The vast majority of boutique, custom framebuilders use steel as their material of choice. It’s relatively easy to work with and readily available. Most of those builders though, are turning those steel tubes into hardtails. However, Joe McEwan of Starling Cycles is breaking that mold with his bikes. He started Starling with the Swoop, a 155mm travel trail bike with 27.5″ wheels. That bike is currently in its fourth iteration, getting updated along the way with feedback from customers.
Starling recently released a new mountain bike, the Murmur. It’s based on the same, simple, single pivot design of the Swoop frame, just modified to accept 29″ wheels. The Murmur comes with 145mm of rear travel intended to be paired with a 140mm fork. However, swapping the shock for one with a shorter stroke will reduce the rear travel to 125mm. And that’s not the only thing you can change on the Murmur. Since each bike is handbuilt in McEwan’s Bristol, UK, shop, customers can adjust the geometry to suit their particular tastes.
Pricing for the frames start at £1850 although Starling does offer complete builds as well. Starling’s bikes are currently not available in North America.