THIS GARDEN SHED BUILT STEEL 145MM BIKE has changed our expectations GREATLY. NOw WE KNOW HOW A GOOD MID TRAVEL BIKE CAN AND SHOULD FEEL LIKE. the Starling Murmur LEAVES US ASKING THE QUESTION – DOES ALUMINIUM OR CARBON FIBER REALLY HAVE A PERFORMANCE ADVANTAGE AT ALL?
Words and Images. S Jones
Clearly the same rules apply to steel as they do to any other mtb frame material be it aluminium or carbon, and that is that the material alone does not make a great bike. And equally, don’t always equate material with performance.
Thursday 28th February was a pretty big moment in time.
It also gave us an understanding that sensation and speed should not be confused. That a bike that feels quick is not always going to be quick.
In fact this was emphatically proved to us that over many timed runs the bike that felt the fastest (and cost the most) was in fact the slowest bike. We’ve encountered this before with comparisons of wheel size but not so much on a same wheel size/different frame material.
It was then only by chance that a bunch of some of the finest 29” wheel mountainbikes ranging between 135mm to 165mm had found their way into the back of the van to get some testing done under some of the best conditions of the year, not too heavy not too dry.
The chosen track comprised plenty of root and rock, a ton of braking bumps, flat corners, bermed corners, jumps and some testing extended root sections.
That this, the 145mm Starling Murmur was fastest pretty much blew our minds, leaving us staring at the stopwatch in disbelief. The bike we thought might be the slowest before heading onto the hill was in fact the quickest. But once into the first corner we kind of knew it was never going to be far off. Leaning into turns the geometry holding the rider in balance and the frame talking back… “yer I’ve got you, push a bit harder there’s loads more grip where that came from.”