New bikes, a new approach to frame-building and custom travel options.

Click PLAY or read on to learn all about what’s coming up.

Do the Twist

First up, the big one, the new Starling Cycles Twist.

The Twist is our brand new bike. It’s the love-child of a Swoop and a Murmur with a monster-truck 29″ wheel up front and a fast, fun and flicky 27.5″ wheel out back.

The new mullet-machine is available now, with everything you need to know right here.

UK Made (again)

As you guys know, we made the big jump to ORA Engineering in Taiwan for 2019.

The big news for 2020 is that we’re now manufacturing in the UK again. Well, mostly. We’ll continue to work with ORA for our swing-arms.

All front triangles will now be handmade in the UK at Starling HQ. If you’ve been on the fence about a Starling because you wanted a handmade, British bike this is what you’ve no doubt been waiting for.

The video above will explain more about why we made the big move.

Adjustable Travel

And last but not least, a massive update for all bikes from now on.

All Murmur, Twist and Swoop bikes are now available with as shorter travel options OR with adjustable travel.

This change came from you guys. You asked us for shorter travel options, we tried it, we like it and we decided to make it widely available.

You can learn all about how it works and what we’re offering over on our new Custom Travel page here.

We’re stoked to announce the launch of our brand new bike.

Introducing the Starling Cycles Twist.


The Starling Cycles Twist is the love-child of a Swoop and a Murmur with a monster-truck 29″ wheel up front and a fast, fun and flicky 27.5″ wheel out back.

With 160mm rear travel, mullet wheels and plenty of tyre clearance, it’s built to party.

The 29″ front wheel offers a ton of gyroscopic stability for monster-trucking through rough terrain.

The 27.5″ rear wheel means fun and flicky riding, great manoeuvrability and back-wheel-good-times.


✔ Hand built in Reynolds 853

✔ Available in 3 sizes

✔ 27.5″ and 29″ wheels

✔ Max 160mm front and rear travel

✔ NEW: Shorter travel options available

✔ Demo rides available

✔ Available now

The Twist has 160mm travel on the rear and is built for a 160mm fork. The Twist also marks the start of our new adjust able travel options – all bikes are now available with options for reduced travel, with more info available here.

Frames are constructed from custom butted Reynolds 853 tubing, chosen for their combination of lightweight and strength.

Tubes are combined with lasercut and machined steel parts, resulting in a frames where simplicity and a lively feel.

Like all of our bikes, it’s built to go fast and is beautifully simple to setup, ride and maintain.

Twists are available as frame only (with or without shock starting at £1770) and as complete bikes, starting at £3300.

You can learn more about the Twist over on our Starling Twist product page here.


Starling Cycles Job Opportunity: Manufacturing Engineer

Posted 2/9/2019
Deadline 30/9/2019

Starling Cycles is looking for an engineer to join the team to help with frame manufacturing and to help grow the business through a range of other activities. 

The right person will have the following skills:

Essential experience:

  • Metal fabrication and welding/brazing,
  • CAD experience,
  • Workshop machine tool operation; manual lathe and mill.
  • Jig and tool design,
  • Driving licence,
  • Sweeping floors, making tea and getting stuck in,

Desirable experience:

  • Bicycle mechanic,
  • Packing boxes,
  • Stock control,
  • Marketing and sales,
  • Photography/videography and editing,
  • Knowledge of computer systems, websites etc.

We’re looking for someone with as many of these skills as we can. However, it’s equally important that we find someone that is professional, versatile and enthusiastic about our business. We’re happy to train the right candidate to fill gaps in their experience.

The role will be based at Starling’s HQ in St Werghburgs in Bristol. Initially, it will be a part-time role with the potential to grow with the company.

Applicants should apply by email through the Starling Cycles website contact form, entitled “Job Application”. Set out your key skills and experience and let us know where you might need training. You should also let us know your availability and salary expectations.

Please be professional and as thorough as you can. We’ll reply to promising applications and ask for more details and CV’s.

Closing date for applications is 30th September 2019.

Ard Rock Enduro 2018

Joe checks in from his favourite bike race of the year.

Wow, Ard Rock 2018m what a weekend!

The weekend wasn’t just a great race… it was also a trade event, a mini festival and a chance to see loads of people. The amazing weather didn’t hurt either!

My favourite thing about Ard Rock, and events like Ard Rock, is getting to speak to so many people.

I met loads of folk that were keen to see our bikes in the flesh and a few that were totally new to what we do. They all got a good first-hand rendition of my views on compliance, material choice (why carbon is crap), geometry and sizing, suspension design, weight and… of course, tyre inserts!

The race team did well on track though a few issues (including getting lost!) ended Joe Finney and Dan Pardesi’s hopes for the weekend. Phil Camsell however managed to navigate and race much better. He rode a stormer, riding a Factory Murmur for the first time and taking 12th place in Senior and 19th fastest overall. Remember there’s no Elite category at Ard Rock, so the result is even more impressive!

I managed a good race myself, taking 13th place in the Sport Vetrans category. ‘Sport’ is a category for those unlucky enough not to be able to get a place on the main race, and made all the harder by not being able to practice.

Out on the trails I saw at least 8 riders on Starlings, all getting some pretty impressive results. The best that I spotted was Phil Sellors who took an excellent 14th place in Masters and was only 2 seconds off Neil Donoghue!

Thanks also to all of the Bike Industry folks who swung by over the weekend. Not least Dan Stanton who tried his best to sticker bomb by Custom Murmurs with Cotic Stickers!

Extra thanks go Vittoria Tyres who were on the pitch next to me and fitted up the race team with Goma and Martello tyres and the new inserts. Phil’s results showed that they worked great! Follow them at VittoriaTires.

And finally, many thanks to the stands around me who helped make the event even greater – not least @wonkywollies @deviatecycles and @ridgecarbonwheels

Cheers everyone, Joe.

The Migration

I’ve lived and worked in Bristol for over 20 years now.

During all that time I’ve been here I’ve always commuted to work (and gone to the pub) on my bike. The only exception to that is when I built bikes in my shed and my commute was the length of my garden! Now we’re in the new Workshop, I’m back on my bike and I love it.

My preferred commuter bike has always been an old steel MTB, built up with slick tyres.  It’s nimble and quick to accelerate in the traffic. There’s always the opportunity to get a little bit of air off speed bumps and you get super respect points in the commuting hierarchy as you overtake lycra clad roadies on full carbon race bikes.

My current commuter is getting a bit baggy and needs a complete overhaul.  So, I decided to start from scratch and build something special for myself. I want to make the bikes that I ride.

I always had an eye on making them for my customers, but since the rigid bike market is so saturated I had to come up with an original design.  I also wanted to keep the aesthetic cues that all of my current Starling full suss bikes have, in particular the bend to the seat stays.

We built a front triangle and chainstays first, then set about getting the seat stay configuration correct.  With the traditional seat stays junction at the top tube, the aesthetics didn’t look correct.  Dropping the junction down the seat tube started to look like a Starling. Imagine one of my full suss bikes without a shock. But it wasn’t a great structural solution.

Extending the seat stays all the way to the head tube was the solution that worked.  It kept the Starling design cues, it was different to the double diamond frames that overwhelm the market and it provided a good structural solution.  ‘Chevron’ stiffening members between the stays were the final touch that added to the distinctive solution.

As a long time mountain biker, I have boxes of old and perfectly good but redundant parts.  It seemed a sound solution to design the new bike to use these parts. The bike works with non-Boost wheels and has a 27.2 seat tube for example.  My own personal build benefitted from some freebies from Middleburn, Rust Ti bars, Magura brakes and Funn parts, but you can easily built it with less flash kit.

The finishing touches came from John at Breathe Brandworks using the chevrons as inspiration.  Then, it was down to the powder coaters for a a JCB yellow paint job to compliment (or clash!) with the purple velvet curtains I had acquired for the Bespoked show. The bike was ready to go!

And there we have it, the Starling Cycles Migration.

Want one?

If you’d like one, we’re taking orders now and you can read all about the bike on its page here.

Orders will take a couple of months to build but are generally a bit quicker than my full suspension mountain bikes. I’ll offer custom geometry, custom colours and you can also get a colour-matched hand-made stem to make it extra special.

We’re celebrating as we move on up to a new workshop.

Starling was born in the shed at the bottom of my garden. That’s no exaggeration, it was an actual shed. It was very nice and sunny, spacious and had power but nonetheless it was a garden shed. It even had a little pond outside with a bridge you had to cross to get into it. You can see a few photos of it here over on Dirt (opens in new tab).

With the big Murmur Factory project and the amazing response to our bikes, we’ve had to upgrade the shed.

So, I’m no longer working at the bottom of the garden and I’ve moved into a proper unit in Bristol.

The new Workshop is amazing and is exactly what I was looking for.

It isn’t massive but has plenty of space for everything we need. It’s light and sunny, has room for customers to pop in and has plenty of space for fabrication and bike building.

There’s a little office, there’s parking and there’s even a brewery next door… totally by coincidence of course.

When I first moved in the new workshop was just a big empty room. I started out getting the wiring and power sorted, then moved on to build some insulated partition walls for the office. With that done I moved on to built a long, L-shaped wooden work bench for frame-building.

It was great fun getting that just-right and having lots of space to lay everything out exactly as I want it. The final job was the fine-details and I clad some of the walls with wooden panels and go some of my original frames up on display.

There’s loads still to be done but… there’s plenty of time.

If you fancy a visit, just drop me a line and the kettle will be on!

Cheers, Joe.

The new Starling Cycles Murmur Factory Edition is the latest hand built 29” mountain bike frame from Starling Cycles.

The frame is built in Reynolds 853 steel with modern angles to be fast, aggressive and beautifully simple.


Designed in the UK, Built by ORA

The new ‘Factory’ frame has been designed in the UK by Starling owner Joe McEwan and hand built in Taiwan by ORA, one of the World’s very best steel mountain bike frame manufacturing facilities.

The collaboration between British-born Starling Cycles and Taiwan’s expert frame builders means that Starling can meet the high demand for their frames whilst maintaining the awesome ride and build quality that has claimed praise from riders and press alike.

Customers will also see a price reduction when compared to all British-made Starling frames.

Why Taiwan?

The move to Taiwan was a considered one. As a frame builder, aerospace engineer and designer, Joe made the decision after visiting the factory and seeing first-hand the high quality of manufacturing, work ethics and working conditions.

ORA’s factory is the perfect setup for hand-crafting the new frames with expert engineers, boasting years of experience in building top-quality mountain bikes.

Fast, simple, silent

The Starling Murmur Factory Edition is built around 29” wheels with 140mm rear travel with room for disc rotors up to 200mm and 2.5” tyre clearance. The frames will fit metric rear shocks and 148 x 12mm Boost rear hub spacings.

Frames will be available in two sizes and with a choice of rear shocks from Rock Shox, DVO or Fox. They can be supplied as a frame-only package or build kits with components from Rockshox, DVO, Fox, SRAM, Hope, Middleburn and Maxxis. Frames will be available in Primer Grey with black graphics as standard or in a choice of custom colours for an extra cost.

The Murmur Factory will be available in two sizes:

Still want a custom Murmur, built in the UK?

Riders that want a custom geometry, British-built Starling frame won’t be disappointed.

Starling will continue to hand-build frames in the UK and customers can simply choose whether to commission a one-off UK built frame or order one from the ‘Factory’.

Available to order now

Starling Cycles are taking pre-orders now with delivery expected in Autumn 2018.

Frames will be £1850 with a Rockshox Deluxe shock and all pre-orders will receive a Hope headset and seat clamp. Orders paid in full at pre-order will also receive a Burgtec control kit.

You can learn more about the Starling Murmur Factory here on our website.

Our good friend Jacob Gibbins just made this great short documentary all about Starling Cycles.

If you want to learn a little more about Starling Cycles, this is a great way to do it. It shows Joe’s journey from a full time aerospace engineer to a full time bike designer and builder.

Cheers Jacob!