The European Bike Project is one of our favorite Instagram accounts and his feed is constantly updated with everything from interesting curios from tiny manufacturers to inside looks at European manufacturing. Even though Alex is currently travelling in New Zealand, he wrote a new article on exciting products from small European manufacturers. Stay tuned for a special series on New Zealand manufacturers that will be online soon! Starling Cycles Twist
This full custom Starling Twist was built by Tung, the owner and founder of Bike Sanctuary in Singapore. Bike Sanctuary is a custom bike paint shop in Singapore that specializes in "wild colour schemes, radical restorations and dream (re)builds." Their motto is "spray and play", as Tung and his wife Kitty want to make the process of building a bike as much fun as actually riding it, while supporting independent makers who are bold enough to make the bike industry more colourful.
It took Tung almost a full year to build this bike, but he says it was a labour of love and well worth the long wait. The result is a stunning build with a lot of European boutique parts, including a Bright Racing Shocks F929 Next upside-down fork, a Lilienthal X Nonplus wheelset, Formula Cura 4 brakes, Ingrid Components cranks and a Rideworks bottom bracket and headset.
These parts were chosen because Tung believes each of these components contain their makers' knowledge, heart and soul. "At the end of the day, supporting more independent makers encourages others to try new things, even if there are mistakes along the way, they are constantly learning." he says. Examples include Bright Racing Shocks' low static sag and Lilienthal rims waste-minimising carbon production technology. "I'd like to see more of these people with a 'craftsman's mindset' so the bike industry finds joy in making things again."
The Starling Cycles Twist is a mullet enduro bike with 160 mm travel in the front and rear. While the front triangle is made in Bristol, UK, using Reynolds 853 heat-treated tubing, the rear triangle is made in Taiwan, using heat-treated chromoly. The tyre clearance is up to 2.6" and you can use up to 200 mm rotors. All frames come with boost rear axle spacing, integrated seat clamps, stainless and numbered dropper ports and a Starling headtube gusset. Custom colour options are available from Starling. Bike Sanctuary is the Asia Dealer for Starling and will provide a custom paintjob for every frame.
The suspension design is a fairly simple single pivot design, which - according to Starling - eliminates complexity and is a breeze to maintain. A size L frame will come with a reach of 485 mm and a stack of 645 mm. The head angle is 64.6° and the seat angle is 76.6°. Chainstays are 435 mm for all frames sizes, however the seat tube and head tube will be longer on larger sizes. As on many steel bikes, you will find a straight headtube, which needs a ZS44/28.6 upper headset and a EC44/40 lower headset. The 230x65 mm shock mount is a common standard today, as is the 31.6 mm seat post diameter.Garbaruk XC crankset
As with all Garbaruk products, their first crankset comes at an impressive weight to price to locally made ratio. The made-in-Poland crankset weighs in at 370 to 380 g (including the spindle) and costs 420 USD. From the top of my head I can't recall any other crank which is that light and costs roughly the same.
The Garbaruk crankset is hollow and according to Garbaruk it was designed to be as light as carbon cranks, while retaining the reliability and stiffness of heavier aluminium cranks.
The crank arms are made from 7075 aluminium and are connected with a 30 mm aluminium spindle. Currently, they are available in 170 and 175 mm lengths and are compatible with Cannondale direct mount chainrings.
ISO testing procedures require the cranks to endure 50,000 cycles with a load of 180 kg. To be sure that the cranks are safe, Garbaruk put the cranks through 100,000 test cycles and also gave them to Dawid Godziek, who did some hard real-world testing.
With a Q-Factor of 170 mm and a chainline of 52 mm (136 mm spindle), they tick all the boxes. As with all Garbaruk products, the cranks are available in a variety of anodized colours: black, blue, gold, green, orange, red, silver, and purple. You can also choose a specific colour for the nut. Together with anodized chainrings, you get literally endless customization options.KOM Xeno Hubs
At first sight you might think "oh, hubs with a proprietary disc mount, I'll pass." But look closer and you'll see that the new KOM Xeno hubs come with an array of unique features that make it easy to forget the disc mount.
The Xeno hubs were designed as a response to broken hubs, which the founders saw way too often during the last couple of years, especially on e-bikes. To make them stronger and stiffer, they moved the pawls to the disc side of the hub - from what I know this is the first time that a hub manufacturer has done this. This "Infinity drive" design allows KOM to use a 32 mm drive shaft (which goes from one end of the hub to the other) and a concentric 19 mm inner axle. Large bearings on both sides of the hub make sure that the loads are evenly distributed, which - together with the 32 mm drive shaft - should result in greater stiffness, less wheel twisting and better bearing alignment.
Moving the pawls to the disc side allows KOM to use a larger ratchet, which has 120 points of engagement in total (two banks of three pawls). The larger ratchet should result in less tooth loading and increased strength. The ratchet can easily be removed and serviced. According to KOM, every part of the hub is fully user replaceable and upgradeable.
On top of that, the hubs have two separate pairs of bearings: drive and freewheel. They seamlessly switch from active to rest as you transition between pedalling and freewheeling. Having only two active bearings at any time means less drag, according to KOM.
In case this all sounds a bit difficult, have a look at this KOM YouTube video
where the details are explained.
The hubs are available with Microspline, HG and XD cassettes and there is a matching front hub available too. The weight for the rear hub starts at 260 g and you can choose from several coloured caps to customize the look.
It could be assumed that the proprietary disc is purely used to make space for the ratchet. However, the disc is also designed to work together with and provide extra support and strength to the ratchet. The material removed from the centre of the disc to make a larger hole for the large diameter ratchet does save a bit of weight in the brake disc too. The KOM team says that the disc is made from a far tougher material than other discs. Most riders occasionally suffer from knocking discs and find that they have, very annoyingly, bent or warped out of true. They say that the KOM brake discs are very hard to knock out of true.
DetailsAgazzini Soft Stem
- Made in the UK
- Price: from 499 £ (rear hub) / 249 £ (front hub)
- Weight: from 260 g (rear hub) / 140 g (front hub)
- Straightpull spokes (28 or 32)
- 148 mm Boost or 142 mm dropout width
- Hub shell colours: black, blue, gold, purple, red, silver, blue
- Website: https://www.k-o-m.co.uk/
- Instagram: @ridekom
The Agazzini Soft stem may have a familiar-sounding name, but it's very different from other shock-absorbing stems. Contrary to other options, it does not really move up and down - the elastomers are there to minimize vibrations, rather than offering "travel".
So how does this patent-pending stem work? As basically any other stem, it mounts to 1 1/8" fork steerers. The handlebar is clamped with two shells (no. 40 and 41 in the patent drawing below, four screws in total). These two halves are attached to the main body of the stem at two points: Firstly, there are small ball bearings in the main body (no. 31). Between the upper and the lower shell, there is a pin (no. 33, 43) which is pushed through the ball bearings, so the upper and lower shell can rotate without friction. Secondly, the upper shell is attached to the main body (no. 32, 42) with screws. Between the main body and the upper shell, there are two elastomers (5) which limit the movement of the handlebar and reduce vibrations.
To understand how it works, I recommend that you watch this Reel
According to Agazzinin Bike, the stem is designed in such a way that the damping only works in the direction of the forces which come from the fork, and you shouldn't lose any momentum when pumping the bike with this stem. They say that the stem improves the performance, speed and comfort, as the reduced vibrations result in improved traction. The Agazzini team says that using the Soft stem feels similar to riding a very low-pressure front tire, without the downsides such as poor steering precision and increased rolling resistance.
DetailsStashed Products SpaceRail
- Made in Italy
- Price: 340 Euro (stainless screws) / 380 Euro (titanium screws)
- Available from end of October 2022
- Angle: 5°
- Height: 40 mm
- Length: 42,5 mmm
- Weight: 280 g
- Comes with two sets of elastomers (60 and 55 shore)
- Movement: 3 to 5 mm, depending on elastomers used
- Website: https://www.agazzinibike.it/soft-stem/
- Instagram: @agazzinibike
The SpaceRail is a new approach to bike storage for your home, office or bike shop that reduces volume by up to 50% by overlapping your bikes and storing them closer together. According to Stashed Products, traditional systems are limited to bike spacings of 350 to 400mm to allow access, whereas the SpaceRail allows spacings down to 150mm. You get great access still, as each bike can individually slide out into free space for retrieval.
When loaded, the hook is free to slide and rotate 360° and when it's unloaded, the hook locks for easy and safe bike hanging. The polymer hook should protect even the most delicate rims and work with all different kinds of rim shapes (fits tires up to 3"). The SpaceRail system is available for 4, 8 and 12 bikes. In case your family (of bikes) or business grows, the SpaceRail system is infinitely expandable with add-on rails and hooks to be totally future-proof.
Local manufacturing is very important to Stashed Products, so everything is made within a 50-mile radius including the injection moulding and laser-cut components. The only part not made in the 50-mile radius is the extrusion which is made to their design by Hydro Norsk in Cheltenham. Some of the material used is recycled material.
- Made in Wales / UK
- Price: from £ 160 including UK delivery
- Universal polymer hook fits any rim and tires up to 3"
- Up to 30kg/hook
- Auto-lock ball joint mechanism for simple and safe use
- Made from 304 stainless steel and 6063 T6 aluminium, individually serial numbered
- Includes everything required to install to any ceiling structure with just 4 screws
- Website: https://www.stashedproducts.co.uk/
- Instagram: @stashedproducts