Starling Cycles Announces Made-In-Taiwan Murmur

Mar 6, 2018
by Joe McEwan  
Starling Murmur Factory

PRESS RELEASE: Starling Cycles

The new Starling Murmur Factory Edition is our latest handbuilt 29” mountain bike. The frame is built in Reynolds 853 steel with modern angles to be fast, aggressive and beautifully simple.

Details:

• Built with Reynolds 853 steel and heat treated high strength steel
• 145mm rear travel
• Built for 29″ wheels
• 2.5″ tyre clearance
• Up to 200mm rotors
• Integrated chain guide
• Integrated ISCG05 bashguard mounts
• Available in 2 sizes
• Grey with black graphics or custom-colours for +£125
• Choose no shock or a rear shock from Rock Shox, DVO or Fox.
• Choose frame only or build-kit with kit from Burgtec, SRAM, Hope, Middleburn and Maxxis.
• £1850 w/ RS Debonair shock

Starling Cycles Murmur Factory frame


Designed in the UK, built by ORA. The new ‘Factory’ frame has been designed in the UK by Starling owner Joe McEwan and handbuilt in Taiwan by ORA, which we believe to be one of the world’s very best steel mountain bike frame manufacturing facilities.

The collaboration between our British-born brand and Taiwan’s expert frame builders means that we can meet the high demand for our frames while maintaining the awesome ride and build quality that has claimed praise from riders and press alike.

Customers will also see a price reduction when compared to all British-made Starling frames. The Factory Murmur frame is supplied with a rear shock for £1850, while British-made, custom geometry frames are £2040 without shock.

Starling Cycles Murmur Factory

The move to Taiwan was a considered one. As a frame builder, aerospace engineer and designer, we made the decision after visiting the factory and seeing first-hand the high quality of manufacturing, work ethics, and working conditions. We think ORA’s factory is the perfect setup for hand-crafting the new frames, with expert engineers boasting years of experience in building top-quality mountain bikes.

Starling Cycles Murmur Factory
Starling Cycles Murmur Factory

Starling Cycles Murmur Factory
Starling Cycles Murmur Factory

Fast, simple, silent. The Starling Murmur Factory Edition is built around 29” wheels with 140mm rear travel with room for disc rotors up to 200mm and 2.5” tyre clearance. The frames will fit metric rear shocks and 148 x 12mm Boost rear hub spacings.

Starling Cycles Murmur Factory spec
Starling Cycles Murmur Factory Geometry

Choose frame-only or rolling chassis. Frames will be available in two sizes and with a choice of rear shocks from Rock Shox, DVO or Fox. They can be supplied as a frame-only package or build kits with components from Rockshox, DVO, Fox, SRAM, Hope, Burgtec, Middleburn and Maxxis. Frames will be available in Primer Grey with black graphics as standard or in a choice of custom colours for an extra cost.

Want a UK-made Starling with custom geometry? No problem. Riders that want a custom geometry, British-built Starling frame won’t be disappointed. [Ed. Note: we have a Starling Murmur being tested at the moment. Stay tuned.]

Starling will continue to hand-build frames in the UK and customers can simply choose whether to commission a one-off UK built frame or order one from the ‘Factory’.

Starling Cycles Murmur Factory

Available to order now. We are taking pre-orders now with delivery expected in Autumn 2018. Frames will be £1850 with a Rockshox Deluxe shock and all pre-orders will receive a Hope headset and seat clamp. Orders paid in full at pre-order will also receive a Burgtec control kit.

You can learn more from Starling Cycles and pre-order a frame at starlingcycles.com.

Starling Cycles Murmur Factory



151 Comments

  • + 28
 445mm rear centre, 38mm drop and 77 degree SA. Good to see someone else knows what's up.
  • + 10
 ..and going down the Chromag route of offering affordable bikes with similar spec tubing (which I like as i'm not a dentist).
  • + 9
 awesome to see this builder's company grow. still want the beady little eye!
  • + 13
 Fast as hell is right, its got no brakes!
  • - 4
flag hamncheez (Mar 7, 2018 at 5:53) (Below Threshold)
 ti version in the works?
  • + 2
 So $3320 CAD???
  • + 2
 @theedon: Yes, add shipping (180$) and GST (175$) to that and you get it for 3675$.
  • + 5
 @richierocket: and no drive train, great way of keeping weight down!
  • + 1
 @lRaphl: What about import duties & brokerage? That adds another ~$400. It starts to add up...
  • + 2
 @plyawn: you're better to spend the coin on a "made in Canadia" Chromag. They aren't FS but damn are they cool.
  • + 2
 @plyawn: there's no duty charge on bike parts, only complete bikes or wheels. At least in BC.
  • + 2
 @kanasasa: I knew that - my mistake was I thought it was a complete bike!
> $3500 for a frame and shock - yikes!
  • + 1
 @lRaphl: For sales outside of EU, the no local taxes applied. For example a frame is £1682 rather than £1850. However, you will need to pick up extra postage and import duty our end.

Steel doesn't mean low quality though. This is a shit hot bike with lots of considered design and built to highest quality. All of my customers so far, and press reviews have been massively positive.
  • + 1
 That's a nice looking pogo stick but a bit pricey.
  • + 1
 @richierocket: or drivetrain or shifters or dropper post remote or pedals. Who's up for that challenge?
  • + 17
 if these "small" guys can fit a water bottle mount on the top tube, or anywhere possible, big brands should be able to and not get bullied by backpack manufacturers
  • + 245
 Be careful, I hear that the backpack manufacturers have guns.
  • + 68
 @jon-h: cant wait for all the comments now, all the b) amendment brigade, the right to bear backpacks, the national backpack association etc. Teachers carrying backpacks, whats next giving backpacks to the kids? Where will it end?
  • + 5
 @jon-h: halarious hahaha
  • + 4
 @browner: You also have to watch out for the Bumbag Mafia.
  • + 2
 @browner: NBPA (national back pack association)
  • + 11
 @Stumpy2: My bottle says "BPA free" on it so I HAVE to frame mount it.
It's the law.
  • - 15
flag WAKIdesigns (Mar 7, 2018 at 2:59) (Below Threshold)
 This is 28.99 carat comment gold
  • + 1
 @jon-h: National Association of Men's Backpack Love Appreciation
  • + 2
 I've got a murmur , with a piggy back shock fitted you can't use the bottle cage .
  • + 2
 @cheesybeanz: That's because your seat tube wasn't long enough to fit it all in. I had a litre water bottle and a float x2.
  • + 13
 Just £190 less for the Taiwanese frame? I would have expected more of a price difference.
Not sure if this a good or a bad thing.
  • + 10
 one is with the other without shock
  • + 12
 and joe is an awesome engineer but he is mostly a self made welder /brazer - his frames handwelded by a taiwanese fullpro welder does sound good to me
  • + 7
 £190 and a Rockshox Deluxe RT3 shock - so a difference of around £450 over the British-made version.

"The Factory Murmur frame is supplied with a rear shock for £1850, while British-made, custom geometry frames are £2040 without shock"
  • + 4
 I don't know, how much less should Taiwanese frames welded by great and experienced welders cost when produced in a great country under good conditions? That is, compared to a frame welded by Joe in the UK? Larger quantities might reduce the price even more but these Starling frames are still produced in smaller quantities. I think it is fair if you include all the logistics that go with it. He'll have to travel there every now and then. Costs with are distributed over a smaller number of frames than what you'd have when he would have larger numbers of frames produced over there. I doubt prices would ever come down to what for instance Cotic aks for their fullies.
  • + 5
 "The Taiwanese are going to steel our jaabs".
  • + 6
 @Boardlife69: they took our jerbs
  • + 3
 @vtracer: Derk Er Derrr
  • + 2
 We really need a Trump-style 35% import tax for anything coming from outside the EU in order for companies to keep jobs in Europe. And even with a 35% tax, chinese stuff is still competitive on price.
  • + 1
 @zoobab2: In true Trump style? That implies that producing companies will pay increased taxes on imported raw materials too in order to produce anything. Does Europe even have bauxite mines (aluminium ore)? Poor Orange, Hope and Nicolai. Darker days ahead. Then again for Orange and Hope, when they leave Europe they may not need to pay such taxes for imported materials but they'll have an even tougher time selling their complete products to both the US and then the EU too!
  • + 9
 Only a years warranty though, what’s up with that.


Otherwise very nice. And the non replaceable hanger would annoy me. First thing I’d wreck probably
  • + 2
 It does have a replaceable hanger doesn't it?! Looks like alloy to me, certainly a different colour on the raw frame.

My only concern is the sizing, I think there needs to be an xl size as a 440mm seat tube doesn't give tall riders much to play with.
  • + 1
 After a few years on my first aluminium hardtail, I had collected a jar full of bent rear mech hangers. I was also told that I could bend them straight only once. I once bent a hanger straight for the second time and at some point it broke during a ride, took my rear mech along, damaging all right hand spokes, the chain and the front mech. So after that I always replaced the rear mech hangers. But the jar full, 10euro a piece was testament that I wasn't quite spending my money on the most exiting stuff. The two steel frames I had after that had fixed hangers but I was told it is fine to bend these back. I've got an aluminium full susser but it has got a Shimamo Saint rear mech so I'm not using that mech hanger. My next frame does have replaceable hangers but they're from steel so I'm not too worried. I don't think I'll ever go back to a frame with aluminium rear mech hangers. I'm still traumatized.

@DC1988 He does offer custom geometry on his UK made frames. His foreign frames will probably allow more people who are fine with the standard offering to get one of those so you have a better chance to get one of his UK made frames with custom geometry.
  • + 5
 Any item purchased within the EU has a 2 year warranty, whether the manufacturer likes it or not.
  • - 4
flag Balgaroth (Mar 7, 2018 at 5:07) (Below Threshold)
 @AlanMck: Sure but the brits are leaving EU now so not so much ... More room for EU builders to shine, good for us ! (and hpefully you once you get back as Irish, build the Celtic alliance with the Scotts and laugh hard to the face of the english and their bi**h that is whales lol)
  • + 6
 @Balgaroth: Damn right whales is our bitch. I got a blue whale bitch, a minky whale bitch and a Northern Atlantic right whale bitch.
  • + 1
 @DC1988: I was thinking the same thing about the seat tube. I would definitely need a 200mm dropper.
  • + 3
 @Greenday9261:
I was looking at the bike yoke revive 185mm dropper, I still don't think it would go high enough. I'd love the custom geometry but the price is just too high.
  • - 1
 @MonkeyPuzzle: Ah sure not like I care or it's my native language, enough to be understood on PB and piss off the Brits lol
  • + 5
 I can remember the late 90’s when I was in a hurry to abandon steel MTB’s; back then Aluminum was where it was at, and Carbon was only for superbikes (that weren’t really all that super to be completely honest)
  • + 1
 And steel frame is more environmentally friendly than an aluminium frame CNCd from a solid block of aluminium. Then Starling doesn't feel the need to make a speech at United Nations Headquarters about it.
  • + 8
 Take my money!
  • + 6
 Is it enough?
  • + 8
 @nozes: No!!!
  • + 4
 It clicks all the right boxes..steel,29er,british racing green...but that price for the framekit is ridiculous...I would go with Cotic or Kingdom
  • + 3
 This is in a similar price bracket to Cotic, and a little cheaper than Kingdom. So I think ridiculous may be pushing it abit far!
  • + 1
 @Roguee @themountain :

Kingdom XFS is currently 1785 gbp w/o a rear shock.

but one has to look a bit closer to distinguish the fine details, there is almost no CNCing on the Murmur, the XFS is loaded with CNC features and not to mention is a full titanium affair. Kingdom has lifetime warranty on all frames, Starling has 1 year warranty.
  • + 4
 @ledude: I agree, the Kingdom is a whole different ballgame at that price. Titanium should cost that much, steel just shouldn’t. Great geo, good looking bike, but *hugely* overpriced for steel. I’m out.
  • + 1
 @humdinger: @Roguee @themountain :

Would you rather have a bike with lots of CNC parts that rides shit. Or a bike that's been designed to be a simple as possible, with minimum unnecessary crap and rides great?!
  • + 1
 @Roguee: Check the price of a Cotic with anything other than a super cheap X-Fusion shock and the price is almost the same as the Starling...
  • + 1
 @phutphutend: yeah that was my point, with a cane creek db it comes to around the same price as this.
Was only agreeing with you mate!
  • + 1
 @phutphutend: That "super cheap" xfusion shock certainly can hold the water to that shitty rock shox...and then the frame is still 300quit more expensive???? You wont convice me about the frame even when I like it.
  • + 1
 @Roguee: sorry, tricky not get on the offensive in comments section!
  • + 4
 Santa Cruz's Superlite incarnation in steal and modern numbers... but twice the price of 2001!
  • + 1
 I wouldn't make it down the mountain on a superlight nowadays.
  • + 2
 I bought my Cannondale Prophet (lowest spec because I had other good stuff to bolt onto it) back early 2007. It says "Handmade in the USA" so I expect that it was welded in the USA (as assembly for the European market was already done in Europe, so I didn't think they meant just assembly). RRP was about 1700 euro for the complete bike. Working for a dealer, I got some discount. Other than the Focus Vice and of course a number of models from Orange I can't think of any other true single pivot design (with no extra linkages) in the market right now. And especially as these bikes typically get good reviews, it feels as kind of shame to not have more choice for those who feel that if a single pivot is good enough adding more pivots merely complicates things. And especially Cannondale proved that they could weld affordable full sus frames (Gemini, Rush, Prophet) in the US. Sad to see both Cannondale and Santa Cruz ditch such models in favor of their multi pivot affairs.

I was already impressed that Starling could offer a good frame for not really much more than what you'd pay for something from Orange. I think the addition of Taiwanese production was mostly because of the huge demand. And I have nothing against that. The situation in Taiwan is much, much better than it is in China whose products we have come to accept.

So sorry, I'm sidetracking myself again.

TL;DR: Frames have gotten more expensive over the years and I'm already more than happy someone still produces a good single pivot design. The addition of Taiwanese production is nice and isn't hurting anyone. If you want a handmade UK or German steel frame, you'll still end up on a waiting list which implies demand is still higher than supply.
  • + 3
 inflation is a thing
  • + 1
 whats going on with that pivot? It looks like it's central, so presumably it doesn't, but looks like it could lend itself to an "eccentric pivot mount", enabling geometry changes without losing travel, or just "sitting back" in the stroke (Patriot 66).
  • + 1
 @OllyR eccentric pivot mount would be pretty damn cool...if one could figure out a way to make it easy to perform service on trail side...
  • + 5
 steel is real
  • + 0
 For a HT, agree 100%. For FS, I think you aluminum and carbon are superior from a purely materials science perspective.
  • + 4
 @ReformedRoadie: Please explain? Do you have any qualifications for this comment?

Numerous reviews, customer feedback, best of year awards suggest steel is in fact a very good material for a suspension bike.

I suspect your reply will be that you need a stiff frame and that the suspension will do the job of grip and shock absorption. But lean the bike over 45° in a corner and now the suspension only deals with half of the movement acting on it. And your laterally stiff frame cannot conform to the bumps.

A fairly consistent comment on reviews of steel bikes, that typically have more lateral compliance because of the thinner tubes, is that they have amazing grip.

Do you still think you are correct?
  • + 1
 @phutphutend: yes.
If steel offered a superior solution for making high performance FS bikes, you would see more than a very small niche of companys using it. I understand that a certain degree of flex in specific areas is desireable, but flex is something that can be engineered into a frame regardless of material. Similarlly, Ti, which was once the pinnacle of materials for hard tails is non-existent with FS.

My current ride is aluminum and has quite a bit of lateral flex on the stays, possibly because they are by today’s standards silly long.
  • + 3
 @ReformedRoadie: Aluminum is used by the big box brands because it is cheaper - plain and simple. Carbon fiber is used as a way to sell as a 'premium' to the other materials that are heavier (exception being titanium). The actual cost to produce Carbon frames is not bad as long as you have enough capital to create the molds (front end investment costs that most small builders do not have).

Dont believe the hype - carbon fiber and aluminum are NOT better than steel and Ti for a FS frame.
  • + 2
 @ReformedRoadie: Interesting, but you didn't answer the question. Why is steel NOT a good material for a full sus frame?

Steel is not an easy material to work with when building a complex suspension frame, it is expensive to machine compared to aluminium. Titanium is even harder. The economies of this are the reason why there aren't as many suspension frames made from these materials.

I agree you can make a compliant frame from any material, but thin diameter steel tubes lend themselves to this better than ally or carbon for a given strength.
  • + 1
 @phutphutend: i have loved the idea of owning a modern Ti or Steel MTB for a while.. my favorite road bikes have been made from Ti or Steel... i have ridden a lot of bikes and 100% agree that stiffness is overrated and most times it severely degrades traction... both on road and mtbs...
  • + 4
 I have to ask...
How much does it weigh?
Anyone?
  • - 2
 I would have to say at least 45 lb Smile
  • + 4
 Singletrack did a review on one. Ended up a bit over 32lb with a burly set up.
  • + 0
 I find it interesting they never list weights on steel frames, because they know if we knew the weight, most would stop looking
  • + 2
 Is weight almost irrelevant to a point?? The % of the entire bike weight that is made up of frame weight is maybe 25% so it's more about what you're bolting to it, I used to try to have a light bike but have realised that a reliable bike is worth more to me.
  • - 3
 @ryanbpoquette: I don't look cause it is steel and a basic single pivot.
  • + 3
 @cbro7092: My starling frame with a reach of 450mm weights about 3.25 kg with axle. But the best thing about it is the unexplainable composure- as described in the shan no.5 review. If it had just a bit more progression it would be the perfect frame
  • + 2
 @optimumnotmaximum: That's the same as my 2014 Specialized Enduro 29er, with shock. Not too shabby for a steel frame.
  • + 2
 @zonoskar: I think it is pretty light, a robust alu enduroframe has the same weight. cotic is really heavy -my rocket (L) was 3.8 kg.
  • + 4
 @Dav82: Vital's recent roundup of burly 29ers had all of them weigh in around 32 or 33, except the Slash at a shade under 30. You would think they would advertise the weight if its basically the same.
  • + 1
 Remember this frame is single pivot. Less material and less pivots= less weight
  • + 1
 who cares, steel is real
  • + 3
 @Rubberelli: I could be wrong but I'd of thought the majority of buyers are more interested in feel and ride quality over weight. Obviously nobody wants an overweight bike but when buying steel you have to except it'll be no flyweight.
  • + 1
 @ledude: as always you've hit the nail on the head!
  • + 1
 @optimumnotmaximum: "if it just had a bit more progression it would be the perfect frame" - surely that's something you can tackle with your shock and shock tuning. Volume spacers in the shock or getting a shock that ramps up hard at the end?
  • + 1
 @Rubberelli: got so annoyed this morning from the canyon e-bike test that checked vital's. Thank god For the fresh air!
  • + 2
 There’s a full-on review of this bike over on Singletrack’s website. Between this and Cotic’s latest offerings, I think my next full-sus might be a steel one.
  • + 1
 853 Reynolds FTW! I had a hand-built 853 hardtail from a guy named Chris Daily - Smorgasbord Cycles in Hershey PA. The suppleness of that frame allowed me to descend like a beast. Steel is Real, MFs.
  • + 4
 Brilliant! All the best of luck to Joe McEwan and Starling Wink
  • + 4
 this is pretty cool! want a 27.5 though
  • + 1
 Have someone build it.
  • + 4
 bend it into shape
  • + 7
 You want the starling swoop then.
  • + 1
 Do you like low BB and lots of tire clearance?
  • + 2
 Or buy a Marino Bike frame and save yourself 1.5k.......
  • + 2
 to be fair, the 853 tubing is abit more expensive and Marino is 550 bucks without shock, customs, shipping etc...so you probably save more like 1k -and get a one pound heavier frame. getting a custom marino hardtail now, though
  • + 1
 Marino is a bargain but I can see demand outstripping supply especially as Sick are using them too - it can only lead to a price rise, or at very least long waiting times.

It begs the question once again though, could a 4130 single pivot frame with open source dropouts, 44mm ht and decent geometry be possible for £600-£800 inc shock if done to a decent scale of production in the Far East - I think so.
  • + 2
 @optimumnotmaximum: 853 is a crap load more expensive, you are definitely right there.
  • + 1
 @Racer951: marino already does no longer reply to my messages, my frame was sheduled for this week but there are still things to discuss ....thanks a lot sick.

I think that this is possible but sans shock, the dropouts marino (sometimes) and stif use are pretty open source i think. A good taiwan hardtail like the stif morf already costs about 600 bucks so with a basic shock it should be possible for 999 bucks Wink .
  • + 2
 Steel is the new carbon fiber.
  • + 2
 I love this trend! I'll take one with 27.5"x2.5 170F/160Rmm travel please.
  • + 1
 On second thought. They have the Swoop model. But no replaceable der. hanger? I don't know about that.
  • + 1
 Build a Daambuilt for less with exactly the geo/travel you want.
  • + 2
 @n1ck: steel hangers don't break, if they bend you just bend it back with a hanger straightening tool. Easy. They are also stiffer than many alu hangers and will improve your shifting.
  • + 2
 @eriksaun: until the moment you really f*ck it up and had to replace it. Yes, steel hangers really can take a lot but they're NOT indestructible.
  • + 0
 @eriksaun: Agreed. There's no replaceable hanger on my Cotic BFe and there're no problems with it at all.
  • + 1
 @n1ck: I've sold around 100 frames with steel hangers with no issues. One customer bent one, but bent it back easily with no damage. The steel hangers are designed to bend (when they very rarely do) away from the bolt thread, so they are more easily bent back.

But, I know people have an irrational fear of steel hangers, like mice I suppose, so the Taiwanese frames have a replaceable aluminium hanger.
  • + 1
 @phutphutend: noted. It does look pretty stout. An alloy non-replacable would be total game changer. I'm tempted now.
  • + 1
 @EnduroriderPL: If you are hitting your read derailleur that much, that hard you have other problems.
  • + 1
 @rideonjon: I don't use read derailleur. Sorry.
  • + 1
 @n1ck: You can still buy that staff (alu farme witb non-replacable alu hanger) from low end models in sports supermarkets like Decathlon.
  • + 1
 @EnduroriderPL: So? Are you telling me where I can find the thing I don't want? Why are you telling me this?
  • + 3
 How come no gearz?
  • + 7
 It’s “beautifully simple”.
  • + 1
 It's paying homage to the early 19th century bikes like the draisine.

(It's a rolling chassis.)
  • + 2
 They do a couple build kits, this one is called a "rolling chassis" which gets you the basics while letting you pick your own brakes, rotor size, and cassette/der/shifter.

AFAIK they still offer regular build kits... or they did previously.
  • + 2
 maybe its gwins enduro bike.
  • + 1
 1850€ for a steel frame & shock made in Taiwan. Right. LoL
  • + 1
 you'd be silly to pay extra for uk made
  • + 2
 i wouldnt be surprised if the weld quality on the Taiwanese frames are better than the UK customs
  • + 1
 Will this demo chainless bike also be avalaible to the public? Smile
  • + 1
 No, only to Gwin if he is allowed by YT to drive it ????
  • + 1
 @fiatpolski: Gwin edition Smile
  • + 1
 This just moved up my list!
  • + 2
 If you're in Canada check out Daambuilt
  • + 1
 Cue Homer Simpson audible drooling noises.
  • + 1
 Black with a DVO coil shock thanks.
  • + 1
 MURMER kali ah, murah meriah.
  • + 1
 Amazing.
  • + 0
 Looks like an Oxide Cycles.
  • + 1
 Also, Looks like a Proudfoot.
  • - 1
 Who's Sterling
  • + 7
 English footballer who plays for Man City. Gets a lot of stick but he's bloody good really.
  • + 2
 @dubod22: when he is not fathering children with different hoodhos.
  • + 2
 @kurisuchan: Or getting wasted on nitrous oxide
  • + 4
 @dubod22: What is football?
  • + 8
 @b-wicked: It's quite a lot like soccer, except spelled properly.
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