Starling Cycles' New Twist Has 160mm of Travel and Mixed Wheel Sizes

Dec 18, 2019 at 11:12
by Mike Kazimer  

Starling Cycles, the small British manufacturer known for their elegantly simple steel full-suspension frames, have added another model to their lineup – the Twist. It's a mixed wheel size bike, with a 29” wheel up front, a 27.5” wheel out back, and 160mm of rear travel.

The Reynolds 853 frame is an international affair – the front triangle is made in Bristol, UK, while the swingarm is manufatured by ORA Engineering in Taiwan. There's room for up to a 2.8” rear tire, which also means there's loads of mud clearance when running something narrower. The grey / black color combination shown is the stock paint scheme, but a range of options are available for an additional charge, everything from candy red to duck egg blue.
Starling Twist Details

• Travel: 160mm (rear) / custom short travel options available
• Reynolds 853 steel frame
• Wheel size: 29" (f) / 27.5" (r)
• Head Angle: 65°
• Seat Tube Angle: 77°
• Chainstay Length: 437mm
• Sizes: M, L, XL
• Price: $£1770 frame only w/out shock
www.starlingcycles.com

The Twist was designed to have 160mm of travel, but it's possible to reduce that number all the way down to 115mm by running a shorter length shock. Starling also have an adjustable shock mount that allows the bottom bracket height and head angle to be fine tuned depending on rider preference.

MSRP for the Twist frame is £1770 without a rear shock, and full builds starting from £3300. Keep in mind that there's no VAT on sales outside the EU.



Photos: Starling Cycles






94 Comments

  • 29 1
 "Keep in mind that there's no VAT on sales outside the EU."
Just have to be patient...
  • 9 44
flag endurocat (Dec 18, 2019 at 11:33) (Below Threshold)
 Im 5'6" and that 450mm reach is just stupid!
  • 3 0
 Though I could see the UK having to ‘negotiate’ a new VAT arrangement withe the EU I see no reason why non EU countries would start paying VAT all of a sudden.
  • 9 20
flag rockchomper (Dec 18, 2019 at 11:35) (Below Threshold)
 @endurocat: Im 5'5 and my wife is 5'3 so we aren't even in the range for this bike!
  • 25 6
 @rockchomper: buy a different bike? Lots out there.
  • 5 0
 @rockchomper: Starling do a small sized Swoop (2x 27.5" wheels) which would fit...
  • 16 11
 @justanotherusername: Dang i didn't even think that theyre might be other companies. ill look into that! thanks bud
  • 11 1
 @endurocat: Keep in mind the steep 77' STA will bring you a lot closer to the bars. It may not feel as long as it looks on paper mate.
  • 21 2
 @endurocat: That's their loss. You sound like a really reasonable potential customer with the insights and forethought to be a valuable owner of a bike from a small brand. No trouble at all.
  • 4 2
 @rockchomper: Try throwing a leg over a bike with a 77 degree SA without knowing what the reach number is and guess it.
Fit is fit. The (no doubt thoughtful and no doubt knowledgeable) folks responsible for this frame design have taken into account sizing this bike to a wide enough swath of the market to sell it.
  • 5 3
 @endurocat: crazy the number of new bikes coming out ignoring shorter riders and using absurdly long seattube lengths. Ibis and Yeti immediately come to mind for making a good range for different sized people
  • 2 2
 @endurocat: I ride an XL Starling (515 reach) and I'm 6'1" and it fits fine.
  • 5 11
flag endurocat (Dec 18, 2019 at 12:07) (Below Threshold)
 @mybaben:
Wrong.
For a short person any attempt to do a switchback on this thing is a no go.
They need to be honest and just say: This bike is not for Small riders .
  • 2 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: hardly crazy for a small brand like Starling to build frames suitable for the majority, is it?

It’s a small business not a social enterprise, I am sure if the market was there they would make one, but I maintain the fact that plenty of size small options exist/
  • 2 0
 @justanotherusername: I never stated this was a thing with just ‘small’ companies, in fact look at the new Giant Reign. That said you’re correct, many good options today, but a lot more if you’re 5’8 +
  • 9 0
 @rockchomper: I’m Brian and so is my wife.
  • 5 1
 @CaseVentura: I wouldn’t try with this bike as the manufacturer has stated that it’s out of my size range. No need to guess the MANUFACTURER says 5’6 and up. Also I was just stating that with the popularity of 29ers less companies are making bikes in size small (for 29)
  • 5 3
 @endurocat: The Murmur/Twist are in Medium/Large/XL size. The Swoop is in Small/Medium/Large.

Bikes are available for all riders sizes, it's just that I don't think the bigger 29" wheels work as well for smaller riders.

The Starling seat tubes aren't long at all, 375mm on a small Swoop, is that too long?

Also, forget about reach as an ergonomic measurement, it's much less important than effective top top as to whether a bike will fit you. Read all about it here:

www.starlingcycles.com/starling-cycles-sizing-guide
  • 6 1
 @phutphutend: you are right 29 sucks for shorter riders but this being a mullet bike I had hoped for a full size range.
  • 3 2
 @endurocat:
By a unicycle
  • 3 2
 @endurocat: i'm only 5ft 8 and like the reach to be in the region of 480- 485 have no issues at all with switch backs.
  • 6 0
 @rockchomper: Sorry, I'm only a tiny company! Custom geometry will return in the near-ish future, and then you can have what you want!
  • 3 0
 @phutphutend: totally understandable and im stoked your making Mullet bikes. Its just hard as a shorter rider for new bike trends to be in favor of shorter riders.
  • 2 1
 @phutphutend: I’m 5’4 and while not all 29ers are good w/ us short people I had no issues tearing around on a Evil Wreckoning or Ibis Ripmo this past summer. The simple fact is 29ers can BOTH fit short people and have 140+ mm of travel
  • 3 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: I feel like alot of it comes down to riding style and height, Ive ridden a few 29ers and its always the same the tire buzzes my cheecks!
  • 2 0
 @rockchomper: I did get a bit of ‘credit card’ swiping during hard g-outs on the Evil (160 is clearly the max travel I could use) but pretty much a non-issue once I got use to the bikes.
  • 1 1
 @endurocat:

Believe me, it works.
I’m 5’10” and run 460mm on a medium Yeti.
  • 3 2
 @endurocat: First of all, I'm not wrong. Steep STA does bring you closer and makes a 450mm reach more reasonable. Second, now you're talking about wheelbase, which isn't what you started your post about. I agree that wheelbase is pretty long for a Medium, and would be challenging, but certainly not impossible on switchbacks. MANY other bikes are MUCH longer than that.
  • 2 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: HAHAHA credit card swiping!!! Im gonna have to use that one! ya its problem for me as 170mm is the shortest travel bike I own.
  • 2 2
 @endurocat: Wrong, I'm 5'6" and a 450 reach feels fine for me. Each person is unique and body measurements can vary. For instance, I have a long torso which is why a 450 reach would work but I only have a 28 inseam so depending on the manufacturer I would need a small just because of the stand over height.
  • 1 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: you mean like most 29ers and 27.5 it's almost like you could make a wicked bike with modern geometry that's lighter and more maneuverable with smaller wheels.
  • 2 0
 @rockchomper: Still plenty of small bikes out there. Im 6'4" and enjoying some proper frame sizing for once after years of being bent over on tiny bikes.
  • 2 1
 @endurocat: I'm 5'6" and for my trails, a 450mm teach is perfect! However, I have a super long torso and tiny legs.
  • 4 1
 @endurocat: why are you complaining about a bike you'll never buy? I'm short too at 5'5." You know what I do? Rather than complaining a bike wasn't made for me I find a bike from another manufacturer that fits me instead.
  • 3 0
 @endurocat sounds like you just need to adjust your switchback technique.

Got plenty of folks on small Mondrakers (450 reach) around these parts who are less than 5’6” and they shred switchbacks like its their job.

One of our local descents is 8km, 1,000meters of down and nearly 70 switchbacks.

Just because you can’t make that bike sing and dance doesn’t mean other people can’t. Besides, you’ve never ridden that bike, how’d you have any clue what’s possible on it?
  • 9 0
 I have a Murmur and I absolutely love it. The suspension is predictable and the geo is awesome. Starling was a pleasure to do business with.
  • 2 0
 Ditto.
  • 2 0
 Can't wait to build mine up!
  • 7 2
 Well, that comment section suggests that most folks are a bunch of whinging whiners who just like to tell each other how upset they are about things they'd have no intention of buying anyway! What a depressing bunch, I'm off to read about the comments about broken Poles and RMs to cheer me back up! Must be Christmas...
  • 6 1
 27.5 and 29 Wheels? Together? that's sick
  • 5 0
 cats and dogs living together - mass hysteria!
  • 1 0
 Interesting, price is comparable to a Cotic Flare/Rocket (Max) also with a UK made front triangle and Taiwanese rear. Would be interesting to compare these. The flexibility to change travel by using a different stroke shock is nice though it makes me wonder how much you'd compromise the intended behaviour. You can run a long shock with a short stroke so you'll preserve bb height but you may lose some of the built-in progression of the suspension design. Or you'll use short shock with short stroke and you'll use the bottom out range as intended but the bike is going to ride lower.

Either way, it is nice to be able to put these two brands side to side.
  • 1 0
 Does someone want a custom MK 1.5 Starling Swoop 79er fullcustom with 140mm travel. Its not exactly straight but it rides well (see my profile). I got it standing around as i dont ride it that often after i bought my 160mm endurobike. Maybe i will sell it.
  • 4 0
 Seriously considering a Murmur...can't think of a single major negative.
  • 2 19
flag mybaben (Dec 18, 2019 at 14:26) (Below Threshold)
 I can only think of one.....STEEL!!!!! LOL. Remind me to tell you the story of watching a guy walk off the cyclocross course carrying his steel bike... The fork was completely folded over in half. Just sayin....
  • 9 1
 @mybaben: Hey don't forget to tell us the story about the guy who... oh wait, you already did.
  • 4 0
 @mybaben: yeah, all steel bikes are the same as ultra ligtht cx bikes..
  • 2 3
 @mini: Exactly like them!! Exactly!
  • 4 0
 @mybaben: 20” street/park riders ride steel frames, bars and cranks for a reason and it isn’t because they fold in half.
  • 1 5
flag mybaben (Dec 19, 2019 at 9:21) (Below Threshold)
 @emptybe-er: It's all good. I'm completely bored at this point, and will never ride steel anyway.
Have a good day.
  • 3 0
 Sterling VS Marino shoot out time. Does the ride justify the price difference?
  • 1 0
 If you can even get a response from Marino....
  • 1 0
 @wkkie: what did you end up going with the end? Maybe msg Roberto @armybikeco, all the frames I had from him are still going strong from knowledge 7 years on!
  • 4 2
 I'm not a huge fan of single pivot bikes but damn that bike looks like a lot of fun to ride.
  • 3 0
 Twist, not as bad as snap but, I dunno. Definately like it though.
  • 3 0
 i dunno, i think those seat stays look a bit too beefy tbh.
  • 2 1
 I am 5'7 and won the British vets champs on a medium Starling Murmur last year. It fits me just fine if that helps. You could always ask Joe about a custom build?
  • 3 1
 Depressing that we still have to go to Asia even for making steel bikes. Damn. Frown
  • 1 2
 @phutphutend


- Wheelbase ranges from 1218mm to 1288mm and you keep the same chainstay length? Not good! You put a lot of emphasis on bike geometry, so you should stand by your words and use different lengths on the different Frame sizes

- Where's the weight? Can't find any info here or on your Website...
  • 8 1
 Specific chainstay sizing is something I'd love to offer. But as a small company I can't afford to hold stock of lots of different sizes. But the Murmur has longer stays than the Swoop, which is why I advise taller riders on the 29er, and shorter riders on the 27.5.

One day I'll do custom chainstays, but it's a little way off...

Frame weight is about 3.6kg. But this has to be taken into account with my rant that weight doesn't really matter. Wheel weight matters, but frame weight much less so. A top end carbon frame might be 1kg lighter than one of my frames. But if you consider bike plus rider system, this is typically only 1% of the total. Two tenths of f*&k all!

But yes, I do need to add to website.
  • 1 0
 Starling should have frame option for old shock length 200 - 216 plenty ppl already have good shock which they could use with new frame Wink
  • 3 1
 Any word on the frame's lateral rigidity?
  • 6 2
 Good question. The lateral rigidity on the rear triangle looks weak at best...
  • 4 2
 Hmm, never thought to use 3/8” steel rod for a rear triangle before
  • 1 1
 Its all in the name - "Twisterillo" - is its game.
  • 1 0
 @mybaben:
Starling have released a video based in their workshop and in it the rear triangle looks far more substantial than it appears in the pics above.
  • 3 1
 .....this could be my next bike....so sick.
  • 1 0
 Pitty that they reduced the cs numbers. I like the what they did to stiffen the front triangle.
  • 1 0
 Geo numbers on this look great and I must admin that the looks are growing on me.
  • 1 0
 Geometry is in the database for comparison purposes...
geometrygeeks.bike/bike/starling-twist-2020
  • 1 0
 You can also buy this same frame from Marino bikes for about %25 of the cost.
  • 2 0
 Very nice!
  • 2 1
 Look at that internal cable routing!
  • 1 0
 I can see the face of the mechanic : "Oh nice some external routing, oh wait..."
  • 3 2
 I think I found my new dream bike!
  • 2 0
 Want
  • 1 0
 Great looking bike. Needs a prs guitar with those bird inlays to match
  • 1 1
 I give mixed wheel sizes 1 more year, maybe 2 before we move onto the next big thing.
  • 1 0
 28"
  • 1 1
 Wonder if people can sue the Taiwan manufacturer if the rear triangle messes up
  • 5 5
 "Aesthetics... What are they?"
- Starling Cycles
  • 4 0
 I clicked on this thinking it was a "remember this bike"
  • 2 0
 Put a bird on it.
  • 6 0
 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think it looks better than most anything else out there and am crushing out on a Murmur.
  • 2 1
 @jnroyal: front triangle is quite nice it's the back triangle that's killing it. Looks like the old pipe work that Peugeot used to make their full sus rigs out of in the mid 90's. Looked terrible then and still does now. Snapped like a toothpick when I did a 3 foot huck to flat on it and I never bought another peugeot!
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