Burly big wheeler built in Bristol

The Starling Murmur is already a cult classic, a steel framed single pivot 29er with fairly progressive geometry handcrafted in the UK.

It’s part of the new wave of steel frame full suspension bikes and arguably still the one to beat.

Watch the video above to hear about Starling’s founder – Joe McEwan – and his passion for bikes and how he gave up a well paid day job to chase his dream of building his own bicycle business.

>>> 11 radical 29ers to finally convince the doubters

starling murmur

Starling Murmur need to know

  • Hand built in steel in Bristol
  • 145mm rear travel
  • Built for 29″ wheels
  • Reynolds 853/631 and Columbus Life and Zone steel tubing
  • Custom head tube angle, down tube, length/reach and seat tube length
  • Frames from £1500.

If you have not heard of Starling Cycles before, they have something of a cult following amongst those who like ‘alt bikes’ and brands that are little bit more rarified than the big names.

Starling don’t have a huge fleet of models. In fact, before the Murmur there was only one Starling bike – the 27.5″ Swoop which came out in 2014. The Swoop is also a steel framed single pivot machine. The Murmur is pretty much the 29er version of the Swoop.


Starling Cycles is owned and operated by Joe McEwan. Starling creates hand built, steel mountain bike frames with custom geometry. All of Joe’s bikes are built in his workshop at his home in North Bristol, UK.

Joe’s background is in structural analysis in the aerospace industry. Joe spent nearly 20 years designing aircraft wings with much of his time in research and development working on new technologies.

Why use steel?


The use of steel is rare but not entirely unheard of. Cotic’s full suspension bikes are (mostly) made of steel.

Starling’s rationale is that it makes for a “fast, silent, solid ride”. It certainly gives the bikes a that distinctive steel look which will always find fans.

Now then. Starling claim that the Murmur “weighs no more than a modern aluminium bike” but we can’t see any explicit weights listed on the website. We’ll add some weights details when we get them. Watch this space.


The Murmur is a deliberately simple bike. Starling’s PR dept say: “Joe believes that a simple bike is a fast bike. By building a tough, strong, reliable single pivot with a linear leverage ratio Joe creates bikes that riders can quickly jump onto, understand and get stuck in to riding.”

What’s the geometry like?


So nothing too outlandish or ultra progressive. Just some sound numbers that look like they’ll be a fun bike to ride.

The Murmur is available with customisable geometry. Customers are able to specify head tube angle, downtube length/reach and seat tube length. Apparently, “If you ask nicely he just might be able to accommodate special requests for extra customisation.”