[Build thread] Viggen's Starling Swoop - Custom-geo 160mm FS single pivot steel shredder.


#1

Alright Tarck!

I think we have to few “proper” build threads up in here for a forum full to the brim of awesome bikes of many sorts. As many of you might know I entered a top-cap-raffle held by Joe McEwan, the one man show which makes up Starling cycles, earlier this winter. You bought a 5£ top cap and was given the chance to get a spot in his already 85% full build list for his next batch of custom frames, not binding you to buy a frame if you won a spot. I bought one and thought that no way I’m going to win with all the press and amazing good reviews Starling had gotten during the autumn/winter/spring leading up to this.

But I did! So I accepted my spot, realised this was to be the ultimate 30 year present to my self, started making plans on selling my Reign SX I bought last late summer and planning a some what modern/progressive geo based on what I’ve ridden so far. I also had to make up my mind if i wanted to hop on the wagon wheeler train or stay on what I know: the trusty 650B. That meant either a Murmur (145mm rear travel 29er) or the Swoop (150mm rear travel 650B):


Pretty similar in terms of suggested geo from Joe:
Murmur: 65HA and the rest of the front triangle is customisable. 76,5 SA, 445 chain stays, 38mm BB drop.
Swoop: 64HA and the rest of the front triangle is customisable. 75,5 SA, 430 chain stays, 15mm BB drop.

I decided to stick with the Swoop/650B since that’s what I’ve ridden this far and I really like the wheel size. Starting to experiment with a bike this expensive doesn’t seems like a smart thing too do. Also I’m a bit wary that going for a long/mid travel 29er with the type of terrain/amout of pretty techy stuff where I live will demand better technique and I’m not that great of a rider, yet!

Next post: throwing geo numbers at Joe and figuring out what would work for me.
Here’s some detail shots on one of Joe’s prototype Swoop’s.





Viggen:s build thread for that rad-ass steel fs enduro aka NüThread
#2

/breathing intensifies


#3

Can’t wait to see this thing come together.


#4

Thanks Rusty! Me neither, I’m hella stoked.

Alright so this is the given geo/limits that Starling has set for the Swoop. Sensible stuff really, nothing on the extreme end of new school geo. I know this is the Mk4 of the Swoop so it has gone through some changes since Joe started brazing frames together in his garden shed (which had a bunch of starling’s nesting above it, hence the brand name!). He’s experimented with stuff a lot and made a 62HA variant just to see what’s what, that’s the blood red machine I snatched the close up’s from.

So coming into this whole custom geo thing I kinda window shopped around at bikes in the enduro-category, 650B bikes with somewhere around 160/170 travel all round. I also had the numbers from my Reign SX on hand, since I liked that bike for the time I owned it. The one thing that stock bikes or atleast mtb’s seems to be lacking for me is reach, I found my self pretty upright/cramped on the Reign SX in L. So some more place to move around the bike and throw my body weight around seemed like a sensible thing. I’m 186cm tall and do indeed have a positive monkey index aka long ass arms… A bike that tickled my fancy and seemed really thought through and pretty universally praised by mtb media all over is the Transition Patrol, sure I wouldn’t mess with the fork offset as much as Lars and Transition did. But a pretty short offset fork paired with a slack head angle and a some what steep seat angle seems like the way to go for a enduro rig that puts your weight in the middle of the bike and allows you to climb some tech without ending up like a beetle on your back. I’m riding large bikes for the most part, so those are the numbers I’m looking at!

Reign SX geo:

Transition Patrol geo:

This was my first attempt at putting something resembling a bike together in bikeCAD so it took me hella time. Before I sat down in bikeCAD (that works for shit using a Mac…) I had exchanged some email’s with Joe about what I ride now, how tall/heavy I am, where I live and what the intended purpose for the bike was. He thought that I might have been a good candidate for the Murmur, me being tall and all that. But after chatting some more about it we agreed on a Swoop since it’ll se some pretty heavy bike park abuse and maybe even a DH-race or two… All of the tubing used on my bike, which will be #150 in his build list, Joe will decide for me given all the information he’s pumped out of me. It’s all gonna be a mix of Reynolds 853, 631, Columbus Zona and Life.
1st cad sketch:


After Joe’s input we landed here, some of the changes were made because of tubing and other things. Like making the head tube 110 mm since it’s made in increments of 10 mm. Reach was adjusted to 500 mm, seat tube length was decided with a 170 mm dropper in mind and being able to fit a full size water bottle inside the front triangle above a piggy back shock (“hanging” from under the top tube Starling-style).

Come on my dudes, ask me questions or this is just going to be my wall of text and that’s boring!
Next up is gonna be component choice and build kit! Moar pictures!!!


#5

how do you feel about single pivot vs dual?
You’ve had a fair shake at using a bunch of dual pivot bikes so I’m interested


#6

Dang, that is long! My XL jekyll is 495 with a 35mm stem. Definitely wish the jekyll had a shorter seat tube. No reason for them to have 150mm dropper slammed for me at 6’2" (I guess more average/balanced legs/torso mix). It works 90% of the time, but you kinda want it a few times on steeper stuff.

Long reach takes a little bit to get used to, but it won’t take you long to adapt. I am suffering because my shorter travel bikes have always been closer to 450mm on XL. Kinda scoping the new GT now, and maybe sell the following.


#7

[quote=turpencat]how do you feel about single pivot vs dual?
You’ve had a fair shake at using a bunch of dual pivot bikes so I’m interested[/quote]

Well I’ve actually only been riding Giant’s Maestro link a lot to be fair. But since rear suspension has gotten so much better than back in the day I’m not scared to jump on a single pivot, they seem to work real fine for all the folks riding Orange Stage and many of the WC DH bikes are also single pivots. The resurge of over the pivot-idlers and high single pivots has me convinced that with a dialed rear suspension setup on a linear/more linear suspension curve is gonna work good! Also the maintenance part is a big part for me, to be able to work on my own bike and keep costs down. More on that in a longer post about what suspension parts I decided to hang on the frame later :wink:

[quote=liquify]Dang, that is long! My XL jekyll is 495 with a 35mm stem. Definitely wish the jekyll had a shorter seat tube. No reason for them to have 150mm dropper slammed for me at 6’2" (I guess more average/balanced legs/torso mix). It works 90% of the time, but you kinda want it a few times on steeper stuff.

Long reach takes a little bit to get used to, but it won’t take you long to adapt. I am suffering because my shorter travel bikes have always been closer to 450mm on XL. Kinda scoping the new GT now, and maybe sell the following.[/quote]

Well yeah, I’ve sat on frames like the NS Snabb which is around 490 in reach and it didn’t feel that strange. But yeah I guess it’s gonna be a bit of a new way of riding for sure and it’ll probably take some time getting used to. Whats the Jekyll’s seat tube? I wanted a ST as short as reasonable, since I wanted to be able to fit a piggyback shock and a full water bottle inside the front triangle. So Joe had some directions for me. But 465 seems like a good height with a 170 dropper at my saddle height.

Ah… You looking at the new Sensor or Force?


#8

So much good info in this thread. You never have to apologize for a wall of text.
Excited to read more as your build progresses.


#9

One drawing shows a setback post, one shows straight. Doesn’t a straight post have less binding in the dropper action? Is this a consideration of the geometry at all?


#10

Jekyll seattube is 520mm. Eek.
I like the lower seat tube on Evil following (could probably get away with 170 post there), but shorter reach and slacker sta is not jiving so well, vs jekyll.
Yes, intrigued by new gt sensor. 130mm f/r, 66* hta, steep sta, long. Tops out at 5k with stans flows and pike rtc3. I hear that Cannondale may be releasing a similar one soon, along with a 29er Jekyll.

You should add back the parts build for your bike, too.
And any pic of the color?


#11

Squirrel:
Thanks! :slight_smile:

Jimmy:
That’s just a fault from my end, when I fired up BikeCAD the first time I didn’t really take note on the chairpole. It was more or less just a way of showing my current saddle height. Then when I finalised the drawing they had updated the program and added the option of a dropper. Since I’m gonna run a dropper on it and it doesn’t have any set back that’s the correct drawing.

Liquify:
Ouuuuuch…
I glanced over the article at pink bike at it looks like a fun bike with sensible geo! Haven’t looked at their build specs and what not, but 5 bongs usually gets you a sw8 biek. Personally I couldn’t buy a carbon frame with a clean conscious but I sure as hell could see my self riding the “moss green” alloy frame. Gonna get into paint and suspension below :wink:

So since this is a custom frame from the UK there really was only one colour option for me, sure I could have gone full-fadez-über-bonkers but that would mean a longer wait and hella £££. But hell no this in going to be British Racing Green, a colour I’ve loved for soooo long!
This is a sample of “Joe’s take” on it, since there are as many BRG’s as there are paint shops. Almost.

It also made sense with BRG together with all the purple ano Hope stuff that I already own and love! So then it was just a matter of deciding logo colour from the 11 colours Starling works with.


For me it was a pretty easy choice and I went with the “Signal Yellow”, complementing both the BRG and purple ano in a nice way.

Onwards to suspension!
I love coil suspension. I love the feel, the ridiculous grip, the low maintenance, the solid performance over long-ass descents in heat. I just love it period.
I rode my old Giant frankenTrance with a RS Vivid and my Reign SX came stock with a Fox DHX2.
Mojo suspension was the UK distributor and pro-fiddle-gang for all things Fox in the UK since forever. Starling worked with them so it seemed like a good idea to get another DHX2. Then Mojo went bankrupt and belly up. Suddenly it wasn’t just me that had a problem, Starling did too since they where his main suspension supplier. After some back and forth and what I thinks was one really stressful times for Joe he had some new stuff going on. I could get another Vivid for a nickel and change but I was kinda hesitant. For a really silly and superficial reason. Putting a Vivid on a custom bike is really fucking boring, call me stupid but that’s my main gripe… I see Pike’s, Yari’s and Vivid’s allay long in Åre. So when I heard that Joe had stricken a deal with DVO I became curious AF.

Sure it might make great sense to put an air shock on a fairly linear dampening curve but Joe and many of his customers had great luck with running a coil on his frames. I picked the DVO Jade over the Topaz, I mean look at it! Bladder instead of IFP customisable with air pressure, LCS, HCS, rebound and pretty much everything you could ask.

A 500 lbs spring should suit me just perfect, might get a ti spring later on when everything is dialed in. For maxXx bling and also some weight saving! If this little “experiment” turn out not great I could always sell the Jade onwards with no loss and get an air can instead.

Fork wise I’d really love to go with a Fox 36 Elite performance or Factory it was a really great fork on my Reign SX and I was a tad bit sad to see it go, but let’s be honest. Putting almost 1800$ on a fork is pretty insane. I looked at MRP, Formula and other smaller brands because it’s fun to ride something else than what 95% of everyone else rides. Even though it might be stupid and superficial unique snowflake

Then I happened upon an unused Mattoc Pro in box with all the goodies aka the IVA and IRT on pink bike for 50% below it’s already amazing low retail. NO BRAINER! I really loved that fork on my Trance, plenty stiff and just super supple and with all the bells and whistles of a fork costing way over double the Mattoc. I might look into something else down the line, but probably not before I’ve completely ridden my Mattoc into the ground…

TL;DR: Opinions, I have them.


#12

Nice! Yeah, you def lauded the Mattoc pro.
I am definitely coil curious, though I don’t really live near enough to proper mountains to warrant it. Biggest descents, even at parks, is usually 1500ft descent. But a teammate loooooovvvesss his specialized enduro coil. And this dude pushes shit hard.
I am still trying to dial in my DVO diamond fork (so many controls!). That green is a nice little flash of color that winks at the BRG color, while allowing the yellow font to shine with the purple hope.

Note, I’ll get the GT or other bikes (like my current Jekyll) at ep. I guess they are doing a frame only. I haven’t cracked a carbon frame yet. And jekyll also has AL rear end, coz seemingly most likely to land on.


#13

I am thoroughly enjoying this build thread


#14

[quote=liquify]Nice! Yeah, you def lauded the Mattoc pro.
I am definitely coil curious, though I don’t really live near enough to proper mountains to warrant it. Biggest descents, even at parks, is usually 1500ft descent. But a teammate loooooovvvesss his specialized enduro coil. And this dude pushes shit hard.
I am still trying to dial in my DVO diamond fork (so many controls!). That green is a nice little flash of color that winks at the BRG color, while allowing the yellow font to shine with the purple hope.

Note, I’ll get the GT or other bikes (like my current Jekyll) at ep. I guess they are doing a frame only. I haven’t cracked a carbon frame yet. And jekyll also has AL rear end, coz seemingly most likely to land on.[/quote]
Yeah I have, sure it might not be considered as fancy as the offerings from The Big Two. But it performed really well on my old Trance, has consistently since the launch placed great in test against the stiff competition. The amount of tuneability is just mental. Tinkerers unite!

Other forks I’ve considered are the MRP Ribbon, Cane Creek Helm, DVO Diamond and the Formula Thirty-Five. All really great forks on their own. Maybe I’ll pick a used one up next summer or if I find a irresistable deal. Now in hindsight and maybe down the line the X-Fusion Revel would be a stunner and probably a really good fork for the Swoop:

Thanks, I really enjoy putting all these words down to be honest!


#15

Very stoked to see this thing!!


#16

I am beyond!!!

So I’ve gone through the big decisions on my biek, so I’m just gonna run through the general build. Maybe speak some more in detail about one or two components and why I choose them :wink:

Build-kit:
Handlebars: Burgtec WR DH Carbon.
Stem: Hope AM purple 35mm length.
Spacers: Purple Chromag - matched with the Hope stuff.
Grips: DMR Deathgrip.
Headset: Hope Pick’n’mix purple.
Shifter: Deore XT.
Brakes: Hope Tech 3 E4 purple with braided steel cables.
Rotors: Hope floating purple 203/180 F/R.
Dropper: OneUP 170mm dropper.
Dangler: Deore XT SGS.
Cassette: Sunrace MX80 11-50 in black.
Chain: KMC X11EL in gold.
BB: XTR SM-BB93.
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite 93.
Wheels: Hope Pro 4 hubs in purple, black DT Swiss Comp and DT Swiss EX511 (used the supplied Squorx pro-lock alu nipples and washers) rims (built by me).
Tyres: Kenda Hellkat/Helldriver 2.4 F/R combo in their enduro casing, tubeless setup with Orange Seal.
Pedals: Xpedo Baldwin.
Bash/Taco: 77 designz purple baby.

And for the two parts I want to talk a bit about, one of them not really being a component but rather a really nifty thing for trail/enduro rigs!
Crankset: Middleburn RS8-X with a 32t N/W chainring, 24mm axle.
I don’t know if you recognise the brand Middleburn, but they are pretty much a legendary UK crank manufacturer, they’ve been at it for a ton of years and they haven’t really changed much through the years. They look like steel BMX cranks and could be considered one of the first nerd cranks. They use a modular system which allows you to combine any ring set up either on a carrier, direct mount or any other possible combination you can think of long before the big dogs stepped into making cranks this way. They went belly up like some years back but a small brand called BETD Components bought the brand and started up production again. Evolving from the older square taper cranks (but also continuing to produce them) and into modern 24mm spindle cranks. Still keeping the old school look and their lifetime warranty.
I just love the look of them and think they are really really well suited on a steel frame. Looking really good with the slender tubes and just look classy AF:


Here they are on a Starling Murmur, though I won’t go crazy with the red/blue ano on mine:

Onward to the OneUP EDC Tool! Stumbled upon this piece of engineering masterpiece through a friend. I urge all mtbros/bikepackers to look at the video right now. Such a smart way to carry basically every tool in a place on your bike just filled with void usually. I’m looking forward to being able to ride without a back pack for most rides! I tend to get sweaty AF and lugging a back pack around here in summer is pretty unbearable, but I’m probably gonna get in on that enduro fanny-pack lyfe. Of course I’m getting their purple “top cap” to match all the SHURPLE stuff #matchymatchgameisstrong.

OneUp Components EDC (Everyday Carry) - All The Trailside Tools You Need. from OneUp Components on Vimeo.

OneUp Components Everyday Carry (EDC) Tool Features from OneUp Components on Vimeo.

Next wall of text: “Inspiration bikes”, custom decals and pictures of the custom goodness!


#17

Make sure everything middleburn is in stock. I waited 8 months for some lousy chainrings with lousy anodizing from activesport uk


#18

The cranks, headset, handlebars and shock all comes directly from Starling. Pre ordered all that way back.


#19

that one up thing looks awesome
but looks very intimidating to see if it works.
It does not for me because I have a carbon steerer on my gravel bike. And on my mountain bike I am fine with fanny pack.


#20

Very jealous, I think you’ll like the single pivot life. I keep going back to them, I think advancements in shock compression tunes makes up a big portion of what makes them usable. Just stay off the rear brake in the rough and they find traction