame maker “ImoniaCycles”. I attach the bike geometry that I sketched up in bikecad - feel free to comment on any aspect of it! Other considerations are related to the gear:

  • 50% convinced to go with a 15x100mm thru axle xt front hub (never had anything with thru axle)
  • rotor size - i hear that 180mm is not really worth it
  • freewheel or freehub-body rear hub? This dictates spacing in the rear of the bike. I keep braking shimano HG freehubs, so I am considering a screw on freewheel. This however would require a 120mm or 130mm spacing (sturmey archer). The 135mm mtb standard would offer a wider range of hubs to choose from, but I do not want to go absolutely bananas on the boutique brand hubs if they don’t really offer much benefit to a screw-on freewheel.
  • fork features - i feel like it could be useful to run the brake line internally as I keep getting it caught on bikes and people. I really like the framebuilder and would like to order the fork from him. The price is a bit lower than MPC.
  • Toe overlap - is it even possible to avoid it? I run my cleats way back for comfort, which makes my toe 113mm ahead of the pedal axle. I feel like I should only resort to moving the cleats as a final solution.


Screenshot 2023-12-05 235535

Thru axle is such a better axle type for disc brakes! I can’t recommend enough.


I for sure agree that it has a better chance of wheel mounting placement repeatability. Is it really any stiffer though?

  • 15x100 : it is stiffer than QR for sure ! Just go for it !
  • Rotor size : it really depends on your brake and weight. Never had any issue with 160mm (easier to protect than 180mm)
  • Rearhub : I’d go for a 135mm Hope trial bolt-on hub. Will last 10 years.
  • Fork : remember that with internal routing from the stem to the hub, you can not adjust you stem position. I’d not recommend to do that directly on a new bike.
  • Fork design : I’d not recommend this type of fork for stiffness, especially if you have a thru axle. Unicrown or segmented with a tapered steerer will do the job.
  • Toe Overlap : I have a short 52cm TT polo bike and 27.5’" wheels with no toe-overlap. Some tricks : ask for a slightly steeper seat tube, put your cleats in the front, decrease you crank lenght, increase your crankset Q factor, add a few mm of rake on the fork. It will also decrease the trail.

100 x 15 or 110 x 20 front
135 x 10 or 120 x 10 BOLT ON only tho. if you break the shimano HG body you are a) a beast b) could try the steel ones ? rather than aluminium alloy c) you might also break a freewheel or strip the threads on the hub

i rate 135 mtb hub more than the 120 track ones ( they are lighter tho )

i just like to have a second gear

make sure your BB drop is high enough so you dont pedal strike. ever. and keep in mind sometime the polo court is not totaly flat.

i find even good frame builder under estimate this

if you thinking of traveling / taking your bike appart , if you go internal routing you cant do that without completely re-bleeding the brakes or stressing about stuff >>

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How tall are you?
What is your arm span?
What are you currently riding?
How many polo bikes have you owned?
What led you to make these design decisions (wheelbase, head angle, offset/rake, front centre, wheel size, crank length, chainstay length)

Toe overlap is avoidable. Increase your front centre distance. Short wheelbase ain’t everything. Also, you could do a bent seat tube.

Don’t buy a custom fork. Buy a MPC fork and run a crown race converter to 1.5". I guarantee it will outlast anything you will get built custom.

Build it with 135 rear spacing and get a cassette hub.

Send the bikecad file via private message.

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Haha I use steel HG while not being that much of a beast, but thanks. I know that HG is a much inferior design to any hub that has the POE’s within the hub. I do like the idea o a freehub polo bike as it allows to set the chainline perfectly. Are there any solid threaded axle rear hubs like that though? All i can find are things like Hope - thru axle design adapted to work with QR…
The bb height i have now 295 with 175 cranks and i never strike the ground. I hope 290 with 165 will be okay, unless i really start leaning into those corners harder.
Good point on disassembly for traveling, but I don’t see myself having to fly the polobike anywhere so I hope to get away with not disassembling it (car / train travel).
RIP HG attached

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183cm tall
188cm arm span
85kg :cold_face:
I’m riding a random rat bike which is really far from a polo bike - we call it “dachshund” for its’ length (alloy frameset, 1100mm wheelbase, 28’ wheels with 40mm tires, BB5 brake - I feel like it is too weak for me)
This is my only polo bike, but I tried a bunch of bikes recently in berlin.
My frame design decisions were loosely based on koncept geo and some advice i got. I never designed anything in bikecad before. The fit side of the design is likely not ideal as I still don’t have a clue “how to bike fit”. The stand-over in the design is what I have and the saddle is what i use in all my bikes. My everyday bike is quite nice to play polo, but as it is a flat bar steel road bike it has awful pedal strike, toe overlap, 28mm tires and derailleurs.
Yes I can order a bent seattube!

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bent seat tube = short wheel base

there is a limit to how short you want that wheelbase !

the cons would be : for yor height and weight if its not centered properly , you might feel that the bike is “ejecting” you xhen you sharp turn. in other words short wheelbase will make your bike turn harder , but can you take it ?

hope hubs : you can find threaded hope hubs ( bolt on ) the ones bouchard proposed : single speed trial but also iso mtb

you can also orfer the very expensive onyx hub with a compeltely new system of engagement points , i let you check their video to understand , and they custom build any axle type and length for 500$ + US shipping

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imo the koncept geo is great for short players but might be hard to handle if you just adapt it to a L size

on your cad the most important thing is how far you seat on your saddle and how far you reach with your stem

you want to know your ideal stem length before choosing the top tube length

also the difference between 73°/74°/75°/76° head tube angle is huge: it translate like this to me > the higher the ° the more sensitive the “controls” ie you have to move less to curve as equally hard

when front pivoting , the curve your back wheel will lift in the air before lending is lower to the ground with a 76° making it faster to pull , but also more demanding on the players skills. with a 73° your wheel will lift higher in the air but will be easier to operate one handed for exemple

this angle will bring the wheel closer to your toe overlap
so you might want to increase the top tube

you can balance an “unstable” 76° with long handlebars and long stem but you wont be able to turn as brutally with a 73°

whatever the rake is

if you wan to compare how these angles impact all of the abovr you can find footage of Atu ( argentina) on his custom made 76° bike and Pajek ( excuse the mess) on his custom 73° , both great players at ease on their own geo