Rich Thomas – our chief bike thrasher – just borrowed the Starling Cycles Swoop, a hand build in the UK steel enduro bike.
Rich has spent his life racing stiff, aluminium bikes and was super interested to try out an enduro bike that’s longer and slacker than any downhill bike he’s ridden before.
Take it away Rich …
All Starling Cycles bikes are one off, custom builds – but this one is particularly special. The bike is company owner Joe’s own bike that he made as an experiment (spurred on by a chat with evil genius Chris Porter) in very slack head angles, long reaches and long wheel bases.
The bike has been really interesting and I’ve never ridden an enduro bike with as long a wheelbase as my downhill bike. This bike has a 62.5d head angle and a wheel base of 1280mm, which is basically the same size as an extra large V10. It’s a really new concept for me to be able to ride downhill as fast and as comfortably as on a downhill bike but still be able to climb.
The big thing for me with the Starling Cycles Swoop is the steel frame. Where aluminium bikes are stiff, the Starling’s steel frame feels super forgiving. You can get away with murder on the Starling, which means it’s a really fun bike to ride. You can slap turns hard and as long as you get your front wheel on a line the back wheel will follow. That means you can experiment with new lines, try jumps, try and go a bit faster and it’s a really fun and forgiving bike.
You can hear more about what I think of the bike in the video – hit play and leave a comment if you’ve got any questions!