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Review: Starling MegaMurmur - The Big Bird

May 2, 2024 at 12:35
by Dario DiGiulio  
Starling is a small British manufacturer that has scaled up from barn to factory over the past decade, offering a variety of single-pivot and hardtail bikes all made from skinny steel tubing. The designs may seem simple compared to some of the futuristic carbon frames on the market now, but the details are just as well considered on Starling's models.

New to the Starling lineup is the MegaMurmur, a bike longer in both travel and geometry than its smaller sibling, the Murmur. With 165mm of rear travel, this British-made beast is meant to handle the fastest and gnarliest terrain around.
MegaMurmur Details

• 29" wheels
• Steel frame
• 165mm frame travel, 170mm fork
• 64.1° head angle
• 485, 515, 545mm reach
• 455mm chainstays
• 77.2° seat tube angle
• Weight: 37.0 lb / 16.8 kg (as tested)
• Price as tested: $7,500 USD
• Frame price: £1990, $2,800 USD

bigquotesThe Starling MegaMurmur won't be for every person and every place, and that's okay. It really feels like a bike with a specific purview, and when the track matches those biases it's a thing of beauty.Dario DiGiulio


Frame Details

The MegaMurmur is constructed with Reynolds 853 tubing all around, with fillet brazed joints and some bolt-on hardware to help increase the frame stiffness. The sole pivot's aluminum hardware is captured by a pinch bolt, to prevent the bolts from backing out under use. There's a top tube bottle boss, which looks a bit different than we're used to, but works quite well and is very easily accessed while riding.

The forward shock mount has a variety of mount locations, all of which facilitate different travel numbers and shock strokes - this layout utilizes the forward extreme of the options. Though my test bike does not feature one, the stock bikes will be coming with a UDH rear triangle, to allow for easy replacement and the installation of SRAM Transmission drivetrains.

The cable routing on the MegaMurmur is *almost* external, but the cables snake through a space at the headtube that prevents some levers from feeding through without disconnecting the hose from the master cylinder. More slender brakes than the ones on test might fit, but in this case you'd still have to re-bleed things.

Starling offers a 7 year warranty on the frames, with a crash replacement service available should you need such a thing.

If it were me, I'd route around the brace, unless the master cylinders were skinny enough to snake through.

Shock mount with options.
Sleek little x-brace.


Geometry & Sizing

The striking visual and simple suspension layout of the Starling can distract from the unseen numbers behind the bike's design, but things are far from standard on the geometry front. The most distinct element of the geo chart is the rear center length, with a 455mm chainstay on each size offered. The reach range is extreme, with the size Large I'm testing hitting the smallest figure in the lineup. From there, you have a 515 and 545mm option, clearly displaying the large-size bias of this design. Joe - the mind behind Starling - views the longer rear end as being a balance for reach numbers at the far end of the spectrum, and therefore offers no smaller sizes in this layout. For those who want something smaller than the reach figures available, there are other models in Starling's lineup that will fit the bill.

Other geometry figures are more typical, with a 64.1° head tube angle, 77.2° seat tube, and 28mm bottom bracket drop across the board. There is no geometry adjustment at play, save for the standard cockpit and saddle changes one might make.


Suspension Design

From a mile-high view, things are very simple on this front. As an unadulterated single pivot, the MegaMurmur is 2.6:1 linear through full stroke, with no funky curves or inflections to keep in mind. The 165mm of rear travel is delivered via a 230x65mm shock, which in this case is an Ohlins TTX22m.2 coil.


Release Date 2023
Price $2945
Travel 165mm
Rear Shock 230x60mm
Fork 170mm
Headset ZS44/28.6 Top, EC44/40 Bottom
Chainguide Optional ISCG05
Bottom Bracket Threaded
Front Derailleur None
Wheelset 29" Front/Rear
Hubs Boost spacing
Seatpost 31.6mm

Since there aren't stock builds for the Mega Murmur, I cut the embedded spec sheet down to the basics. That said, there are some signposts I'd recommend for the build on the Mega, should you decide to build one from the frame up.

1. You could get away with a 36mm stanchion fork just fine, should you want to shave the weight and can source one with 170mm travel. The 38mm Ohlins fork felt good, but I think the stiffness differential between fork and frame can start to feel odd in some circumstances.

2. I'd highly recommend riser bars to help raise the stack height a bit. I ran the Starling with 40mm risers for most of the test period, and was more than happy with the climbing and descending feel.

3. Avoid overly-stiff wheels on this build, as they make the frame feel like a bit of a wet noodle. With wheels that have some flex to them, the bike as a whole feels more cohesive. I tried some rather stiff hoops, and didn't love the feel in supported corners, in particular.




Test Bike Setup

As mentioned above, there are no stock builds on the Mega Murmur, with a host of component options available to let you build things up as you please. This means more choice, for better or worse. My bike came with a "typical" build that the folks at Starling have been sending out, so I'll briefly comment on some of the key elements without getting too into the weeds.

The Ohlins suspension was fairly simple to set up, with only some fussing required to get the dual-chambered fork pressures correct. The tires that came on the build were completely inappropriate for the intended purpose of the bike, so I quickly swapped on some rubber that I'm very familiar and comfortable with: a Specialized Hillbilly/Butcher combo, both with the Gravity casing.

I opted for a higher rise bar for most of the test period, and did some experimenting with wheel stiffness, but otherwise the bike was unchanged.

Dario DiGiulio
Dario DiGiulio
Location: Bellingham, WA, USA
Height: 6'3" / 191cm
Inseam: 34" / 86cm
Weight: 185 lbs / 83.9 kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @danger_dario

Testing Info

Go for a big ride, make sure it's rough. The climbing abilities of the Starling facilitate some significant days in the saddle, and the descending qualities bias towards natural and faster-paced terrain. This unique beast is a good partner for such outings, and served me well on many of the sort.

PC Eric Mickelson


The MegaMurmur climbs remarkably well for a bike of this travel bracket, facilitating quick and efficient travel over natural and buffed terrain alike. I put in a few massive days on this bike, and never felt that the bike was holding me back on the climbs. That's why my recommended ride features a healthy dose of pedaling in natural terrain - that's where this bike shines.

Though the scale says otherwise, the Starling never felt like a particularly heavy bike. I think the efficiency makes up for some of the extra weight here, but if you're sensitive to such things it may be worth trying to cut weight as much as possible. This build isn't particularly light, but you wouldn't want to skimp on too many parts and take away from the descending abilities.

I'd call the MegaMurmur a pretty composed pedaling platform, though the rear wheel moves enough to keep traction over rough and loose terrain without bumping you around too much. There's a nice balance between support and give when you're on the pedals, and balance between the wheels feels natural. This is due in large part to the longer rear center, which keeps the front end planted while in and out of the saddle. I never felt as though the wheelbase was too long for tricky technical climbs, though that might change as you climb up the MegaMurmur's gigantic sizes.

PC Eric Mickelson


I got a lot of on-trail questions about this bike, no doubt due to the atypical look and strikingly skinny silhouette. When asked how it rode, my common refrain was "It's good at some things, and bad at others."

That sentiment is true of pretty much all bikes, as everything contains some sort of compromise, but I found the highs and lows on the Starling to be a little more pronounced. It really does feel like a bike made for a specific application, as opposed to the typical generalist approach.

The shining highlight of the MegaMurmur was its ability to track across natural and off-camber bits of trail. The chassis flex and suspension traits lend themselves to conforming very well to terrain, staying on line where you might otherwise get pushed down into the gut of the trail or off into the bushes. For certain areas, this might be all you have trail-wise - and the Starling would be a good choice.

PC Eric Mickelson

For my neck of the woods, our trails err more on the side of steep, supportive, and jumpy, the former two of which posed some issues for the Mega. Steeps feel fine when you're off the brakes, but when the trail requires slower, pickier descending, the Starling felt much less confident than other bikes in this travel bracket. You end up riding the fork pretty heavily, and have to consciously hang off the back a bit more than is ideal. Supportive corners simply highlight how flexible the frame is - at times it felt as though my feet were sweeping into the turn as my hands were heading where I intended to go. Slightly exaggerated for effect, but that's my best attempt to describe the sensation.

I contacted Joe at Starling to inquire about the frame flex, particularly around how that might scale as the rider weight goes up. I'm only 185 pounds, so it seems possible that someone with more mass would exaggerate that sensation even more. He argued that the longer stays does bias towards more straight line stability over cornering, and that perhaps someone who wants to push hard into corners might be better served by their Twist model. I think the MegaMurmur has potential to handle all of these situations, it just requires some finesse and a light touch.

Despite those compromises, the Starling is fast. Point it down the right kind of trail, and it really does handle wonderfully, with a lively character that allows you to adjust your line at speed and keep the pace up. It feels like a tool with a specific use case, and when applied right it really shines.

Starling Mega Murmur
Frameworks Trail Bike

How Does It Compare?

The MegaMurmur's defining feature within the Starling catalog really comes down to the rear center length, which is long enough to still be something of an outlier in the industry as a whole. I think the longer rear end is the way for bikes meant to go fast downhill, and have found that exhibited very nicely on another bike I've spent a ton of time on: the Frameworks Trail Bike. Both bikes feature 455mm rear center lengths, though the Frameworks sports a 27.5" rear wheel and the Starling is a full 29". Other geometry figures like reach, head angle, and stack are very similar between the two, with bottom bracket drop being the only outlier - the Frameworks is about 6mm lower.

The extra pivots on the Frameworks seem to be helping in serious terrain, as the bike recovers from hits better and has a more consistent ride height when you're applying the brakes. The two chassis' couldn't be much more different stiffness-wise, and I can see the value in each to the right rider. That common factor in the rear end length comes through as a commonality though, yielding a very stable feel at speed, which allows you to lift your gaze and keep the pace up. Neither of these are particularly common bikes, but I think the findings they've yielded will trickle into more production models with time. Even that Rocky Mountain Altitude I've been riding is close, with a 450 rear end and aggressive geometry throughout.

Which Model is the Best Value?

There's only one option here, so the value debate is a pretty easy one for the MegaMurmur. To me, this is a great bike to buy as a frame and build up with parts that speak to you, matching the idiosyncratic nature of the frame itself.


Technical Report

Shimano Saint Brakes: Over a decade old, and still my favorite Shimano brakes. The Saints were too powerful before it was cool, and the binary lever feel is something I get used to pretty quickly and ultimately enjoy on trail. The ergonomics could be improved slightly, but the power, firm feel, and dependability of the Saints remains impressive. That last point is particularly impressive, as I tend not to have any of the consistency problems endemic to other Shimano 4-piston brakes.

Ohlins Suspension: The suspension on this bike worked well, but wasn't without some major quirks. The shock's pronounced topout knock is pretty common on the TTX22m.2 models, and though it can be mitigated with a rebuild, I've had too many exhibit this issue to think it's an unusual occurrence. The fork matched the character of the bike very well, and was trouble free save for a click/ping sound that would occur consistently as you transitioned from the compression to the rebound stroke.

Shimano XT Drivetrain: I rode this bike through the winter, which means the clutch on the XT mech was roached within about two months. That's a pretty typical lifespan for those in my neck of the woods, so luckily I've got the special grease required for a rebuild - and it's not too labor intensive. Ultimately the shifting does suffer for it, but you can get things feeling crisp with some tender love and care.

Pivot Hardware: The single pivot of this bike had a tendency to come loose after a few rides, despite adding Loctite and making sure the pinch bolt was tightened around the hardware. The hardware never backed fully out, but would regularly be a few turns loose. Just a little thing to keep in mind and check on, but also a bit frustrating.

PC Eric Mickelson


+ Excellent pedaling performance
+ Composed and fast in the right terrain
+ Well thought out frame details


- Frame flex
- Unusually large size bias
- Suffers in steep and supportive terrain

Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe Starling MegaMurmur won't be for every person and every place, and that's okay. It really feels like a bike with a specific purview, and when the track matches those biases, it's a thing of beauty. I hope to see this design evolve with time, but part of me suspects to see it continue to march to its own unique beat, waiting for the right rider in the right place. Dario DiGiulio

Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
200 articles

  • 83 17
 Well Dario you did it again. I can't use this are a determining factor in a decision whether or not to purchase.
Just ride the size recommended for your height! for the reviews sake! You chose a Large (too small by the recommendation of manufacturer) and then make comments like this:
"You end up riding the fork pretty heavily, and have to consciously hang off the back a bit more than is ideal"
Perhaps if you chose the Recommended size, an XL, this wouldn't be the case! You had the same comment on the Optic size 4 you tested that had an even longer reach but still wasn't what the size the manufacturer suggested for you.
I now get disappointed when I see your the reviewer of a bike I'm interested in because you have a history of disregarding manufacturer recommendations on size then making comments like the one above.
For the sake of a review, please just try to size bike how they were intended per the company that did the R&D and testing. It would lead to a more credible review.
stop this nonsence: "At 6'3", the calculator recommended that I ride a size 5 bike, with a 522mm reach, but I'm certain that the size 4 I tested was the right bike for me" - taken from the Norco "review".
  • 32 105
flag dariodigiulio FL Editor (May 6, 2024 at 19:51) (Below Threshold)
 Imagine a world where people have preferences.
  • 53 6
 @dariodigiulio: imagine a world where people heed manufacturer recommendations.
  • 64 39
 @dariodigiulio: damn dude I lost almost all respect for you in this one ignorant comment. You’re up your own ass and need some frickin humility, if only just enough that you can either a) ride the correct sized bike or b) admit in your reviews that you choose the wrong size bikes. Insisting on choosing your own size and then being critical of how a bike handles is a low intelligence move. Get yourself sorted.
  • 18 5
 @dariodigiulio: i find your preferences helpful when reading reviews, I don’t enjoy a bike that has too much wheelbase and/ or reach.
  • 24 29
flag oldsam (May 7, 2024 at 0:22) (Below Threshold)
Don't be a dick
  • 46 0
 @dariodigiulio: I understand preferences when you're riding a personal bike, but when you are reviewing a bike, it would make more sense to review it in light of what the manufacturer recommends for your size - and then, from there, you can draw informed conclusions and make recommendations in any direction as the situation deems fit.

It would certainly make the reviews more informative for the readers...
  • 20 0
 For reference I actually own a Mega Murmur. I'm 6'3" or 193cm riding an XXL with an 18mm stem/75mm rise bars and the fit is fantastic along with the quality of the ride. The L must be tiny for the tester. I wouldn't want to go back to anything smaller now. I'm 90kg and ride the bike hard in rocky natural terrain. With the Mojo tuned EXT Storia it's predictable, supportive and sensitive on the single pivot. It is the fastest and most comfortable bike I have owned in 20 years. With all the haters on steel flexy bikes they need to be ridden to be understood. All 3x of my bikes are now steel I like the ride qualities that much.
  • 25 4
 @oldsam: honestly I apologized to the mods right after I wrote this and asked if it could be deleted. I feel it was a little too aggressive. I think it’s getting upvotes because a lot of us put a lot of trust in pb editors to be as objective as possible, and rely on pb to give us an understanding of these investments that we are trying to make. Dario was also pretty dickish in his curt reply to a very well thought out comment. I will choco it up to youth, as I was 100X the dingus when I was younger (and again, I’m sorry for still having my dickish moments)
  • 27 2
 @dariodigiulio: let me apologize to you, too. I’m sorry for being a dick. I don’t think the low intelligence comment was fair or true, and the overall tone was shitty. I’m still bummed at how you handled his very well thought out (and what many people feel is) valid comment. Would love to hear if you’ve changed your mind or maybe just a better explanation from you as to why you don’t ride the bikes the way the designers intended them to be ridden
  • 11 0
 @grotesquesque: thanks for the calm and logical request. If a mfger says a fork or tire is designed for XC, we don’t expect the reviewer to hit whistler BP.
  • 2 1
 @dariodigiulio: respectfully, I’m pretty sure we’re all curious to hear your response. I know you got ratioed pretty hard but it’s not really hate, it’s just a desire from commenters for you to acknowledge the point that serveral of us have made…
  • 3 1
 I think people need to start recognizing that this isn't 2005 anymore, bike sizing doesn't work the way it did before. Most bike brands have a margin of sizes that can fit a certain rider: I could have ridden an S3, S4, or S5 Enduro, depending on the reach I wanted. I similarly could've fit on a M Murmur, if I wanted a shorter bike, or a XL if I wanted that extra length.

The manufacturers can only recommend ranges, but there is a major preference element that applies and you can see this across bike brands if you know how to read geo charts. I've had plenty of criticism of reviews here before, but I'm not sure this is really such a great criticism to lean on given how sizing can go numerous ways in this era and manufacturer recommendations are just that, a recommendation, not set in stone.

As for my time on the Murmur, I can comment a few things. Mine is using the recommended size of L (I'm six feet tall) and I didn't notice any excessive body movement needs. That meaning, I didn't feel the need to really heavily weight the front or hang off the rear of the bike. If anything, it's the most centered feeling bike I've had and it was a revelation in longer chainstays considering every bike I'd had up to that point was 10mm shorter in the rear. It was a learning experience cornering in particular, where you really had to work at not moving around and weighting the front or rear, you could just lean the bike over and it would track the arc of the corner really well. It's a very balanced feel that keeps you centered and didn't require conscious effort to move forward or rearward. That's the standard Murmur, the Mega has similar geo (same front triangle IIRC) with 10mm longer stays, so take that FWIW, although I suspect it plays even more to that effect. The downside is when you try to preload, it's a more conscious, significant movement especially if you need to clear the rear wheel over something. I can't jump for shit so I can't speak to that.

I'm now on a L Geometron G1 with a 515 reach (Same as the next size up) and I can see why someone sizing up on the Murmur or Mega would need to feel like they had to heavily weight the front. This is a preference thing, again, the same way a smaller size might emphasize a more rearward body position. The larger size might balance out better with the single pivot, but that's just my theorycraft. If you want a bike that you can ride the front of and really need to push into, then the larger size might be ideal. If you are aiming more for a centered feel, then get the recommended size for your height. There is a preference element here and it depends on how you want to ride the bike.
  • 5 7
as another commenter, i'll just reply the same way you did when you had your singular chance:

by far the lowest intelligence move is to choose a bike from sizes.
" but but but tHe maNufaCtuRer reComMendS!" is such a dumbf*ck statement. specialized and other brands realized that and implemented the S1-5 system.
keep raging, idiots. it only displays your lack of experience on the bike, if any.
  • 2 3
 @Tiefkuehlpizza: Its not about what the sizes are called. its the geo of the sizes. the Large size, for you, I'll call it the S4, is a 485 reach. The design of the bike, the reach, stack, HT length, WB are all effected by the Size increments the designer chose. And a lot of cases, especially with steel, the tube specs are different based on the size of the bike.
The Point is, By choosing an undersized bike due to a preference, your not allowing an objective view on how the Designer intends this bike to fit, or ride. How it is intended to flex based on size of the person riding. Whether its designed to be a Stable confident ride or a jibby ride, better for down or up ect. Thats what Reviews are for. The designer clearly intended the geo to of the XL, sorry, S5, to be ridden by a taller person like Dario, and even stated it in the GEO chart. So If he put his preference for smaller bikes aside, the review could have been done and he wouldn't have had the comments that come from riding a bike to small like "hanging off the back". It may have been more confidence inspiring for him. And its even possible that the XL/S5 has thicker tubing for larger riders resulting in a less flexy bike. And at the end he could state "If I were to purchase I might size down do to my preference for smaller bikes. Also assuming that changing the name of the size of bikes means "there is no wrong size" is not correct.
  • 3 3
 @Tiefkuehlpizza: I don’t know why you’re getting upvotes. You’re not putting it together: Dario’s complaint sounds suspiciously similar to that of someone on a bike that is too small for them. And, wouldn’t you know it, he sized down FROM THE MANUFACTURER RECOMMENDATION. So, what many people are saying, is that since this is a common theme in his reviews, that maybe his “preference” isn’t actually serving him on every bike. If you have ridden any bikes in your life you’ll know that reach isn’t the only measure of how a bike rides, but maybe you’re like Dario and you believe in The Magic Reach Number.
  • 61 5
 A bike that's too flexy for bigger riders, only available in sizes appropriate for bigger riders..........
  • 8 1
 When I had the Swoop from them I was 95kg and was rubbing the rear tyre all the time in aggressive covering. I couldn't live with that. That was a 650b wheel and not even the 29er! Wasn't even comfortable on the rest of the riding so it wasn't like the compliance made up for the flex.
  • 4 0
 I always thought the earlier starling's usp was the flexy frame and they were a quick bike. Maybe it suits smaller travel bikes more commonly found in the woods going a bit slower searching for traction over wet roots etc, and not a big bike that gets smashed round berms.
  • 5 8
 I tried one at a demo day couple years back, the 27.5" wheeled version, found it basically un ridable due to flex. The loop I was using had a jump with a slight left hip to it. Compressing into the lip felt the rear end compress sideways into it, and as the front wheel left the lip that wound up rear end was released, firing me sideways off the lip with gravy rundown my inside leg.

It didn't handle brakebumps in corners well either for same kind of reason, had as much laterial travel as it did vertical.

All done back to back with other steel full sus frames that didn't have this problem.

Also I'm about 80kg so fairly middling in terms of weight!

Can't imagine how bad it'll ride with a bit more strength and mass behind me.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, but if its REALLY flexible, cornering could be a lot easier!
  • 9 0
 Not TOO flexible, but the right flex of natural terrain. Dario even says that...
  • 1 0
 @phutphutend: He says that about his tall but wiry physique. Most riders (even lean ones) looking at bikes with reach numbers this massive will outweigh and overpower Dario by a lot!!! This amount of flex with something like a 460 reach would almost certainly be bang on for me-at 178cm/71kg or so.

2m/90kg I suspect this bike gets spooky under lateral loading.
  • 6 0
 @wyorider: I'm 95kg and have no issues with the amount of flex, I know another rider that outweighs me by a lot and he reports the same.

It's really not as bad as people are making it out to be. The only exception would be if you are really smashing high speed, flowy terrain with a lot of berms, or as this review calls it "supported terrain". You'll pick up on the flex more then, but it's far from uncontrolled. I'm not sure I'd recommend the bike to someone riding that sort of thing, but despite being less than ideal, it's not going to cause you to eat it.

It's one of the better bikes I've ridden when it comes to natural terrain, which is what it was designed for. If you look at the areas the Starling crew ride in, it'll make more sense why they designed the bike the way they did
  • 16 0
 I had a Murmur V2 for 3 years, ride miles on it raced a load of uk enduros, an EWS, Trans Maderia and Enduro 2. It was great. Sure on big drops or when I messed up I'd reach the end of the travel, but it was fast, encourage you to stay off the brakes and was excellent on natural terrain with unpredictable grip and was great in blind racing. I never had problems with tyre rub even when using 2.6 tyres for a bit. It had amazing mud clearance, was quick to clean and service. No problems with shock wear. I only sold it to try the Twist V3 as I was mullet curious. It rips and is a bit easier on the tight twisty tech that is fun. But is also super confidence inspiring in the fast stuff. Yes if you want to shralp bike park berms then it's not going to be for you, stif bikes will break traction easier. But if you like going for weird high lines over off camber roots then give one a try. All you 6 footers saying 485 reach is long, what bike world do you live in that's a pretty common number for a large. Both bikes have helped me get onto podiums, admittedly only at local level. Dario's ride stats sound good to me!
  • 23 4
 Bike looks like it's from the 90's.
  • 48 4
 90's bikes are hot
  • 12 1
 @mior: yeah but only for the short period of time they are being melted Razz
  • 8 1
 2005 Santa Cruz Bullit
  • 9 6
 @mior: lol nah. 90's mtb were so lame we settled for BMX bikes instead
  • 9 11
 When your a garage based frame builder, single pivot is the way. Problem is the entire swingarm has only one pivot to support it, and otherwise transmitting a lot of side loads to the shock. It's a rubbish design from the 90s. Multi pivot bikes are superior.
  • 6 2
 You can't bicycle without stylish hydroformed metal or carbon fiber?
  • 8 11
 @joni0001984: Not at all - I don't care about how a frame looks, I care about how the rear suspension performs and if its stiff and confidence inspiring. Single pivot is inferior design, only relevant for homemade bikes made in someones garage. Sorry!
  • 6 1
 @flattire: Single pivot bikes downsides can be mostly avoided with modern modeling software. What you get is a very precise and predicable feel. My modified Marino frame uses four big bearings for the one single pivot . It won’t wear out fast, and when it does it takes 2 minutes to change it. I spent several Saturdays to change bearings on my old Mondraker Summum ‘13 and the bearings were tiny and wore out fast. Never again.
  • 8 0
 @flattire: That's why all motorcycles are single pivot i guess, haha
  • 4 1
 @bitterbiker: Some motorcycle designs seem to have never been modelled. Strange since they can cost as much as a… well bicycle.
  • 2 0
 @flattire: I just checked. My custom Marino has exactly the same divey Anti-Rise as the Starling. Oh well, I don’t be doing much braking.
  • 7 9
 @bitterbiker: there is a reason 95% of mountain bikes are some form of 4 bar. Keep telling yourself single pivots are the shiz!
  • 6 3
 @flattire: Yeah, marketing needs to sell you something.
  • 2 1
 @flattire: It's because people like the double diamond look, it's a roadie thing, haha
  • 1 0
 @joni0001984: They must not have the resources, haha
  • 3 0
 @flattire: Ever heard of spherical bushings?
  • 4 8
flag flattire (May 6, 2024 at 14:12) (Below Threshold)
 @joni0001984: spherical bushings still transfer side loads to the shock. And a single pivot swingarm is flexy compared to a muti link.

Here's a tidbit for you all: years ago I had a single pivot (I've owned a few). Knew the bike very well. Installed a floating brake kit and was surprised how much better the bike performed. So we have a MOUNTAIN BIKE design that performs POORLY under BRAKING?! Brilliant.
  • 1 2
 @mior: polished aluminum or brushed titanium with all blue or all purple anodized parts, yes. This, no.
  • 2 2
 @flattire: go faster and that problem goes away
  • 1 0
 @flattire: Which bike? We don’t know how bad it actually was until we see the numbers. My steel bike has identical anti-rise and leverage ratio and during my brief test ride, before sending the suspension for a tune, I noticed nothing bad about the braking. Braking felt better than ever, especially with the Hope Tech 4 V4 and 220mm rotors.
From reading and looking at pictures, I think the only thing bad about the Starling Megamurmur is its thin plate where the rear triangle is attached. And the rear triangle tubes could be a bit thicker in diameter. But who would buy it at 17.5kg?
  • 1 0
 My first association was 1960's gardening equipment, like grandpa's old rototiller. And I mean that in loving nostalgia. A weathered finish option would be awesome.
  • 2 0
 @tiaalto: I googled Tototiller. Pretty spot on. I stripped my steel frame and it rusted within half a day.
  • 4 1
 @flattire: Well, this is actually untrue. It all depends of the load paths. I know Joe actually has modeled this, and he told me not to bother with spherical bearings for the shock, as the load path goes through the chainstays to the main pivot. I have ridden a Murmur for 4 years, and I haven't toasted a shock yet.
  • 3 0
 @baronKanon: DH Sign in Italy recommends one spherical shock mount hardware on the rear triangle after testing out a sinilar and very flexy Marino frame. The attachment on the downtube shoulf be regular shock mount hardware. But this is not written in stone.
  • 2 0
 @baronKanon: There’s even a section on their website explaining this in an easy to understand way for non engineers. If only folks would do a bit of research they may learn something.
  • 1 0
 @PB-J: Seeing and believing it are two different things ...
  • 2 0
 @erikhortsch: ride steep, rough trails and see why people want a bike that tracks under braking.....
  • 1 3
 @baronKanon: There is no way a side load be applied at the axle is only seen by the main pivot. Think about it rather than trusting the dude trying to sell you stuff.
  • 1 0
 @joni0001984: Yup.... some bikes are flexy noodles if they are designed shitty. You should try that on a knolly and get back to me.
  • 1 0
 @flattire: Twisting stays without axle and wheel is plain dumb ...
  • 14 2
 "Steeps feel fine when you're off the brakes" I remember thinking this on my old single pivot santa cruz as it was ejecting me over the bars for even thinking about touching the brakes
  • 10 1
 Steepest terrain I've ridden mine on is about a 35-40% grade (so not BC, PNW steep), so keep that in mind, but I haven't had or noticed any issues with "brake jack" even under heavy braking. This was the biggest surprise to me riding my Murmur.

The braking performance on the rear does suffer a bit compared to other designs when braking, it will tend to hang up on square edges more than some multipivot bikes, but I've ridden some multipivot bikes that were way worse with this also. The suspension performance, while not on the tier of the best of all bikes out there, is still very good and better than a lot of multipivot bikes I've ridden.
  • 6 1
 @shinook: Yeah I wouldn't call it brake jack, but that rear end hanging up pushes more and more weight forward as you bop down trail.
  • 2 0
 @dariodigiulio: Ya, agreed. Glad I'm not the only one with that observation, it's the main issue I have with the bike. I can work around it at times and it's not awful, but it's there and noticeable. Most of what I ride, I can sortof plan my braking around it, but I also know it gets harder to do that when you ride steep stuff more frequently.

Strangely enough, I tried a firmer compression tune and it seemed to mitigate it a fair bit (although I'm on a standard Murmur w/ the EXT, I haven't tried long travel mode with the TTX22M2).
  • 1 0
 Modern head tube angles and fork compression damping probably help a lot in lessening that old effect
  • 3 3
 @dariodigiulio: higher AR like most single pivot bike offer yields a much more stable platform which allows you to remain centered even under heavy braking or on steep terrain, something a Horst link can't offer with really low AR number that make the rear end of the bike push forward as soon as you touch the brakes and tend to overload your fork and need you to be very precise with body position. That's just how physics work and stating that the bike is throwing your forward in the steep is definitely eyebrow raising type of statement.
  • 2 0
 @Balgaroth: Yeah, but only when there are no to little bumps. But guess what, we do mountain biking and it is not always the case. You do not need a particularly steep section, you just need a bumpy trail with too much gradient. Sometimes there are just no good places to brake. Was riding something like this recently on a single pivot and it was not fun.
  • 1 1
 @lkubica: I beg to differ, all the bikes with high AR I had were much better in the steep than low AR bikes. I fell for the low AR hype once again 4 years ago with the GT Force 27.5 then 29 and those bike were terrible in the steep, back end pushing a lot. I made my own single pivot with around 100% AR and a geo close the the L size of this Starling and it is much better than the Force in the steep and under hard braking in general.
  • 1 0
 @Balgaroth: It all depends where you ride. There are steeps where I do not brake at all, there are just a tad too steep blown out trails where I break all the time. My single pivot with high AR is plenty good 98% of the time, and it beats me to death on the remaining 2%.
Reviews don't help here, PB guys say exactly what you say about AR and then love the Raaw Madonna with like 40% AR, go figure.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: To be clear, braking performance was fine across most types of bumps I felt, it's specifically square edges where it hangs up more compared to competitors in the enduro category. I've had multipivot bikes that were just as bad, or even worse, about this, so it's hardly an outlier.

Small, chunky stuff braking is fine. Brake bumps, chunky erosion, etc, again fine. It's when you hit a square edge that you feel the rear end can't move out of the way. I suspect (and may be mistaken) it has to do with the axle path, as the bikes I've ridden that do this well have a more rearward path.
  • 1 0
 @shinook: yeah you literally describe axle path more than anything else right there. Considering where the pivot location is you probably have rearward path up to the SAG point, probably not even, if you get a square edge impact while riding around the SAG it definitely won't feel as nice as something with rearward axle path. That being said I'd consider that this is the only actual advantage of full rearward axle path and the reason why I went back to low pivot bikes.
  • 9 1
 The comments or 485 reach being too large for a large are madness. Have you seen almost any bike made in the last 5 years?
Or Geometron, their SMALL is 475

My Starling frame & Ohlins shock has been the only consistent thing on my bike.
  • 8 0
 Current owner of a Swoop. So I am bias. Before I bought a Starling, I had owned a few different designs, Horst, DELTA, etc..the typically stuff. And they are all good and all have their own drawbacks. The single pivot is the same, It does many things really well. I love the consistency through the travel and unlike Dario I never get pitched forward. I have noticed I get some brake jack on very steep terrain and on square hits the back tire does hang up. Neither of which are really that bad. I do a lot of jumping and love bike parks, ridden mostly in Utah. Deer Valley but also Whistler and the bike kicks ass!! Honestly I have ridden it in every type of terrain from southern Utah, to Dario’s town, to BC, to Minnesota. It simply performs well everywhere! I love it.
  • 7 0
 I own a standard Murmur. It kicks ass. Smooth, quiet, and stiff enough for 95% of real riders. Had absolutely no issues with pivot hardware loosening. Didn’t touch it for an entire year of riding nearly every day in the gnar of Pisgah National Forest and it required breaking free when I just rebuilt the bike. Some folks like it Vanilla and square, some people like to be unique. Choose a bike that speaks to you. It may not speak to the masses. I’ve done nothing but improve as a rider and check off bold new lines I never thought imaginable (for me) since I’ve owned mine.
  • 9 0
 plenty of you guys need to set the keyboard down and just try the dang bike. they're simple and fun
  • 9 0
 Supportive terrain? What is that?
  • 7 0
 Everything except swamp or sand?
  • 46 0
 It's the trails that shout "You're riding really well today" at you
  • 4 0
 I think he means flow and flow-ish trails. More berms and jumps than natural terrain.
  • 2 0
 @korev: I need to find those trails!
  • 13 4
 Big guy geo paired with small guy flex is… a weird flex.
  • 6 0
 In reply to questions about frame flex, "He argued that the longer stays does bias towards more straight line stability over cornering," Duh. In other words, yeah, it's flexy AF and I have no counter-argument
  • 7 0
 My understanding is that these mega murmurs geo charts are specifically for tall dudes. Standard murmur covers everyone else size wise
  • 8 1
 Out of curiosity how big is a "massive day on the bike" that you mention in the review?
  • 52 0
 7,000-9,000' climbing, 40-60 miles.
  • 32 0
 @dariodigiulio: good lord
  • 14 0
 @dariodigiulio: So, a month’s worth of riding. For some of us.
  • 1 0
 @dariodigiulio: leggit massive
  • 3 0
 @endoguru: months of climbing for me…
  • 11 3
 @dariodigiulio: Strava link or it didn't happen ;-)
  • 1 0
 @dariodigiulio: Damn, that's an understatement.
  • 14 1
 @dariodigiulio: nice flex, borrowed some of it from the frame?
  • 3 0
 These Pinkbike guys are pretty damn fit
  • 3 2
 @WheelNut: I vaguely remember Dario mentioning a 13k day on the podcast, which is pretty wild. I had one 80-mile, 13k backcountry day around Mt. St. Helens, but that was on an XC race hardtail that weighed 21 lbs. Nowadays, I can't imagine doing more than 7,000 feet on my 36lb enduro rig.
  • 2 0
 @fentoncrackshell: That's a good route. Props, man.
  • 1 0
 @dariodigiulio: were you able to mount a water bottle on it?
  • 3 0
 So...how big was that fish you caught ?
  • 1 0
 @imbiker: about 70 or 80 so basically anything from 2x regular fish to 30x fishies
  • 1 0
 @endoguru: I wish!
  • 3 0
 Hmm i owend one oft the first Swoop Frames (00Cool for 5 years and really loved the ride, flex and the simple maintenance
Great Frames maybe not for everyone
I only sold it because I wanted more Reach and a Steel Acto5 P-Train (High Pivot Witchcraft )came by.
  • 5 0
 I still want a Starling. They are simple. They look nice. They seem to be long lasting. For me, that is good enough. Only wish they had an under the down tube bottle mount.
  • 5 0
 They can, just ask when you order one.
  • 3 1
 @dariodigiulio I have a bunch of frame-building "curiosities" about Starlings.....

Why aren't the fillets filed/sanded down, as is the standard for custom builders? The fillets don't look especially clean- compared to say, Rosario Bike Co....

According to Reynolds, 853 air-hardens- "strength can actually increase after cooling in air immediately after welding." Tig welding produces up to 3400°F- but brazing happens under 1000°F. Some builders only TIG weld 853 for this reason, so I'm curious if the benefits of 853 are lost when it's brazed?
  • 2 0
 Brazing needs about 1000C, if I remember rightly. Filing braze is like grinding TIG - can be done, can look great, but it shouldn't be necessary.
  • 5 1
 Why aren’t the fillets ground down? Probably to save a fair bit of labour cost for what would be a minimal aesthetic benefit for the small number of customers that care.
  • 1 5
flag Emailsucks98 (May 6, 2024 at 12:36) (Below Threshold)
 @justanotherusername: Fair enough, but there are many domestic framebuilders doing fillet-brazed single-pivot frames with nicer finishing at much lower prices.

Years ago, I used to work for a custom builder who did lugged frames, fillet brazing and TIG welding. Their take was that the benefits of fillet brazing main tube junctions are aesthetics and lower temps allowed for thinner tubes = lighter bikes- especially road or touring bikes. Mountain bike head tubes would always be TIG welded for better yield strength, especially when working with 853. So I'm just wondering what the logic is behind an unfinished fillet brazed joint on an Enduro bike.
  • 1 1
 @Emailsucks98: spending additional time filing welds is additional money saved by the end user
  • 3 2
 @Emailsucks98: These bikes are brazed, not fillet brazed. Fillet brazing means you add a bunch more material and sand it down for a smooth transition (or fillet). I've owned both a really pretty Italian fillet brazed steel road bike and a Starling twist
  • 12 2
 We don't file the fillets because it's just not needed. Out brazing is as good as it gets.

Filing just adds a massive amount of time (and cost which we would have to pass on to customers), and actually risks the strength of the frame.

Hobbyist builders file them, because firstly they have the time, and secondly because they aren't smooth 'off the torch'.

Come and see the bike getting built and you'll see how good the brazing is...
  • 2 7
flag sfarnum (May 7, 2024 at 7:29) (Below Threshold)
 @justanotherusername: Yeah, not to be mean but “cares about aesthetics” doesn’t describe the typical Starling customer.
  • 7 1
 @sfarnum: speak for yourself man, I much prefer the look of the starling to some of new bloated, garishly painted carbon creations with cables stuffed into headsets and shocks hidden etc.
  • 4 2
 @sfarnum: Whaaaaat? It's the most beautiful full-sus frame out there in a lot of peoples' eyes.
One of the best examples of form & function combined in the biz.
They look elegant and refined, the build quality is very impressive and the steel feel is distinctive and very enjoyable.
  • 2 0
 @chakaping: To each their own I guess. I don’t mind some slender steel tubing, but the home built aura and the weird proportions throw me off.
  • 1 0
 I loved Starling Murmur Downcountry I saw awhile back. It too had its limitations, but was a big I'd have considered when I was in the market. This one though, I can't get my leg over it or reach the handlebars if I wanted to ride burlier stuff.
  • 1 0
 Yeah I’m 5’9” and my current bike with 465 reach already feels looong, can’t imagine adding another 20cm and feeling comfortable pedaling around.
  • 3 2
 Bit of a strange size bias. I would think you would capture more riders in the 5'4" to 5'8" bracket than those that are over 6'4" no? Perhaps the design doesn't lend itself to shorter reach numbers.
  • 7 1
 In order to maintain the simple front triangle design without a kink on the ST and travel with 29 inch wheel they had to make long chainstays thus they had to adjust reach accordingly.
  • 8 0
 For shorter riders, The Mx Twist is a better bike. The Twist has shorter 435mm stays, that balance out the the shorter front triangle better...
  • 1 0
 You don't really have to bleed the brakes again after you've guided that hose past the gusset and reconnected it to the brake master, do you? Or are there brakes where you do have to do that?
  • 3 3
 Single pivot is a poor design choice for a bike with 165mm of rear travel. The standard Murmur in short-travel mode is probably less polarizing in intention. I like the idea of Starling, and the bikes are well-executed in construction, but they need to take a page from Reeb and explore some other suspension designs.
  • 2 0
 I'd really like one, problem is the bikes I build normally start with a frame at clearance price, I doubt I'll find one of these at 2 and a half thousand Aussie dollars.
  • 3 4
 2.6:1 linear leverage ratio is the same as Paul Astons Ti-tron and steel bike. I use it as well on my steel bike. Great way for heavier riders to avoid a dull and heavy 600-700 ibs/inch springs on a typical progressive frame.
  • 3 0
 Love you DariBro, and loving the steel steed reviews as well!
  • 1 0
 Where are the bikes that doesn't climb well compared to their travel or/and weight? It seems that every bike review claims that the bike tested climbs surprisingly well.
  • 1 0
 Steep seat angles make a worse suspension feel less bad and there is less of a market tolerance for a bike that climbs like a dh bike
  • 1 0
 Incredible. Since when did Trailforks unblock all the goods on West Cuesta Ridge?!?!
  • 2 0
 Will it take dual crowns?!!
  • 2 0
 Yup, up to 180mm...
  • 10 11
 Unusually large is an understatement - starting off with 485 reach and 440 seat tube is madness. Hi, I'm 6 foot 8, can I get a small please!
  • 13 3
 But it's a large, 485 for a large is very normal. Pretty sure most canyons are bigger
  • 2 7
flag gravity01 FL (May 6, 2024 at 9:59) (Below Threshold)
 @Dogl0rd: 485mm reach for a 175cm-185cm rider is pretty long, the new spectral has 10mm less reach for the same rider height (172cm-185cm)
  • 5 3
 @Dogl0rd: Why start sizing in a large, it's very limiting. Fair enough I'm short, but I know people over 6' that don't want a 485 reach! Plus with dropper posts getting longer, why have such a long seat tube to start with?
  • 3 0
 Most people prefer what they are used to
  • 2 0
 Size L Rallon is 485, same with a lot of other bikes. If you need a smaller bike you could get the Murmur with 445 chainstay. Think of it as size specific chainstays, Murmur 445, Mega Murmur 455.
  • 1 0
 @rjwspeedjunkie: Prob to fit the bottle in the frame.
  • 20 2
 Just spent 5 mins on internet:

Canyon Strive, Size Large, 485mm reach.
Specialized Ednuro, S4 (Large), 487mm reach.
Santa Cruz Megatower, size Large, 475mm reach.
Yeti SB160, Size Large, 485mm reach.
ORbea Rallon, Size Large, 485mm reach.


Starling Mga Murmur, Size Large, 485mm reach.
  • 3 0
 @phutphutend: oh my God it's so big
  • 1 0
 @phutphutend: did you happen to get the stack and recommended sizes for each too? It’s be interesting to see whether different manufacturers recommend different sizing for similar dimensions
  • 1 4
 @phutphutend: again, my comment wasn't on the reach figure of the size Large itself, but the range as a whole
  • 3 2
 £1990 for a frame? Looks like a steel...
  • 1 0
 Hey mr starling - floating brake thoughts?
  • 1 0
 BIG stack height . Nice to see.
  • 2 0
 I like this bike
  • 2 3
 Motorcycles are bicycles too, they are all single pivot.
  • 1 1
 It’s nice you start saying that motos are bikes, and then you start saying an ebike is a moto because you think the 2 are the same because they both have 2 wheels and suspension, and then you are just wrong
  • 1 0
 @Grady-Harris: E-bikes are motorbikes, acoustic bikes are human gravity powered motorbikes, they are all bi-cycles.

Mo-tor adjective: giving, imparting, or producing motion or action.
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