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.
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 Clandestine.cc hand-made stem to make it extra special.