To celebrate the launch of the new Starling Cycles Roost hardtail, we hit the road for Windhill Bike Park and challenged Boosted Bryn to show us what he can do!
Needless to say, Bryn sent the biggest jumps, drops and gaps and hammered the Roost down some rough and rowdy downhill trails for the camera. If you need a bit of an idea of what the Roost can do, this is it!
Great news Starling Spur fans – our big travel, big wheel, gearbox trail crusher just got some extra options.
The Spur was first built around 29″ wheels and 170mm travel. After a bit of experimenting, testing and refining we can now offer an alternative wheel size setup and travel option for the bike.
Alongside the classic 29″ / 170mm setup, we can now offer a 150mm travel version of the Spur and the option to run the bike as a mullet with a 27.5″ rear wheel.
The bike is available in all variations of the options so, if you so desired, you could build a 150mm 29’er or a mullet 170mm’er or a 170mm mullet … You get the idea.
And nope, the mullet version isn’t just a smaller back wheel shoved in the original frame. To accommodate the smaller back wheel we’ve built an entirely new swingarm for the Spur to make sure the geometry and suspension continue to work perfectly.
The Pinkbike Field Test is a pretty big deal for most brands… and seeing the Murmur up in lights alongside some big names and big brands has definitely got us celebrating here at Starling.
But what did the Canadian powerhouse think of UK handmade steel? Well, we won’t spoil the surprise but all in all it was a pretty damn positive review. There are a few things we’d probably love to debate over a beer with the reviewers but overall, we’re stoked, not least with the glowing praise for our bike’s ride feel and how effective our suspension is at coping with “rough, rowdy and steep terrain”.
We’re big fans of gearbox bikes here at Starling Cycles, and the Starling Spur is what that looks like.
But… we understand a lot of people still have a lot of questions and there’s a lot of myths surrounding gearbox bikes that need to be dispelled. So, when GMBN Tech’s Doddy got in touch to really get under the skin of gearbox vs ‘normal’ gears we didn’t hesitate.
Press play, like and subscribe, leave a comment and learn which is better, gearbox or derailleur mountain bike gears.
By day, Fleur is an ambulance driver and student paramedic. If you’ve not seen her racing round Bristol with the blues-and-twos wailing, she might well have patched you up at Dyfi Bike Park.
Before training to save lives, she spent over a decade risking her own, racing yachts around the world and getting into more than a few sticky situations on the high seas.
And, of course, she absolute shreds on that pink Swoop of hers. Loose as a goose, not afraid to hit the big jumps and totally in love with scaring the shit out of herself on the high-speed and technical stuff. Perfect for the Starling Cycles crew!
We spent the day with Fleur, on the river and on the trails, to get to know her a bit better.
US-based Singletracks just gave the Murmur a thorough write-up and it’s already one of our favourites.
Test rider Gerow rode the bike for several weeks, building it up with Ohlins, Middleburn and Funn and including it in the website’s Mid-Travel Mash Up.
Gerow’s opening line sets the tone for the review and we were stoked to see he just ‘gets’ it. “There is an undefinable kinship in the way properly-placed steel tubes can interact with human meat that makes for an amazing experience on the trail”. He praises the “soulful-feel of the bike” and the way the bike “punches a bit above its travel numbers”.
Loads of travel, high-pivot suspension and a gearbox all make theStarling Cycles Spur an absolute monster through technical terrain. GMBN’s Doddy popped in to Starling Cycles HQ to learn all about it for himself.
Introducing the Best Descending Bike Starling Has Ever Produced
Starling Cycles is pleased to announce the launch of the new Starling Cycles Spur.
Our latest ‘Rare’ bike, the Spur joins our family of limited edition misfits with a high-pivot suspension platform, an Effigear gearbox and 170mm of travel.
It is, to put it simply, an absolute monster.
Front triangle and swingarm hand-built in Bristol, UK, using Reynolds 853 heat-treated tubing
Effigear 9spd drivetrain with 440% range, including cranks, shifter and cogs
2.6″ tyre clearance
Up to 200mm rotor
Designed for single speed 142x12mm rear hubs
Unique Starling dropouts system means rear wheel can be removed without adjusting tension
Seattube reinforcing strut on XL
Stainless & numbered dropper port
Starling headtube gusset
Bottle mount in frame on medium & above
Packing 170mm of travel, 29″ wheels and the Effigear system, the Spur is the bike for big-terrain enduro racing, double-black bike park laps and hassle-free seasons in the mountains.
The Spur’s high-pivot, gearbox design is deadly fast on rough, technical terrain. Zero chain growth, zero chain forces, zero worries about smashing mechs. You’ll experience incredible small bump performance, endless grip in all conditions, a beautifully light rear wheel and the best descending bike we’ve ever made.
The Spur wasn’t a quick bike to create. We’ve worked closely with Effigear to build the bike from scratch around their 9-speed system, offering a 440% range to get you up those technical climbs to the trailhead. The Effigear system works with a standard trigger shifter, meaning no annoying gripshift.
You’ll also experience a super light rear-wheel which adds up to an amazing suspension feel on the trail and no rear mechs to maintain, damage or replace.
In building the high-pivot suspension platform, we took everything we’d learned from the Starling Staer and Sturn. The high pivot reduces any of the forces that affect suspension performance on the trail and creates an incredibly planted bike that offers mountains of grip in all conditions, including under braking.
The Spur is available to order now from Starling Cycles and is built by hand in Bristol, UK using Reynolds 853 steel heat-treated tubing. There is a 16 week lead time on all orders and frames are available with or without shock and with a variety of components to help build your dream bike.
As a member of Starling’s ‘Rare’ collection, the Spur will be limited edition and made to order on a first-come-first-served basis.
Anyone who knows me and has talked about bikes with me will know I talk a lot about CushCore.
In my opinion, it’s one of the best bike inventions since dropper posts or disc brakes. “But why is it so good” you ask? Well, let me explain.
CushCore does several things:
It gives impact protection to your rims
It provides sidewall support to stop your tyres from rolling in a corner
Because of the above, it allows you to run lower pressure in your tyres for a bigger contact patch and more grip
Because of the above, it allows you to run lighter weight tyres to offset th additional weight it adds
It puts increased damping into the tyre system
CushCore is a properly engineered product and so much more than other ‘pool noodle’ type inserts from other companies.
Impact Protection Everyone thinks this is the only point of inserts. Whilst it is indeed a positive quality, the other aspects are so much more important to performance. Other tyre inserts tend to only address impact performance.
I believe the other benefits of CushCore are so much more important that I have run bikes with only a front tyre insert before, where the added grip and control are most needed.
Sidewall Support CuschCore pulls tight against the rim and extends up a portion of the sidewall. In hard cornering, it supports the tyre and reduces it from rolling.
Increased Grip Tyre contact patch is a function of pressure in the tyre and nothing else. A lower pressure needs a bigger contact patch to support the weight of the bike and the rider. So low pressures are good, except they often lead to rim damage and tyre roll. CushCore allows you to run super low pressures reducing the effect of the negative aspects.
You can run some very low pressures for super grip. The only limit tends to be tyre roll. As much as CushCore helps reduce tyre roll, in very grippy conditions and surfaces, very hard cornering will try to roll the tyre off the rim and you’ll need to add a bit more pressure. But when grip is low, in very muddy sloppy conditions, you can just keep dropping pressures.
In a race a while back, I ended up running 10psi in the front tyre to find grip in super muddy conditions. There was one off-camber and tricky high line that only some of the Elite riders could stick. But “fastest of the duffers” rider that I am, with the aid of low pressures and CushCore I managed to stick the line too, riding well above my pay grade!
Lighter Tyres The additional support, protection and damping of the CushCore system allows you to run lighter weight tyres than you normally could. This offsets any weight that the inserts add to the wheel.
In fact, on many of my personal bikes I am now running light weight 2.2″ trail tyres with CushCore XC, running them at the sort of low pressures I would expect in an enduro tyre. It works great!
Tyre Damping Tyre damping is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I even applied for a patent on a system I had developed over ten years ago. Unfortunately, my idea had already been patented in 1935, so people have been thinking about the problem for a long time. And unfortunately, it had some fundamental flaws!
Currently, we have say 150mm of suspension in our bike controlled with very expensive and tuned units. We could talk for hours about the relative pros and cons of different systems and solutions, it is well understood.
However, attached to the end of this system, we have say 25mm of tyre suspension. This is at the most cirital part of a bike, the contact to the ground. This 25mm of suspension only has minimal damping in normal trail tyres, and not much more (but a noticeable amount) in DH tyres. Discussion on this particular subject would not go far with most riders.
See System (1) in my diamgram. Why do we not have damping in this crucial part of our suspension system? Damping would stop tyres rebounding off obstacles and improve grip. See System (2).
Watch any slow-motion footage of someone jumping into a rough rock garden (as well as all the slow mo huck to flat videos loved by bike testers). The first thing their tyre does is rebound off the ground. There tends to be several rebounds before it settles. The suspension cannot deal with this.
Imagine a case where the tyre sticks to the ground on the first bounce.
How much more control would we have?
CushCore doesn’t yet offer this level of damping. But it adds much more than tyres alone can achieve!