Starling Cycles on Simplicity, Design, & Building Bikes in a Shed (Ep.105)

Joe McEwan had a career as an aerospace engineer working with composites, but when he started building bikes, steel was his material of choice. So we sat down with the founder of Starling Cycles to get his take on frame materials, and why steel is an under-appreciated one; why single-pivots can ride really well; go really deep on the tradeoffs between wheel sizes, & why mullets maybe aren’t the best of all worlds; and a whole lot more.


  • Joe’s background as an aerospace engineer to founding Starling & building bikes in a shed (1:32)
  • Why steel? (7:56)
  • Single pivots & suspension kinematics (12:26)
  • Starling’s “Core” lineup (20:43)
  • Wheel sizes & tradeoffs (24:31)
  • Starling’s “Rare” lineup (33:48)
  • Carbon e-bike prototype (43:11)
  • Joe’s Big Idea (48:14)


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