New Twist

With a 29er wheel up front and 27.5in at the back, the Twist hopes to tempt riders who want the stability of a big wheel on the front paired with the acceleration of a smaller wheel out back.

>>> Starling Murmur Factory 29 first ride

  • Reynolds 853 steel, front triangle hand-built in Bristol and rear triangle hand build by ORA Engineering, Taiwan
  • Twist is available as a frame only and without shock for £1,770, while full builds start from £3,800
  • Three sizes, with the XL featuring a big 515mm reach, slack 65° head angle, and long 1288mm wheelbase

Remember Starling Cycles? Of course you do. The brand really impressed us a few years back with the Murmur, a hand-built, steel-framed, single-pivot 29er that hit the sweet spot in terms of geometry and sizing. Well, it still impresses us today, with the launch of its latest bike, the Twist.

“We first tried it a year ago,” explains Starling’s Joe McEwan. “Our team rider Joe just really liked it, it was a bit more manoeuvrable. So I’ve taken the front end of the 29er Murmer and used the back end of the Swoop 27.5in bike.

Joe says the concept works because there are different gyroscopic forces at play on a 27.5in and a 29er wheel. “People say 29ers roll over stuff better than smaller wheels, but really that’s negligible,” he says.

What makes the difference is that the small wheel takes less inertia to lean it over, and it’s that which makes a mullet bike turn in more easily. Speccing a smaller wheel also allows Starling to add more travel to the bike, avoiding conflict with the rear wheel. So just like the 27.5in Swoop, the Twist has 160mm travel, and will take up to a 170mm fork on the front.