With small diameter steel tubes and a single-pivot suspension layout across their range, small UK brand Starling Cycles says that their goal is to "eliminate complexity," which flies in the face of many adjustable-everything, ultra-light carbon frames with features lists longer than they need to be. Now Starling is making a bunch of rolling changes to their three most popular bikes, the Murmur 29er, Twist with mullet wheels, and the Swoop with 27.5" wheels.
• Two travel modes on each frame
• Stronger headtube, refined main pivot
• Steeper seat angles, less BB drop
• 10 color options
• More info: www.starlingcycles.com
Starling is calling these their third-generation frames, and the changes include updated geometry, new colors, and most notably, two different travel configurations on each frame that can be easily altered by owners. The front triangles are made with 853 heat-treated steel tubing that Starling braze themselves, while the steel rear-ends come from Asia. Trail or Enduro Modes
Starling had been offering each of their frames in two different travel configurations, with the customer choosing which suspension length best suited them when they ordered their bike. With the new third-generation frames, Starling is using a set of bolt-on forward shock mounts that allow you to choose between two different travel settings; 135mm or 150mm on the Murmur, 135 or 165mm on the Twist, and 130mm or 160mm on the Swoop. Changing between travel settings will require a different shock and fork, of course, but at least you won't need to splash out for an entirely new frame when you want to make a wholesale change to your equipment.
Using the Murmur as an example, the 135mm-travel mode uses a 210 x 55mm shock and a 140mm fork, whereas the enduro mode delivers 150mm via a 230 x 60mm shock and a 160mm fork. Other frame updates include a beefier headtube, refined cast main pivot area, and moving the main pivot bearings from the front triangle to the swingarm.
New Geometry and Colors
Starling's geometry for the new Murmur in 150mm-travel enduro guise. The trail version has a 37 mm BB drop.
There have also been changes to the geometry chart, although it's more a case of tweaking than totally starting over. Many reviewers have praised how their bikes handle, especially the Murmur, so Starling only wanted to make small changes. That includes a steeper seat tube angle - the 150mm Murmur went from 76.6 to 77.5 degrees - that Starling says they updated due to feedback they've had from riders looking for an "improved pedaling position.
The bottom bracket drop, which is how far it sits below the axle line, has also gone from 35mm to 30mm, meaning that it's actually a bit higher off the ground. That's been done "to add a little more clearance and a little more maneuverability to our very stable geometry.
" Chainstays, wheelbase, and reach are all unchanged, but the stack has lowered a bit as well.
There are also ten different colors to choose from, including metallic paints and graphic options, and Starling will be happy to paint your front and rear triangle different colors if that's what you're into.