Starling Cycles' customer builds

A Starling in the wild is a beautiful thing - this is where we celebrate all the Murmurs and Swoops that are out there and flying free. If you're a Starling owner, we'd love to see your bike fully built and on the trails.

Send us your photos, with a short comment about your build here.

John, UK

After meeting Joe at the Bespoked show in 2016, it has been an 18-month journey until I received my new Murmur [John was waiting for an insurance payout].  I was first taken by the sweet lines, simplistic design and Joe’s passion.  From the first conversation as Bespoked through countless emails, Joe has accommodated infinite questions about the geometry, paint, componentry and more about the geometry.

So, order placed, test ride offered and taken; I was happy before the test ride and just plain chuffed afterwards (even if it didn’t fit!!).  The custom geometry was a key reason for ordering the Murmur, being 6ft 8in (203 cm), not many bikes fit!!!  Discussing geometry with Joe was easy, we were talking some big numbers – 540 mm seattube and 530 mm reach; his confidence both in his ability, knowledge and frame was reassuring.

Now it is built and used in anger, I can’t underestimate the feeling of riding a bike that actually fits, it is so confidence inspiring (a little too much sometimes!!), responsive, predictable and just plain fun to ride.


Jon, UK

The inspiration for the paint job was actually a bit of a homage to my dad. He passed away about a year and a half ago. He was a big time Mod back in the day. He used to ply the roads of Sussex and Hampshire on a hopped up Vespa with a bunch of unnecessary mirrors and such wearing his parka (which he still had hung up in the garage). 

The Vespa that I remember residing under a tarp next to our shed for a while was a faded green so that was the start of the concept with the Patina Green as the base.

From there I had to have some Mod roundrels on the frame to give it that quadrophenia nod. The panel of Paul Smith inspired stripes is because I'd seen some photos of the Triumph collaboration with Paul Smith on a special edition of their Bonneville and I thought it looked pretty sharp. The panel plays on the old school road bike paint jobs but with that Mod twist.

It's going to be built up with some choice parts but won't be babied. I'm looking forward to chucking this bike down some nasty root laden and rocky messes. Can't wait.

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Aled, UK

My ‘new frame itch’ coincided perfectly with the magazine first look articles and I knew I had to own a Starling, especially in that yellow. It just immediately looked so right and very different from your Bronsons and Capras etc with the uncluttered skinny steel lines and simple but effective single pivot layout.

Custom geometry was a massive selling point, and seven months on I still wouldn’t change a thing - fits and feels perfect. (Running 140 rear, 160 front, 64 HA, 450 reach and I’m 5’7”)

Maybe I’m not very perceptive but I’ve noticed little to no difference in suspension feel coming from a VPP bike which I can only say is a good thing. Pedals perfectly without a climb switch and it genuinely sometimes feels like there’s something pushing me along? Equally happy on uplift days and Alpine weeks as it is on a 60 mile epic round the Peak District.

The only negative is that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to buy an off-the-shelf frame again…


Jack, Bristol

Bike is rad - looks mint, is dead fun and hasn't fallen to bits!




Martin, France

I've been riding my Swoop for two weeks in the Alps in Briançonnais & Queyras. The bike is amazing.

First, it’s a very decent climber. The pedaling position is excellent and the traction in the tech climb helps a lot. Second, and it’s no surprise, it’s a flying carpet on the descents.  

At forty years old, I am no longer able to take aggressive lines but a few top 3 in the Strava downhill segments says it all ... this bike obviously enlarges my comfort zone! Many thanks again, you nailed it.


Sam, UK

Sam wanted something a bit special ... so he got in touch with our mate Andy at 7PotCustoms for a custom paint job that's inspired by the graphics on an RC car. It's definitely the loudest Starling to date!

Daniel, UK

"Some shots at Afan, on the W2 trail. I managed it no problems, even after surgery for dislocated clavicle 6 weeks previous. It was torture just looking at the bike whilst I healed but the first ride blew me away.

The bike is fast and supple. It inspires huge confidence and has taken my riding to the next level ... that's before I've even got full fitness back. My times on Strava are tumbling and I'm playing it safe! It goes as good as it looks. Proud to ride it!  Thanks Joe!"

Gary, UK

Dom, Switzerland

"I cannot describe why a well made steel frame feels so much better any other material. It's somehow quiet, stable and has a predictable flex.

Riding this bike reminds me of my beloved steel hardtail but with the comfort and safety of a modern full suspension bike.

Simplicity, smart design and custom geometries take this bike to another level. And it can go really fast!"

Sandy Rogers, Scotland

"What can I say about my Swoop? It's such a confidence inspiring ride. It's stable and predictable and there's so much grip at the back end. The attention to detail Joe has put into the frame, along with the whole custom experience is a world away from standard mass produced bike. Love it."

Tom Buck, Leeds, UK.

"To get a steel HT feel on a coil full sus is either lucky or you must really know what you're doing."

"It's a stunning bike that I'm going to have a lot of fun on and the customer service from Starling has been brilliant. Thanks"

Walter Wolf, Germany.

"I search a long time for custom made Steelbeauty and the Swoop was love at first view, so I ordered it!  A lot of E-mail later the build starts.  It's good to have a Framebuilder who knows what make sense.

I'm 180 with 89 legs.  My build has a 440mm reach and a short 400mm seattube.  X-Fusion Sweep and Vector Hlr Air (perfect for the Swoop).

The Ride is amazing; it climbs pretty well, but fast trails down; its made for.  Love it!"

Oly, Eastbourne, UK

"Bespoked frame in its new guise... The bike feels very nimble, low and planted. Still tinkering with my shock but 90% there; I think there's more to come!"

Stijn, Belgium

"Its art! I love it. Feels as solid as a downhill bike, yet nimble as a light weight carbon fiber frame. Felt at home on it from the first pedal stroke."

Julien, Magma Bikes, Switzerland

"Some words about the bike? It's simply the best bike i've already have!!! In my personal configuration it's almost fast as a DH bike. The material (steel) bring it a crazy grip. And something really pleasant too is how silent the bike is. Rediscovering steel material is a crazy feeling!"